FreightWaves Classics: Burpee and Sopwith combine for aviation first

Exterior of the W.A. Burpee seed plant in Philadelphia 1in 943. (Photo: Arthur S. Siegel/Library of Congress)

On June 28, 1911, the world’s first documented charter airplane flight took place. It occurred because Washington Atlee Burpee, the founder and head of a large seed-and-planting company that is still in business, was in New York aboard the British ocean liner RMS Olympic. 

The RMS Olympic was a sister ship of the RMS Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage the next year. The Olympic was preparing to travel down the Hudson River and then cross the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. 

The RMS Olympic in...

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