Delayed Drowning – The Unknown Threat

Delayed Drowning or Secondary Drowning

August 18, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)

Year-round, parents get their little ones into swimming lessons to prepare them for a summer full of swimming as well as the unexpected water hazards that can come with it.  Teaching kids to use the buddy system is a great way to keep all kids accounted for.  We do this because it only takes a matter of seconds for a child who can’t swim to drown.  The law even stresses the importance of life jackets for kids and adults who can swim because there are so many potential threats if proper water safety isn’t practiced.

The latest online report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.”  The Bulletin of the World Health Organization states the definition of drowning as “the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid.”

Drowning occurs when the person inhales water into the lungs and in which case death is immediate.  Sometimes, however, the process is not so immediate… When a child feels the sensation of drowning, they will most likely panic, causing them to exert more energy, and their bodies to demand more oxygen.  With their bodies demanding more oxygen, they will usually involuntarily breathe in water, causing them to cough or swallow.

The act of coughing is our body’s way of clearing liquid, or any other obstruction, out of our airway.  If not pulled out of the water soon enough, we are unable to rid our airway of the water, which causes us to swallow, causing our throats to relax, which allows our lungs to fill with water… and the end result is fatal.  Thankfully, at this stage we will often hear the coughing and we’re able to pull the victim out of the water allowing them to cough up the water on their own, or with administered CPR, and they survive.

This is when another precaution must be taken that most people do not know about.  Delayed drowning (sometimes referred to as secondary drowning) can occur when the victim has been pulled out “in time,” after a “near drowning” experience.  Delayed drowning is essentially the same thing as drowning, but as the name suggests, it is delayed.  Though it is not very common, a small amount of water can make it into the lungs, and the victim can walk away seemingly fine.  Even a small amount of water in the lungs will inhibit adequate oxygen exchange, depriving the brain (and other organs) of oxygen, it just takes a little longer.  Therefore, the victim still drowns.

Because a coughing spell is a normal physical reaction, as well as a sign that our body is working properly, it is that much more critical that people (especially with young children in their care) are aware of the existing danger of delayed drowning.

If your child experiences a “near drowning” or is involuntary submerged in water and comes up coughing, do not write off any fatal consequences just because the cough eventually subsides.  Instead, watch over them closely for the next 24 hours.

What to look for:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (including persistent coughing).
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Changes in mood or behavior.

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms seek immediate medical attention.  There is no harm in being too safe.  Angel MedFlight takes a huge interest in people and their overall wellbeing.  Your safety is our greatest concern.  On behalf of all of us here at Angel MedFlight, enjoy the water, and please practice water safety!

For more information about water safety and drowning prevention go to




Elements Of Extraordinary In The Workplace

Business team celebrating a triumph

August 12, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)

We have all heard, and perhaps even uttered the following phrases: “Ugh, I hate Mondays.” “Hump Day!”  “TGIF!”  These work-related expressions permeate the air, particularly in workplaces, and offer one sentiment: work stinks, and sometimes for good reason. Most people would admit that they love leisure time and agree with Bertrand Russell that they should have plenty of it, but the question must be asked, shouldn’t work be a place we love? Why don’t we ever hear anyone exclaim, TGIM?

If you have never been employed in an extraordinarily empowering environment, you may not be aware of that incredibly joyful feeling that some have the privilege of experiencing every day arriving at work. Lifers, clock watchers, and those only interested in a paycheck to fund outside interests must have entertained ideas on how their jobs could be (more) enjoyable. There is no reason why we should live with that “brain cloud” afflicting Tom Hanks in Joe Versus the Volcano. Too often we start a job in the wrong mindset, even as early as the interview, asking questions about benefits, what a typical day is like, or how much the remuneration (not to say these are not important).

The first question jobseekers should ask is this: What makes this a great place to work?

The answer you get should impart upon you a sense that you will be valued by the employer. Erika Anderson, a contributor to Forbes, in her article 2014 Best Companies to Work For: Four Things That Make Them Great, sums up the commonalities of the greatest places to work.

