This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial flight. It happened on the 30th of June 1914 and was a domestic flight in Russia starting in St.Peretsburg and having Kiev as its destination. Food was served to the 4 passengers on board.
The flight was conducted in a Sikorskij “Ilja Muromets” 4-engine double-decker constructed at Russo-Baltic Carriage Factory (RBVZ) in Riga in 1913.
From 30 June to 12 July 1914, it set a world record by making a trip from Saint Petersburg to Kiev, a distance of some 1200 km, and back. The first leg took 14 hours and 38 minutes, with one landing for fuel at Orsha, and the return one, with a fuel stop at Novosokolniki, took even less time, about 13 hours.
During an Imperial military review at Krasnoye Selo in July, Nicholas II decorated and christened the Ilya Muromets Type B Military Prototype, No. 128, the “Kievsky.”
The reason I post this is two-fold. First and foremost it is to celebrate that milestone in the history of aviation. Second it is to demonstrate that the Russian world anno 1914, prior to the devastating coup of 1917, was blossoming technologically and was a testimonial to widespread cooperation.