First Commercial Air Service in 1929

First Commercial Passenger Plane
First Commercial Passenger Plane, Grand Forks Herald, Thursday, July 25, 1929, Volume XXVIII, Number 226, Page 2.



Two Airlines Now Promised Through City. Both Will Operated Between Winnipeg and Twin Cities. Daily airplane service between the Twin Cities and Winnipeg by way of Grand Forks is to be established by the Canadian-American Airlines, Inc. next week and by the Northwest Airways company in about sixty days. This announcement has just been made here, promising the realization of an ambition that has been entertained in Grand Forks since the establishment of the local airport. Officials of the Canadian-American Airlines, Inc. are expected to visit Grand Forks today on a tour of inspection preliminary to the launching of the service. The first regular trips probably will be made next Monday. Two seven-place cabin planes will be used. One will leave Winnipeg and the other leave the Twin Cities at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. The northbound plane will arrive in Winnipeg and the south-bound plane will reach the Twin Cities at 5:20 o’clock, or four hours and 20 minutes for the through trip, allowing for stops at Grand Forks, Fargo and St. Cloud.

Connect Vast Lines. Connection will be made at Winnipeg with the Canadian east and west lines and at the Twin Cities with the great American net-work of 66,000 miles of airlines. The Northwest Airways company intends to establish the Twin City Winnipeg line as a feeder for its St. Paul to Chicago service. It also will provide stops at Grand Forks and Fargo. Among organizers of the new corporation are Warsinske, president of Air Service Inc., and organizer of Central Airlines company of Wichita; Claude H. MacKenzie of Gaylord, state senator and Republican national committeeman; Ralph Webb, former mayor of Winnipeg; Walter Beech, president of the Travel Air plane manufacturing company of Wichita; Ray Brown, sales manager of the Travel Air company, and several Twin Cities men. Bright prospects for success of the new line were held forth by Mr. Marsinke and Mr. Brown, who were in St. Paul Monday to assist in a survey of the line and establishment of terminal arrangements. “The Twin Cities-Winnipeg route is one of the most strategic lines open to development in America,” Mr. Brown said. “It is the opening link between two nations and the great aerial traffic systems of those nations. The line will serve the cities of Minnesota and North Dakota and the entire Red River Valley.” (Grand Forks Herald, Tuesday, July 16, 1929, Volume XLVIII, Number 218, Page 7)

Airplane Begins Service Between Canada and U. S. No Airmail Service Authorized by Two Nations; Will Carry Express. St. Paul – (AP) – Inaugurating daily air service between St. Paul and Winnipeg, the first plane of the new Canadian-American Airways, Inc., took off from the St. Paul airport at 12:30 p. m., today. Gene Shank, Robbinsdale piloted the Travel-air cabin plane which has a six passenger capacity. The ship will successively at Minneapolis, St. Cloud, Fargo, and Grand Forks enroute to Canada. It is scheduled to reach Winnipeg at 5:20 p. m. There were no ceremonies today as the plane left on its journey. Formal dedication of the line will take place Wednesday, according to Norman Warsinske, president of the company. Similar services will be held that day at the Canadian end of the route. The first ship on the line will be christened “City of Winnipeg” and the second one, which will arrive later in the week, will be named “City of St. Paul.” Four ships have been purchased for the line’s operation and as soon as they are delivered a regular time schedule will be instituted. Although no mail service has been established by the United States or Canadian governments over the line, arrangements are under way to inaugurate an express service by plane. Passengers on the first ship as it took off today were Charles Harrington and C. D. Johnson, St. Paul newspapermen, H. E. Wilcox and Mr. Warsinske of Minneapolis and E. R. Gardner of Memphis, Tenn. (The Winona Republican-Herald, Monday Evening, July 22, 1929, Volume 29, Number 131, Page 4)

Page 1. Air Line Opens Local Passenger Service. Shank Pilots Pre-Inaugural Ship To City. Five People Make Opening Trip From St. Paul To Winnipeg. Daily Schedules Start Wednesday. Delegation at Municipal Airport Welcomes First Plane. Air passenger service from Grand Forks to Winnipeg and to the Twin Cities was inaugurated Monday evening when a cabin plane of the Canadian-American Airlines stopped at the municipal airport and then continued to Winnipeg. The dark maroon Travel Air plane carried three passengers on the initial trip of the service and the officers of the airlines. Gene Shank, famous St. Paul pilot was at the controls and circled his ship over the airport before landing at exactly five o’clock, the hour set for the arrival here. The passengers were G. H. Bell of Chicago, western manager of the National Fire Insurance company, C. S. Harrington, advertising representative of the St. Paul Dispatch and E. R. Gardner of Memphis, Tenn. All three of them were passengers for Winnipeg. C. D. Johnson, St. Paul newspaper man, and Norman Warsinske, president of the airlines, were the other passengers in the plane.

Left St. Paul at 1:00. The formal inauguration of the lines will be Wednesday, the trip Monday being a pre-inaugural trial. The plane left St. Paul at 1:00 o’clock, and stopped at Robbinsdale, Minn., leaving there at 1:16 p. m. Fargo was reached at 3:40, and left at 4:05. The plane reached Grand Forks at just five o’clock, and left ten minutes later. It reached Winnipeg at 6:00 o’clock. Plans of the pre-inauguration trip call for the return voyage to be made today, although the hour of departure had not been set when it left Grand Forks. On Wednesday the plane will leave St. Paul at 7:30 o’clock in the morning, reach Fargo at ten o’clock, Grand Forks at 10:50 a. m. and Winnipeg at noon. In addition to the officers of the company it is planned to have the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis make the trip to Winnipeg where an inauguration service will be held. The present schedule calls for the trip to be made up in the morning, but in the near future four ships will be put in the service and it (is) planned to have two trips a day in both directions.

