’s contribution to aviation
history cannot be overestimated. Wings over Florida
chronicles the story of flying in the “Sunshine State,” from the early pioneers in gliders and balloons, to the recent developments in the space program. The story of Florida in flight is even older than its statehood, with Colonel John Sherburne planning to use balloons as early as 1840 in the Second Seminole War
. Not only was the first scheduled passenger airline (the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line) begun in Florida, but at the time this book was published,it was also home to the world’s oldest international airline, Pan American
. Many heroes and heroines of the air came from Florida. Even those who were not Floridians by birth spent time flying in the ideal conditions that Florida provided. Pioneers, such as Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Peter Sones, and Jacqueline Cochran, all took to the air over Florida.
Florida was still Spanish territory at the time of the Revolution, but was acquired by the United States, from which it seceded in 1861. Americans Wilbur and Orville Wright conducted the first heavier-than-air flight and America has led in aviation innovations ever since. Pan American Airlines pioneered international aviation with flights from the United States to South America and across the Pacific.