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Boeing delivered the first of the 314s to Pan American Airways in 1939 at an initial cost of $550,000 each. With flying boats such as the Dornier Wal, the S-23C or the 314 available in I the 193Os, the leading airlines soon opened new air routes to passenger service throughout the world. In the late 1920s French and German mail service airlines began to offer between Europe and the east coast of South America. In the early 1930s the North German Lloyd Steamship Line operated ship-to-shore mail service.

When he learned, for example, that a German steamship line planned to try flying an airplane from the deck of one of its passenger liners, he persuaded range for his seniors to let him ara flight from the cruiser Birmingham. An accident delayed the German attempt long enough for an eager volunteer pilot, Eugene B. Ely, to attempt such a flight. To facilitate Ely’s takeoff, Chambers obtained use of the Birmingham and had an 83-feetlong ramp built on her bow. The ramp sloped down at a slight ,angle from the bridge of the vessel to the main deck at the bow where there was a mere 37 feet to the surface of the water.

Al though this flight aroused great popular enthusiasm for airship travel, Eckcner realized tllat at 757 feet long and 99 feet maximum diameter and with a 71-mph cruising speed, Gruf Zeppelin was too small for regular transAtlantic service. Thus he began to build an even larger rigid the Hindcnbur,g ( LZ 129)) airship, which would be completed in late 1935. While the Zeppelin Company was building the Hindenburg, the Graf Zeppelin made several historic flights which greatly increased popular support for airship travel.

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A History of Sea-Air Aviation - Wings Over the Ocean


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