Schedule Tentative. The schedules announced were given as purely tentative, and will be adjusted when the line is in better operation. A sister ship of the one that landed here is expected to arrive in a few days and will be put into service on the line between Winnipeg and St. Paul. It is planned to have four ships in the service as soon as possible. The present return schedule calls for the plane to leave Winnipeg on the return trip at two o’clock each afternoon, which will bring them into Grand Forks at about three o’clock and into the Twin Cities at 6:30 o’clock in the evening. The trip today was made to keep faith with press announcements that had been made and to make a final and complete survey and check of all details to insure a smooth operating schedule. An interesting sidelight on the trip today is that Mr. Harrington was a member of the first Minnesota Automobile tour that opened the motor highway from St. Paul to Fargo. This was in 1908. The tour was staged by the Minnesota Automobile association as an economy run for a silver trophy. Mr. Harrington was in the Pathfinder car that took five days to get to Fargo, and made a “record run” through the gumbo from Barnesville to Fargo, a distance of 25 miles in nine hours.

Less Than Three Hours. The plane in which Mr. Harrington rode Monday, made the trip from St. Paul to Fargo in 2 hours and 24 minutes over exactly the same route. In 1910 the automobile tour was extended to Grand Forks and the time between Crookston and Fargo was just an even day, while the plane made the trip from Fargo to Grand Forks in just 50 minutes. The line of the new passenger air service follows the track of the old Red River trail, which in the days of the ox carts was considered a long and difficult trip. A cart then required three weeks to get to Fargo from the Twin Cities and five weeks was (a) good time to Winnipeg. Pierre Roulette, representative from Pembina to the Minnesota territorial legislature, stole the bill which made St. Peter the capital of Minnesota. He then went to St. Paul and started for Pembina. He made most of the trip by dog team and reached Pembina in 14 days, which was regarded as a record at that time. Mr. Bell stated that he was making the trip by air to have business time. “It is the most economical way to travel,” he declared, and added that he intended to use air lines as much as possible in the future. Delegation Meets Plane. Officers of the company stated that they desired no ceremonies in connection with the first trip, as it was a pre-inauguration tour, and the real opening of the line would occur on Wednesday.

Page 3. In Spite of this there was quite a delegation to witness the first air passenger liner land in the city. John Hulteng, president of the city commission, with Commissioners H. O. Hall, H. W. F. Law and City Engineer E. L. Lium represented the city government at the air port. From the Grand Forks Commercial club greetings to the air passengers were extended by Secretary W. W. Blain, H. J. McNicol, chairman of the airport committee, and P. A. Lee. The Traffic association was represented by Commissioner T. A. Durrant and C. W. Graves. A large number of other citizens drove out to the port to see the landing. Mechanics of the local field along with Pilots George Lowers and Al Berglund and J. P. Hofstad were at the field to offer any service that the ship might need, but no servicing was done in the short time the plane was in the city. The formal opening of the lines will be on Wednesday when official representatives of Minneapolis and St. Paul will make the trip to Winnipeg to be guests of the Winnipeg Board of Trade at a noon-day luncheon. Following the dinner the ship will be officially christened “City of Winnipeg.”

Reaches Winnipeg. Winnipeg, Man., July 22. – (AP) – Gliding down at Stevenson Aerodrome at 6:45 p. m. today, a Travel Air cabin plane of the Canadian-American airline, completed a flight from St. Paul in 5 hours and 29 minutes. The distance is approximately 500 miles. Carrying Norman G. Warsinske, president of the newly organized air line, the arrival of the plane here marked the official survey of an aerial route which will link Winnipeg with the United States. Formal inauguration of a passenger service from St. Paul and Minneapolis probably will be made on Wednesday, after which a daily service between Winnipeg and the Twin Cities will be maintained. (Grand Forks Herald, Tuesday, July 23, 1929, Volume XLVIII, Number 224)

Plane Makes Brief Stop; Will Be Here Again This Morning. Merely touching its wheels to the Grand Forks airport, the first passenger plane of the Canadian-American Airlines, Inc., left the city at 11:45 o’clock Tuesday morning on the return trip from Winnipeg to St. Paul. This ship is scheduled to return to Grand Forks this morning at 10:50 o’clock enroute for Winnipeg, where there will be exercises in connection with the inauguration of the new service. (Grand Forks Herald, Wednesday, July 24, 1929, Volume XLVIII, Number 225, Page 6)

St. Paul, July 23. – (AP) – Ceremonies attending the official opening of the new Canadian-American Airways, Inc., will be held at 1 p. m. tomorrow in Winnipeg. Shortly after the ceremony a plane piloted by Gene Shank will leave for the Twin Cities. Shank and Norman Warsinske, president of the aerial system, arrived at Robbinsdale, Minn., at 5 p. m. today from Winnipeg. They will leave St. Paul municipal airport at 7 a. m. Wednesday with three passengers for Winnipeg. Stops will be made at Robbinsdale, Fargo and Grand Forks. (Grand Forks Herald, Wednesday, July 24, 1929, Volume XLVIII, Number 225, Page 6)

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