Monday, July 15, 2013

Tony Jannus at Cedar Point: Lake Erie's Yesterdays on Pinterest

August 1914
Photograph by Ernst Niebergall
Charles E. Frohman Collection
Above is a picture of Tony Jannus, one of America's most famous early flyers. Jannus was a test pilot for Tom Benoist, who built airboats at Sandusky, Ohio. During the summers of 1913, at the centennial celebration of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's Victory on Lake Erie, and 1914, Jannus flew exhibition flights and took local residents on flights over Lake Erie. On New Year's Day 1914, Jannus flew one of Benoist's airboats on the United States' first scheduled passenger flight, between Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida. Jannus' flight heralded in commercial aviation in the United States. His fete proved that scheduled flights of cargo and passengers could be economically viable. More on Jannus, his life, and the upcoming commemoration of that first scheduled flight in an upcoming post...
You can see pictures of Tony and the Benoit airboat on Pinterest on my Lake Erie's Yesterdays board. There are also some of early fliers Harry Atwood and Glen Curtiss making flights over Lake Erie near Sandusky and at Cedar Point. More photos from the Charles E. Frohman Collection can be found by googling Lake Erie's Yesterdays OhioLINK.


David Mac said...

Most interesting to see this image of Jannus and the Benoist Airboat, taken in August 1914. Aviation historians and enthusiasts in the Tampa Bay area are preparing for the Centennial Celebration of the World's First Airline(scheduled, heavier-than-air). Fantasy of Flight founder & CEO Kermit Weeks and his team in Polk City, Florida are building a faithful reproduction of the Benoist Airboat, and Kermit will re-enact the inaugural flight of the 1914 St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line on January 1st 2014.
That first flight also represented "The Birth of The Global Airline Industry," both passenger and air freight. Visit and

Nan Card said...

So glad you enjoyed my post on that courageous early flyer, who tragically lost his life only a few years later. Kermit Weeks paid us a visit some time ago while researching Roberts Engine plans preserved at the Hayes Presidential Center. It was a distinct pleasure and I have been following progress on his blog about the Benoist air boat since. I wish I could be in Florida on New Year's Day! Nan