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Aviation History Facts: January

January 1
• In 1914... The U.S. Weather Bureau begins daily publication of a weather map
of the Northern Hemisphere designed specifically as an aid to aviation. (OTM)
• In 1914... The world's first scheduled airplane passenger service operated by an
airline company - the Airboat Line - begins at 10:00 A.M. when Anthony Janus
flies his first passenger from St. Petersburg to Tampa, Florida. The fare for 22-
mile over-water flight was $5 with a surcharge if the passenger weighs more
than 200 lbs. (F&F)
• In 1934... The airline Deutsche Luft Hansa changes its name to Lufthansa. (AYY)
January 2
• In 1918... The British government establishes an air ministry. Lord Rothermere
is Secretary of State for Air. Major-General Sir Hugh Trenchard is Chief of the
Air Staff. (AYY)
• In 1953... The first of an order of about 430 US Sabre fighters, the RAF's first
supersonic jet, arrives at RAF Abington, England. (AYY)
• In 1989... Tupolev's TU-204, the Soviet Union's first airliner fitted with a fly-by-
wire control system, makes its maiden flight. (AYY)
January 3
• In 1905... In efforts to interest the U.S. government in the use of airplanes for
the military, Wilbur Wright speaks to Congressman Robert M. Nevin, who asks
him to prepare a letter for submission to the secretary of war that Nevin would
deliver and endorse. The army declines the offer. (F&F)
• In 1923... French Lieutenant Thoret makes the first soaring flight of more than
5 hours in a Hanriot HD-14 biplane as he flies with his engine stopped in a slope
lift (using hill-side air currents) in Biskra, France. (OTM)
• In 1981... Pan Am retires the Boeing 707 from its fleet. (AYY)
• In 1999... NASA's Mars Polar Lander is launched aboard a Boeing Delta II booster
from Cape Canaveral. The MPL is scheduled to touch down in the Martian
southern polar region in December. (AYY)
January 4
• In 1952... Pan American World Airways inaugurates the first all-cargo service
across the North Atlantic with its recently acquired Douglas DC-6A cargo
carrier. (F&F)
• In 1964... Pope Paul VI lands in Amman, Jordan, in a special Alitalia DC-8; it is
the first time that a pope has used an airplane for an official visit. (AYY)
January 5
• In 1959... The Fairey Rotodyne, piloted by W. P. Gellatly and J. P. Morton, sets
a world speed record for convertiplanes of 190.9 mph over a 62-mile circuit.
January 6
• In 1928... Pilot Lt. C. F. Schilt, USMC, lands a Vought O2U-1 Corsair in the
street of a Nicaraguan village to rescue wounded officers. Eighteen servicemen
are rescued and, for his bravery, Lt. Schilt iss awarded the Medal of Honor.
January 7
• In 1785... The English Channel is crossed for the first time by air as Jean-Pierre
Blanchard and John Jeffries fly their hydrogen balloon from Dover, England to a
forest near Calais, France. (OTM)
• In 1973... Cameron Balloons Ltd. of Bristol, England, flies for the first time the
world's only hot-air airship (G-BAMK) from Wantage, Berkshire. (F&F)
• In 1980... In San Francisco, a single-engined Mooney 231 sets a nonstop coast-to
coast record in 8 hours 4 minutes using only 105 gallons of fuel. (AYY)
• In 1981... A Boeing 747 of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC),
China's state airline, arrives at JFK Airport, N.Y., from Beijing via Shanghai and
San Francisco; this is the first scheduled flight between these two countries
since 1949 and inaugurates a weekly CAAC service. (AYY)
January 8
• In 1945... The Mitsubishi J8M1 rocket-fighter makes its first flight in
Hyakurigahara, Japan. (AYY)
• In 1982... The Airbus A300 becomes the world's first wide-bodied airliner to be
certified for operation by a flight crew of two. (AYY)
January 9
• In 1793... Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard in Philadelphia makes the first
manned free balloon ascent in America in a hydrogen balloon. (OTM)
• In 1923... The first flight of a practical gyroplane or rotocraft is made by Juan
de la Cierva's C-3 Autogiro, which is flown by Spenser Gomes in Madrid, Spain.
January 10
• In 1942... The US Army announces the delivery of its first troop-transport
gliders. (AYY)
• In 1982... The Gulfstream III Spirit of America sets a round-the-world record for
an executive jet of 43 hours, 39 minutes and 6 seconds in Taterboro, New
Jersey (AYY)
January 11
• In 1935... Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman pilot to fly solo between
Hawaii and the United States. She takes off from Wheeler Field, Oahu,
Honolulu, to fly her Lockheed Vega across the eastern Pacific to Oakland,
California. Earhart lands after 18 hours 15 minutes. (F&F)
• In 1978... The American Jet Industries' Hustler executive transport makes its
first flight. (AYY)
January 12
• In 1866... The Aeronautical Society of Great Britain is founded in London (later
to become the Royal Aeronautical Society) and is still in existence today. (OTM)
• In 1929... First U.S. air mail stamped envelopes are available for sale. (OTM)
• In 1970... A Pan Am Boeing 747, on a proving flight from New York, is the first
wide-bodied airliner to make a landing at Heathrow Airport in London. (AYY)
January 13
• In 1906... The first air exhibition of the Aero Club of America opens for eight
days in the Sixty-ninth Regiment Armory in New York City. The Wrights are
asked to send the motor that powered their 1903 flying machine but can only
salvage the crankshaft and flywheel. (F&F)
• In 1908... The first European to fly one kilometer in a circle is Henri Farman in
his Voisin-Farman airplane. Farman's 1 minute 28 second flight wins him the
Grand Prix d'Aviation Deutsche-Archdeacon race in France. (OTM)
• In 1942... The first fully practical, single rotor helicopter makes a successful
flight flown by its creator, Igor Sikorsky (OTM)
January 14
• In 1909... Wilbur Wright, his brother Orville and sister Katharine, having just
arrived from America, move to Pau in the south of France after completing
flying demonstrations at Camp d'Auvers. (F&F)
• In 1935... United Air Lines decides to equip its fleet with a de-icing system for
airplane wings, following successful tests on a Boeing 247 (AYY)
January 15
• In 1914... The first regularly scheduled passenger airline in the United States
begins service. The Benoist Company, flying its Benoist flying boat, runs a line
between St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida (OTM)
• In 1991... The first hot-air balloon to cross the Pacific Ocean takes off from
Japan and eventually lands in Canada (OTM)
January 16
• In 1957... Five B-52Bs of the Ninety-third Bombardment Wing, commanded by
Maj. Gen. Archie J. Old, Jr., commander of the U.S. Fifteenth Air Force, begin
Operation Power Flite, the first nonstop round-the-world flight by turbojet
aircraft. (F&F)
• In 1975... In Operation Streak Eagle, the USAF sets new climb-time records
with the McDonnell Douglas F-15A aircraft, operating from Grand Forks Air
Force Base, North Dakota. The Streak Eagle reaches a height of 3,000 m (9,843
ft.) in 27.57 sec., 6,000 m (19,685 ft.) in 39.33 sec., 9,000 m (929,528 ft.) in
48.86 sec., 12,000 m (39,370 ft.) in 59.38 sec. and 15,000 m (42,2132 ft.) in 1
min. 17.02 sec (F&F)
January 17
• In 1906... The second Zeppelin (LZ-2) built makes its first successful flight over
Lake Constance, Germany, achieving a speed of 25 mph. (OTM)
January 18
• In 1909... The first book to treat the work and accomplishments of the Wright
brothers, Les Premiers Hommes-Oiseaux: Wilbur et Orville Wright, is written by
François Peyrey (1873-1934) and published in France. (OTM)
• In 1911... Eugene B. Ely makes the first landing by an aircraft on a ship when
he flies his Curtiss pusher biplane from Selfridge Field near San Francisco to a
specially prepared wooden deck on the stern of the armored cruiser USS
Pennsylvania. (F&F)
January 19
• In 1784... The largest hot-air balloon ever made, called Le Flesselle by the
Montgolfier brothers, makes an ascent at Lyons, France. The balloon's capacity
is 700,000 cubic feet and it goes up to 3,000 feet (OTM)
January 20
• In 1913... Attempting to establish a new women's altitude record, Bernetta
Miller is covered with oil and temporarily blinded when her oil flow indicator
smashes. She makes a safe emergency landing in New York. (AYY)
• In 1932... Imperial Airways' Handley Page H.P.42 Helena leaves Croydon,
England, for Paris on the first leg of the company's new mail service to Cape
Town. (AYY)
• In 1975... A Boeing 707, commandeered by three terrorists and flown by a crew
of Air France volunteers, lands in Baghdad, Iraq. The terrorists forced the
French airline to fly them out of Paris by taking ten travelers hostage
yesterday, at Orly airport. (AYY)
January 21
• In 1921... The first triple-triplane aircraft, and the first passenger-carrying
aircraft designed to carry more than 100 people that actually got off the
ground, is launched at Lake Maggiore, Italy. The flight attempt ends in failure
when the 55,000 lb. flying boat nosedives into the lake. (F&F)
• In 1952... The Saab 210 experimental delta-winged research aircraft makes its
first flight in Sweden. (AYY)
• In 1976... First passenger services by a supersonic airliner are begun, as British
Airways and Air France Concorde supersonic transports take off simultaneously
for Bahrain and Rio de Janeiro. (OTM)
January 22
• In 1971... A US Navy P-3C Orion lands in Patuxent River, Maryland, after a flight
of 15 hours 21 minutes from Atsugi, Japan, setting a nonstop distance record
for a turboprop-powered aircraft of 7,010 miles. (AYY)
January 23
• In 1909... The first flight of the French Ble´riot XI, one of the most successful
monoplanes designed and built before World War I, is made. (OTM)
January 24
• In 1932... French pilots Paul Codos and Henri Robida land in Paris after flying
from Hanoi in French Indochina in a record time of 3 days 4 hours. (AYY)
January 25
• In 1921... Committee on Law of Aviation of the American Bar Association files
an initial report on the necessity of aerial legislation. (OTM)
• In 1983... The Swedish-US Saab-Fairchild 340 transport, the first aircraft built
by collaboration, makes its first flight. (AYY)
January 26
• In 1910... The first practical seaplane is flown. Built and flown by American
Glenn Curtiss, it lands and takes off in the waters off San Diego, California.
• In 1951... First flight of Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket supersonic research aircraft
is made. It is launched from underneath its B-29 mother-ship and exceeds Mach
1 (the speed of sound) in a dive. (OTM)
January 27
• In 1894... Captain B. F. S. Baden-Powel (the brother of the first Chief Boy
Scout) makes a kite ascent from Pirbright Army Camp, England in what appears
to be the first use of man-carrying kites outside China. (F&F)
• In 2002... Boeing's 737, the world's most widely use twin jet, becomes the first
jetliner in history to amass more than 100 million flying hours. The 737 was
launched onto the market in 1965. (AYY)
January 28
• In 1871... The last balloon to leave Paris during the Persian siege takes off with
orders for the French fleet to bring food and supplies to replenish the French
capital, an armistice having been signed. The flight of the General Cambronne
ends a period of almost exactly 5 months during which the advantages of
balloons were put to efficient use. (F&F)
January 29
• In 1908... The Imperial All-Russia Aero Club is founded and raises money
through public subscription by imperial decree. (F&F)
• In 1920... President Woodrow Wilson appoints Orville Wright to the National
Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). (AYY)
• In 1959... The first jet passenger service across the United States is begun by
American Airlines using Boeing 707 jet airliners. (OTM)
January 30
• In 1957... Sikorsky's HSS-1 S-58 piston-engined helicopter, developed for anti-
submarine operations, makes its first flight. (AYY)
• In 1988... Boeing's long-range 747 SP Friendship One returns to Seattle to set a
round-the-world record of 36 hours 54 minutes 15 seconds. (AYY)
January 31
• In 1818... The Curtiss R-6 twin-float seaplane becomes the first US-built
airplane to operate overseas with American forces at Naval Base 13, Ponta
Delgado, in the Azores. (F&F)
• In 1949... Pan Am receives the first Boeing Model 377 Stratocruiser to be
delivered. (AYY)
Aviation History Facts: February
February 1
• In 1851... Englishman William Dean makes the first balloon ascent in Australia,
flying the Australasia for about 7 miles over Melbourne. (AYY)
• In 1911... Burgess and Curtiss become the US's first licensed aircraft
manufacturer. (AYY)
• In 1929... The aviation and space operations of Boeing and Pratt&Whitney are
merged to form the United Aircraft&Transport Corp. (F&F)
• In 1930... San Francisco's first air ferry service starts to operate, cutting
journey time across the Bay to 6 minutes. The ferry flies from San Francisco to
Alameda, and from Oakland to Vallejo. (AYY)
• In 1950... Eight Grumman F9F Panthers land on the USS Valley Forge to
complete the first aircraft carrier night landing trials by jets. (AYY)
February 2
• In 1918... The first operational squadrons of the American Expeditionary Force
are formed in France. (AYY)
• In 1950... Japan Air Lines inaugurates its first international service: a twice-
weekly route to San Francisco. (AYY)
• In 1989... People Express flies its last service from Newark, New Jersey, to New
York; it has been taken over by Continental Airlines. (AYY)
February 3
• In 1934... The first scheduled trans-Atlantic airmail service between Berlin,
Germany, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is inaugurated by Luft Hansa. The journey
is made in four stages. (F&F)
• In 1946... Pan American inaugurates the first commercial use of Lockheed
Model 049 Constellation with the aircraft's first scheduled service between New
York and Bermuda. (F&F)
• In 1948... All 145 pilots and co-pilots at National Airlines go on strike,
grounding the carrier's 22 aircrafts. The dispute is mainly over air safety. (AYY)
• In 1964... The Federal Aviation Agency launches Operation Bongo Mark 2 to
investigate the effects of supersonic flight; over the coming months, a Convair
B-58 will fly through the sound barrier at low altitude over Oklahoma City.
• In 1982... A Mil Mi-26 helicopter sets a world record in the U.S.S.R., lifting
125,153.8 lb. to a height of 6,562 feet. (AYY)
February 4
• In 1920... Charles Augustus Lindbergh (1920-1974), one of the most famous
aviators in history, is born in Detroit, Michigan. (OTM)
• In 1945... US President Franklin D. Roosevelt touches down at Yalta, the
Crimean resort, in his presidential airplane Sacred Cow for a crucial summit
with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
The leaders are meeting to discuss terms for German surrender and the shape
of post-war Europe. (AYY)
• In 1949... In the US, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) gives authorization for
the full use of ground control approach (GCA) landing aids. These will be used
only in conditions of poor visibility caused by fog or bad weather and comprise
a ground radar system. (F&F)
• In 1958... The world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the CVAN-65 USS
Enterprise is laid down at the Newport News shipyard. (F&F)
February 5
• In 1919... The first regular, daily passenger service in the world is launched at
Berlin's city airfield. A German airline, Deutsche Luft Reederei, operates the
new service on route from Berlin to Weimar via Leipzig. (AYY)
• In 1929... Frank Hawks and Oscar Grubb land their Lockheed Air Express in New
York after a record flight of 18 hours 20 minutes from Los Angeles. (AYY)
• In 1949... An Eastern Air Lines Lockheed Constellation lands at LaGuardia, New
York, at the end of a flight of 6 hours 18 minutes from Los Angeles, a coast-to-
coast record for transport aircraft. (AYY)
• In 1951... The United States and Canada announce the establishment of the
Distant Early Warning (DEW), the air defense system that uses more than 30
radar stations located across the northern portion of the continent. (OTM)
• In 1962... A Sikorsky HSS-2 Sea King of the US Navy sets a world helicopter
speed record of 210.6 mph, in the course of a flight between Milford and New
Haven, Connecticut. (AYY)
February 6
• In 1916... The airline Deutsche Luft Reederei flies its first service, which is
freight only, between Berlin and Weimar. (AYY)
• In 1946... A TWA Lockheed Constellation lands at Orly airport, Paris, from
LaGuardia, New York, to complete the airline's first scheduled international
flight. (AYY)
• In 1956... William Judd lands his Cessna 180 in Paris after a solo flight of 25
hours 15 minutes across the North Atlantic from the US. (AYY)
February 7
• In 1920... French aviator Sadi Lacointe, piloting a Nieuport-Delage 29V,
becomes the first pilot to set a new Federation Aeronautique Internationale
(FAI) world speed record after World War I. He reaches a measured speed of
275.862 km/h (171.141 mph) along 1 km (3,280 ft.) course. (F&F)
• In 1927... Georgetown University medical school in Washington, D.C., offers
the first aviation medicine course in the United States. (AYY)
• In 1937... The prototype Blackburn B.24 Skua two-seat fighter/dive-bomber
makes its maiden flight, piloted by "Dasher" Blake at Brough, Yorkshire; it is
Britain's first dive-bomber. (AYY)
• In 1958... One of the best British soccer teams, Manchester United, has been
virtually wiped out in an air crash. The team was returning from Belgrade after
victory against a Yugoslav opponent when their British European Airways (BEA)
Airspeed AS.57 Ambassador failed to take off and crashed into a house in
Munich, Germany. (AYY)
February 8
• In 1908... Flight tests begin at Issy-les-Moulineaux for the Gastambide-Mengin I
monoplane, built by Léon Levavasseur and fitted with a 50-hp Antoinette
engine. (AYY)
• In 1919... The Farman brothers make the first scheduled international flight in
Europe when a Farman F.60 Goliath piloted by M. Lucien Bossoutrot carries a
token load of military passengers between Toussus le Noble airfield outside
Paris and Kenley in southern England. (F&F)
• In 1933... The first Boeing 247 takes to the air opening a new era in air
transport, representing the new age of all-metal monoplane designs. (F&F)
• In 1988... The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) retires an aircraft
registration number for the first time - that of Amelia Earhart's airplane, which
disappeared over the Pacific in July 1937. (AYY)
February 9
• In 1936... Tommy Rose lands at Wingfield Aerodrome in Cape Town, South
Africa, after a record flight from England of 3 days 17 hours 38 minutes. (AYY)
• In 1939... British flyer Alex Henshaw lands his Percival Mew Gull at Gravesend
in Kent, England, after a record flight to Cape Town and back in 4 days 10
hours and 20 minutes. (AYY)
• In 1969... First flight of the Boeing 747 "Jumbo Jet" airliner takes place in
Seattle, Washington. The wide-bodied, long-range transport is capable of
carrying 347 passengers, and is the largest aircraft in commercial airline
service in the world. (OTM)
February 10
• In 1923... An experimental night flight arrives to Le Bourget, France, from
Croydon, England. The pilot has given his position by radio and used the
aviation light beacons to make his approach. (AYY)
• In 1962... American U-2 pilot Gary Powers, shot down and arrested in the
U.S.S.R. in May 1960, is released in exchange for Soviet spy Colonel Rudolf
Abel. (AYY)
February 11
• In 1909... An important pioneer in developing aviation in New Zealand, Vivian
C. Walsh pilots a Howard-Wright biplane on what is generally considered the
first flight in New Zealand by a powered airplane. (F&F)
• In 1914... Distance record for balloons over land is set by H. Berliner, who flies
1,890 miles (c. 3,040 km) from Bitterfeldt, Germany to Kirgischano, Russia.
