MOVING FAR AND FAST

MOVING FAR AND FAST

t's a day for two transportation firsts - and for reflection.

On this date in 1911, Pierre Prier of France made the first nonstop flight from London to Paris; it took nearly four hours.Exactly 50 years later, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union opened the era of manned space flight. He orbited the earth once in the Vostok 1 space capsule; it took one hour and 48 minutes.

The fact that the duration of neither flight awes people today - indeed, the fact that Prier's feat is all but forgotten and Gagarin's is headed in that direction - is a telling indication of how far and fast we've come.