Culture. When it comes down to it, culture is everything. The right culture is built on the pillars of positivity and empowerment, inspiring greatness, purpose, trust and respect, communication, and freedom from the fear of mistake.

Professional growth. Have you sat at work and, inspired, been hit by an idea that you shared with your supervisor and found that it landed on interested ears? Or, has your manager come to you, knowing you well, and asked if you would like to participate in a project that matches your strengths and interests? If not, why not?

Great colleagues. Personalities abound in this world, and yours is one of them. Knowing your personality and how it might fit within a particular company’s norm is important. Certainly, when personalities, engendered by the common values that make a positive culture, are in sync, there could potentially be no happier moment than greeting your colleagues as you walk into work.

A challenge. How often have you found getting up to go to work a challenge, especially on Monday? Daily, you say? Then your workplace may not be the best fit for you. The challenge should be at work, in the form of brain-stimulating employment in which your interests are aroused and your activities driven by a synergistic blend of internal and external motivations.

So much more could be said about the particulars of great places to work, but the reality is that much of what makes a great place great comes from the top. Making an extraordinary company culture a priority and holding employees accountable to that standard is important. However, as an employee, you are capable of doing a bit of bottom-up inspiring, and responsible for adding to the environment.  Being that ‘great colleague’ above, exuding a positive attitude with actions that give body to a higher purpose and stronger values will be noticed. You have undoubtedly met such a person in your life and know the effect that positivity had on you…so pass it on. And depending on your position, begin to think of ways to creatively inspire your work, the work of peers or those you manage. Imagine the results that will return: it’s likely you will fall in love with your workplace and influence others to feel the same way.

To read Erika Andersen’s article in its entirety, please visit:



Published in: on August 12, 2014 at 6:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Journey To Becoming A Flight Paramedic



Christopher Smith AMF Flight Paramedic

August 6, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)

As a young boy , Christopher Smith’s life dreams didn’t extend much beyond skateboarding and mountain biking. Little did he know that it would take a near-death experience to change his life – and his destiny.

Sitting with his four-year-old daughter, Maddie, in his lap, Christopher smiles as he describes the event that changed his life and would ultimately reveal his true calling; a career as a flight paramedic.

“I was in an accident and lost my leg, and nearly lost my life,” he remembers. “They (the emergency workers) said I had lost a significant amount of blood. I was literally near death, and needed an air ambulance.”

A street luge accident at the age of 16, in 2001, forced Chris to decide whether to keep or amputate his right leg. The impact shattered his fibula just above the ankle, tore through two of three arteries, and displaced the tendons that communicated movement to the toes. After a failed attempt at fusing the bone, he came to the conclusion that a prosthesis would give him the best chance at continuing his desired level of activity.

While still in his teens, he championed as a member of the United States national amputee hockey team. Christopher continues to help other physically challenged athletes, assisting with the Paralympic bobsled team, skiers and snowboarders.

After receiving his prosthesis, Christopher went to college and graduated from Utah Valley University with a bachelor of science in Emergency Services Administration. He became a lead beta tester for Otto Bock Healthcare, a maker of prosthetic limbs in Salt Lake City.

He found his passion in the health care field, specifically emergency medicine. He went on to receive his EMT (emergency medical technician) training, and studied emergency medicine. From there, he went to work as an EMT for an ambulance service. Christopher trained to become a flight paramedic before joining Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance in January.

 “I literally owe my life to the paramedics on the air medical transport flight who saved me, and that’s why it’s become my passion — to help save the lives of other people,” he said.

As a part of the medical team, flight paramedics are critical in helping to stabilize patients in the field, treating them while in flight, and assisting with their delivery to a hospital or facility. This includes having a full report of their injuries and the treatments performed to save their lives. They also must attend a rigorous paramedic training program, build up five or more years of clinical experience, and pass the certification required to provide patient care on a medical aircraft.