• In 1946... The United States and United Kingdom sign an agreement in Bermuda
setting out the principles by which air rates and frequencies of international
services should be set. The Bermuda Agreement becomes a standard upon
which air agreements would be based in the future. (F&F)
• In 1959... A US meteorological balloon achieves a record height of 146,000 ft.
carrying a special package of detectors sending information by radio signal to
the ground. (F&F)
February 12
• In 1914... Igor Sikorsky's giant four-engined biplane, the Ilya Muromets flies in
Russia. It is an improved version of last year's Bolshoi Baltiskii. (AYY)
• In 1921... The U.S. Army Air Service establishes the first in an expending series
of airways - routes safely surveyed by the army civilian and commercial users
linking towns and cities by air - by leasing land between Washington and
Dayton, Ohio to facilitate a stopover. (F&F)
• In 1928... Lady Heath (formerly Mrs. Elliot-Lynn) becomes the first woman to
fly solo from Cape Town, South Africa to London, England. (F&F)
• In 1959... The last Convair B-36 bomber in operational USAF service is retired
to Amon Carter Field, where it is put on display; Strategic Air Command is now
equipped with an all-jet bomber force. (AYY)
• In 1960... A Delta Air Lines Convair 880 lands in Miami, Florida, from San Diego
to set a new transcontinental speed record over the route of 3 hours 31
minutes. (AYY)
February 13
• In 1913... At the second British Aero Show in London, the world's first airplane
specifically designed to carry a gun, 37-mm cannon on biplane, is displayed for
the first time. Called Destroyer and built by Vickers, Sons & Maxim, it is
officially called the Experimental Fighting Biplane No.1 (E.F.B.1). (F&F)
• In 1919... The first post-war French commercial service is established on a
route from Paris to Lille for the carriage of food and clothing to France's
northern departments. (F&F)
• In 1943... The Vought F4U Corsair naval fighter makes its operational debut in
Solomon Island, escorting PB4Y-1 Liberators (the US Navy's version of the B-24)
raiding Bougainville. (AYY)
• In 1972... The Soviet Union has started to use Cuba as a base from which to spy
on the US. The first mission is flown by two Soviet Tu-95, which surveys part of
the east cost. (AYY)
February 14
• In 1914... An official American nonstop duration and distance record is made
when Lt. Townsend Dodd and Sgt. Herbert Marcus fly the U.S. Signal Corps
Burgess H tractor biplane. (S.C. No. 26) 244.8 mi. in 4 hours 43 minutes.
Although it established a record for two people in one airplane, it also
exceeded the previous single-seat record. (F&F)
• In 1932... Ruth Nichols flies her Lockheed Vega from Floyd Bennett Field, New
York to an altitude of 19,928 feet, a new world record for diesel-engined
airplanes. (AYY)
• In 1980... Japan Air Lines begins commercial operations with the highest-
capacity airliner ever put into scheduled service, conducting the inaugural
flight of eight Boeing 747SR. The aircraft has seating for 550 passengers, 45 in
the upper deck. (F&F)
February 15
• In 1910... King Edward VII grants the title "Royal" to the Aero Club of the
United Kingdom. (AYY)
• In 1926... The Ford Motor Co. becomes the first U.S. private air carrier to
operate a contract airmail (CAM) route. Ford begins operations with CAM-6
between Detroit and Chicago and CAM-7 between Detroit and Cleveland. (F&F)
• In 1961... Members of a US skating team are among 73 killed when Belgian
airliner Sabena Boeing 707 crashes during its landing approach near Brussels,
Belgium. (AYY)
• In 1965... Mrs. Guy Maher arrives from Culver City, California to Medford, New
Jersey in a Hughes 300 to complete the USA's first transcontinental helicopter
flight by a woman. (AYY)
February 16
• In 1912... Frank Coffyn takes aerial views of New York City with a cinema
camera while controlling his airplane with his feet and knees. (AYY)
• In 1960... The Vought F8U-2N Crusader interceptor makes its maiden flight in
Dallas, Texas. (AYY)
• In 1982... The first production Airbus Industrie A310 is rolled out at the factory
in Toulouse, France, destined for Swissair as the launch customer. (F&F)
February 17
• In 1904... The Wright brothers inspect the grounds where the St. Louis
aeronautical exposition will be held in April. (AYY)
• In 1934... The first airmail flight from Australia to New Zealand is flown by
Charles T. Ulm in his Avro Ten, a license-built Fokker F. VIIB/3m registered as
February 18
• In 1832... Octave Chanute (1832-1910), first great historian of aviation, is born
in Paris, France. Brought to the US when young, Chanute was a civilian
engineer before turning to aviation. In 1894 he published Progress in Flying
Machines. The book became a bible for the Wright brothers. (OTM)
• In 1911... First official government air mail flight is made in India as French
pilot Henri Pequet flies 6,500 letters a distance of about five miles (8 km).
• In 1973... Daniel Bouchart and Didier Potelle land 19,568 feet up on the summit
of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania in an SA 319 B Alouette II helicopter. (AYY)
• In 1977... The converted Boeing 747 space shuttle carrier makes its first flight
with the shuttle Enterprise on its back, at NASA's Dryden Flight Research
Center. (AYY)
February 19
• In 1912... One of the most successful pre-World War I airship operations begins
with the first flight of the Zeppelin LZ II, Victoria Louise, and its introduction
into service with the German airship company DELAG. (F&F)
• In 1937... Howard Hughes establishes a new transcontinental speed record of 7
hours 28 minutes 25 seconds from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey. (AYY)
• In 1982... The first Boeing 757 takes to the air on its maiden flight. With
capacity for between 178 and 239 passengers in a wide variety of
configurations, it has a cruising speed of 528 mph and a range of 2,100 mi., or
5,343 mi. at economic cruise. (F&F)
February 20
• In 1915... During the Panama-Pacific Exhibition, Allan Loughead is allowed to
launch an air service and flies 600 passengers across the bay during 50 days.
The 10-minute flight costs $10 per passenger. (AYY)
• In 1924... In Dakar, Lieutenant-Colonel Tulasne, Captain Gama and Lieutenant
Michel complete the first trip across the Sahara desert and back, piloting
Breguet-14 airplanes. (AYY)
• In 1968... A standard Learjet 25 sets a new "time-to-climb" record by climbing
to 40,000 feet in 6 minutes 29 seconds. (AYY)
• In 1972... A USAF Lockheed HC-130H Hercules piloted by a crew commanded by
Lt. Comdr. Ed Allison sets a new world record for unrefuelled flight by
turboprop aircraft. It flies a distance of 14,052.94 km (8,732.5 mi.) between
the Taiwanese base of Ching Chuan Kang AB and Scott AFB, Illinois. (F&F)
February 21
• In 1911... A new 1910 Wright Type B Flyer owned by Collier's magazine
publisher Robert F. Collier, arrives at San Antonio, Texas on rent to the U.S.
Army for $1.00 per month to supplement the aging Wright biplane first
accepted on August 2, 1909. (F&F)
• In 1919... The prototype of the first US-designed fighter to enter large-scale
production, the Thomas-Morse MB-3 (to be made by Boeing), makes its maiden
flight. (AYY)
• In 1979... Former astronaut Neil Armstrong climbs to 50,000 feet in Kitty Hawk,
North Carolina in just over 12 minutes in a Gates Learjet Longhorn 28, breaking
five world records for business jets. (AYY)
• In 1984... Racing driver Henri Pescarolo and Air France pilot Patrick Fourticq
land their Piper Malibu in Paris after a flight from New York, setting a speed
record of 14 hours 2 minutes for a single-engined lift aircraft across the North
Atlantic. (AYY)
February 22
• In 1912... The Fokker Aviatik G.m.b.H. company is entered in the trade register
at Berlin, Germany with a quoted capital of 20,000 marks. The company's
Holland-born founder, Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker, was brought up in
Haarlem, the Netherlands and moved to Germany where he developed a
passion for aviation before designing his first airplane - the Spider No. 1 - in
late 1910. (F&F)
• In 1925... Geoffrey de Havilland takes off in his newly built D.H.60 Moth G-
EBKT, heralding a new age of light aviation. (F&F)
• In 1928... Australian Bert Hinkler lands at Fanny Bay in Darwin, Australia after
11,000-mile solo flight from England. He is the first to make such a trip, setting
four other new records: longest solo flight, longest light plane flight, first
nonstop flight from London to Rome and fastest journey from Britain to India.
February 23
• In 1909... John A. McCurdy flies the Aerial Experimental Association's Silver
Dart biplane 40 feet over the frozen Bras d'Or lake at Baddeck Bay - the first
flight of a heavier-than-air machine in Canada. (AYY)
• In 1914... Harry Busteed makes the first test flight of the Bristol Scout biplane
at Larkhill training center in England. (AYY)
• In 1921... A team of pilots completes an experimental coast-to-coast mail
flight; flying by day and night, they have linked San Francisco and Long Island
in a day and half's flying time. (AYY)
February 24
• In 1921... Lieutenant William D. Coney completes a solo flight from Rockwell
Field, San Diego to Jacksonville, in 22 hours and 27 minutes flying time. (AYY)
• In 1931... John Lankester Parker makes the first flight of the prototype Short
S.17 Kent flying boat, from the river Medway in Kent, England. (AYY)
• In 1940... The 2,000-hp prototype Hawker Typhoon fighter makes its first flight
in England. (AYY)
• In 1957... Scandinavian Airline Services (SAS) opens the first regular scheduled
service from Europe to the Far East over the North Pole, with departure from
Copenhagen, Denmark and Tokyo, Japan; the DC-7C aircraft will circle the pole
en route. (AYY)
• In 1983... The youngest pilot known to have made a solo flight in a powered,
heavier-than-air, flying machine takes to the air for the first time at age of 9
years 316 days. The flight takes place near Mexicali, Mexico and the aircraft
the boy pilots is a Cessna 150. (F&F)
February 25
• In 1784... The first balloon flight made in Italy takes place from the grounds of
a villa owned by Chevalier Paul Andreani near Milan and uses a modified
Montgolfière hot air design built by the brothers Charles and Augustin Gerli.
• In 1929... The world's first major air evacuation comes to an end when Britain's
Royal Air Force (RAF) flies out the last of 586 civilians from Kabul to the safety
to India. The airlift involves nationals of about 20 countries. (AYY)
• In 1930... Ralph O'Neil lands in Miami on the first mail service of America
airline New York, Rio and Buenos Aires Line (NYRBA) between Buenos Aires and
New York after a difficult 6-day flight from Argentina. (AYY)
• In 1970... TWA becomes the first airline to fly a "Jumbo Jet" within the US,
when it inaugurates a Boeing 747 service between Los Angeles and New York.
• In 1990... Smoke-free flights become mandatory throughout North America for
all US airlines. (AYY)
February 26
• In 1940... The US Air Defense Command is formed at Mitchell Field, New York
• In 1949... A Boeing B-50 makes first nonstop refueled flight around world.
American Capt. James Gallagher and Luck Lady II crew cover 23,452 miles
(37,742 km) in 94 hours 1 minute and are refueled in flight four times. (OTM)
• In 1955... The first supersonic ejection takes place when North American test
pilot George F. Smith ejects himself from his diving F-100 off Laguna Beach,
California. He is unconscious for five days but recovers. (F&F)
February 27
• In 1920... Major Rudolph W. Schroeder of the US Army Air Service sets a new
world altitude record when he flies to the height of 33,143 feet. During the
flight over McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio he nearly loses his life when his
oxygen system fails. (AYY)
• In 1935... Latècoère's giant seaplane Santos Dumont lands with a cargo of mail
after a record flight of 53 hours 4 minutes from Natal, Brazil to Paris, with two
stops en route. (AYY)
• In 1965... The world's largest aircraft at the time, the Antonov An-22 Antei,
makes its first flight. It is powered by four 15,000 EHP Kuznetsov NK-12
turboprop engines. (F&F)
February 28
• In 1907... Cabinet-maker Charles Voisin begins tests of the airplane made by
his company for Lèon Delagrange. He takes off for a hop of several feet, but
the fuselage breaks up. (AYY)
• In 1918... Regulation of the airways begins as US President Woodrow Wilson
issues an order requiring licenses for civilian pilots and owners. Over 800
licenses are issued. (OTM)
• In 1929... An amendment to the Air Commerce Act, effective in June, provides
for the federal licensing of flying schools. (AYY)
February 1
• In 1964... President Lyndon Johnson publicly acknowledges the existence of the
Lockheed A-12 Mach 3+ spy plane program and shows a picture that is actually
an YF-12A. (F&F)
• In 1992... British Aerospace's latest Hawk demonstrator, Hawk Mk 102D, ZJ 100,
takes to the skies for the first time. It is an enhanced two-seater ground-attack
version with a modified wing and incorporates many improvements to its
onboard sensors and weapons system. (AYY)
Aviation History Facts: March
March 1
• In 1912... Capt. Albert Berry makes the first parachute descent from a powered
airplane in America when he jumps from a Benoist aircraft that is being flown
by the company pilot, Anthony Jannus. The aircraft is flying at a height of
1,500 ft. over Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri, and Berry uses a static
line parachute. (F&F)
• In 1925... Ryan Airlines begins the first regularly scheduled passenger airline
service flown within the mainland United States. The service runs between Los
Angeles and San Diego. (F&F)
• In 1928... An airmail route between France and Chile is opened with a fast sea
link between Dakar, Senegal and Natal, Brazil. (F&F)
• In 1933... U.S. Air Commerce Regulations are amended to increase the flying
time required for a pilot's license from 10 hours to 50 hours. (OTM)
• In 1962... Los Angeles Airways sets up the world's first commercial service using
turbine-powered, multi-engine helicopters, the Sikorsky S-621L, which could
accommodate up to 28 passengers. (F&F)
March 2
• In 1918... Lloyd Andrews Hamilton becomes the first American to receive a
commission in the British Royal Flying Corps when he is assigned as lieutenant
with No. 3 squadron in France. (F&F)
• In 1932... The 20-months-old son of aviator Charles Lindbergh has been
kidnapped from the family's home in Hopewell, New Jersey. (AYY)
• In 1949... Commanded by Capt. James G. Gallagher, the crew of 14 aboard the
Strategic Air Command B-5A Lucky Lady II of the Forty-third Bombardment
Group, USAF, completes the first nonstop round-the-world flight of 94 hours 1
minute. Flying a distance of 23,452 miles the B-50A is refueled four times by
KB-29 tankers before landing back at Carswell AFB, Texas. (F&F)
• In 1969... After a lengthy succession of taxi and runway tests, the first
prototype Concorde 001 (F-WTSS) makes its first flight, with Andre Turcat at
the controls. The flight lasts 29 minutes. (F&F)
March 3
• In 1911... With Capt. Benjamin D. Foulois navigating a course and Phillip
Parmelee at the controls, the Wright Type B on loan from Robert F. Collier sets
an official U.S. cross-country record from Laredo to Eagle Pass, Texas. It flies
the 106 miles in 2 hours 10 minutes. (F&F)
• In 1919... Airplane builder William E. Boeing and Eddie Hubbard of Hubbard Air
Service make the first international airmail flight from Seattle, Washington to
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (AYY)
• In 1950... Australian Quantas inaugurates a passenger service from Sydney to
Tokyo. (AYY)
• In 1960... The longest nonstop flight ever made by a Royal Air Force (RAF)
aircraft is completed when a Vickers Valiant B.Mk.1 (serial no.XD858) piloted
by Sqdn. Ldr. J. H. Garstin flies around the British Isles for a total distance of
8,500 miles aided by two inflight refuelings. (F&F)
• In 1974... In the world's worst air disaster, a DC-10-10 of Turkish Airlines loses
an aft cargo door after taking off from Paris en route to London, resulting in a
complete loss of control. The aircraft crashes, killing 346 passengers and crew.
This is the second time a cargo bay door has been lost from aircraft of this
type. As a result, a latch modification becomes mandatory. (F&F)
March 4
• In 1909... President William Howard Taft approves Congressional Gold Medals
for the Wright brothers. (AYY)
• In 1936... The last great passenger-carrying airship, a veritable behemoth in its
day, takes to the air for the first time. The German dirigible LZ 129, the
Hindenburg, is powered by four 1,320-hp Daimler-Benz DB 602 diesel engines.
The Hindenburg makes its first Atlantic crossing in the record time of 64 hours
53 minutes on May 6. (F&F)
• In 1948... The first American civilian to fly at supersonic speeds is Herbert
Henry Hoover in Bell X-1 in Muroc, California. (OTM)
March 5
• In 1912... Bob Fowler flies from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida. The west
to east coast-to-coast journey has taken four months to complete. (AYY)
• In 1923... The great aeronautical pioneer Igor Sikorsky sets up the Sikorsky Aero
Engineering Corp. in the United States with the financial help of several
important leading figures, including Sergey Rachmaninoff. Sikorsky left Russia
in 1917 when revolution threatened his work and his life. (F&F)
• In 1962... A Convair B-58 (serial no. 59-2458) of the Forty-third Bombardment
Wing breaks three records during a round trip between New York and Los
Angeles in 4 hours 41 minutes 14.98 seconds. The fastest trans-continental
crossing between Los Angeles and New York is accomplished in 2 hours 58.71
seconds at an average speed of 1,214.65 mph. The third record notches the
fastest time between New York and Los Angeles. (F&F)
March 6
• In 1935... U.S secretary of commerce signs a special air traffic regulation that
prohibits air flights over parts of Washington, D.C. (OTM)
• In 1965... The first nonstop transcontinental helicopter flight across the United
States - flown off the deck of the carrier USS Hornet at San Diego, California to
the deck of the carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt off Jacksonville, Florida - is
completed successfully. A U. S. Navy Sikorsky SH-3A Sea King flies 2,116 miles.
• In 1986... Japan Air Lines embarks the world's heaviest man, an 880-lb Austrian
flying from Frankfurt, Germany, as a passenger; 16 seats are removed from the
cabin to make room for him. (AYY)
March 7
• In 1956... Dan Perkins, engineer at Britain's Royal Aircraft Establishment,
makes his first flight in an inflatable airplane in Bedfordshire, England. It takes
25 minutes to inflate it, using a large domestic vacuum cleaner. (AYY)
• In 1961... The # 2 North America X-15 becomes the fist manned aircraft to
exceed Mach 4 when pilot Capt. Robert M. White reaches a speed of 2,905 mph
which, at the altitude of 77,450 ft., is Mach 4.43. (F&F)
March 8
• In 1910... Elise Deroche, the colorful self-styled Baroness Raymonde de
Laroche, becomes the first woman in the world to receive a pilot's license in
Paris. (AYY)
• In 1910... Claude Moore-Brabazon receives the Royal Aero Club's first aviator's
certificate in London. Charles Rolls receives the second. (AYY)
• In 1917... German airship pioneer Count von Zeppelin dies. (AYY)
• In 1949... Nonstop flight of 56 hours and 2 minutes has put captain William
Odom in the record books. Leaving Honolulu, Hawaii, he covers a distance of
4,957.25 miles before landing at Teterboro, New Jersey to gain the world
record in Class C-1-c for light aircraft. (AYY)
• In 1974... Charles de Gaulle Airport at Roissy-en-France is officially opened.
The new international airport is located 15.5 miles (25 km) from the center of
Paris. (OTM)
March 9
• In 1918... The first American air casualty in World War I is Capt. James E. Miller
who loses his life in a French Spad while flying a practice patrol across the
German lines. (F&F)
• In 1919... U.S. Navy Lt. Comdr. E. O. McDonnell makes the first successful
flight from a gun turret platform on a U.S. navy battleship. The USS Texas is
anchored in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for the test. (F&F)
• In 1928... The English aviatrix Lady Mary Bailey takes off from Croydon on what
becomes the first round-trip flight between London and Cape Town, South
Africa flown by a woman. She arrives back in England on May 12. (F&F)
• In 1938... A new parachute descent record of 35,450ft. is achieved by the
French parachutist James Williams when he jumps from the cockpit of an ANF
Les Mureaux 113 high-wing monoplane after taking off from the airfield at
Chartres. Dropping to a height above the ground of 650 ft. in 2 minutes 50
seconds before opening his parachute, Williams easily achieves a world free-
fall record. (F&F)
March 10
• In 1905... The French lawyer and aspiring aeronaut Ernest Archdeacon sends a
letter to the Wright brothers in Dayton, Ohio challenging them to prove the
validity of their claims. This marks the beginning of a bitter contest between
the Wrights and European aeronauts. (F&F)
• In 1910... The first flight at night is made by Frenchman Emile Aubrun in
Argentina on a Bleriot airplane. Aubrun makes two flights in the dark, each
about 20 km from Buenos Aires and back again. (OTM)
• In 1925... One of the most outstanding flying boats of its day and a stunning
demonstration of the skills of aircraft designer R. J. Michell, the Supermarine
Southampton, makes its first flight with Henri Biard at the controls. It remains
in service for 12 years, longer than any other flying boat before Sunderland.
