New York-Newport Air Service



There seems to be some conflicting information as to when this service started. According to one source, it operated in 1922, but had to cease following a crash of one of its Loening amphibians at Newport "early in 1923". However, according to the Aviation Week of July 9, 1923, the first flight was made on June 27 that year, celebrated with a reception at Newport. Quoted from the magazine: "The New York-Newport Air Service was officialy inaugurated at 10:10 a.m. June 27, when the Loening Air Yacht 'Grey Lark' piloted by George Rummill and carrying Grover Loening, president of the air line, Richard Watkins of the New York Herald and Dwight Perrin of the New York Tribune as passengers, left the New York terminal of the service bound for Newport." ... "It was a big day for Newport - a very big day, for not only did the summer residents and the business men of the town join in the celebration, but the Army and Navy likewise added their bit to the general welcome to the new service which puts the far off New England city within the metropolitan commuting zone. Credit for the inauguration of the speedy transportation goes to an organization of wealthy Newport people headed by T. Suffern Tailer. The Chamber of Commerce of Newport, the municipal officers, the Army and Navy and the Air Mail Service all cooperated with Mr. Loening to make the venture a success." ... "At Newport, after the city had recovered from its surprise and trooped to the Government reservation where Capt. Evans (Webmaster's note: Commander of the local naval station) had greeted the early birds, people swarmed about the beach." ... "Later Mr. Tailer gave a luncheon at his home on the Cliff Walk to Mr. Loening, the Army and Navy men, and his associates in backing the venture. Mr. Loening in addresses at both the official welcome and the smaller luncheon party stressed the certainty of successful commercial aviation if sufficient speed is offered to make it attractive." This doesn't sound like a welcoming of a second-year operation, so it should be reasonably well established that the service began in 1923. What is absolutely certain though is that it ceased some time after the crash of the Air Yacht Fleet Wing at Newport on July 20, 1923. One passenger was so badly injured that he died a few days later, while another passenger and the pilot survived. Among other sources, the date of the fatal accident is confirmed in an article in the New York Times of July 21, 1923.

On a side note, the first timetable below is definitely confirmed to be from 1923, as it states that "Monday, September 3, is Labor Day".



June 29, (1923)
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Click for a view of the interior

Undated (1923)
(From the collection of Craig Morris)
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Click for a view of the interior

This page last updated February 6, 2016.