“As an EMT, keeping up with the training and learning the current technologies – in a field that’s constantly and rapidly developing – is right now my biggest challenge,” he says, adding, “There is always a lot of information to learn, to know, and to train on with the latest equipment and technology.”

Christopher says his life is active and full, especially with things like picking up his little girl from her dance lessons while mom is at work. He also volunteers as a soccer coach and works with his church’s young men’s sports teams.

“Although the accident changed my life, it didn’t challenge my life – I still snowboard, snow ski, mountain bike — it hasn’t kept me from doing the things I love to do.”

He says his motivation comes from simply being grateful for those whose service saved his own life, and he wanted to express that gratitude through making it his career.

“Because of my experience I am grateful to the paramedics who saved my life, and to show that, I’m passionate about what I do…I’m passionate about helping to be a part of saving people’s lives.”

Christopher turns to Maddie and asks, “What does Daddy do?” After a pause, she looks at him thoughtfully and says, “You put people who are hurt in the ambulance and take them to the hospital.”

He says among the many things his little girl has told him she wants to be when she grows up, a doctor who saves lives is one of them. Like father, like daughter.

Words on a School Seal Foreshadow Student’s Life Choices



Blake Huggins

Blake Huggins


By Guest Contributor: Carolyn Drinkard,Freelance Writer

July 29, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)

It was the school year 2000, and like so many high school seniors, Blake Huggins could not decide what he wanted to do with his life. A gifted musician and artist, he thought that maybe his future might be in the arts, but fate had other plans for Huggins.


During Huggins’s senior year, he joined with other members of the Thomisana Staff to create a school seal for their yearbook. The students wanted something that would be permanent and used to represent the schools in other publications. They planned the seal around four areas of school life: academics, arts, sciences, and athletics, using Greek symbols to represent each area. The staff decided to use the motto that the District had previously been using, so “Enter to learn. Leave to serve” was added. These students also wanted a phrase that represented the spirit of their thirteen years of preparation for life, so they chose the Latin phrase, belle est posse, which translates “To be willing is to be able” or literally “where there is a will, there is a way.” Huggins did the original sketches that went before the School Board for adoption. Ironically, the words on the seal would become a mantra for Huggins’s quest to find himself.


After graduation, Huggins went to the University of Mobile to major in music and graphic arts. But after two years, he felt a desire to do something else with his life. “I realized that my music and my art were hobbies that I enjoyed,” he explained. “They were not my passions.”


Returning home to attend Alabama Southern Community College, Huggins took a friend’s advice and completed a basic EMT course. He then moved to Gulf Shores, working with an ambulance company, serving as a lifeguard, and taking courses from South Alabama for advanced paramedic certification.


After receiving a job offer in Colorado, Huggins packed up and went west. Before beginning the job, however, he and a friend spent a month backpacking through Europe. “This began my obsession with and desire for adventure, traveling, and seeing the world,” he explained.


In 2011, he accepted a job offer to go to Kuwait to serve as an ambulance paramedic on U.S. military bases.  He spent a year in Kuwait working and traveling the world as often as his vacation time would allow.  “I really enjoyed studying and learning about the Arabic/Middle Eastern culture, and I traveled extensively throughout the region,” he added.


Returning to Colorado, he began studying to obtain the necessary advanced certifications that he would need in order to achieve his goal of becoming a Flight Paramedic.  In 2013, he received his Critical Care Paramedic and Flight Paramedic certifications and started working for Angel MedFlight  as a Critical Care Flight Paramedic. Angel MedFlight is a fixed-wing, air-ambulance company, transporting patients all over the world on a private jet that is the equivalent of a hospital ICU in the air.


“It is the ideal job for me because it allows me to combine my passion for traveling and adventure with my career in the medical field,” Huggins explained. “Many of our patients become sick or injured while on vacation here in the U.S. or abroad, and they are too sick to travel by commercial airline back home.  Our patients are often stuck in third-world countries with a severe injury or illness in a hospital or clinic that has neither the capabilities nor the training to appropriately manage their conditions.  These patients are trying desperately to return to the U.S. where they can receive the appropriate, often life-saving, care that they need.  That’s where our company comes in.  We fly there, pick them up, and bring them back to the states where they can receive the care that they need. It is very rewarding being a part of the process that gets these people back home and back with their families,” added Huggins..