• In 1948... NACA test pilot Herbert Henry Hoover becomes the first civilian to
exceed the speed of sound when he flies the No. 2 Bell XS-1 to a speed of 703
mph (Mach 1.065). (F&F)
• In 1956... The first aircraft to exceed 1,000 mph (1,609 km/h) is an English
Fairey Delta 2. Piloted by Lt. Cdr. Peter Twiss, it reaches a speed of 1,132 mph
(1,822 km/h). (OTM)
March 11
• In 1910... Lieutenant J. W. Dunne's D5 tailless biplane is tested at Eastchurch,
Kent, England. It has a 60-hp Green engine and was built by Short Brothers.
• In 1957... The prototype Boeing 707 jet lands after a press demonstration flight
from Seattle, Washington to Baltimore, Maryland during which it covers 2,350
miles in a record time of 3 hours 48 minutes. (AYY)
• In 1998... The first two of four Boeing E-767 airborne warning and control
system (AWACS) aircrafts are officially handed over to the Japanese Air Self-
Defense Force. (AYY)
March 12
• In 1908... The first flight of the first airplane built by the U.S. Aerial
Experiment Association takes place when Thomas Baldwin flies the Red Wing
(Aerodrome No.1). The flight of the biplane ends in a crash landing. (F&F)
• In 1915... A Burgess H biplane (No. 28) sets a world endurance record for a
pilot and two passengers by remaining in the air for 7 hours 5 minutes. This
particular airplane has been modified by Grover C. Loening at the army training
school in San Diego. (F&F)
• In 1932... New landing aids are installed in Newark, New Jersey, at the busiest
airport in the world, to supplement the night landing facilities already in
existence there. In 1930 alone there were some 28,000 landings and the airport
handled 20,000 passengers. (AYY)
March 13
• In 1910... The first airplane flight in Switzerland is made by German Capt. P.
Englehardt who takes off in a Wright Flyer from a frozen lake in St. Moritz.
• In 1928... The first Canadian woman to obtain a pilot's license, Miss Eileen M.
Vollick, passes her flight test in Hamilton, Ontario on Curtiss aircraft. (OTM)
• In 1945... U. S. interest in flight is so popular that courses in aviation are being
taught at this point in 14,000 of America's 25,686 high schools. (OTM)
• In 1951... The Australian airline Qantas begins a survey flight from Rose Bay,
Sydney to Valparaiso, Chile with a Catalina (VH - ASA). (F&F)
March 14
• In 1908... Henri Farman makes the first flight in his modified Voisin-Farman I-
bis, the biplane built by Voisin brothers. (F&F)
• In 1927... The Aviation Corp. of America (AVCO), headed by Juan Trippe, forms
Pan American Airways to qualify for a contract for airmail deliveries from the
post office and establishes the route between Key West, Florida and Havana,
Cuba as the first of several routes it would acquire. (F&F)
• In 1936... Imperial Airways opens a weekly service to Hong Kong. (AYY)
• In 1960... Within a year of completion of a major expansion program, Chicago's
O'Hare International airport has become the busiest terminal in the US,
handling 10.2 million passengers in 1959, the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA)
reports. In the same year it handled 431,600 take-offs and landings. (AYY)
March 15
• In 1938... De Havilland D. H. 88 Comet racer G-ACSS begins a record-breaking
flight from England to New Zealand and back for what some regard as the most
notable success of the Comet's achievement: a return flight time of 10 days 21
hours 22 minutes. (F&F)
• In 1957... A U.S. Navy ZPG-2 nonrigid airship sets a new unrefueled endurance
record when it lands, having remained aloft for 264 hours (11 days) 12 minutes,
beating the record set by the Graf Zeppelin in 1929. (F&F)
• In 1985... Pan Am puts the Airbus A300B airliner into service, on its route from
Miami, Florida to Mexico City. (AYY)
March 16
• In 1905... S. H. Maloney, a professional balloon-parachute jumper, makes a
first successful glide to earth in a tandem-wing glider built by John J.
Montgomery (1858-1911), a professor at Santa Clara College in California.
• In 1907... Built for Leon Delagrange and pilot Charles Voisin, the Voisin-
Delagrandge biplane makes its first flight from Bagatelle, France, achieving a
height of 13ft. and a distance of 260ft. (F&F)
• In 1911... The first certificate of airworthiness awarded to an airplane in
Britain is signed by Mervyn O'Gorman, superintendent of the Balloon Factory at
Farnborough, covering the Farman III Type Militaire purchased by the British
Army during the second half of 1910. (F&F)
• In 1960... KLM opens its first intercontinental jet service, by Douglas DC-8 from
Amsterdam to New York. (AYY)
• In 1983... A Boeing 767 lands after a nonstop flight of 5,499 miles from Lisbon,
Portugal to set a distance record for a twin-jet airliner in commercial service.
March 17
• In 1911... U.S. Navy Lt. John Rodgers reports to the Wright Co. at Dayton, Ohio
for flying instructions. On March 9, the Wrights had offered to train one Navy
pilot if that service bought a Wright flying machine at a cost $5,000. The
conditional offer was later replaced by one that provided unconditional free
training for one would-be Navy pilot. (F&F)
• In 1921... The first U. S. Marine airman to serve in the Pacific arrives on Guam
with responsibility for supporting U. S. land and sea forces in the region. There,
10 pilots and 90 enlisted men operate seaplanes on reconnaissance duty as
Flight L, Fourth Squadron, for 10 years. (F&F)
• In 1935... German authorities make the color-coding at vital aircraft parts
obligatory; red for fire circuit-breakers, green for temperature regulators,
yellow for throttles and brown for hydraulic circuits. (AYY)
• In 1936... Smoking in an airplane's toilet is as serious an offense as smoking at
school. An Imperial Airways passenger, caught red-handed while lighting up
against airline regulations in a Handley Page HP.42 en route from Paris to
London, is fined £10 in Craydon court, England. (AYY)
March 18
• In 1906... Trajan Vuia, a Rumanian, first tests a monoplane in France. Although
it only hops and does not fly, Louis Bleriot (1872-1936) decides that its
monoplane design is superior to his biplane. (OTM)
• In 1938... Only seven months after its first flight, the prototype Heinkel He 115
V1 begins a series of flights breaking eight seaplane speed records by carrying
loads between 1,100 lb. and 4,400 lb. over distances of 1,000 km (621 miles)
and 2,000 km (1,242 miles) at an average speed of 204 mph. The He 115 is the
Luftwaffe's most successful seaplane. (F&F)
• In 1952... Two USAF F-84 Thunderjets land in Neubiberg, Germany after the
longest sustained jet flight; they flew 2,800 miles from the USA in 4 hours 48
minutes, without refueling. (AYY)
March 19
• In 1909... The International Aero and Motor-Boat Exhibition opens in London.
Among the exhibits is a Wright airplane for sale at $7,000. (AYY)
• In 1912... The first of the U. S. Signal Corps Scout series capable of meeting a
specification issued February 8, 1912, the S. C. No.8 is delivered to Augusta,
Georgia by Curtiss pilot Charles F. Walsh. It finally passes all tests at College
Park, Maryland in May with Lincoln Beachey at the controls (F&F)
• In 1918... U. S. airplanes in France make the first operational flights. (OTM)
• In 1969... The first scheduled jet air service inside the Arctic Circle begins as
Nordair inaugurates a weekly return service between Montreal, Canada and
Resolution Bay, Cornwallis Island, Canada. (OTM)
March 20
• In 1920... Two South African pilots complete the first flight from Britain to
South Africa after a flying time of four days, 13 hours, 30 minutes. (AYY)
• In 1922... The CV-1 Langley, America's first aircraft carrier, is commissioned
into the U. S. Navy at Norfolk, Virginia under the command of Comdr. Kenneth
Whiting. (F&F)
• In 1932... The airship Graf Zeppelin begins a series of flights between Germany
and Brazil. Several round-trips are planned per year, embarkation being at
Friedrichshafen bound for Recife and later to Rio de Janeiro. (F&F)
• In 1937... An attempted round-the-world flight by leading US woman aviator
Amelia Earhart ends dramatically when the starboard tire of her Lockheed
Electra airliner bursts during take-off from Honolulu, Hawaii. Because of
damage, the expedition is temporary abandoned. The first leg from Oakland,
California to Honolulu on March 17 was made in 16 hours, an east/west record.
March 21
• In 1877... Maurice Farman (1877-1964), aviation pioneer and manufacturer, is
born in Paris, France. In 1908, he made the first circular flight of more than
one mile (1,6 km) with his brother, Henri. (OTM)
• In 1908... Henri Farman covers 6,275 feet in 3 minutes 47 seconds in his Voisin-
Farman No.1 bis at Issy-les-Moulineaux. (AYY)
• In 1933... James L. Kinney makes the first cross-country test of blind flying and
landing from College Park, Maryland to Newark, New Jersey. (AYY)
• In 1933... Fairey's TSR.1 torpedo spotter-reconnaissance airplane makes its first
flight at Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England. (AYY)
March 22
• In 1915... The term naval aviator is adapted for U. S. Navy officer pilots to
replace the identification navy air pilot in official terminology. This term is still
in use today. (F&F)
• In 1989... The first and only Antonov An-225 built establishes 106 new Federal
Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) world records in several classes, most
important of which is a speed of 813.09 km/h (505.2 mph) carrying a payload in
the 70 -155 metric ton (154,320 - 341,710 lb.) class around a closed circuit of
2,000 km (1,243 miles). (F&F)
March 23
• In 1903... The Wright brothers file a patent request for a powered flying
machine based on the second (modified) version of their 1902 glider
successfully tested at Kill Devil Hill. (F&F)
• In 1908... French industrialist Lazare Weiller signs a contract with the Wrights
establishing a Wright airplane company in France, on condition that the
brothers make two demonstration flights covering 50 km (31.1 miles) within a
hour's flying time. They will receive FF500, 000 and half the founders' share
• In 1921... Lieutenant Arthur Hamilton sets a new world record when he jumps
by parachute from 24,400 feet. (AYY)
• In 1932... Flying a Bleriot 110, French aviators Lucien Bossoutrot and Maurice
Rossi take off for a record closed-circuit distance of 6,587.442 miles at Oran,
Algeria. (F&F)
• In 1948... Test pilot Gp. Capt. John Cunningham sets a new Federal
Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) ratified world altitude record of 18,118 m
(59446 ft.) during tests with the third production D. H. 100 Vampire (serial no.
TG278). (F&F)
March 24
• In 1904... The Wrights apply for a German patent for their airplane. Two days
ago they applied for a French one. (AYY)
• In 1909... The Wright brothers found a school in the USA to train pilots for
exhibition flights. The first pupil is a childhood friend, Walter Brookins, 21,
from Dayton. Because Dayton's weather is not good enough, Orville Wright sets
up the school at Montgomery, Alabama, where winds are generally light. (AYY)
• In 1932... Jim Mollison leaves Lympne, Kent, England at the start of a record-
breaking attempt to fly to South Africa in a D. H. 80A Puss Moth (G-ABKG)
specially modified as a long-range single seater. His time was 4 days 17 hours
19 minutes. (F&F)
• In 1939... American woman air record-breaker Jacqueline Cochran achieves a
woman's altitude record of 30,052 ft. 5 in. over Palm Spring, California in a
Beechcraft Model 17. (F&F)
• In 1971... As a result of votes in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives,
Boeing cancels its supersonic transport. The elaborate, full-size mock-up is
eventually sold to a promotion specialist who puts it in a Florida amusement
park. (F&F)
March 25
• In 1917... One of the greatest fighter pilots of WWI, Canada-born Lt. Col.
William Avery Bishop, scores his first combat victory over an Albatros single-
seat fighter while flying a Nieuport. (F&F)
• In 1926... Willie Messerschmitt, a graduate of Munich Technical High School and
already an experienced designer of light aircraft and sailplanes, forms the
Messerschmitt Flugzeugbau G.m.b.H. (F&F)
• In 1960... The first NASA flight in the X-15 hypersonic research program gets
under way when test pilot Joseph A. Walker makes the first of his flights in this
aircraft. (F&F)
• In 1993... The first woman Concorde pilot makes her first flight as First Officer
of the daily supersonic London-New York route. British-born, Barbara Harmer,
is one of only 17 co-pilots in the British Airways Concorde fleet. (AYY)
March 26
• In 1922... One of the first small commercial transport aircraft built upon
experience from passenger flying and the requirements of airline operators,
makes its first flight from Edgware, near London. The 10-seat passenger D. H.
34, with a top speed of 128 mph and a cruising speed of 105 mph has a range of
365 miles. (F&F)
• In 1934... Piloted by John Lankester Parker and with three passengers on
board, the first landplane derivative of the Short Kent flying boat takes off to
the air for the first time. Named Scylla (G-ACJJ), the big biplane is followed by
Scyrinx (G-ACJK) for the busy Imperial Airways routes into continental Europe.
• In 1938... Arthur Clouston and Victor Ricketts land their D. H. 88 Comet
Australian Anniversary at Gravesend in Kent, England to complete a 26,500-
mile flight from England to New Zealand and back in a record 10 days 21 hours.
March 27
• In 1907... Romanian Trajan Vuia begins tests of his airplane, newly fitted with
steering surfaces. He makes a short flight of 33 feet in Paris, France. (AYY)
• In 1927... Young American airmail pilot Charles A. Lindbergh registers his entry
in the Raymond Orteig challenge for the first man to cross the Atlantic Ocean
solo. The challenge and a $25,000 prize, has been issued in 1920, but no one
has so far been successful in making the flight. (F&F)
• In 1946... An air agreement is signed by France and the US giving Air France the
right to serve the cities of Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
• In 1968... Yuri Gagarin, in April 1961 first man in space, is killed in the crash of
a MiG-15UTI trainer near the Soviet capital Moscow. (AYY)
• In 1984... British Airways inaugurates a Concorde service from London to Miami
twice weekly. The service operates through Washington-Dulles, necessitating a
50-minute stopover. The overall trip lasts 6 hours 35 minutes, a saving
approximately 2.5 hours over the direct flight by subsonic airliners. The round-
trip fare is quoted a £2,509. (F&F)
March 28
• In 1843... William Samuel Henson (1805-1888) receives the patent and
publishes in London his design for an Aerial Steam Carriage. This is the first
reasoned, formulated, and detailed design for a propeller-driven aircraft.
• In 1908... Leon Delagrange makes the first passenger flight, taking Farman
aboard his Voisin biplane at Issy-les-Moulieaux. (AYY)
• In 1910... The first flight of Henri Fabre's Hydroavion, the first powered
seaplane in the world, takes place at La Mède harbor, Martigues, France. The
hydroplane flies for about 1,600 ft. at the maximum height of 7 ft (F&F)
• In 1936... National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) commences
operational use of the newly constructed 8-ft.-high speed tunnel (8-Foot HST)
at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, Langley, Virginia. Built as a
companion to the full scale tunnel capable of simulated speeds of up to 118
mph, the new facility can test models and components to 577 mph (Mach 0.75).
March 29
• In 1858... Two men - Brown and Dean - make the first balloon flight in Australia
in a hydrogen balloon named the Australasian. (F&F)
• In 1920... Located about 10 miles due south of the City of London, England,
Waddon Airport at Croydon is used for the first time as London's airport. Until
this date, Hownslow has been considered the capital's main airport. (F&F)
• In 1951... Flight Safety Inc. begins operations at the Marine Air Terminal at
LaGuardia Airport, New York with just one secretary and rented late night
hours on a Link trainer simulator. (AYY)
March 30
• In 1928... A resident of Zehden, Germany, Samuel Schwartz, asks German
airline Deutsche Luft Hansa (DLH) for rent for the airspace above his house,
citing law that says his rights extend to the "space above and the ground
beneath" his property. (AYY)
• In 1928... The Federal Aeronautique Internationale (FAI)-ratified world speed
record is pushed through 300 mph for the first time. Flying a specially adapted
Macchi M-52bis seaplane, Italian Maj. Mario de Bernardi achieves a speed of
512.69 km/h (318.64 mph). This is an increase of 20.81 mph over his previous
record. (F&F)
• In 1929... Imperial Airways inaugurates a weekly passenger service from
England to India, part of which would have to be taken by rail. For £130 single
fare, the trip ends in Karachi seven days after leaving England. (F&F)
• In 1939... Piloted by Flugkapitän Hans Dieterle, the Heinkel He 100 V8/R (serial
no. D-IDGH) seizes the absolute world air speed record from Hermann Wurster,
who has flown his Bf 109 to 379 mph. The pilot achieves four legs of a course at
Oranienburg to record an average speed of 463.92 mph, adding 70 mph to the
previous record. (F&F)
March 31
• In 1912... The world's first hydroplane competitions, held in Monaco, over the
past week, has been a runaway success for Farman biplanes. Belgian Jules
Fisher is the overall winner. He is one of only two non-French pilots of the
eight starters and flies a Henry Farman machine. (AYY)
• In 1975... A specially modified Royal Canadian Air Force de Havilland CC-115
(DMC-5 Buffalo) makes its first flight carrying an inflatable air-cushion landing
system beneath the fuselage. (F&F)
• In 1979... The British government announces development and production costs
for the Concorde supersonic airliner since November 29, 1962, when agreement
was reached with France to design and built the aircraft. Through December
31, 1978, the French government spent a total of £920 million whereas the
British spent £898 million. The total cost of £1.818 billion would increase by a
further £163 million, before government funding ceased. (F&F)
Aviation History Facts: April
April 1
• In 1904... Using a glider imperfectly modeled by Ernest Archdeacon on an
outdated Wright design, artillery captain Ferdinand Ferber launched himself
into a short hop from a massive dune in Berc-Sur-Mer, Normandy, France. (AYY)
• In 1918... The United Kingdom's Royal Air Force is born. It is formed out the
army's Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. (AYY)
• In 1921... French pilot Adrienne Bollard takes off from Mendoza, Argentina in a
Cauldron biplane to become the first woman to fly over the Andes. She
completes the historic Andean crossing to the Chilean capital, Santiago in 10
hours. (AYY)
• In 1953... BEA (British European Airways) and Air France introduce tourist-class
fares on their European routes. (AYY)
• In 1976... Lufthansa's first two Airbus A300Bs enter service. They will fly
between Frankfurt and Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Stuttgart and London. (AYY)
April 2
• In 1794... The world's first air force, the Aerostatic Corps of the Artillery
Service is formed in France following a demonstration ascent from the gardens
of the Chalais-Meudon on the outskirts of Paris in the hydrogen balloon
L'Entreprenant, the first used for military tests. (F&F)
• In 1937... Swedish airplane manufacturer Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (SAAB)
is established in Trollhättan, Sweden. (AYY)
• In 1997... A Boeing 777, powered by twin Rolls-Royce Trent 892 turbofans,
returns to Seattle to set a new Eastbound speed around the world record of 553
mph. En route, the twinjet sets a Great Circle distance without landing record
of 12,455.34 miles when flying from Seattle to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AYY)
April 3
• In 1933... Two British-built aircraft, the prototype Westland Wapiti V modified
into the Wallace (G-ACBR), become the first to fly over the top of Mt. Everest,
at 29,802 ft. the highest point of land on earth, and to photograph the summit
from above. (F&F)
• In 1954... Quantas introduces tourist-class services on its Kangaroo route from
Sydney to London. (AYY)
April 4
• In 1907... Santos-Dumont, disappointed by his failure on March 27 and shocked
by Charles Voisin's flight of 197 feet shortly afterwards, tries again with his Nº
14bis. He makes a short flight of 164 feet in Saint-Cyr, France. (AYY)
• In 1946... Sears, Roebuck & Company begins a new, regular weekly overnight
shipment of women's clothing from New York to the West Coast by airplane.
