Back in 2002 I emailed United Airline's UK PR, saying: "Dec 17 next year will be the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers first flight. What will you be doing to mark the event?"
I think that may have got a few PR minds quickly working at United because I seem to remember in the end they were quite closely involved with the celebrations at Kitty Hawk in Dec 2003...but the lack of any really clever marketing campaigns or newspaper articles did demonstrate to me that, surprisingly, very few PR folk or journalists bother to look ahead and anticipate what story ideas could be coming up.
It is not rocket-science. It's an exercise I do each year, and I have just this week been doing it again - looking at what travel related events are reaching their 25th, 50th or 100th anniversary later this year and in 2009.
There are a bunch of interesting ones. I won't tell you all, but I will point out a couple of upcoming aviation milestones....
- On 4 October 2008 we'll be marking the 50th anniversary of the first transatlantic scheduled jet service launched by BOAC using the De Haviland Comet 4 to fly between London and New York.
- On 26 October 2008 we'll be marking Pan Am's response, a New York - Paris service using the Boeing 707.
But the big aviation celebration will take place next year on 25th July. The 100th anniversary of Frenchman Louis Bleriot's successful attempt to be the first man to fly across the Channel. His 43 minute flight from Sangatte to Dover Castle enabled him to claim the £1,000 prize offered by the Daily Mail.
Notice, this anniversary comes just 6 years after the one celebrating man's first successful attempt to get airborne at all. So it was quite an impressive feat!