First Flight - CODAworx


Location: Saint Petersburg, FL, United States

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $400,000

Project Team

Mark Aeling

MGA sculpture Studio

Flight 2014 Foundation


MGA is creating a life-sized replica of a Benoist Airboat to commemorate the world’s first ever commercial flight, which traversed the Tampa Bay as the first flight of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line. Piloted by Tony Jannus, the bold, Benoist airboat – what we would now call a seaplane – departed on January 1st, 1914 from St. Petersburg’s shore. This remarkable airboat made history right off the shores of MGA’s hometown and will be commemorated with a sculpture befitting of the event.


A lifesize airboat takes off on a 12’ wave in this magnificent stainless steel sculpture installed at the St. Petersburg pier. To create an airplane and ensure that it will not fly, withstand Category 5+ hurricanes, and withstand the test of a time is no small feat. A masterwork of engineering and technical design, First Flight is MGA’s largest single piece sculpture created to date.