THE FLYING BOAT STORY
On January 1, 1914 the SPT Airboat Line became the world’s first scheduled winged airline service. That same day, Antony H. Jannus piloted the airline’s Benoist Type XIV Flying Boat on its maiden flight between St. Petersburg and Tampa.
With widespread media coverage by the St. Petersburg Times, there were reportedly over 3,000 spectators at a parade accompanied by an Italian band at Jannus’s departure point. As part of the festivities the first round-trip ticket was auctioned off and won by the former mayor of St. Petersburg, Abram C. Pheil. Pheil, who paid $400 for the winning ticket, then boarded the wooden, open-air craft for the 23-minute flight and into history.
Over the next three months of the airline’s short lifetime, the Benoist XIV flying boats Lark of Duluth and her near-sister Florida carried 1,205 passengers over Tampa Bay.
Flying Boat Brewing Company pays homage to those first steps into flight by boldly brewing new and exciting beers in the cradle of modern aviation.