Huggins is quick to express his appreciation for the education he received from Thomasville City Schools. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent at TCS. I learned many valuable life lessons, thanks to the great teachers who taught me,” he added. “I was prepared for higher education, and TCS gave me the foundation for reaching my goals in life.”


In 2000, a young artist, etching prophetic words on his school’s seal, could never have imagined the paths he would travel or the heights he would soar to find his life’s mission: to serve others.


Published in: on July 29, 2014 at 3:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Can Being Near Water Make You Happier?

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols PhD, discussing sea turtle conservation. Photo courtesy of TEDx Monterey

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols PhD, discussing sea turtle conservation.
Photo courtesy of TEDx Monterey


July 25, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)

Wallace J. Nichols is a PhD, marine biologist, conservationist and author of the new book Blue Mind. In his book he discusses his research on why it seems we are happier when we are near, in or under the water and the positive effects that water seems to give us. Nichols is a biologist, a water conservationist and a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences.  Dr. Nichols’ book is based on years of research, which includes his studies of the behaviors of the visitors that come to the Academy’s 212,000 gallon aquarium, as he discussed in a recent Outside Magazine article. He’s observed that once visitors enter the room where the aquarium is, they seem to relax, to become quiet, to transform into a more peaceful state of mind. He says in the article that couples even start holding hands, staring into the giant blue aquarium. Dr. Nichols believes this is because when we “come into that blue space,” we naturally become relaxed, and our stress decreases.

Something happens in the brain when we are near the water, and Dr. Nichols  hopes that his campaign to generate a new type of science he dubbed neuro-conservation will attract neuroscientists to test his theories by studying the brain waves of individuals that are near that blue space. He explains in his book, Blue Mind, that this new science is based on neuroscience, psychology, nature and conservation, and that he hopes the research will influence how we treat our planet and our bodies of water.

In his book, he discusses why we feel calm and less anxious around water, with stories from athletes, scientists, artists and others who describe why they find it easier to be more productive, creative and relaxed when in or by water. Dr. Nichols is passionate about the conservation of our oceans and waterways. He has spent years being a conservationist for sea turtles, co-founding the Billion Baby Turtles Project with the goal of saving one billion baby sea turtles,  which are currently endangered and on the decline. He also founded Blue Mind Collective, which he hopes will bring together his ideas of water conservation and neuroscience.


You can read more about Dr. Nichols and his interesting research at:

Summertime Travel Destinations – Costa Rica is Pura Vida!

Playa Conchal – Photo By Arturo Sotillo

Playa Conchal – Photo By Arturo Sotillo

July 23, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)

For those looking for a one-of-a-kind, unspoiled, natural paradise to visit, Costa Rica is a destination that boasts more than 300 beaches, 29 National parks, kind and generous locals, delicious fresh food and more. The locals call it Pura Vida, or Pure Life. This lush, beautiful country is located just above the equator, and, according to National Geographic, is said to have one of the best climates in the world.

Archeologists say civilization in Costa Rica dates back more than 10,000 years. Christopher Columbus came across Costa Rica in 1502. When he anchored off the coast, friendly tribes paddled canoes out to meet him and his crew. Four tribes inhabited Costa Rica at the time. Later, Spaniards colonized Costa Rica, bringing the smallpox virus with them that wiped out the majority of the tribes. Today, 1 percent of the population is related to the early tribes. These Spanish descendants are known as Ticos.