• In 1947... The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is officially
founded in Montreal, Canada. It is an intergovernmental organization,
established to regulate air transportation on a worldwide basis, its authority
restricted only by the number of signatory nations. (AYY)
• In 1966... British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) opens its first scheduled
service to Mexico, flying to Mexico City via Bermuda and Kingston, Jamaica.
April 5
• In 1937... The first jet aircraft designed and built in Czechoslovakia, the Aero
L-29 Delfin, makes its first flight. Over 3,000 of these two-seater jet trainers
are produced for the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact air forces. (OTM)
• In 1937... The Douglas Aircraft Company takes over Northrop. (AYY)
April 6
• In 1890... Anthony Herman Gerald Fokker, Dutch pioneer airman and aircraft
manufacturer, is born in Kediri, Java. His Fokker D.VIII was one of the finest
all-around fighters of the WWI. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen and his
Fokker T-2 made the first non-stop flight across the U.S. In 1926, the North
Pole was over flown in a Fokker trimotor airplane. (OTM)
• In 1909... The first machine wholly designed by Anglo-French air pioneer Henry
Farman takes to the air at Bouy, France. Called either the Henry Farman III or,
because it represents a new departure, the HF1, the biplane is the first aircraft
to incorporate practical ailerons attached to the trailing edges of the wings.
• In 1924... The first successful flight around the world starts as four Douglas
World Cruisers leave from Seattle, Washington. Of the four, only two complete
the circumnavigation as they each fly 27,553 miles (44,340 km) in 175 days,
and return to Seattle on September 28. The actual flying time is 371 hours, 11
minutes, and the successful pilots are Lt. Lowell H. Smith and Lt. Erik Nelson.
• In 1949... A Sikorsky S-51 completes a record helicopter flight of 3,750 miles
from Elizabeth, New Jersey to Port Angeles, Washington. (AYY)
• In 1967... Trans World Airlines (TWA) becomes the first American airline to
have a fleet composed entirely of jet aircraft. (OTM)
April 7
• In 1906... Charles Rolls, in his new balloon, races Frank Hedges Butler and
friends aboard the Aero Club III. Rolls outdistances his opponents, who come
down at Wimbledon, while he lands at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England.
• In 1908... The members of the Aerial Experiment Association enter a
competition sponsored by the Scientific American, which has offered $25,000
for a flight of over 0.62 miles. The Wrights refuse to enter because the rules
state the airplane must take off without help. (AYY)
• In 1922... The first Corps Observation Group, under the command of Col.
William Mitchell, makes its first patrol, led by Maj. Ralph Royce, and thus
becomes the first American squadron to go into action in Europe. (F&F)
April 8
• In 1931... Amelia Earhart climbs to a record altitude of 18,415 feet in a Pitcairn
autogyro at Willow Grove, near Philadelphia. (AYY)
• In 1940... The U.S. Navy places a contract with Grumman for two prototypes of
the XTBF-1, later named Avenger, a chunky mid-wing monoplane that would
become the U.S. Navy's standard carrier torpedo bomber of World War II. (FF)
April 9
• In 1929... The French airline Air Union starts to operate a nightly service from
Paris to London. (AYY)
• In 1960... The giant Tupolev Tu-114 Rossiya sets a new world speed record for
propeller-driven airplanes of 545.07 mph. It was carrying a 55,116-pound
payload at the time and flew around an official 3,107-mile closed circuit in the
• In 1969... The first U.K.-assembled supersonic transport, Concorde 002, makes
a successful first flight in England. (OTM)
• In 1976... Air France opens its second supersonic service, from Paris to Caracas,
Venezuela; the Concorde takes six hours, including a stop at the Azores. (AYY)
April 10
• In 1837... The earliest known aeronautical experiment in Canada is conducted
by Canadian schoolteacher John Rae. He successfully launches a paper balloon
able to carry weight. Its lift is provided by the heating of its blackened surface
by the sun. (OTM)
• In 1926... Lindberg becomes chief pilot for Robertson Aircraft Corp, flying a
Saint Louis to Chicago mail route. (AYY)
• In 1969... The Royal Norwegian Air Force is the first European air service to
take delivery of the Lockheed P-3B Orion. (AYY)
April 11
• In 1908... Delagrange flies 12,878 feet in six minutes, 30 seconds in his Voisin-
Delagrange Nº 2 in Paris. (AYY)
• In 1911... The U.S. Army sets up its first permanent flying school at College
Park, Maryland. (AYY)
• In 1934... Comdr. Renato Donati of the Italian Regia Aeronautica sets a new
world altitude record by flying a much modified Caproni Ca. 113 biplane to a
height of 47,352 ft. The same aircraft is also used by the Contessa Carina
Negrone in 1935 to set a new altitude record for women of 39,402 ft. (F&F)
April 12
• In 1911... Lt. T. Gordon Ellyson becomes the Navy's first pilot. (AYY)
• In 1911... Pierre Prier makes the first non-stop passenger flight, traveling from
London to Paris. (AYY)
• In 1918... The Loughead brothers fly their seaplane, the F-1, from Santa
Barbara to San Diego. (AYY)
• In 1961... At 9:07 am, Moscow time, the Soviet rocket Vostok 1 takes off from
Tyuratam in central Asia, launching Flight-Major Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin into
space and the history books. After a single orbit, the first human in space lands
safely back at the space center at Baikonur, Kazakhstan. (AYY)
• In 1972... Members of the USAF's 31st Aerospace Rescue Squadron pick up
Charles Lindbergh and a scientific team from the jungle on Mindanao Island,
Philippines, after their helicopter crashed while on an anthropological survey.
April 13
• In 1919... The Vickers Vimy Commercial, a civilian version of the bomber with
an enclosed fuselage capable of holding a maximum of ten passengers, makes
its maiden flight in Kent, England. (AYY)
• In 1925... The first regular U.S. air-freight service is initiated by Henry Ford,
linking Detroit, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois. (OTM)
• In 1966... Boeing announces in Seattle an order worth $525 million from Pan
Am for 25 Model 747 jumbo jets. (AYY)
• In 1989... The first flight-tests of the Pratt & Whitney / Alison propfan engine
are carried out in the U.S. (AYY)
April 14
• In 1900... The spectacular Paris International Exhibition opens. Clement Ader's
Avion III is one of the exhibits. (AYY)
• In 1906... In Dayton, Ohio, the Wrights send letters to the German, Italian,
Japanese and Russian ministers of war offering to sell their airplane. (AYY)
• In 1926... France and Germany sign an air treaty in Paris; since 1923, the
Germans had seized 15 airplanes of the French-based airline CFRNA (now
CIDNA) which were forced to land on German soil. (AYY)
April 15
• In 1909... A crowd at the Centocelle Field, Rome, Italy, sees Wilbur Wright
make a 10-minute flight in which he reaches an altitude of 98 feet. (AYY)
• In 1925... The U.S. Navy begins a program of daily flights to an altitude of
10,000 ft. from the Anacostia Naval Air Station in Washington, DC. The main
purpose of these flights is to obtain weather data and to test upper-air
sounding equipment that collects information that could be used to forecast
weather. (F&F)
• In 1947... BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) opens its first regular
service to Canada; it is a weekly flight by a Constellation from London to
Montreal. (AYY)
April 16
• In 1912... Harriet Quimby, the first American woman pilot, lands after a solo
flight across the English Channel from Dover to Calais, France. (AYY)
• In 1941... Igor I. Sikorsky impressively demonstrates the capabilities of his VS-
300 helicopter by hovering virtually motionless over Stratford (Connecticut)
Airport for one hour, five minutes. Powered by a large, 90-hp engine, it sets a
new helicopter record. (OTM)
• In 1973... The Florida State Senate votes unanimously to restore the name
"Cape Canaveral" to the NASA establishment which was renamed "Cape
Kennedy" shortly after the President's assassination. (AYY)
April 17
• In 1913... Briton Gustav Hamel lands after a non-stop flight of 4 hours and 18
minutes from Dover, England, to Cologne, Germany in a Blériot XI. (AYY)
• In 1926... Western Air Express starts its service between Los Angeles and Salt
Lake City. (AYY)
• In 1970... A Sikorsky CH-53D helicopter flies between London and Paris to
demonstrate that modern helicopters can provide reliable inter-city services.
April 18
• In 1916... The first all-American air squadron in Europe is formed at the French
spa town of Luxevil-les-Bains. Nieuport Squadron Nº 124, unofficially know as
the "Escadrille Américaine" [American Squadron], is composed of volunteers
who will be under the command of a French captain, Georges Thénault. (AYY)
• In 1917... William E. Boeing's Pacific Aero Products Company is renamed the
"Boeing Airplane Company." (AYY)
• In 1952... The biggest jet airline ever built, the Convair YB-60, makes a
successful first flight at Carswell Air Force Base at Fort Worth, Texas. (AYY)
• In 1958... US Navy Lieutenant-Commander George Watkins flies from Edwards
Air Base in California to a world record absolute altitude within the atmosphere
of 76,932 feet in a Grumman F11F-1 Tiger. (AYY)
• In 1986... Marcel Bloch, 94, dies. Under his professional name of Marcel
Dassault he was the most famous of France's airplane designers. (AYY)
April 19
• In 1907... Louis Blériot flies and crashes his powered monoplane Nº V at
Bagatelle, France. (AYY)
• In 1924... The Argentinean Marquis de I. Pescara's helicopter establishes in
France a flying record of 2,550 feet (c. 777 meters) in 4 minutes, 11 seconds.
This helicopter provides for auto-rotation (free blade rotation) in case of
engine failure. This invention is a life-saving device, as it allows for a measure
of control and lift. (OTM)
• In 1945... The International Air Transport Association (IATA), an inter-airline
body to fix rates and ensure cooperation on safety procedures, is formed; it
succeeds the International Air Traffic Association, set up in 1919. (AYY)
April 20
• In 1861... Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, American inventor and balloonist, makes a
balloon trip from Cincinnati, Ohio to the South Carolina coast in 9 hours. (OTM)
• In 1935... The first passengers leave for Australia on a new Imperial
Airways/QANTAS service; the first Australian departures were made from
Brisbane on April 17. (AYY)
• In 1959... Aeroflot puts the 84 to 110-seater Ilyushin IL-18, its first turboprop,
into service from Moscow to Alma Ata, Kazakhstan, and Adler, now Sochi, on
the Black Sea. (AYY)
April 21
• In 1914... The first news movie shot from the air is filmed by cameraman B.C.
Hucks, Warwick Bioscope Chronicle Film, England. He flies down to within 400
ft. of the royal yacht with King George aboard, crossing the English Channel
from Dover, England to Calais, France. (F&F)
• In 1928... Australian explorer Hubert Wilkins and his American pilot Carl Ben
Eielson arrive in Spitzbergen, Norway after making the first ever crossing of the
Arctic by airplane. They left Point Barrow, Alaska, on April 15th in their
Lockheed Vega. (AYY)
• In 1961... USAF Major Robert White pilots the X-15A research airplane from
Edwards Air Force Base in California on its first flight at full throttle, reaching a
speed of 3,074 mph at an altitude of 79,000 feet, before climbing to 105,100
feet. (AYY)
April 22
• In 1912... Englishman Denys Corbett Wilson flies across St. George's Channel
between England and Ireland. (AYY)
• In 1971... Britain and France give the go-ahead for four more Concordes,
bringing the total to ten. (AYY)
• In 1985... Pan Am sells its Pacific division to United Air Lines for $750 million;
the deal includes all Pan Am's Pacific routes as well as its complete fleet of
long-range 747SPs, half its TriStars and one DC-10. (AYY)
April 23
• In 1939... The U.S. Civil Aeronautics Authority raises the eligibility age for
obtaining a private pilot license to 18 years from the previous 16 years of age.
• In 1988... The U.S. government's ban on smoking on flights of two hours or less
goes into effect. "No Smoking" signs remain lit on 80% of domestic airline
flights. Flight attendants are to be armed with gum and candy for those in
anguish. (AYY)
• In 1994... Airbus delivers the first of 25 Airbus A300-600F dedicated freighters
to the specialized package carrier, FedEx. This all-cargo version can carry up to
a maximum payload of 120,855 lb over a range of 1,900 nautical miles. (AYY)
April 24
• In 1909... Wilbur Wright makes five flights in Centocelle, Italy with King Victor
Emmanuel III of Italy present. During one flight, a Universal News Agency
cameraman accompanies him and takes the first motion pictures from an
airplane in flight. (OTM)
• In 1911... Lts. M. Longmore and C. R. Samson are the first British Royal Navy
officers to qualify as pilots, after just two month's training. (AYY)
• In 1917... Lt. Col. William "Billy" Mitchell becomes the first U.S. Army officer to
fly over German lines. (AYY)
• In 1946... First flights of the first Soviet designed and built jet aircrafts, MiG-9
and Yak-15, are made. A member of the company test team for the Yak-15,
Olga Yamschikova, is probably the first woman to fly a turbojet-powered
aircraft when she flies in 1947. (OTM)
• In 1946... Winged Cargo Inc. opens an unusual freight service in which goods
are carried in a Waco CG-4A glider towed by a DC-3. (AYY)
April 25
• In 1922... Known as the Stout ST-1, the first all-metal airplane designed for the
U.S. Navy makes its first flight piloted by Eddie Stinson. (F&F)
• In 1940... McGee Airways pioneers the transportation of fresh meat and milk to
the Alaskan interior. (AYY)
• In 1972... The world straight-line distance record for a single-seat sailplane is
set by German Hans Werner Grosse, who sails 907 miles (1,460 km) in a
Sleicher AS-W12 sailplane. (OTM)
April 26
• In 1949... Dick Reider and Bill Barris set a world endurance record for a flight-
refueled aircraft in the U.S. They flew continuously in their Aeronca Chief light
aircraft for 1,008 hours, one minute (over six weeks). They received food and
fuel handed up from a speeding vehicle four times a day. (OTM) (1949). (OTM)
• In 1962... In utmost secrecy at the remote airfield in Groom Dry Lake, Nevada,
the first Lockheed A-12 makes its first flight. It is the first of a family of top-
secret spyplanes. (AYY)
• In 1972... The first Lockheed L-1011 TriStar enters scheduled service, with
Eastern Air Lines, on its route from Miami to New York. (AYY)
• In 1987... The first full-scale prototype of Saab's hi-tech JAS 39 Gripen fighter
is unveiled in Sweden. (AYY)
• In 1995... A Mikoyan MiG-29 sets a new FAI class C-1h world altitude record of
90,092 ft. (AYY)
April 27
• In 1839... John Wise, an American, introduces the balloon ripping-panel, a
glued section that the pilot can pull open for quick emptying of the balloon
after landing. This prevents the balloon from being dragged along the ground.
• In 1905... Under the supervision of Samuel F. Cody, Sappy Moreton of the
British Army's Balloon Section reaches 2,600 feet beneath a mancarrying kite in
Aldershot, England. (AYY)
• In 1913... In a floatplane, Bob Fowler makes the first flight with a passenger in
Central America (and the first flight in Panama) when he flies with film
cameraman Raymond Duhem from the Atlantic to the Pacific, flying 40 miles
across the Panama isthmus in 57 minutes. En route, Duhem makes the first
aerial film of Central America. (AYY)
• In 1929... Squadron Leader A.G. Jones-Williams and Flight Lieutenant N.H.
Jenkins complete the first non-stop flight from England to India; they fly the
4,130 miles in 50 hours, 37 minutes in a Fairey Long-Range Monoplane. (AYY)
April 28
• In 1919... American Leslie Irvin makes the first jump from an airplane using a
free-type (to be opened at will by a rip chord) back pack parachute and lands
at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio. The parachute is designed by Floyd Smith.
• In 1924... Imperial Airways inaugurates its London/Paris service. (AYY)
• In 1927... The first airmail service north of the Arctic Circle begins between
Fairbanks and Wiseman, Alaska. (AYY)
• In 1937... The first commercial flight across the Pacific is made as a Pan-
American Boeing 314 Clipper seaplane arrives in Hong Kong. (OTM)
• In 1948... The first non-stop Paris/New York flight is made by an Air France
sleeper Constellation; the journey from Orly airport, near Paris, takes 16 hours,
1 minute. (AYY)
April 29
• In 1905... In Santa Clara, California, Daniel Maloney is launched from a
tethered balloon to make a free flight in a tandem-wing glider, which
"Professor" Montgomery, a schoolteacher and keen amateur aviator, has
designed. (AYY)
• In 1931... The Boeing B-9 bomber flies for the first time and marks the next
step in airframe development in the evolution of the Boeing 247, the first
modern-type airliner. (OTM)
• In 1964... British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) introduces the VC10 jet
airliner into regular passenger service, on its route to Lagos, Nigeria. (AYY)
• In 1968... United Air Lines becomes the first carrier to put the Boeing 737-200,
a larger capacity version of the standard 737, into service. (AYY)
• In 1988... The first flight of the Boeing 747-400 is made. This Advanced
Superjet has a crew of two and can carry between 412 and 509 passengers over
8,000 miles. Sales in 1990 of 170 of these wide-body transports broke all
records. (OTM)
April 30
• In 1904... The St. Louis exposition opens. Octave Chanute exhibits a replica of
his biplane glider of 1896, which he launches by using an electric winch. (AYY)
• In 1917... Pacific Aero Products Company changes its name to Boeing Airplane
Company, with William E. Boeing as its president. (OTM)
• In 1919... The Air Navigation Directions, laying down rules for aircraft
registration and pilot licensing, are published in London. (AYY)
• In 1928... British pilot Lady Mary Bailey lands to complete a flight from England
to Cape Town, South Africa. She took off on March 9th. (AYY)
• In 1932... An international code of air traffic communication is formally
established, following the decision to do so at a 1927 conference in
Washington,DC. The new code is based on a series of three-letter code starting
with the letter "Q" . (AYY)
• In 1969... The first woman airline pilot in the West, Turi Widerose of Norway,
makes her first scheduled flight as a first officer for Scandinavian Airlines.
Aviation History Facts: May
May 1
• In 1942... Squadron No. 588 of the Soviet Air Force, an all-woman night-
bombing unit equipped with Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes, is formed in the USSR.
• In 1952... Trans World Airways (TWA), British Overseas Airways Corporation
(BOAC) and Air France launch the world's first scheduled tourist-class flights on
their transatlantic routes from New York, London and Paris. (AYY)
• In 1960... A Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, piloted by U.S. Air Force
Col. Francis Gary Powers, is shot down over the Soviet Union by a surface-to-air
missile (SAM). (OTM)
• In 1963... Jacqueline Cochran takes off from Edwards Air Force Base,
California, to set a 100-km (62-mile) closed-circuit world speed record for
women of 1,203.7mph in a Lockheed Starfighter. (AYY)
May 2
• In 1925... The Douglas C-1 biplane makes its first flight at Santa Monica,
California and during the month completes trials at McCook Field. (F&F)
• In 1952... The world's first regularly scheduled, fare-paying, jet passenger
service opens with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) Comet 1
flight from London to Johannesburg. (F&F)
• In 1958... Roger Carpentier beats Watkin's two-week-old world altitude record
when he flies to 79,452 feet in a Sud-Ouest SO 9050 in Istres, France. (AYY)
• In 1966... British European Airways (BEA) opens the first jet service between
London Heathrow and Glasgow, using de Havilland Comet 4Bs. (AYY)
May 3
• In 1907... The Wright brothers are elected honorary members of the Vienna
Aviation Club, Austria. (AYY)
• In 1923... U.S. Air Service Fokker T-2 pilots Lts. Oakley G. Kelly and John A.
Macready complete the first non-stop flight across the United States in 26
hours, 50 minutes, 38.4 seconds from Roosevelt Field, Long Island to
Wickenburg, Arizona. (F&F)
• In 1952... The first landing at the North Pole is made by Americans Lt. Col.
