Speculative Guinness

No, not the beer; I’m talking about a penchant I have for ruminating on Guinness-like records that are unmeasurably lost to history.

As slave to the whims of my fancy, today you are also pulled into this mania, and invited (nay, compelled!) to wonder:

When was the last time there were no airplanes in flight?

It doesn’t make that much difference, but by “airplane”, I include helicopters and UAVs, but not un-powered vehicles such as gliders or balloons. Or a human cannonball. Obviously, Dec 17, 1903 is a lower bound, and today is an upper bound. Sept 11, 2001 may seem like an interesting contender, but really the grounding of planes was in the U.S. only, and there were certainly plenty of military planes airborne.

The best guess I could give would be some time shortly after WW I. The airplane did make an appearance in the War, prompting Orville Wright to say “The Aeroplane has made war so terrible that I do not believe any country will again care to start a war”. Undoubtedly there was a drop in airplane usage when the war ended, and here we can see that USPS Air Mail didn’t start until 1918, and we are seeing 1st passenger flights (international, US) as late as 1919.

Any more specific guesses? Any takers for pre-WWI?

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