Arenal Volcano – Photo By Arden

Arenal Volcano – Photo By Arden

Costa Rica is made up of 7 provinces, bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. With the Pacific Ocean on its west coast and the Caribbean Sea on its east coast, Costa Rica is a surfer’s paradise. There are over 700 miles of sandy beaches, and some of the best surf breaks in the world. Costa Rica is dedicated to preserving the country’s natural wonder. The government has made 26 percent of the country a protected conservation. This natural, unspoiled beauty is what brings travelers from all around the world to Costa Rica. There are dense rainforests, rivers, waterfalls, jungles, volcanoes and both black and white sand beaches to explore. Costa Rica’s flora and fauna are diverse with more than 10,000 types of plants, 850 types of birds, 3,000 kinds of butterflies and 209 types of mammals.

Monkey – Photo By Frontier Official

Monkey – Photo By Frontier Official

There is something in Costa Rica for everyone, including such activities as hiking, bird watching, eco-tours, sport-fishing, and scuba diving. The north Pacific region is known for great fishing and its sleepy fishing villages. The Caribbean coast has amazing bright white beaches lined with coconut palms, and rainforests that come right up to the water’s edge. The Central and South Pacific regions boast tiny villages, coffee plantations and towering unspoiled forested mountains. The majority of Costa Rica’s population lives in the Central Valley. It is here that modern city life and culture can be found.

There’s world-class surfing in Costa Rica

There’s world-class surfing in Costa Rica

With this much natural beauty, it is easy to understand why Costa Rica’s major industry is tourism. For a relaxing, adventurous vacation, travel to Costa Rica and explore all the wonder and beauty that Pura Vida has to offer.

Is a Flying Vehicle in Your Future?

July 21, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)

Dutch company PAL-V Europe NV, has successfully completed the test flight phase of its PAL-V ONE (Personal Air and Land Vehicle); a revolutionary vehicle that will allow individuals the versatility to cruise the open road as well as take to the skies. PAL-V began conceptualizing the vehicle back in 2001. Having recently completed successful test flights, the PAL-V ONE is ready for commercial production.


Convert to Gyrocopter in 10 minutes

Imaginecruising along a wide open stretch of highway when you see something interesting off in the distance that you would like to explore by air. Experts at PAL-V say that with the Pal-V One you can convert from automobile to gyrocopter mode in about 10 minutes. This type of versatility really opens up the possibilities for the adventurous explorer and travel enthusiast.


Innovative Design

The PAL-V One has a unique three-wheel design that incorporates the patented DVC™ (Dynamic Vehicle Control) tilting technology, enabling the vehicle to tilt based on speed and acceleration. The vehicle handles turns smoothly like a motorcycle and has the acceleration of a sports car. The fuselage is slim and aerodynamic. Top speed on the ground and in the air is 112 mph. While in gyrocopter mode; the PAL-V One will have a flying range of between 220-315 miles and needs only 540 feet for take-off. While on land, the vehicle can drive a distance of 750 miles.


Easy to Learn

The Dutch company says flying the PAL-V One is safe; requiring only 20-30 hours of training and a Sport Pilot Certification. Gyrocopters are much safer and easier to fly than helicopters, because of slower rotation of the main rotor, the company says. After flying, the rotors fold back and store for driving mode. In driving mode, it’s hard to tell the PAL-V One is anything but a modern looking vehicle.


Based on current projections, it appears that the PAL-V One will be available for sale in 2016 with an estimated price tag of about $395,000. Imagine the freedom and versatility a true land-air vehicle could bring to people; allowing the best of both worlds: exploring by land and by ground!

For more information on the PAL-V One please visit:

Published in: on July 21, 2014 at 2:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Summer is Here – Practice Sun Safety

Remember to use Sunscreen when at the beach.  Photo By Robert Linsdell

Remember to use Sunscreen when at the beach.
Photo By Robert Linsdell


July 18, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)

Those of us who live in the hot Southwest desert of Arizona are no strangers to the effects of the sun.  However, the summer months mean more sunshine for all areas of the country, so it is important to remember to protect our skin while having fun outdoors.