William P. Benedict and Lt. Col. J. O. Fletcher on a ski-and-wheel equipped Air
Force Douglas C-47. (OTM)
• In 1976... Pan Am's 747SP Clipper Liberty Bell returns after a world record for a
round-the-world flight of 1 day, 22 hours, 26 minutes: it took off on May 1 and
refueled in Delhi and Tokyo. (AYY)
May 4
• In 1911... The U.S. War Department approves a suggestion that S.C.No.1 (the
Wright Flyer accepted by the Army August 2, 1909) be put at the disposal of
the Smithsonian Institution for exhibition purposes following refurbishment.
• In 1924... The first helicopter flight in a closed circle is made in France by
Etienne Oehmichen's helicopter No.2. The previous month, it established a
world record by flying 1,182 feet (360 meters). (OTM)
May 5
• In 1930... The first solo flight from England to Australia by a woman is made by
British Amy Johnson in a De Havilland D.H.60G Moth. She flies from Croydon,
England to Darwin, Australia in 19 days. (OTM)
• In 1961... Commander Alan B. Shepard, Jr., U.S. Navy, becomes the second
man to explore space when he rides his Mercury Freedom 7 capsule, launched
by a Redstone missile, to 115 miles above the Earth. It is three weeks since Yuri
Gagarin's first manned space flight. (AYY)
• In 1968... The first non-stop Atlantic crossing by an executive jet aircraft is
made as a Grumman Gulfstream II lands in London, England after completing a
3,500-mile (5,633 km) flight from Teterboro, New Jersey. (OTM)
May 6
• In 1896... After four years of work and failed flights, Samuel P. Langley
succeeds in obtaining good results with his steam-powered, model-size,
tandem-wing airplane. His model No.5 makes a flight of 3,300 feet (c. 1 km).
• In 1908... The Wright brothers fly for the first time since 1905, at Kitty Hawk.
Wilbur pilots the 1905 Flyer III, modified so that the pilot and a passenger can
sit erect, on a flight of just over 1,000 feet. (AYY)
• In 1919... The first commercial flight, from Canada to United States, occurs as
a Canadian Curtiss aircraft flies 150 pounds of raw furs from Toronto to
Elizabeth, New Jersey. It is not a non-stop flight. (OTM)
• In 1941... Igor Sikorsky pilots the Sikorsky VS-300 helicopter in Stratford,
Connecticut, on a flight of 1 hour, 32 minutes, 26 seconds, a world endurance
record for a helicopter (AYY)
May 7
• In 1936... Amy Mollison lands at Wingfield Aerodrome, Cape Town, South
Africa, to set a new record of 3 days, 6 hours, 26 minutes for a flight from
England. (AYY)
• In 1937... The first successful pressurized airplane cabin is achieved in the
Lockheed XC-35. (OTM)
• In 1979... Air France is the first airline to operate the Lockheed L-1011-500, a
long-range version of the TriStar with shorter fuselage, more powerful engines,
and improved aerodynamics. (AYY)
May 8
• In 1926... The first federal legislation regulating civil aeronautics is passed by
the U.S.Congress. The Air Commerce Act authorizes the Weather Bureau to
provide meteorological service over routes designated by the Secretary of
Commerce. (OTM)
• In 1935... The U.S. Commerce Department announces in Washington, D.C. that
blind-landing radio equipment developed by a U.S. Army Air Corps team under
Captain Hegenberger is to be installed at all major airports between New York
and Los Angeles. (AYY)
• In 1973... The Airbus A300B prototype makes the type's first fully automatic
landing in Toulouse, France. (AYY)
May 9
• In 1926... The first airplane flight over the North Pole is made by Americans Lt.
Cdr. Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett in a Fokker F-VII/3m. Their total
distance from Spitzbergen, Norway is 1,600 miles (2,575 km). (OTM)
• In 1932... U.S. Army Air Corps Captain A. F. Hegenberger has become the first
pilot in the world to make a "blind" landing using instruments alone, with no
back-up co-pilot on board in Dayton, Ohio. (AYY)
• In 1936... The German airship Hindenburg lands at Lakehurst, New Jersey after
its first scheduled transatlantic flight. (OTM)
• In 1983... The first all-woman flight crew to fly a round trip across the Atlantic
is the Air France C-141 crew form the 18th Military Airlift Squadron, McGuire
Air Force Base, New Jersey. (OTM)
May 10
• In 1919... The recently formed Avro Transport Company in Manchester opens
Britain's first scheduled air service. A fare of four guineas (£4.20) is being
charged for the journey of 50 miles. The company is using four of Avro 504K
aircraft, modified to carry two passengers. (AYY)
• In 1961... A Convair B-58A cruises at a speed of 1,302mph (2,095kph) and wins
the Blériot trophy, created 30 years ago for the first airplane to maintain a
speed of more than 2,000 kph for more than 30 minutes in a closed circuit.
• In 1983... Airspur Helicopters introduces the Westland 30 helicopter into
scheduled airline service. (AYY)
May 11
• In 1911... Edouard Niéport, a racing cyclist before he went into aircraft
construction, sets a new speed record of 74.4mph flying his "Nieuport"
monoplane powered by a 28-hp engine. (AYY)
• In 1926... The first airship flight over the North Pole and the first crossing of
the Arctic Ocean is made by Roald Amundsen of Norway, Umberto Nobile of
Italy, Lincoln Ellsworth of the United States, and their crew in an Italian-built
semi-rigid airship, N-1, Norge. (OTM)
• In 1927... Charles Lindbergh lands his new Ryan airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis,
in St. Louis after a record non-stop overnight flight from San Diego of 14 hours,
25 minutes. (AYY)
May 12
• In 1949... The USSR ends its blockade of Berlin, Germany; the Western airlift
continues to build up supplies in the city. (AYY)
• In 1963... American flyer Betty Miller lands in Brisbane, Australia, to complete
the first transpacific flight by a woman; she left Oakland, California, on April
30. (AYY)
• In 1964... American flyer Joan Merriam Smith lands her Pipe Apache to
complete the second round-the-world flight by a woman; she took 56 days.
May 13
• In 1927... Colonial Air Transport offers a sightseeing trip from Teterboro, New
Jersey, around New York City for just $8, less than the price of a similar trip in
a taxi. (AYY)
• In 1940... The first successful free flight of a true helicopter is made by Igor I.
Sikorsky's single-rotor VS-300. (OTM)
May 14
• In 1908... The first passenger flies in an airplane. Wilbur Wright takes Charles
W. Furnas of Dayton, Ohio on a 28 3/5 seconds flight that covers 600 meters at
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. (OTM)
• In 1909... Samuel Cody makes the first powered airplane flight of more than
one mile in Britain. He flies the British Army Aeroplane No.1 from Laffans
Planin to Danger Hill in Hampshire at average height of 30 ft. (F&F)
• In 1915... The U.S. Navy contracts with the Connecticut Aircraft Company for
its first airship. (AYY)
May 15
• In 1918... The first regular air mail service begins with regular flights between
Washington, D.C. and New York City. It is operated by the U.S. Army Signal
Corps. (OTM)
• In 1919... The U.S. Post Office Department begins its first air mail service
operations between Chicago and Cleveland, later extended to New York and
San Francisco. A De Havilland D.H.4-A is carrying the mail (OTM)
• In 1921... Laura Bromwell loops in New York State 199 times in I hour, 20
minutes, setting a new women's record for consecutive loops. (AYY)
• In 1930... The first airline stewardess is Ellen Church, a nurse who flies on the
Boeing Air Transport flight between San Francisco, California and Cheyenne,
Wyoming. (OTM)
May 16
• In 1919... The first transatlantic flight is made in stages by the U.S. Navy's
Curtis N-4 seaplane flown by Lt. Cdr. A. C. Read and his crew. (OTM)
• In 1929... At the first Academy Award ceremonies in Los Angeles, the Oscar for
Best Picture for 1927-1928 goes to the Paramount movie, Wings. This World
War I flying epic remains a classic today. (OTM)
• In 1968... A British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) Super VC10 on a
routine service from Chicago and Montreal makes the airline's first fully
automatic approach and landing in London. (AYY)
May 17
• In 1900... French-born gliding pioneer Octave Chanute replies to a letter from
the Wright brothers. He recommends they study gliding tests carried out by a
number of innovators, including Louis-Pierre Mouillard and Percy Pilcher. (AYY)
• In 1919... The War Department in Washington, D.C. orders the use of the
national insignia on all U.S. military aircrafts. (AYY)
• In 1997... The first flight of the McDonnel Douglas X-36 tailless fighter
technology demonstrator, power for which is provided by a 700 lb. s.t. Williams
International F112 turbofan. The fighter takes off from Edwards AFB,
California. (AYY)
May 18
• In 1907... Wilbur Wright sails for Europe to discuss the sale of his Flyer III in
London, Paris, Moscow and Berlin. (AYY)
• In 1910... International talks open in Paris to draw up a legal basis for flight
between countries. (AYY)
• In 1949... The city's first helicopter, built on Pier 41 by the Hudson River, opens
in New York City. (AYY)
• In 1953... American Jacqueline Cochran becomes the first woman to fly faster
than the speed of sound while flying a Canadian-built North American F-86
Sabre. On the same day, she sets the world speed record for women at 652
mph (1,049 km/h). (OTM)
• In 1966... The first round-the-world solo flight by a woman is made by British
pilot Sheila Scott. She flies 29,000 miles (46,670 km) in stages in her Piper
Copmmanche Myth Too. (OTM)
• In 1983... American Airlines carries its 500 millionth passenger. (AYY)
May 19
• In 1934... The first flight of the Russian Tupolev Ant-20 Maxim Gorkii, at this
time the largest aircraft in the world. Powered by eight engines, capable of
carrying 80 passengers, it is used mainly as a mobile propaganda office. (OTM)
• In 1949... The U.S. Navy flying boat Marshall Mars lands after flying from
Alameda, near San Francisco, with a record 301 passengers. (AYY)
• In 1959... The first Boeing 707-436 Intercontinental destined for British
Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) makes its maiden flight, landing at Boeing
Field, Seattle, after 1 hour, 11 minutes in the air. BOAC ordered 15
Intercontinentals in 1956. (AYY)
May 20
• In 1784... The first women to ascend in a tethered balloon are the Marchioness
de Montalembert, the Contess de Montalenbert, the Contess de Podenas, and
Mademoiselle de Ligarde. Their Montgolfier balloon lifts to the length of the
restraining rope. (OTM)
• In 1927... The first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic is made by Charles
A. Lindbergh. In his Ryan monoplane Spirit of St. Louis, he covers 3,600 miles in
33 hours, 29 minutes and wins the Orteig Prize of $25,000. (OTM)
• In 1929... Charles Lindbergh marries Anne, daughter of Dwight W. Morrow, U.S.
Ambassador to Mexico and author of an influential report on American aviation.
• In 1932... The first solo flight by a woman pilot across the Atlantic is made by
American Amelia Earhart. She flies from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland to
Londonderry, Northern Ireland in a Lockheed Vega monoplane in 13 hours, 30
minutes. (OTM)
May 21
• In 1878... Glenn Hammond Curtiss, pioneer of the first years of powered flight
and rival of the Wright brothers, is born in Hammondsport, New York. (OTM)
• In 1946... Royal Dutch Airlines, KLM, inaugurates a scheduled service to New
York. It is the first European airline to open post-war flights to New York. (AYY)
• In 1977... The Concorde makes a special trip from New York to Paris to mark
the 50th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's historic flight on the same route in
the Spirit of St. Louis; the airliner takes just 3 hours, 44 minutes, compared
with Lindbergh's time of 33 hours, 29 minutes. (AYY)
May 22
• In 1906... The Wright brothers are granted US patent No. 821,393 for their
airplane control system. (AYY)
• In 1929... Pan American Airways inaugurates a new passenger service from
Miami, Florida to Managua, Panama with stops at Belize. The journey by a
F.VII/3ns takes 56 hours. (AYY)
• In 1990... The German Luftwaffe flies the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter for the
last time before it is withdrawn from service; the airplane was nicknamed "the
widow-maker" because of its terrible safety record - in its five years of service,
110 Starfighter pilots were killed. (AYY)
May 23
• In 1848... Otto Lilienthal, key figure in the history of flying, is born in Anklam,
Germany. He became the first man to fly (glide) with both regularity and
control. The Wright brothers regarded his 1899 book as their bible. (OTM)
• In 1908... The first airplane flight in Italy is made by Léon Delagrange in Rome.
• In 1924... The first scheduled air service in Canada begins. Laurentide Air
Service Ltd. offers flights between Angliers, Lake Fortune and Rouyn, Quebec.
• In 1955... The first short-haul jet airliner to go into widespread service, the
Sud-Aviation SE 210 Caravelle, makes its first flight at Toulouse, France. (OTM)
May 24
• In 1939... The English Imperial Airways Short Seaplane Cabot is successfully
refueled in mid-air by a Handley Page bomber modified to carry 891 gallons of
aviation fuel. (AYY)
• In 1976... Two Concorde supersonic airliners - one in British Airways colors, the
other in those of Air France - land at Washington's Dulles International Airport.
They are the first Concordes to visit the USA. (AYY)
• In 1982... British Airways retires the Boeing 707; its last scheduled flight is
from Cairo to Heathrow. (AYY)
May 25
• In 1905... Ferdinand Ferber makes his first aerial tests in Chalais-Meodon,
France with his No.6 bis glider fitted with a 12-hp Peugeot motor. (AYY)
• In 1910... Orville Wright takes his 82-year-old father for his first airplane ride.
Also on this day, Wilbur and Orville fly together for the only time in a six-and-
one-half minute flight at Simms Station, near Dayton, Ohio. (OTM)
• In 1999... The first flight of Airbus A319-133X ACJ, or Airbus Corporate Jet, an
airliner-sized business jet takes place. (AYY)
May 26
• In 1923... Lieutenant H. G. Crocker lands at Gordon, Ontario, to complete a
non-stop transcontinental south/north flight from Houston, Texas, of 11 hours,
55 minutes. (AYY)
• In 1942... The Northrop XP-61 Black Widow night fighter prototype flies for the
first time. (AYY)
• In 1970... The prototype Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic airliner reaches a speed of
1,335mph, becoming the first commercial transport in the world to exceed
Mach 2. (AYY)
• In 1972... Cessna Aircraft Corporation announces completion of the company's
100,000th aircraft, becoming the first company in the world to achieve such a
production figure. (OTM)
May 27
• In 1877... A major milestone in Japanese aviation history is accomplished with
the first flight of a military balloon. It has a capacity of 14,000 cu.ft. and is
inflated with coal gas. (F&F)
• In 1924... Adrienne Bolland wins the women's record for looping from Laura
Bromwell, performing the feat 212 times in 1 hour, 1 minute in her Caudron
127 in Paris. (AYY)
• In 1931... A full-scale wind tunnel goes into operation at the National Advisory
Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Laboratory at Langley Field, Virginia. (AYY)
• In 1961... The first crossing of the English Channel by a VTOL (vertical take-off
and landing) aircraft is made by the Short SC.1, which is flown by A. Roberts
from England to Paris for the Paris Air Show. (OTM)
May 28
• In 1912... Capt. Charles de Forest Chandler, commanding officer of the U.S.
Signal Corps Aviation School at College Park, Maryland, receives War
Department form no. 395 AGO, dated February 2, 1912, which was the first
document on U.S. aviation medicine. It dictates that "all candidates for
aviation only shall be subject to a vigorous physical examination to determine
their fitness for duty." (F&F)
• In 1914... Glenn Curtiss successfully flies the refurbished Langley Aerodrome
for a distance of approximately 150 ft. at Keuka Lake, Hammindsport, New
York. (F&F)
• In 1920... The first Lewis & Vought VE-7 (Vought Experimental No.7) is
delivered to the U.S. Navy. (F&F)
May 29
• In 1908... The first passenger flight in Europe occurs as Henri Farman takes up
Ernest Archdeacon for a brief flight at Issy-les-Moulineaux, France. (OTM)
• In 1925... Alan Cobham lands the prototype de Havilland D.H.60 Moth after
flying 1,000 miles to Zurich, Switzerland and back to Croydon, England in a
single day. (AYY)
• In 1934... The Collier trophy for the year's outstanding aviation achievement is
awarded in Washington, D.C. to Hamilton Standard Propeller Company for the
development of the controllable-pitch propeller. (AYY)
• In 1951... Capt. Charles Blair lands in his F-51 piston-engined Mustang after
making the first solo flight across the North Pole in a single-engined aircraft,
from Bardufoss, Norway to Fairbanks, Alaska, covering 3,375 miles in 10 hours,
29 minutes. (AYY)
May 30
• In 1908... The first European flight of over 15 minutes takes place. Léon
Delagrange flies his Voisin-Delagrange in France. (OTM)
• In 1912... Wilbur Wright dies of typhoid fever at the early age of 45. His death
marks the end of his extraordinary partnership with his brother Orville, which
culminated in 1903 with the first true powered flight in history. (AYY)
• In 1949... The first use of a Martin-Baker ejection seat in a genuine emergency
occurs when pilot J. O. Lancaster ejects himself from the Armstrong Whitworth
"flying wing" jet airplane. The seat worked perfectly well. (AYY)
May 31
• In 1862... Information obtained from Thadeus S. C. Lowe's balloon observation
saves Union forces from defeat at the Battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia during the U.
S. Civil War. Union General George McClellan is warned by Lowe of Confederate
General Albert Johnston's approaching troops. (OTM)
• In 1928... The first airplane flight across the Pacific is made by British Capt.
Charles Kingsford-Smith and crew in a Fokker F-VIIB/3m. They fly from Oakland
Field, California to Brisbane, Australia, 7,389 miles (11,890km), in 83 hours, 38
minutes. On the way, it becomes the first airplane to land in Fiji. (OTM)
• In 1995... The first flight of the Schweizer RU-38A Twin Condor long-range
surveillance aircraft takes place in Elmira, New York. (AYY)
Aviation History Facts: June
June 1
• In 1925... A car dealer covers himself in stamps worth $718 in a bid to be sent
airmail from San Francisco to New York; the U.S. Post Office refuses to accept
him. (AYY)
• In 1940... U.S. Army Air Corps announces plans for the construction of the
world's most powerful wind tunnel at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio. (OTM)
• In 1949... A survey conducted by a firm of New York aviation consultants shows
that for the first time in history air travel volume is greater than first class rail
travel. Revenue passengers-miles for domestic airlines totals 603 million
compared to 582 million for Pullman trains. (OTM)
June 2
• In 1794... J. M. J. Coutelle and N. J. Conte of the French army's "Aerostiers" at
Mauberge, France make the first military use of a balloon, when they observe
enemy positions from their captive balloon. (OTM)
• In 1910... Charles Rolls makes a non-stop double crossing of the Channel from
Dover, England, in one hour, 35 minutes. (AYY)
• In 1957... The first solo balloon flight into the stratosphere (the upper portion
of the atmosphere above seven miles) is made by U.S. Capt. Joseph W.
Kittinger, Jr. In his plastic balloon Manhig 1, he stays in the air for six hours, 36
minutes and reaches an altitude of 96,000 feet. (OTM)
• In 1986... The greatest distance achieved by a hang-glider is made by American
Randy Haney who flies an unpowered hang-glider 199.75 miles (321.47 km)
from his takeoff point. (OTM)
June 3
• In 1785... Jean-Pierre Blanchard experiments with a parachute, releasing a silk
parachute 20 feet in diameter, loaded with weight over England. Later he
drops dogs attached to parachutes from his balloon. (OTM)
• In 1936... The British Air Ministry awards a contract to Hawker for 600
Hurricane Mk. 1 fighters, the first of a new breed of high-speed, eight-gun
interceptors for the RAF. This is the biggest peacetime order placed in Britain
to date. (F&F)
• In 1973... The first crash of a supersonic transport aircraft occurs as a Tupolev
Tu-144 goes down during a demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show. (OTM)
June 4
• In 1783... In Annonay, France, the Montgolfier brothers, Joseph-Michel and
Jacques-Etienne, give the first public demonstration of their hot-air balloon by
sending up a large model made of linen lined with paper. (OTM)
• In 1784... Madame Elisabeth Thible of Lyons, France, is the first woman to
make an untethered balloon flight. (AYY)
• In 1927... The first non-stop flight from New York to Eisleben, Germany is made
by Americans Clarence D. Chamberlain and Charles A. Levine in a Bellanca
monoplane. They fly 3,905 miles in 42 hours, 15 minutes. (OTM)
June 5
• In 1909... John Berry and Paul McCullough win the U.S.'s first National Balloon
Race, covering 377.9 miles - from Indianapolis, Indiana to Fort Payne, Alabama
- in 25 hours 35 minutes. (AYY)
• In 1909... The first monoplane flight of over one hour is made by Englishman
Hubert Latham on the Antoinette IV for one hour, seven minutes, 37 seconds.
