When we prepare for taking a flight today, our main concerns most likely surround whether our flight will be delayed, how bad turbulence will be, and whether or not our liquids are the correct size to take on board. In 1856, as the first-ever passengers of a Canadian-constructed aircraft stepped aboard, they were probably less concerned with what they were bringing with them and more concerned about whether or not they’d actually make it to their destination.
On September 8, 1856, piloted by Eugène Godard, the aptly named balloon, Canada, took flight from Montreal to Pointe-Olivier, QC. Though it was not Godard’s first flight (he first took to the air in 1847), it was the first time a Canadian-constructed craft successfully took a trip with passengers.
From this first passenger flight, Canadian aircraft started to become more advanced as interest in taking to the sky grew. Free balloon rides became a common attraction at fairs and eventually the first power-driven dirigible took flight in 1906. As we know from yesterday’s post about Canadian women in aviation, the first heavier-than-air aircraft, the Silver Dart, was constructed and took flight not long after in 1909.
Canadian aviators continued to experiment with their crafts including kites, gliders, dirigibles, zeppelins, and of course, powered aircraft most similar to the planes we are familiar with today. Though great strides were made and a great boom in aircraft use happened after the first world war, it wasn’t until 1949 that the first trans-Canada flight was taken from Halifax to Vancouver.
Do you remember your first flight? Where did you go? Was it terrifying or exhilarating? Share your stories with us on Twitter with the hashtag, #connectedcanada, and get entered to win a gift card to WestJet! Be sure to tag @Guestlogix!