First Airplane Service
February 13th, 2013
Roseswift Airplane Company began passenger service for West Michigan in 1919 using a Canadian model, Curtis JN-4 bi-plane, commonly known as a Jenny.
Roseswift Airplane Company began passenger service for West Michigan, August 27, 1919, using a Canadian model, Curtis JN-4 bi-plane, commonly known as a "Jenny."
The Canadian model was selected because it carried double ailerons for stabilization on both wings instead of merely the upper wing. It also weighed 350 pounds less than the American model. Arthur Rosenthal commented, “We have the safest kind of ship that can be secured, and we will run the business in a safe manner, with no stunting of any kind permitted.” Rosenthal, founder of the Rose Patch & Label Co., was responsible for creating the city’s first air service.
One of the country’s veteran pilots, with eight years of flying under his belt, was secured as pilot for the inaugural flight. Bert Hassell, better known as “Fish” Hassell, after landing a plane in Lake Michigan, took off from the Huntley Russell Farm on Plainfield.
The very next day, Harry Shields, head of the Grand Rapids Textile Machinery Co. was the first local businessman to take advantage of the airplane as a time saver. He left Russell field at 1:00 for a 30-minute trip to Holland with Hassell.
Just two weeks later Hassell and the orange-colored Jenny distributed the first West Michigan newspapers by air; the Grand Rapids Press flew to Greenville. One of the town’s Press newsboys was rewarded with a trip skyward that made him a local celebrity for weeks.
|Title||First Airplane Service|
|Keywords||WYCE; radio; Grand Rapids; Historical Commission; history; airplanes; Fish Hassell; Roseswift|
|Pubdate String||February 13th, 2013|