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series: Jannus: American Aviator
air date: 4/13/13 2:00 AM
Through this 30-minute documentary, viewers will learn about the life and times of one of the most forgotten figures in early aviation, Tony Jannus. Beyond the records and firsts in flight is a story of heroism, ingenuity, and adventure. A story that will entertain, educate, and delight all ages. A story of one pilot, one plane, and the birth of scheduled air-service. Program Topics: Aviation Firsts - It was the dawn of a revolution in engineering and mechanics. Among the early enthusiasts of aviation was a boat engine mechanic in Washington D.C. by the name of Tony Jannus. Contracted by Rex Smith to install an engine in an experimental biplane, Jannus began his fledgling career as a test pilot. Jannus the Pilot - Jannus made headlines on a regular basis in D.C. which attracted the attention of Thomas Benoist, an aviation leader in St. Louis. As a team, Benoist and Jannus accomplished many firsts in flight and set records across the country. St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line - The idea was born in 1913. The cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg stood less than 20-miles apart but travel by train or steamship took hours. Florida Businessman Percival Fansler presented the idea of a scheduled air-service between the two cities to Benoist. With the support of the city of St. Petersburg and the financial backing of several businessmen, the St. Petersburg - Tampa Airboat line began service in 1914. Tony Jannus' Legacy - Though Jannus died at the young age of 26, he left a legacy for future aviators still evident today. In 1964, The Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society was formed to honor that legacy and recognize pioneers in commercial aviation. Today, the society looks to the future by awarding scholarships to future aviators and inspiring interest in Jannus through high school essay contests. Today and Tomorrow - Today, commercial aviation is a safe, reliable, and affordable form of transportation. It's a trillion dollar industry that has connected billions of people across the globe. But the possibilities of commercial aviation have just begun. Companies like Virgin Galactica will soon transport passenger from our hemisphere and into the depths of space.
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