Benoist XIV

Benoist XIV

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Benoist XIV

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The Benoist XIV was a small biplane flying boat built in the United States in 1913 in the hope of using it to carry paying passengers. The two examples built were used to provide the first heavier-than-air airline service anywhere in the world, and the first airline service of any kind at all in the United States.

Design and development

The aircraft was a conventional biplane with equal-span unstaggered wings with small pontoons at their tips. The engine was mounted on a pedestal aft of the cockpit and drove a two-blade pusher propeller. Accommodation for the pilot and single passenger was side-by-side in an open cockpit.

Operational history

The first example, given Benoist construction number 43 and named Lark of Duluth, carried joyriders over the harbour at Duluth, Minnesota through the Summer of 1913, but this was not a commercial success. Later that year, Percival Fansler, a business associate of designer Tom Benoist, convinced Benoist to join him in establishing a scheduled air service between the Florida cities of St Petersburg and Tampa. Their newly-formed company, the St Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line purchased the Lark of Duluth and another Benoist XIV to inaugurate operations. The first scheduled flight between the two cities departed shortly before 10 AM on January 1, 1914 piloted by Tony Jannus and carried former St Petersburg...
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