• In 1963... President Kennedy announces that his administration would seek
funds for the sponsored development of a supersonic transport aircraft. (F&F)
• In 1969... The Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic airliner becomes the first aircraft of
its class to fly through the sound barrier when it exceeds Mach 1 at a height of
36,000 ft. (F&F)
• In 1989... The massive Antonov An-225 Mriya flies in to Paris-Le Bourget for the
1989 Paris Air Show, carrying the Soviet Shuttle Buran on its back. When it
takes of from Kiev to fly to Paris, the combination has a takeoff weight of
1,234,600 lb., the greatest weight ever lifted into the air. (F&F)
June 6
• In 1903... After several stationary stability trials, Ferdinand Ferber makes the
first full trial of his glider No.6. It fails to take off in Nice, France. (AYY)
• In 1910... Robert Martinet wins the first cross-country air race, between Angers
and Saumur, France (27 miles), in a Farman; he takes 31 minutes and 35
seconds. (AYY)
• In 1944... A huge airborne armada, nine planes wide and 200 miles long, carries
American and British troops across the British Channel for the D-Day invasion of
Europe. (OTM)
• In 1964... Silver City Airways (British) announces that it has recorded the one-
millionth car it has flown between the UK cross-Channel car ferry by air in
1948. (OTM)
June 7
• In 1912... Captain Charles Chandler of the U.S. Army Signal Corps test fires a
Lewis gun fitted to a Wright Model B biplane flown by Lieutenant Thomas
Milling in Maryland. It is the first time a machine gun has been fired from an
airplane in the U.S. (AYY)
• In 1920... The U.S. Army orders 20 GAX (Ground Attack Experimental) triplanes
from Boeing as the Model 10, an order later reduced to 10 before the first was
delivered in May 1921. (F&F)
• In 1927... The Supermarine S.5 racer, constructed to take part in the 1927
Schneider cup race, makes its first flight in Suffolk, England, piloted by Flight
Lieutenant O. E. Worsley. (AYY)
June 8
• In 1905... Gabriel Voisin succeeds in lifting off from the river Seine in his box-
kite glider when towed by a motorboat. (AYY)
• In 1920... Lieutenant John Wilson makes a world record parachute jump from
19,861 feet in San Antonio, Texas. (AYY)
• In 1921... The first flight of a U.S. Army Air Service pressurized cabin airplane
is made with a D-9-A aircraft. This allows flying beyond the "comfortable"
breathing altitude of about 8,000 feet. (OTM)
June 9
• In 1861... Two members of the First Rhode Island Regiment, James Allen and
Dr. William H. Helme, make the first U.S. Army trial captive balloon ascent.
• In 1908... The Aeronautical Society of the United States is established in New
York. (AYY)
• In 1916... With an envelope capacity of 170,000 cu. ft. and an endurance of 11
hours, the first of 45 Coastal (C)-type, nonrigid British airships ordered for the
Royal Naval Air Service makes its first flight from the airship station at
Pembroke. (F&F)
• In 1974... The first flight of Northrop YF-17 experimental lightweight fighter is
made. It is built to test what might be called the aerodynamics of agility, with
all of the factors of weight, materials, and design geared to making it as agile
as possible. (OTM)
June 10
• In 1913... Marcel Brindejone des Moulinais wins the Pommeroy cup in Warsaw
for the longest flight between sunrise and sunset, flying 900 miles from Paris.
• In 1953... The final experimental test flight for the turbojet powered #3
Douglas D-558-I Skystreak is flown by A. Scott Crossfield. (F&F)
June 11
• In 1926... The first flight of the Ford A-AT trimotor, an all-metal monoplane
which competes with the three-engine Fokker and becomes a pioneer American
airliner. It is known affectionately as the "Tin Goose." (OTM)
• In 1928... The first rocket-powered manned airplane flight is made by
Frederich Stamer from the Wasserkuppe peak in the Rhön Mountains of
Germany. His tail-first glider flies about one mile. (OTM)
• In 1931... The Handley Page HP-42 four-engine biplane enters service with the
British airline Imperial Airways and sets new standards of passenger service and
comfort. It carries 40 passengers. (OTM)
• In 1971... British pilot Shelia Scott makes the first flight by a light plane from
equator to equator via the North Pole. Flying in a Pipper Aztec D, she covers
34,000 miles (54,718 km). (OTM)
June 12
• In 1909... Louis Blériot flies his Blériot XII monoplane at Issy-les-Moulineaux
with two passengers, Alberto Santos-Dumont and André Fournier. This is the
first time a pilot has flown with two passengers. (AYY)
• In 1919... France's Baroness Raymonde de Laroche breaks the women's altitude
record by flying to a height of 16,896 feet. (AYY)
• In 1979... The first man-powered aircraft to cross the English Channel is the
Gossamer Albatross, designed and built under the leadership of Paul
MacCready. Flown by bicyclist Bryan Allen, it crosses from Folkestone, England
to the French coast in two hours, 49 minutes. (OTM)
June 13
• In 1916... The Zeppelin-Lindau Dornier Rs II hydroplane, piloted by Schröter
and Schulte, succeeds in taking off from Lake Constance, Germany, and makes
a four-minute flight. (AYY)
• In 1942... The U.S. Navy makes its first operational test with Loran (long-range
navigation) equipment with a receiver mounted in a K-2 airship on a flight from
the Lakehurst, N.J. Naval Air Station. (F&F)
• In 1962... Capt. Richard H. Coan, USAF, sets a new closed-circuit distance
record for helicopters when he flies a Kaman H-43B Huskie a distance of
656.258 mi. This beats the previous record of 625.464 mi. set by a Soviet Mil
Mi-1. (F&F)
June 14
• In 1919... The first direct non-stop crossing of the Atlantic by airplane is made
by a British two-man team. Capt. John Alcock and Lt. Arthur Whitten-Brown fly
a Vickers Vimy bomber from St. Johns, Newfoundland to Clifden, Ireland. They
fly some 1,950 miles in 16 hours, 27 minutes. (OTM)
• In 1923... The New Zealand Permanent Air Force is established. (AYY)
• In 1929... In efforts to encourage passenger traffic for their expanding
international air routes, British Imperial Airways makes the first 30-minute
"tea" flight over London, costing £2 2s, reduced in 1931 to £1 10s. (F&F)
June 15
• In 1910... The world's youngest flyer, 15-year-old Frenchman Marcel Hanriot,
gets his pilot's brevet, no. 15. (F&F)
• In 1928... An Imperial Airways AW Argosy piloted by Gordon Olley races the
London and North Eastern Railway's Flying Scotsman train the 390 miles from
London to Edinburgh; the Argosy takes 84 minutes to refuel twice en route and
beats the train by only 15 minutes. (AYY)
• In 1928... Mail is successfully transferred from an airplane in flight to a train as
Lt. Karl S. Axtater flies directly over an Illinois Central train and transfers a
mail bag to a railway clerk. (OTM)
• In 1943... The first operational jet-bomber, the German-built Arado Ar-234
Blitz, makes its first flight. (OTM)
June 16
• In 1909... A two-day celebration in Dayton, Ohio marks the homecoming of the
Wrights. (AYY)
• In 1922... A hybrid aircraft - part airplane (three fixed wings) and part
helicopter (twin rotor blades) designed by American inventor Emile Berliner -
makes a short vertical flight. (OTM)
• In 1932... The Lockheed Aircraft Corp. finally closes down eight months after
the receivers were called in to its parent company, Detroit Aircraft Corp. On
June 21, investment broker Robert Ellsworth Gross leads a consortium that
buys the assets and opens a new company under the same name. (F&F)
June 17
• In 1928... Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the Atlantic as
a passenger as she accompanies pilot Wilmer Stiltz and mechanic Louis Gordon
on their flight from Newfoundland to Wales in a Fokker C-2. Less than four
years later, she flies the Atlantic alone. (OTM)
• In 1942... U.S. Army Air Forces conduct a test at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio,
successfully picking up gliders from the ground by an airplane flying at more
than 100 mph. (OTM)
• In 1959... The first of the Dassault Mirage IV, the first European supersonic jet
bomber, is made in France. This high-performance combat aircraft flies at
Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound). (OTM)
June 18
• In 1861... Thaddeus S. C. Lowe transmits the first telegraphic message ever
sent from a balloon during a test at the Columbia Armory, Washington, D.C.
• In 1877... Samuel Archer King makes a two-hour airmail flight of 26 miles
between Nashville and Gallatin, Tennessee, in the balloon Buffalo. (AYY)
• In 1922... The first soaring flight of one hour in slope lift (using hill currents) is
made by Arthur Martens in a Vampyr sailplane designed by Wolfgang
Klemmperer at the Wasserkuppe, Rhön, Germany. (OTM)
• In 1939... The first direct transatlantic seaplane service is begun by Pan
American Airways. It flies from New York to Southampton, England, by way of
Botwood, Newfoundland, and Foynes, Ireland. (OTM)
June 19
• In 1894... Frederick W. Lanchester, British aeronautical and automobile
pioneer, announces his theory of circulatory air-flow to the Birmingham Natural
History and Philosophical Society in England. This theory is later to become of
pivotal importance in aerodynamics. (OTM)
• In 1901... American experimenter Samuel P. Langley tests a quarter-scale
model of his Aerodrome, a gasoline-driven flying machine. It makes four
disappointingly short flights. (AYY)
• In 1930... The all-metal Polish fighter, the PZL P-1, is the star of the
International competition for fighter airplanes in Bucharest, Romania, winning
8 of the 15 prizes. This is a triumph for the brilliant designer Zygmund
Pulawski, whose aircraft consistently out-performed those of his rivals. (AYY)
June 20
• In 1540... Joao Torto, in Viseu, Portugal, builds two pairs of cloth-covered
wings, an upper and lower, which are connected by iron hoops. While preparing
to jump from the town's cathedral to the nearby St. Matthew's fields, he is
killed when the elaborated helmet slips over his eyes and he falls onto a roof.
• In 1897... Percy Pilcher is towed about 750 feet in the Hawk, the fourth of his
hang gliders. (AYY)
• In 1951... The first flight of aircraft with variable-sweep wings is made as the
research aircraft Bell X-5, flies for 30 minutes at Edwards, California. (OTM)
June 21
• In 1907... Romanian Trajan Vuia makes a flight in Paris of almost 66 feet, at a
height of 16 feet, in his second machine which has a 24-hp Antoinette engine
running on carbonic acid and has its wheels fitted with shock absorbers. (AYY)
• In 1908... The first flight of the Aerial Experiment Association's (AEA) promising
June Bug biplane, their third machine, takes place in New York State. It has a
40-hp air-cooled Curtiss engine. (AYY)
• In 1913... The first woman to make a parachute jump from an airplane is
Georgia "Tiny" Broadwick. The 18-year-old American descends 1,000 feet over
Los Angeles, California. (OTM)
June 22
• In 1909... Wykoff, Church and Partridge, a car sales firm, becomes the USA's
first airplane sales agency. (AYY)
• In 1910... The German firm "Delag" inaugurates the first regular passenger-
carrying airship service. Between 1910-1914, its five Zeppelin airships carry
nearly 35,000 passengers without a fatality over inland German routes. (OTM)
• In 1933... The Tupolev ANT-25 monoplane, designed to win the world long-
distance record for the USSR, makes its first flight. (AYY)
June 23
• In 1905... Wilbur and Orville Wright make their first flight of 1905 in Huffman
Prairie, Ohio, in their new Flyer III, the first practical airplane in history. (OTM)
• In 1913... The first large airplane designed exclusively as a bomber makes its
first flight in Russia. Known as the "Russki Vityaz," (Russian Knight) it was
designed by Igor Sikorsky and built by the RBVZ [Russko-Baltijskij Vagonnyj
Zavod (Russo-Baltic Cart Works)]. (F&F)
• In 1924... The prototype Focke-Wulf A 16 monoplane makes its first flight.
Capable of carrying four passengers, it is the first product of Focke-Wulf
Flugzeugbau GmbH. (AYY)
June 24
• In 1784... Edward Warren, a boy of 13, makes the first, tethered, balloon
ascent in the U.S. in Baltimore, Maryland; he volunteers when the craft proves
too weak to lift its builder, Peter Carnes. (AYY)
• In 1918... The first air mail in Canada is flown from Montreal to Toronto. (OTM)
• In 1930... Dr. Albert Taylor and Leo Young of the Aircraft Research Laboratory,
near Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., succeed in tracing the position of
airplanes in flight using wireless detection equipment. (AYY)
June 25
• In 1914... Tom Blakely flies the West Wind in Calgary, Canada. The Curtiss-type
biplane was designed by Frank Ellis. (AYY)
• In 1919... The world's most modern airliner, the Junkers F-13, makes its first
flight at Dessau, Germany. It is made entirely of metal, with a strong,
corrugated outer skin and cantilever wing structure, without struts or bracing
wires. (AYY)
• In 1928... The Boeing Model 83 biplane, the last from this company in which
wood was used for the wing frame and the last biplane built by Boeing, makes
its first flight. (F&F)
June 26
• In 1869... Largest hydrogen balloon ever to make a free (untethered) ascent,
makes a short flight from the Champs de Mars in Paris, France. It has a capacity
of 424,000 cubic feet (c. 130,000 cubic meters). (OTM)
• In 1909... The first commercial sale of an airplane in the United States is made
as Glenn H. Curtiss sells one of his planes to the Aeronautic Society of New
York for $7,500. This action spurs the Wright brothers to begin a patent suit to
prevent him from selling airplanes without a license. (OTM)
• In 1911... As spectators watch in amazement, Lincoln Beachey flies his Curtiss
pusher biplane over Horseshoe Falls, the most spectacular of the Niagara Falls.
• In 1936... The first flight of the first practical helicopter with two side-by-side
rotors is made in Germany. Designed by Henrich Focke, the Focke-Achgelis FW-
61 makes many flights, the longest being one hour and 20 minutes. (OTM)
• In 1946... The U.S. Army Air Force and Navy adopt the "knot" and "nautical
mile" as standard aeronautical units for speed and distance. A nautical mile is
about 6.080 ft. (1,853 m), and knot is the equivalent of one nautical mile per
hour. (OTM)
June 27
• In 1909... Three New York Papers (the Sun, Times and Herald) carry the world's
first advertisements of a practical airplane for sale to the general public. (AYY)
• In 1923... The first refueling in mid-air (with hose) of one airplane by another
is made by a De Havilland D.H.4-b from another one over San Diego, California.
The planes are flown by Capt. L. H. Smith and Lt. J. P. Richter. (OTM)
June 28
• In 1911... The first airplane charter flight is made by English aviator Thomas
Sopwith who is hired by Wannamaker's New York store to deliver repaired
glasses to Philadelphia merchant W. A. Burpee. (OTM)
• In 1927... The first non-stop flight between the United States and Hawaii is
made by U.S. Lts. Albert F. Hegenberger and Lester J. Maitland. They fly 2,407
miles (3,874 km) from Oakland to Honolulu in 25 hours, 30 minutes. (OTM)
June 29
• In 1909... In opening demonstration flights before the U.S. Army at Fort Myer,
Virginia, Orville Wright makes the first flight with the new Wright A built to
replace the one destroyed in September 1908. (F&F)
• In 1914... Glenn Curtiss takes up nine passengers in New York in his seaplane
America, built for Rodman Wanamaker, to make an attempt on the £10,000
prize offered by the Daily Mail for the first transatlantic crossing in a heavier-
than-air machine. (AYY)
• In 1948... The Air Parcel Post Bill becomes U.S. law, establishing domestic air
parcel post and raising first class postage rates for air mail from five cents to
six cents. (OTM)
• In 1977... Italian Professor Enrico Forlanini's steam-powered helicopter is
tested at Alexandria, Egypt. (AYY)
June 30
• In 1901... At enormous personal risk, Herr Berson and Professor Süring of the
Berliner Verein für Luftschiffahrt establish the first ratified altitude record for
balloons. Their 8,510-cu. ft. balloon Preussen (Prussia) ascends to 35,435 feet.
• In 1910... The first airplane bombing tests are made as Glenn H. Curtiss drops
dummy bombs from his own Curtiss biplane on the shape of a battleship
marked by flagged buoys on Lake Keuka, New York. (OTM)
• In 1911... The Curtiss A-1 seaplane is tested for the first time by Glenn Curtiss.
Aviation History Facts: July
July 1
• In 1872... Louis Blériot, the pioneer aviator who made the world's first airplane
flight across the English Channel, is born in Cambrai, France. After
experimenting first with gliders, he designed and built his own monoplane with
a 25-hp engine, which took him across the channel. (OTM)
• In 1917... A School of Aeronautics is established at the University of Toronto in
Canada. (OTM)
• In 1925... The U.S. Air Mail Service begins overnight flights between New York
and Chicago over the Allegheny Mountains. (AYY)
• In 1926... The Royal Swedish Air Force is formed. (OTM)
• In 1931... The first mail delivered by rocket in the United States is claimed by
three Struthers, Ohio high school students led by philatelist, John Kiktavi. He
sends mail from Struthers to Poland, Ohio. (OTM)
July 2
• In 1859... Two American balloonists, John Wise and John La Mountain, fly in
their balloon from St. Louis, Missouri to Henderson, New York. The 809-mile
trip takes 20 hours. (OTM)
• In 1900... The first trial of the first Zeppelin airship, the LZ-1, takes place over
Lake Constance, Germany. The first of the rigid, monster airships, it is 420 feet
long and contains 16 separate gas-bags with a total capacity of 338,410 cubic
feet. It is tentatively successful, and attains a speed of 8½ mph. It is housed in
a floating hangar, the first in history. (OTM)
• In 1919... The first crossing of the Atlantic by airship, as well as the first
double-crossing (return flight), is made by the British rigid airship, R-34. This
giant dirigible, which flies non-stop from Scotland to Long Island, New York,
has a 30-man crew and is piloted by Major G.H. Scott. (OTM)
• In 1926... The U.S. Army Air Corps is formed out of the former Air Services.
Provisions are made for an assistant secretary of war and a five-year Air Corps
expansion program. (OTM)
• In 1937... Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan are lost over the South
Pacific near Howland Island in a Lockheed Electra. This was to be her last long-
distance attempt. (OTM)
July 3
• In 1919... Designed and built by the Engineering Division of the U.S. Bureau of
Aircraft Production, the first of four XB-1As (originally designated USXB-1A)
makes its first flight at McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio. (F&F)
• In 1936... The first C-class Empire flying boat built by Shorts as the S.23 design,
makes a brief 14-min. first flight piloted by John Lankester Parker. (F&F)
• In 1981... The first international service with the Ilyushin Il-86 begins with an
Aeroflot flight from Moscow to East Berlin, East Germany. (F&F)
July 4
• In 1908... The Zeppelin LZ-4 makes a 12-hour flight crossing the Alps. It covers
the 235 miles from Friedrichshafen to Zürich and reaches speeds of 32 mph.
