After more than 30 years as Turnberry Aviation, the corporate flight department for the Turnberry Hotel Group, the company has expanded into an FBO at Miami’s Opa-locka Executive Airport (OPF). The FBO acquired its own fuel-service capabilities and is now known as Fontainebleau Aviation.
The Curtiss-Wright Corporation can trace its lineage back to the very dawn of aviation. Built on the legacy of the pioneering efforts of the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss, the company this fall will celebrate its 80th anniversary on the New York Stock Exchange. During World War II, it was one of the world’s largest manufacturers, turning out nearly 30,000 airplanes, along with engines and propellers.
Like many an infant, aviation entered the world tentatively when the Wright Brothers coaxed a manned, heavier-than-air powered flying machine off the ground. Flight in America after the Wrights’ achievement was marked more by squabbling over patents than by rapid advances in the science, and the Europeans, particularly the French, seized on the new sport keenly.
It was late on an autumn night as I swung the car into the rough lane that leads to our house. A few feet beyond the mailbox post, the headlights caught something in the grass. At first it could have been a rabbit standing tall, but closer inspection revealed it to be a magnificent bird, most likely a Peregrine falcon but possibly a gyrfalcon, and it had chosen our lane as a resting place on its migratory route.
When World War I ended in 1918 it had cost some nine million lives, and about 15,000 of those lost were airmen. While that might not seem to be a significant percentage, the numbers testified to aviation’s loss of innocence. It had played its part in a brutal conflict, and was no longer simply the recreational adventure it had been before the outbreak of hostilities in 1914.