Throwback Thursday: The Very First Air Show Happened in 1909
Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't get that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
This week's aviation headlines have thankfully been dominated by happier events, focusing on the aerobatics and airplane technology on display at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. As over 500,000 people flock to OSH for the flying displays (and nighttime airshow fireworks), it's fun to reflect on the start of this thing we know as an Air Show.
Roll the calendar back to the autumn of 1909, when what was a small aviation display within the Paris Motor Show finally bust out into its own event, the Paris Air Show (Salon de locomotion adrienne). Held within Paris' Grand Palais (which now most notably hosts Chanel fashion shows), the spectacle attracted approximately 100,000 visitors over the span of three weeks, and put forth the crazy idea that airplane travel wasn't just for daredevils and tinkerers.
This story even has a happy ending; the Paris Air Show is very much still a big deal. Since it is not an annual event, last year's only marked the 50th Anniversary. In 1953 the Air Show finally moved to an actual airport (Le Bourget) and it now held every odd year. The 51st Paris Air Show will take place June 15-21, 2015. Add it to your iCal!
Care to see more vintage images of the first air show? Head on over to The Retronaut.