• In 1927... The first flight of the Lockheed Vega, an influence in the design of
later, larger transport of the 1930's, takes place. (OTM)
• In 1956... A Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft makes its first operational
overflight. It is designed to fly at supersonic speeds and photograph the earth
from 60,000 feet. (OTM)
July 5
• In 1912... Captain Charles Chandler and Lieutenants Thomas Milling and Henry
Arnold are presented with certificates qualifying them as the U.S.'s first
"Military Aviators." (AYY)
• In 1927... Lady Bailey establishes a new light airplane altitude record of 17,283
feet, in a de Havilland D.H. 60 Moth, at the company's airfield in Edgeware,
Middlesex. (AYY)
• In 1940... The first American paratrooper unit is formed at Fort Benning,
Georgia. (AYY)
• In 1944... The first U.S. rocket-powered military aircraft, the MX-324, flies at
Harper Dry Lake, California. The pilot, Harry Crosby, makes the voyage. (OTM)
• In 1979... French aviation pioneer and aircraft manufacturer Emile Dewoitine
dies at the age of 87. (AYY)
July 6
• In 1919... The first person to arrive in the United States by air from Europe is
Englishman Flt. Lt. J. E. M. Pritchard. He arrives with the airship R.34, which
has entered American skies after leaving Scotland on July 2 to cross the North
Atlantic. (F&F)
• In 1951... The first in-flight refueling under combat conditions is made by four
US RF-80 A's, refueled by a KB-29 tanker. (AYY)
• In 1960... Sikorsky's S-62 amphibious helicopter wins federal approval for
operation as a commercial passenger aircraft. (AYY)
July 7
• In 1914... American physics professor, Robert H. Goddard receives a patent for
his two-stage solid fuel rocket. (OTM)
• In 1929... Transcontinental Air Transport Inc. inaugurates a 48-hour combined
rail and air passenger service from coast to coast in the U.S. Colonel Charles
Lindbergh flies the first plane over the air route. (OTM)
• In 1962... Colonel Georgi Mossolov sets a new world absolute speed record for
airplanes, flying the Mikoyan Ye-166 at 1,665.89 mph. (AYY)
• In 1981... The first solar-powered aircraft flight across the English Channel is
made by the MacCready Solar Challenger. The 180 mile flight takes over 5
hours and is powered by at least 16,128 solar cells on the upper surfaces of the
wing and tailplane. (OTM)
July 8
• In 1838... Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin is born in Baden, Germany. The first
large-scale builder and pioneer of rigid dirigible balloons, Zeppelin made his
first balloon ascent while serving as a volunteer and observer for the Union
Army in America's Civil War. (OTM)
• In 1908... Thérése Peltier becomes the first woman to ascend in an airplane
when Delagrange, her instructor, takes her up. She flies about 656 feet at a
height of 13 feet. (AYY)
• In 1953... New York Airways, America's first scheduled passenger helicopter
carrier, begins service. (AYY)
July 9
• In 1910... Walter Brookins attains an altitude of 6,175 feet in a Wright biplane,
becoming the first to fly a mile high and wins a prize of $5,000 for his feat.
• In 1924... The first recorded flight of a live bull takes place when champion
breeder Nico V is flown from Rotterdam, Holland to Paris, France. The bull is
carried by KLM in a Fokker F.III transport aircraft. (F&F)
• In 1933... Flying their Lockheed Sirius built in 1929 and used for the 1931
survey flight of Alaska, the North Pacific and China, Charles Lindbergh and his
wife begin a major route-proving tour of the North and South Atlantic. They
complete their survey on December 6. (F&F)
July 10
• In 1938... Howard Hughes, with crewmembers Harry Connor, Tom Thurlow,
Richard Stoddart and Ed Lund, begin a record-breaking round-the-world flight
in a specially modified Lockheed Super Electra. They cut in half the time set by
Wiley Post in 1933; their flying time is 71 hours, 11 minutes, 10 seconds. (F&F)
• In 1940... The fourth Messerschmitt Bf 109F series prototype makes its first
flight in Germany, powered by one of the new 1,350-hp Daimler Benz DB 601E.
• In 1978... Airbus Industrie announces a decision to proceed with development
of the A300B10, a shortened version of the A300 with a capacity of 225
passengers, compared to 281 on the B2 and B4. The designation is later
changed to the A310. (F&F)
July 11
• In 1922... An international convention for the regulation of air navigation
begins. (AYY)
• In 1935... Laura Ingalls arrives in Burbank, California after an 18-hour flight
from Floyd Bennett Field, New York, making her the first woman to fly east to
west across the United States. (AYY)
• In 1955... The U.S. Air Force Academy is dedicated at its temporary location,
Lowry Air Force Base. (AYY)
July 12
• In 1785... The first manned balloon ascent in Holland is made by Jean-Pierre
Blanchard in Hague. (OTM)
• In 1901... Alberto Santos-Dumont, making an attempt on the Deutsch prize in
Paris, lands his dirigible No.5 in the Trocadéro gardens after one of the cords
controlling the rudder snaps. He uses a ladder to repair the machine where it
lies before taking off again. (AYY)
• In 1944... The British Royal Air Force (RAF) puts the first operational jet-
powered airplanes into service. (AYY)
July 13
• In 1909... If brief hops by Alliott Verdon Roe on June 8, 1908 are discounted,
the first flight made by an Englishman in an English airplane takes place when
Roe flies his Roe I triplane for the first time at Lea Marsches in Essex. He flies
only 100 ft., but on July 23 he extends the distance to some 900 ft. off the
ground. (F&F)
• In 1919... The British military airship R.34, operated by the Royal Air Force
(RAF), accomplishes the first two-way transatlantic air crossing. The outward
journey is also the first air crossing of the Atlantic from east to west. (AYY)
• In 1957... President Eisenhower becomes the first U.S. president to fly in a
helicopter when he is flown from the White House to an unnamed military post
in a USAF Bell UH-13J. (AYY)
July 14
• In 1914... Dr. Robert H. Goddard is granted a patent for his liquid fuel rocket
engine. (AYY)
• In 1934... Flamboyant flying tycoon Howard Hughes lands in New York after a
record-breaking flight around the Northern Hemisphere. (AYY)
• In 1937... A Soviet crew breaks the world distance flying record by staying
airborne for over two days while flying from Moscow over the North Pole. (AYY)
• In 1948... Six Royal Air Force (RAF) Vampires land after completing the first
transatlantic flight made by jet aircraft. (AYY)
July 15
• In 1916... Timber merchant William E. Boeing forms a new aircraft company,
the Pacific Aero Products Company. (AYY)
• In 1923... Dobrolet, the Soviet state airline, opens its first scheduled domestic
service, between Moscow and Nizhniy Novgorod. (AYY)
• In 1925... Dr. A. Hamilton Rice's expedition to the Amazon to explore the
headwaters of the Amazon, the first exploration by airplane, returns safely.
• In 1968... The first direct airline service between the Soviet Union and the U.S.
is inaugurated, ten years after negotiations began. (AYY)
• In 1975... The first international manned space flight occurs between the
Soviet Soyuz 19 and an Apollo spacecraft. (OTM)
July 16
• In 1921... Cambridge wins the first air race between Oxford and Cambridge
universities, using S.E. 5as. airplanes. (AYY)
• In 1930... Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA) is formed when
Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express merge. (AYY)
• In 1947... Geoffrey Tyson test-pilots the first jet fighter to be modified as a
flying boat. (AYY)
• In 1957... Major John H. Glenn of the U.S. Marines sets a new record for a
coast-to-coast flight across the U.S. The flight from Los Angeles, to New York
takes just over three hours in a U.S. Navy Crusader supersonic jet. (AYY)
July 17
• In 1908... The USA's first aviation legislation is passed: a municipal ordinance
requiring an annual license and regulating aircraft within the city limits of
Kissimmee, Florida. (AYY)
• In 1917... Ground is broken for the first building of the National Advisory
Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Langley Field laboratory. (AYY)
• In 1969... The Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket blasts off from the Florida Space
Center in route to the first moon landing. (AYY)
July 18
• In 1914... The Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps is formed in
Washington, D.C., with 60 officers, 260 men, and 6 airplanes. (AYY)
• In 1914... French pilot, Maurice Guillaux, makes the first official airmail flight
in Australia. His cargo includes 1,785 letters, some Lipton's Tea and OT Lemon
Squash. (AYY)
• In 1915... Katherine Stinson becomes the first woman to loop the loop in an
airplane. The stunt pilot performs the full rotation of her airplane over
Chicago. (AYY)
• In 1919... Self-styled Baroness Raymonde de Laroche, the first Frenchwoman to
get her flying license, is killed in a flying accident in Northern France. (AYY)
• In 1921... John H. Glenn, Jr., the first American to orbit the earth, is born in
Cambridge, Ohio. After being selected by NASA with the first group of
astronauts in 1959, he makes his historic orbital flight on February 20, 1962.
July 19
• In 1867... Englishmen J.W. Butler and E. Edwards make the first delta-wing
airplane designs. They take out patents for delta-wing monoplanes and
biplanes to be propelled by jets of steam, compressed air, or gas. (OTM)
• In 1920... The Vickers R. 80 airship, designed in an innovative streamlined
shape by company designer Barnes Wallis, makes its first flight. (AYY)
• In 1937... The official search for missing flyers Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan
is abandoned. (AYY)
• In 1985... Sharon Christa McAuliffe is chosen by NASA to be the first private
citizen passenger in the history of space flight. (OTM)
July 20
• In 1908... Orville Wright warns Glenn Curtiss that the wing flaps used in the
AEA's June Bug are an infringement of the Wrights' patent. (AYY)
• In 1948... Sixteen Lockheed Shooting Stars complete the first west to east
transatlantic flight by jet aircraft. (AYY)
• In 1969... Neil Armstrong lands the lunar module Eagle on the surface of the
moon. His immortal first words are, "that's one small step for man, one giant
leap for mankind." (AYY)
July 21
• In 1909... The first international Zeppelin (airship) show is held in Frankfurt,
Germany. (AYY)
• In 1911... Denise Moore crashes and dies on a solo flight in a Farman airplane,
the first woman killed in a plane. (AYY)
• In 1919... Anthony Fokker founds the Dutch Aircraft Company at Schipol, near
Amsterdam. (AYY)
July 22
• In 1914... Britain's first airplane passenger service is launched. The short-lived
service flies from Leeds to Bradford and back, on half-hour intervals. (AYY)
• In 1920... Aviation enthusiast David R. Davis and airplane designer Donald W.
Douglas team up to form the Davis-Douglas Company. Their goal is to build the
first aircraft capable of flying non-stop across the U.S. (AYY)
• In 1933... One-eyed pilot Wiley Post lands after completing the first solo flight
around the world. Post pioneers the early development of a pressure suit and
proves the value of navigating instruments, especially the automatic pilot.
July 23
• In 1906... Having abandoned his helicopter project, Alberto Santos-Dumont
unveils a new aircraft, the No.14 bis. at Bagatelle, France. The odd-looking
machine is dubbed canard [duck]. (AYY)
• In 1917... Maj. Benjamin D. Foulois, one of the great figures of early American
aviation, is appointed commanding officer of the Airplane Division of the U.S.
Signal Corps. (F&F)
• In 1937... The International Military Aircraft Competition at Dübendorf near
Zürich provides the picturesque venue for the first major demonstration of the
Messerschmitt Bf 109. (F&F)
July 24
• In 1898... Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly alone across the Atlantic
Ocean and one of the world's most famous aviators, is born in Atchinson,
Kansas. (OTM)
• In 1917... Congress approves the expenditure of $640 million on military
aviation. It is the largest single appropriation approved by Congress. (AYY)
• In 1943... The Royal Air Force (RAF) use "Window," metal foil dropped to
confuse enemy radar, for the first time. (AYY)
• In 1946... Bernard Lynch becomes the first person to be "shot" out of an
airplane. Lynch was involved in the first airborne test of a British "ejection
seat." (AYY)
July 25
• In 1907... At Issy-les-Moulineaux, Blériot flies 492 feet in his monoplane No.VI,
the Libellule [dragonfly]. Built by Louis Peyret, the foreman at his works, it has
two sets of wings in tandem. To control vertical movement, the pilot slides to
end fro on a wheeled seat. (AYY)
• In 1909... Van den Schkrouff makes the first flight in Russia in a Voisin biplane
at Odessa. (OTM)
• In 1909... Louis Blériot of France, who flies his Blériot No.XI monoplane from
Les Baraques to Dover, England in 37 minutes, makes the first airplane crossing
of the English Channel. The event increases public and government awareness
of the possible military aspects of the airplane. (OTM)
July 26
• In 1910... Capt. G. W. P. Dawes becomes the first British Army officer to be
awarded an aviator's certificate in England, when he qualifies for certificate
no.17 on a Humber Monoplane at Wolverhampton, England. (F&F)
• In 1929... Johnny Burtin sets a new world altitude record of 26,531 feet for
airplanes with a 1-ton load. Burtin's flight also proves that at high altitudes,
fuel consumption drops considerably and wind resistance is reduced, making
high-altitude flying more economical and profitable. (AYY)
• In 1937... Famous pilot, Jacqueline Cochran, sets a new speed record for
women by flying over 203 mph. (AYY)
July 27
• In 1901... Wilbur and Orville Wright make the first of a series of test glides at
Kill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Their redesigned biplane glider
No. 2 has a larger wing area and wing control worked by a pilot's hip-cradle
device. (OTM)
• In 1909... Orville Wright makes the first official test flight of the U.S. Army's
first airplane in Fort Meyer, Virginia. President William Howard Taft, his
cabinet, and 10,000 spectators witness the flight. (OTM)
• In 1912... Lieutenant John Rodgers and Ensign Charles Maddox, in a Wright B1
Flyer, send the first wireless message from an airplane to a ship, the torpedo
boat USS Stringham, stationed in Annapolis, Maryland. (AYY)
• In 1923... Edward Stinson lands his Junkers at Mitchell Field in New York after
making the first non-stop flight from Chicago. (AYY)
• In 1931... The Air Line Pilots Association of the USA is formed (AYY)
• In 1949... The de Havilland 106 Comet becomes the world's first jet airliner to
be used in commercial travel. (AYY)
July 28
• In 1933... Dr. Albert Forsythe and Charles Alfred "Chief" Anderson land at
Atlantic City to complete the first return flight to the West Coast by African-
American pilots. (AYY)
• In 1934... Nelly Diener becomes Europe's first air stewardess. (AYY)
• In 1950... The first scheduled passenger service flown by a gas-turbine powered
airliner (turboprop) is British European Airway's (BEA) Vickers V. 630 Viscount.
July 29
• In 1909... Georges Legagneux makes the first airplane flight in Sweden in his
Voisin biplane in Stockholm. (OTM)
• In 1952... A USAF North American RB-45 completes the first non-stop
transpacific flight by jet aircraft. (AYY)
• In 1958... President Eisenhower signs the National Aeronautics and Space Act,
creating a new federal agency, the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA). NASA's stated goal is to enable the U.S. to lead the
exploration of space for peaceful purposes to benefit humanity. (AYY)
• In 1959... The first jetway in the U.S. is installed at the International Airport in
San Francisco, California. Designed to protect passengers from the weather
when they board or leave the jet plane, it is a powered telescopic or
collapsible corridor that extends to the aircraft and connects the plane to the
terminal. They are commonplace in all airports today. (OTM)
July 30
• In 1909... The Rinji Gunyo Kikyu Kenkyu Kai (Provisional Committee for Military
Balloon Research) is formed in Japan. (AYY)
• In 1921... Swiss pilot, Francois Durafour, achieves a daring first by landing his
airplane on the slopes of Mont Blanc, Europe's highest mountain in the Alps.
• In 1924... Two Japanese airmen, Yukichi Goto and his flight engineer Minezo
Yonezawo, return to Osaka after completing the first flight around Japan. The
flight covers 2,727 miles and takes over 33 hours. (AYY)
• In 1935... Lieutenant Frank Akers of the U.S. Navy becomes the first person to
make a "blind" landing at sea. His biplane has a hooded cockpit allowing him to
see only his controls and instruments. He lands on the USS Langley. (AYY)
July 31
• In 1879... Richard Cowen and Charles Page fly the Canadian, the first balloon
to be built in Canada. (AYY)
• In 1948... The New York International Airport begins operations and becomes
the largest airport in the U.S. (AYY)
• In 1952... Two Sikorsky H-19's set a new world distance record for helicopters
while making the first transatlantic helicopter flight. They cover 920 miles in
over 42 hours. (AYY)
Aviation History Facts: August
August 1
• In 1907... The Aeronautical Division of the US Army Signal Corps is created.
Their goal is, "to study the flying machine and the possibility of adapting it to
military purposes." (AYY)
• In 1916... The first issue of America's most influential and long-running aircraft
magazine appears at a price of 5 cents. Called Aviation and Aeronautical
Engineering, it is ancestor of Aviation Week & Space Technology and is
published twice a month. (F&F)
• In 1929... Dr. Hugo Eckener commands the first airship flight to circumnavigate
the globe when the flight leaves Friedrichshafen, Germany. Graf Zeppelin
arrives back at Friedrichshafen on September 4, having logged 21,000 mi. in 12
days, 12 hours, 20 minutes flying time. (F&F)
• In 1946... British European Airways (BEA) is established under the Civil Aviation
Act of 1946, which makes the entire British air transport industry nationalized.
August 2
• In 1909... The first flying machine purchased and put into service by a
government is the Wright Flyer. The US Army accepts its first airplane and pays
the Wrights $25,000, plus a $5,000 bonus, because the machine exceeded the
speed requirement of 40 mph. (OTM)
• In 1911... The first woman in the United States licensed as a qualified pilot is
Harriet Quimby, a drama critic. (OTM)
• In 1917... Squadron leader E. H. Dunning of the British Royal Naval Air Service
becomes the first pilot to land an airplane on the deck of a moving ship when
he puts a Sopwith Pup down on HMS Furious. (F&F)
August 3
• In 1861... John La Mountain becomes the first balloonist to use boats for aerial
operations in a military conflict. Using the Union tug Fanny, he ascends from its
deck to a height of 2,000 ft. to conduct aerial reconnaissance of Confederate
forces during America's Civil War. (F&F)
• In 1904... In a dirigible named California Arrow, Thomas Scott Baldwin carries
out the first circular flight by an airship in America. Powered by a converted
motorcycle engine, it is built and dispatched by Glenn Curtiss. (F&F)
• In 1921... Lieutenant John A. Macready of the U.S. Army Air Corps finds a new
use for airplanes when he sprays a patch of ground infested with caterpillars.
This practice becomes known as crop dusting. (AYY)
• In 1955... President Eisenhower signs the Civilian Airport Modernization Bill.
The legislation establishes a long-term program of federal government aid
toward the construction of airports in the United States. (AYY)
August 4
• In 1807... Andre-Jacques Garnerin in Paris, France makes the first night ascent
in a balloon. (OTM)
• In 1901... Octave Chanute arrives at the Wright brothers' camp at Kill Devil Hill
and photographs their flight tests with the 1901 glider. (F&F)
• In 1908... Wilbur Wright makes the first flight using stick controls near Le Mans,
France. The flight lasts 1 minute and 45 seconds. (OTM)
• In 1908... Count von Zeppelin takes the LZ4 on a 24-hour flight from Lake
Constance, down the Rhine to Basel, then to Strasbourg and Mainz and back to
Stuttgart, a total non-stop distance of 435 miles. (F&F)
• In 1959... The first medical evacuation by helicopter from a Mobil Army Surgery
Hospital (MASH) team takes place when an S-51 flies out a casualty from a fire
flight along the Pusan Perimeter. (F&F)
August 5
• In 1917... The first Aero Squadron of the Signal Corps leaves the United States
for Europe under the command of Maj. Ralph Royce. (F&F)
• In 1918... The first American night patrol of the war takes place when a
Felixstowe F.2A flying boat crewed by Ens. Ashton W. Hawkins and Lt. George
F. Lawrence take off on patrol from RAF Killinghome, England. (F&F)
• In 1933... French Air Force pilots Lts. Paul Codes and Maurice Rossi begin a
record-breaking straight-line distance flight (5,657 mi.) between New York and
Rayak, Syria in their Blériot 110 monoplane. (F&F)
August 6
• In 1910... An International aviation meeting opens at Lanark, Scotland, drawing
a wide range of flyers and airplanes. In all, 22 competitors participate. (F&F)
• In 1969... The biggest helicopter ever built, the Soviet Mil V-12 secures an
unbeaten world lifting record for rotary-winged aircraft by carrying 40,205.5 kg
(88,636 lb.) to a height of 2,255 m (7,400 ft.). (F&F)
August 7
• In 1917... The Morane-Saulnier A. I. Parasol fighter airplane makes its first
flight in France. (AYY)
• In 1919... Capt. Ernest C. Hoy becomes the first pilot to fly over the Canadian
Rockies when he carries mail from Vancouver, British Columbia to Calgary,
Alberta in a Curtiss JN-4 biplane. (F&F)
• In 1928... One of the most successful designs of the day, the first Curtiss Model
50 Robin, takes to the air. A typical Robin has a wingspan of 41 ft. and a length
of 25 ft., 8 in. with a 185-hp engine. (F&F)
• In 1931... Jim Mollison lands after flying from Australia to England in 10 days,
knocking two days off the existing record. (AYY)
August 8
• In 1908... Wilbur Wright makes his first flight in Europe by flying the Wright
Flyer A from the racetrack at Hunaudières, 5 miles south of Le Mans, France.
