The newsLINK Group - Ogden's Aviation Past, Present, and Future - Flying High

Editorial Library Category: Cities & Towns Topics: Aviation Title: Ogden’s Aviation Past, Present, and Future — Still Flying High Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Air travel is something most people take for granted, especially people who live in a city that serves as the hub for a major airline. It’s sometimes hard to remember that Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first flight was as recent as December 17, 1903, and that for most people during the early days of aviation, flying was a heart-stopping adventure. Editorial: Ogden’s Aviation Past, Present, and Future — Still Flying High 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Air travel is something most people take for granted, especially people who live in a city that serves as the hub for a major airline. It’s sometimes hard to remember that Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first flight was as recent as December 17, 1903, and that for most people during the early days of aviation, flying was a heart-stopping adventure. It is also interesting to realize that air travel predates the Model T Ford. It wasn’t until October 1, 1908 that the first Model T came off the Detroit production line in Ford’s Piquette Avenue plant. In essence, air travel and road trips were both developing at the same time. In addition, although trains came before cars and planes, the horse-and-buggy era overlapped all three. During the early days of aviation, planes were often dismantled and shipped by railroad to specific destinations, along with a box of spare parts, a large tent for a hangar, and enough necessities to get the aviator through an airshow. Ogden was a natural place for a burgeoning aviation industry to take hold, due in part to the railway and Union Station. Once a plane arrived at a destination, it could be put together and flown around the local area. Going a larger distance was unusual, which is why William Randolph Hurst, in October 1910, offered a $50,000 prize to anyone who could fly in 30 days across the continental U.S. It was a pretty safe offer, considering that no airplane at the time was dependable enough to fly for any great distance. It was, however, enough to spark the imagination and fuel the dreams of the few aviators making the airshow circuit, which largely made up the entirety of the flight industry at the time. Aviators were considered daredevils with a very limited lifespan. The early aviators and their planes were novelties that drew crowds for airshows, certainly not something that could be considered a serious professional endeavor. In July of 1914 that changed. World War I had started in Europe, and by August, all of Europe had chosen sides. WWI essentially divided Europe in half – England, France and Russia against Germany, Austria and Hungary, and escalated into the largest war the world had ever known. Meanwhile here at home, President Woodrow Wilson was working hard to keep the U.S. neutral and out of the war, which of course, proved impossible. In April of 1917, the U.S. entered WWI. In 1917, the state of U.S. aviation was woefully non-existent, and according to author Anthony Martini in his book, Flying Machines Over Zion , the entire industry consisted of roughly 60 officers able to pilot a plane, and about 300 sub-standard planes fit only for training, as opposed to air combat. As a result, during the early years of WWI, many U.S. aviators were trained by the English and the French, whose aviation program was well ahead of the U.S. After training, the American pilots flew English and French “reject” planes. In 1918, three months before the end of the war, America flew its first combat mission, with American made planes. After the war, people began to get used to the idea of flying, as planes were used successfully during World War I. Mail delivery via air began on May 15, 1919, when the first segment of a transcontinental route was completed between Chicago and Cleveland. Closer to home, that same year, local aviators had started to put some of Ogden’s long, straight dirt roads to use as a runway. The dirt roads even had a building nearby, making the set up ideal for what became the closest thing to an official airport. Nine years after the end of WWI, on May 20 th and 21 st , 1927, Charles Lindbergh made his remarkable nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. And by 1928, mail was being delivered to Ogden, with the plane circling around in the air, while those

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