(1)Here are some interesting facts from the folks at Sun Safety Alliance:

  • Even if it’s cloudy outside, you can still get sunburned.
  • Keep children 6 months old and under out of the sun.
  • Surfaces like water, sand and concrete can reflect 85%-90% of UV rays.
  • Less Ozone means more harmful UV rays.
  • Skin cancer cases are on the rise.
  • Over 1.2 million cases of skin cancer are reported each year in the U.S.
  • Melanoma kills on person per hour.
  • One bad sunburn can double the chance of a child’s risk for skin cancer


Know the Dangers:

Ultraviolet rays (UV) are invisible and can cause bad sunburns and sometimes can cause skin cancer. There are three types of UV rays:

  • UVA – Year-round rays. They can cause sun burns, premature aging and some skin cancer.
  • UVB – The main cause of sun burns, premature aging and can lead to skin cancer.
  • UVC – These get blocked by the earth’s ozone and never reach earth.


(2)Protect Yourself

The worst time to be in the sun is from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The sun’s rays are the strongest then. If you’re out in the sun, it’s best to try to wear some kind of protection on your head, such as a wide brimmed hat and wear a good pair on sunglasses that filter out harmful UV rays. Always use sunscreen. It’s best to use one with an SPF of 15 or higher. Look for broad spectrum sunscreens that shield both UVA and UVB rays. You should use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 on your children. If you have thin hair, remember to apply sunscreen to your scalp too. If you notice any new or abnormal looking moles, dark spots, bumps or growths that change color or size, be sure to see a dermatologist right away.

You can easily avoid the dangers of overexposure to UV rays and keep yourself protected, while still having fun outdoors. Just remember these tips. For more great information, visit The Sun Safety Alliance website.







Published in: on July 18, 2014 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Angel MedFlight’s New World-Traveled Videographer

Angel MedFlight Videographer Jeff Loewe

Angel MedFlight Videographer Jeff Loewe


July 16, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)

He’s traveled the world shooting skiing, surfing, travel and music videos. He’s Jeff Loewe, AMF’s new videographer.

Loewe joined the AMF team a couple of months ago. In this short span of time, he has assisted in filming a public service announcement for the Case Management Society of America, filmed Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken-Rouen on her medical transport, and is currently working on multiple other productions for AMF.  He has traveled around the world, from places such as Alaska all the way to Iceland, shooting skiing and surfing videos for various projects.


We recently got a chance to ask him a few questions in between editing a video:


AMF - What got you interested in Photography/Videography? Do you have any role models?


Jeff – “I got interested in photography and videography when I was about 12 years old. I was really into mechanical objects and a lot of older cameras, such as the Bolex h-16, had moving parts that made noise, gears that spun and other funky things that drew me to it. I’m really interested in what makes things work on a technical level. Cameras just seemed to have a huge draw from a young age for me because of this.”


Jeff got his first 35mm camera when he was 9 or 10 years old, He learned to operate the camera by taking classes in outdoor photography.Jeff became interested in shooting videos after seeing a Warren Miller Skiing film. “He used to shoot on an old Bolex, so naturally I wanted one as well. This is the only camera I’ve ever kept and never sold to replace. There’s something truly special and unique about film.” “Watching those films inspired me to go out to the hill and shoot skiing,” Jeff explained.

Jeff filming with his Red Camera

Jeff filming with his Red Camera

Earlier this year, Jeff got to travel to Norway to shoot some skiing footage.  He was lucky enough to get to go along with his role model cinematographer, Tom Day. Day is a world famous cinematographer known for his work on Warren Miller Ski films and more. Jeff had a chance to film and edit a Warren Miller trailer with Day. “I really try to model my workflows and in the field processes after Tom. He’s been at it for so long that working with someone like that kind of sets you back down a few pegs, but shows what levels you can achieve if you work as hard as they have,” said Jeff on his opportunity to work with Day.


AMF – Where were some of your most memorable shoots/countries you visited?

Jeff – “The mostmemorable countries have been Norway, Iceland and India. Norway has a certain magic and clarity. It’s quiet and uninterrupted by the rest of the world, yet extremely modern. They have traditions that have been in place for many generations, and they’re not going anywhere any time soon.India, Pakistan and Kashmir are just spectacular. Iceland is magical, can surf and ski in one day. No trees, but plenty of waterfalls, volcanoes and other unique things to make it amazing.”


