Bob Walker’s Benoist

Bob Walker’s Benoist


Check out Bob Walker’s Benoist on its first test-float. Bob designed and built this model after the 1914 plane that was the world’s first scheduled airliner, carrying passengers between St. Petersburg and Tampa, cutting down on the nearly all-day trip into a 23-minute flight! It only made 172 flights and was cut short because of the onset of WW I.

Bob (of Robart fame) built this RC model and other static one for the anniversary of the world’s first commerically scheduled airline flight! The Benoist flew twice a day over Tampa bay, from St. Petersburg to Tampa and back, cutting down on the nearly all-day trip into a 23-minute flight!

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That’s Nick Ziroli Sr. on the left and Bob on the right, both dwarfed by this giant flying boat!

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Updated: July 20, 2015 — 10:55 AM


  1. too bad Bob is cut off in the picture. Only Nick on the left is showing.

  2. If you right click the photo and then click on Open in New Tab, the entire photo comes up. Hooray!

  3. What an incredible model~! I live in Tampa. I hope I get to see it!

  4. The full size replica is on the way. Kermit Weeks is having a full scale reproduction of the Benoist built to recreated the flight in 2014. The actual Roberts 2 cycle engine is also being built. I have seen the nearly completed replica Roberts engine. It was reverse engineered from the original. The history of Benoist aircraft is very interesting. The company came to an unfortunate end when Benoist went to visit the Roberts factory in Sandusky, Ohio. On the way to the factory, he stepped off a streetcar into a telephone pole and killed himself. That pretty much spelled the end of Benoist and Roberts.

  5. Visited Kermi Weeks last summer with my daughter and got to see the progress on the fullsize replica. Quite a project. They are trying their best to make the 100th anniversary. Take your kids (or yourself) to the Kermit Weeks museum. My 12 year old daughter Emily loved the interactive displays and aced the helicopter and hang glider simulators. I think she went to please me but ended up having a blast and we stayed for hours!

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