The first commercial airline carried passengers from St Pete to Tampa in 1914, only 11 years after the Wright Brothers first flew! And, in 1923, the Ta-Miami Air Line started operations between Tampa and Miami, in the same year that construction of the road was begun across the Glades.
Air history goes on. In 1930s Opa-Locka was opened as a Naval air base; Eastern and Pan Am were founded. Newspapers were flown to Sanibel by seaplane in the 1939 “Dawn Patrol”. World War II training bases sprang up in Southwest Florida’s clement climate at Fort Myers, Buckingham, Clewiston, and Naples.
Bring back the old warriors and dare-devils!
That’s exactly what the Antique Air Aficionados are trying to do on Saturday, February 18, when Everglades City Airpark hosts a Fly-In for old aircraft from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. There is no charge. Just arrive at Airfield X-01 on the edge of the Glades where fuel is available.
You will be welcomed with a free pancake breakfast, courtesy of Wings 10,000 Island Tours, and a chance to win 5 lbs. of stone crab claws, the local delicacy generously donated by Triad Seafood Market & Cafe in Everglades City. The highlight of the monthly breakfast is watching intrepid airman John Apte scoop up the banner before he circles to advertise its message.
Everyone is invited. Drop in by air, road, or sea and share your memories of vintage flying.
The event is being promoted by the Everglades Society for Historic Preservation. For more information, see their website www.evergladeshistorical.org or phone Mike at (239) 695-2244 or (239) 784-1892.