AMF -What do you like about working at AMF?

 Jeff – “In my short time at AMF, I like the people the most. Anywhere you can come in and make friends quickly is really amazing. The family feel is the best part so far.”


Jeff has had many opportunities to travel around the world and experience many adventure through his work.  Besides shooting video and still photography, Jeff likes to play hockey, ski, surf and workout.  He enjoys spending time with his wife and two dogs, a husky and a poodle.  AMF is looking forward to seeing all that Jeff has to bring to the videography team.



Published in: on July 16, 2014 at 4:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Commercial Aviation has Come a Long Way – What the Future May Hold

The Benoist Airboat

The Benoist Airboat

July 14, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)

This year marked 100 years of commercial aviation, which has come a long way throughout the years. We have the Wright Brothers to thank for getting it all started back in 1903 with their historic 12 minute flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Once man was able to take to the sky in a powered aircraft, the possibilities for commercial flight were endless.


Today it seems pretty routine to hop on a commercial flight and fly anywhere in the world, but back in 1914 it wasn’t that easy. The first true, paid commercial flight took place in 1914, between Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida. The Benoist Airboat  held one passenger that needed to weigh less than 200 pounds and the flight took 25 minutes. The cost of a one-way ticket was $5.00. A few years later, KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) started scheduled flights between Amsterdam and London, and is still in operation today, making them they oldest commercial airline.



100 Hundred Years of Advancement

The first Trans-Pacific flight was on a Pan-Am M-130 Clipper in 1935. It flew from San Francisco to Manila in a week and had to make several stops to get there. The Clipper was a flying boat with spacious cabins and a dining area. The American Airlines Douglas DC-3 entered into service in 1936, offering flights from New York to Chicago. The DC-3 was known as “the plane that changed the world.” It was considered a modern marvel for its time, having both long range capabilities and speed.


de Havilland Comet

De Havilland Comet

By 1952, the jet-age had arrived and the British made De Havilland Comet was the first commercial jetliner. Jets soon took over the commercial airline industry and by 1970 the world’s first wide-body luxury airliner took flight. Pan Am introduced New York to London flights aboard their beautiful, huge Boeing 747. Additional milestones followed over the next two decades beginning with Southwest Airlines’ introduction of their low-cost fare approach. By 1973, the first female pilot was flying for Frontier Airlines. In the 1980s, American Airlines offered the first frequent flyer miles program, providing incentives and benefits for repeat customers.


Airbus A380 - Photo by Joe Ravi

Airbus A380 – Photo by Joe Ravi

The Future

Commercial jets have become bigger, faster and more technologically advanced. In 2007 the world’s largest commercial aircraft, the Boeing 747, was replaced with the mammoth Airbus A380 Super-jumbo.

Compared to early commercial jets like the De Havilland Comet, that held 44 passengers, this  modern marvel has two passenger decks and holds 853 passengers. If Airbus has something to say, the future of commercial airliners is going to be something like a scene out of Star Wars. Design concepts for future aircraft can be found on their website , featuring a jet with a skeleton-like frame called a bionic structure and membrane. The membrane allows you to see panoramic views of the outside. Other futuristic features include “organically grown” seats. The plant-based seats adapt to the passengers’ bodies and conform to become a custom fit for the individual. The seat will offer a massage, drinks and vitamins.  Body heat absorbed by the seat will create energy that will be used to help power the aircraft’s cabin; according to The special organic materials used in the cabin will clean and repair themselves. Personal cabin spaces can transform into an office or a bedroom and the cabin and jet could change shape. It all sounds so futuristic (much like it would have been for the Wright Brothers to imagine a 747), but Airbus claims it will become a reality in the not too distant future.


Looking back over the last 100 years of commercial aviation and the advances that have been made, it’s easy to imagine a future like Airbus predicts. To view some of these amazing concepts, you can go to:





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