A Pioneering Airline Launches Regular Flights Between Detroit and Cleveland

July 14, 1922

Less than two years after being established, the pioneering Aeromarine Airways launched passenger flight services between Detroit and Cleveland in the Great Lakes region. Several local prominent citizens and public officials formally initiated this service by boarding flights at Detroit on the Aeromarine Airways hydroplanes Santa Maria and Wolverine.

The Santa Maria took to the skies on that Friday at 10:40 a.m. This aircraft was followed immediately by the Wolverine. Both planes made their way from Detroit to Cleveland, reaching that city in just over 90 minutes. Upon disembarking, the passengers were greeted by both an escort of 20 mounted police and an official welcoming party. The party was led by renowned aircraft designer and manufacturer Glenn L. Martin, whose company had built the Santa Maria and Wolverine.

The entire group – the members of the welcoming party and the flight passengers whom they greeted – subsequently went to a luncheon hosted by the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. The passengers returned to the planes by mid-afternoon, and they took less than 90 minutes to make it back to Detroit by 5:00 p.m.

After inaugurating what the Detroit Free Press characterized as “an epoch-making three-hour round trip service,” Aeromarine Airways began regular daily flight service between the two cities. Someone named Peggy MacLean flew on the Aeromarine Airways hydroplane Buckeye between Detroit and Cleveland, and she was notably effusive when describing this transportation service in an account that appeared in the Detroit News. “It’s magic!” asserted MacLean. “If I could only make you feel my thrills and sensations you would agree that the world and the inventions of man have almost attained the sublime. It was like being in heaven and looking benevolently down the little spot of earth known as the world.”

Prior to launching its Detroit-Cleveland route, Aeromarine Airways established similar services that linked Florida with Cuba and the Bahamas. The airline also provided regular flights between New York City, Atlantic City, Southampton, and other popular tourist destinations in that region of the eastern United States.

By the time it ceased operations in 1924, Aeromarine Airways had set the pace for subsequent airlines when it came to such procedures as pilot training, maintenance programs, and seasonal rotation of equipment.  Aeromarine Airways is also credited with several “firsts” in its industry. One of these innovations involved the first U.S. airline ticket office, which was set up in the Hollenden Hotel in Cleveland.

For more information on Aeromarine Airways, please check out http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages/aerom.htm and https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/america-by-air/online/early_years/early_years11.cfm

Peggy MacLean’s account of Aeromarine Airways’ flight service between Detroit and Cleveland is available at http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages/aeromnar.htm

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