Reproduction of first airliner not ready for historic flight in - WFLA News Channel 8

Reproduction of first airliner not ready for historic flight in St. Pete

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The Benoist 2014 The Benoist 2014

The reproduction of the first airliner built by a Polk aviation enthusiast Kermit Weeks will not be ready for a centennial flight on New Year's day in St. Petersburg during the celebration of the birth of commercial aviation, the event organizers confirmed.

Weeks built the exact same airboat called the Benoist that was used to fly across the Bay in 1914 with one passenger on board. The plane was the first commercial airlines in history of the aviation. Weeks named his plane Benoist 2014.

Kermit Weeks, the founder of the Fantasy of Flight, built the airboat from scratch and successfully taxied it on water on Dec. 28 after receiving the Federal Aviation Authority permission to test fly it.

But he couldn't get airborne even after making several adjustments to the plane.

A back-up airboat replica, the Hoffman X-4 "Mullet Skiff" will be used to carry out the reenactment, the event organizers said. Weeks will power up the Benoist on Jan. 1 and taxi around the Vinoy Yacht Basin, but he will not fly.

You can learn more about the ceremony on Jan. 1 here.

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