• In 1910... The first aircraft tricycle landing gear is installed on the US Army's
Wright airplane. (AYY)
• In 1929... The Zeppelin LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin makes the first flight around the
world by an airship. Captained by Hugo Eckener, the airship makes its 21,500-
mile circumnavigation in 21 days and 7 hours. (OTM)
August 9
• In 1884... Built by Frenchmen Charles Renard and Arthur Krebs, the airship La
France is powered by a 9 hp electric motor driving one large propeller. It
makes a fully-controlled circular flight while traveling about 5 miles at 14 mph.
• In 1896... Otto Lilienthal crashes in his No.11 glider while flying from the
Rhinower Hill range and dies the next day. He made approximately 2,500
flights in his various gliders. (F&F)
• In 1956... The Fiat G.91, produced for NATO as a light strike-fighter, makes its
first flight. (AYY)
August 10
• In 1840... American Louis Lauriat, whose balloon flies at 21 mph in New
Brunswick, makes the first manned balloon flight in Canada. (OTM)
• In 1910... Claude Grahame-White attempts to fly the first airmail in the world
to be carried on a powered airplane when he takes off from Squires Gate near
Blackpool, England heading for Southport. The attempt in his little Blériot
monoplane fails and he is forced to land. (F&F)
• In 1912... Englishman Francis K. McClean becomes the first pilot to fly under
bridges spanning the Thames River when he takes off from Harty Ferry,
Eastchurch in his Short biplane S. 33. (F&F)
August 11
• In 1906... Mrs. C. J. S. Miller becomes the first woman passenger in an airship.
The 40-hp craft is owned and operated by her husband, Major Miller. (AYY)
• In 1915... The U.S. Naval Observatory asks Eastman Kodak to develop a special
aerial reconnaissance camera that could be used from an airplane flying at
heights of 3,000 ft. to 6,000 ft. (F&F)
• In 1952... British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) inaugurates its new
weekly service between London and Colombo, the capital of Ceylon (now Sri
Lanka). (F&F)
August 12
• In 1888... The first gas-powered aircraft flies. Built by the German
experimenter, Wolfert, the powered airship (dirigible) fitted with a 2 hp
Daimler benzene engine running two propellers, flies for 2 ½ miles from
Seelberg to Kornwestheim, Germany. (OTM)
• In 1908... Controlled by Thomas Baldwin and Glenn Curtiss, the Signal Corps'
Dirigible Balloon No.1, known as SC-I, the first Army dirigible, begins flight
trials at Fort Meyer near Washington, D.C. (F&F)
• In 1946... President Harry Truman signs a bill authorizing an appropriation of
$50,000 to establish a National Air Museum in the Smithsonian Institute in
Washington, D.C. The small museum eventually becomes the National Air and
Space Museum - the most visited museum in the world. (OTM)
August 13
• In 1824... The first aerial ascent by a Native American as a passenger, Chief
Waschisabe, in Dupuis-Delcourt's balloon "flotilla" takes place at Montjean,
France. (F&F)
• In 1914... The first British airplane to reach French soil after mobilization is a
BE2a, serial number 327, flown by Capt. F. F. Waldron and Air Mechanic
Skerritt of No. 2 Sqdr. RFC commanded by Maj. C. J. Burke. (F&F)
• In 1976... The Bell Model 222, the first twin-engined light commercial
helicopter, developed in the United States, makes its first flight, powered by
the 650 SHP Avco Lycoming LTS 101-650C. (F&F)
August 14
• In 1909... The first woman passenger to fly in a powered airplane in Great
Britain is the wife of Samuel F. Cody. She is taken for a 3-minute flight from
the Royal Engineers Balloon Factory at Farnborough in Cody's British Army
Aeroplane No.1. (F&F)
• In 1931... Piloted by M. M. Gromov, the Tupolev ANT-14 large passenger
aircraft makes its first flight. The largest landplane of its day, it could carry 36
passengers. (F&F)
• In 1953... The sound barrier is broken over Australia for the first time by Flight
Lieutenant Bentleigh, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), in the first Australian-
built Sabre fighter at Avalon, Victoria. (AYY)
August 15
• In 1951... Test pilot Bill Bridgeman reaches a record altitude of 79, 494 ft. in
the #2 Douglas D-558-II rocket research aircraft, although this does not qualify
for FAI (Federal Aeronautique Internationale) recognition. (F&F)
• In 1951... Powered by a Roll Royce Dart, a DC-3 of British European Airways
becomes the first turboprop aircraft operated on a freight run. (F&F)
• In 1958... Congress approves a bill creating the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA)
to regulate all US commercial and military aviation. (AYY)
August 16
• In 1942... The 82nd Airborne (All American) paratroop division is formed. (AYY)
• In 1952... The prototype Bristol Type 175 Britannia (G-ALBO) makes its first
flight from Filton, Bristol, England. (F&F)
• In 1960... Captain Joe Kittinger jumps from a gondola, suspended from a
balloon, 102,800 feet to the ground using a parachute. He breaks the records
for greatest altitude from which a parachute descent had been made and the
longest delayed parachute jump. (AYY)
August 17
• In 1910... The first English Channel crossing by an airplane with a passenger is
made by John Moisant who takes his mechanic in his two-seater Blériot on the
flight from Calais, France to Dover, England. (OTM)
• In 1946... The first person to be ejected from an airplane by means of its
emergency escape equipment is Sergeant Lambert at Wright Field in Ohio.
• In 1978... The U.S. balloon, Double Eagle II, becomes the first balloon to cross
the Atlantic. The trip begins in Maine and ends almost 6 days later in France.
August 18
• In 1871... Alphonse Pénaud achieves the first flight of an inherently stable
airplane when his Planophore is flown 131 feet in 11 seconds before the Société
de Navigation Aérienne in the Tuileries Gardens, Paris. (F&F)
• In 1901... At the invitation of Chanute, Wilbur Wright addresses the Western
Society of Engineers in Chicago with a 10,000-word paper titled "Some
Aeronautical Experiments." (F&F)
• In 1911... The British F.E.2 biplane makes its first flight from Farnborough,
England piloted by its designer, Geoffrey de Havilland. (F&F)
• In 1930... Captain Wolfgang von Gronau and crew make the first east to west
crossing of the Atlantic from Germany to New York. (OTM)
• In 1932... J.A. Mollison makes the first solo flight east to west across the
Atlantic by a light airplane. He flies from Ireland to Canada. (OTM)
August 19
• In 1871... Orville Wright is born in Dayton, Ohio. He is co-inventor, with his
brother Wilbur, of the first airplane to achieve powered, sustained, and
controlled flight and the first fully practical powered airplane. Orville piloted
the famous first flight at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina after winning a coin flip
against his brother. (OTM)
• In 1911... British naval officer Comdr. Charles R. Samson sets a new British
endurance record of 4 hours, 58 minutes, 30 seconds. The Short S.38 biplane
has special tanks allowing sufficient fuel for more than 4 hours flying. (F&F)
• In 1919... A Curtiss 18-T flown by Curtiss test pilot Roland Rholfs establishes a
new world speed record of 163 mph carrying a load of 1,076 lbs. (F&F)
• In 1929... The first metal airship built for the U.S. Navy makes its first flight.
The ZMC-2 is a 22,600 cu. ft. helium balloon supported by transverse metal
frames and longitudinal stiffeners with a thin metal covering forming the outer
skin. (F&F)
August 20
• In 1901... The Wright brothers leave Kitty Hawk, N.C., at the end of their
second season of testing gliders and return to Dayton, Ohio. (F&F)
• In 1908... The Wright Flyer built for flight trials before the U.S. Army arrives at
Fort Meyer, near Washington, D.C., eight days ahead of schedule. Before trials
begin, tests to check transportability, another stipulation, start. (F&F)
• In 1910... The first U.S. Army experiments with firing a rifle from an airplane
takes place when Lt. Jacob Earl Fickel conducts firing trials from a Curtiss
biplane piloted by Curtiss himself. (F&F)
• In 1913... French aviator Adolphe Pégoud carries out the first parachute
descent ever made whereby the parachute is deployed before the pilot leaves
the airplane. (F&F)
• In 1919... The first regularly scheduled passenger service by airship begins in
Berlin with a Zeppelin LX 120 Bodenese. (OTM)
August 21
• In 1908... Wilbur Wright begins flying demonstrations of his Flyer A from the
artillery ground known as Camp d'Auvers, 7 miles east of Le Mans, France,
having moved from the Hunaudières race course. (F&F)
• In 1908... The first turn in the air performed by a monoplane is carried out by
Antoinnette II, first flown at Issy-les-Moulineaux on July 22,1908. It lasts 1
minute, 36 seconds. (F&F)
• In 1923... The first use of electric beacons mounted on the ground to provide
sight direction for night flying is made in the United States. (OTM)
August 22
• In 1909... The first great aviation meeting in Bétheny, France, opens as 23
European airplanes make 87 flights during one week. The meeting will have a
strong influence on the technical and military aspects of flight. (OTM)
• In 1922... The Vickers Victoria (serial no. J6869) military transport makes its
first flight, taking off from Brooklands, England with Stan Cockerell at the
controls. (F&F)
• In 1938... The Civil Aeronautics Act becomes effective in the United States,
coordinating all non-military aviation under the Civil Aeronautics Authority.
August 23
• In 1878... The British government uses its first military aviation budget (£150)
to build and fly their first balloon, the Pioneer. (AYY)
• In 1913... Léon Letort carries out the first non-stop flight between Paris and
Berlin when he flies his Morane-Saulnier monoplane fitted with an 80-hp Le
Rhône engine the 560 miles between the two capitals in 8 hours. (F&F)
• In 1923... The I-1 (Il-400), the first independent design from Nikolai
Nikolayevich Polikarpov, makes its first flight. Polikarpov has worked at the
RBVZ [Russko-Baltijskij Vagonnyj Zavod (Russo-Baltic Cart Works)] on the Ilya
Muromets and later becomes chief engineer at the GAZ-1 plant. (F&F)
• In 1938... The American racing and record-breaking pilot Frank Hawks is killed
along with his mechanic when his Gwinn Aircraft Aircar becomes entangled in
telephone lines shortly after taking off from East Aurora, New York. (F&F)
August 24
• In 1921... In the worst airship disaster thus far, 44 people die when the British
dirigible R.38 is destroyed during routine operations off the coast of Yorkshire,
England, by fire started by electrical sparks that engulfed the airship. (F&F)
• In 1956... A U.S. Army helicopter becomes the first rotary-winged aircraft to fly
non-stop across the United States. (AYY)
• In 1961... Beginning this day through October 12, U.S. aviatrix Jacqueline
Cochrane flying a Northrop T-38A Talon sets a wide range of records for women
(altitude of 56,071 ft., a distance of 1,492 mi., a 100-km (62.14 mi.) closed
circuit speed record of 784.337 mph and 15-km (9.32 mi.) course speed of
844.2 mph). (F&F)
• In 1970... Two USAF Sikorsky HH-53C helicopters complete a non-stop trans-
Pacific crossing from Eglin AFB, Florida to Da Nang, South Vietnam, aided by
refueling encounters with Lockheed C-130 tankers (F&F)
August 25
• In 1784... The son of a Scottish minister, James Tytler, makes the first manned
balloon hop in England when his hot-air device makes a brief uncontrolled
ascent with Tytler in the basket to an altitude of a few hundred feet. (F&F)
• In 1919... The first daily commercial scheduled international air passenger
service starts between London and Paris. A single fare to Paris is 21 pounds.
• In 1932... The first woman to fly non-stop across the United States is Amelia
Earhart. She flies in a Lockheed Vega. (OTM)
August 26
• In 1925... In a record that would stand until Feb. 24, 1983, Farman Parker of
Anderson, Indiana becomes the world's youngest pilot to fly solo. Born on
January 9, 1912, he flies at the age of 13 years, 7 months, 17 days. (F&F)
• In 1929... The first flight of the largest trimotor transport aircraft built by
Fokker, the F.IX, takes to the air on its first flight. The prototype (PH-AGA) was
handed over to KLM on May 8, 1930, and given the name Adelaar (Eagle). (F&F)
• In 1959... French flyer Jacqueline Auriol, piloting the Mirage III, becomes the
first woman to attain the speed of Mach 2. (AYY)
• In 1959... President Eisenhower replaces his airplane with a jet, a USAF VC-
137A, which is a modified Boeing 707 jet-airliner. The switch allows the
President to cut his travel time in half. (AYY)
August 27
• In 1783... Jacques Alexandre César Charles flies the first balloon filled with gas
rather than fire-heated air using hydrogen produced by pouring 489 lbs. of
sulfuric acid on 1,000 lbs. of iron. The balloon has a diameter of 12 ft. (F&F)
• In 1910... Radio is first used to send messages between the ground and an
airplane when James McCurdy both sends and receives messages from a Curtiss
biplane at Sheepshead, New York, using an H.M. Horton wireless set. (OTM)
• In 1913... Lieutenant Petr Nesterov of the Russian Army in Kiev performs the
first loop-the-loop. The complete circle and other intentional acrobatic stunts
prove to be valuable experience for the wartime maneuvers needed during
aerial battles. (OTM)
• In 1939... The first fully jet-propelled aircraft to fly is Germany's Heinkel 178.
A centrifugal flow turbojet engine powers it. (OTM)
August 28
• In 1908... The US Army accepts its first dirigible. It is 96 feet long, with a 20-hp
Curtiss engine. (AYY)
• In 1919... The International Air Traffic Association (IATA) is formed at The
Hague, Holland. (OTM)
• In 1957... A record altitude for manned aircraft is achieved by the RAF
Canberra serial no. WK 163 piloted by chief test pilot M. Randrup. He flies the
aircraft to 70,310 ft. with the aid of a Double Scorpion rocket motor. (F&F)
August 29
• In 1879... In Ontario, Nellie Thurston becomes the first Canadian woman to fly
in a balloon. (OTM)
• In 1909... At the end of a two-day flight from Lake Constance during which
Count von Zeppelin travels a total distance of more than 400 miles, he makes a
spectacular flight in his dirigible LZ5 over the city of Berlin, Germany. (F&F)
• In 1911... Mrs. A. Hewlett is the first British woman to gain a pilot's license.
• In 1955... W.F. Gibb flies on Olympus-engined Canberra B.2 to a world record
altitude of 65,889 ft. (AYY)
August 30
• In 1913... American inventor Lawrence B. Sperry successfully demonstrates the
first gyroscopic automatic stabilizing device for powered airplanes when Lt.
Patrick N. L. Bellinger pilots a U.S. Navy flying boat designated C-2 and
relinquishes full control to the autopilot. (F&F)
• In 1933... Air France, France's national airline, is formed. (OTM)
August 31
• In 1921... The first production Vickers Vernon, the first troop carrier designed
for the British RAF (Royal Air Force), is delivered by the British manufacturer.
• In 1956... The first Boeing KC-135A (serial no. 55-3118) makes its first flight
and is taken over by the USAF on January 31, 1957. (F&F)
• In 1977... Soviet test pilot Alexander Fedotov claims a new world height record
for manned aircraft when he climbs to a height of 37,650 m (123,523 ft.) flying
the Mikoyan E-266M. (F&F)
Aviation History Facts: September
September 1st
• The 1st U.S. tactical air unit, the First Aero Squadron, is organized because of
the August outbreak of war in Europe. Based in San Diego, California, the unit
has 16 officers, 77 enlisted men, and 8 airplanes. (OTM) (1914)
• President Warren Harding authorizes the creation of the Navy Bureau of
Aeronautics, with Rear Admiral Moffet as its chief. (OTM) (1921)
• The Royal Australian Air Force is formed. (OTM) (1923)
• The 1st scheduled international helicopter service begins between Belgium and
France. The service is operated by Belgian airline Sabena. (OTM) (1953)
• The 1st aerial refueling of a jet aircraft by a jet tanker is made with a B-47
Stratojet by a KB-47B tanker. (OTM) (1953)
September 2nd
• Samuel King introduces the 1st dragline in America. It is a long rope attached to
the basket, which helps to stabilize altitude by dragging on the ground when
the balloon is flying very low. (OTM) (1858)
• The 1st parachute descent by a Canadian woman is made when Nellie Lamount
jumps from a hot-air balloon during a fair in Quebec. (OTM (1891)
• Blanche Scott, the 1st woman pilot in the United States, makes a solo flight at
Lake Keuka, Hammondsport. (AYY) (1910)
September 3rd
• Orville Wright makes his 1st flight at Fort Meyer, Virginia, circling the field one-
and-one-half times. During the next two weeks, he conducts a series of 14 long,
high, and impressive flights, many of which set new records and are witnessed
by government officials. (OTM) (1908)
• Regular airmail service in Canada begins with flights between Ontario and
Quebec. (OTM) (1924)
• British Squadron Leader J.S. Fifield in England makes the 1st successful
demonstration of the use of an ejection seat from a moving aircraft while still
on the ground. He ejects from a modified Gloster Meteor 7 that is traveling
120-mph. (OTM) (1955)
September 4th
• Edward Hogan in Quebec makes the 1st parachute descents in Canada from a
hot-air balloon. (OTM) (1888)
• Louise Thaden becomes the 1st woman to win the prestigious coast-to-coast
Bendix trophy race. (AYY) (1936)
September 5th
• The 1st flight of a full-size triplane, the French Goupy, is made. Built by
Ambroise Goupy, it has three sets of wings; each stacked above the others and
is powered by 50-hp Renault engine. (OTM) (1908)
September 6th
• Wilbur leaves Dayton for Kitty Hawk, arriving in Elizabeth City on September 11
by boat and arrives at Kitty Hawk on September 13.
September 7th
• The Wright brothers 1st use their weight-and-derrick-assisted take-off device in
order to make themselves independent of the wind and weather. When the
heavy weight is released, the rope pulls the aircraft, which sits on a flatbed
truck, over the launching track, thus assisting its take-off. (OTM) (1904)
• The U.S. Army's 1st "aerodrome", an airfield or airport, is established in College
Park, Maryland. (OTM) (1909)
September 8th
• The 1st Canadians to fly are A.E. Kierzkowski and A.X. Rambau, who fly in
Eugene Godard's balloon. (OTM) (1856)
September 9th
• Charles Durant, America's 1st great balloonist, makes his 1st U.S. ascent at
Castle Garden, New York. He stays in the air for two hours, landing at South
Amboy, New Jersey. His skill and enthusiasm inspire a passion for ballooning in
America. (OTM) (1830)
• The 1st mail carried by air in the United Kingdom is delivered. The mail
contains messages for King George V and other members of the British royal
family. (AYY) (1911)
September 10th
• Boeing finishes production of their 1,000th 747 airplane, 26 years after the 747
program was launched. (AYY) (1993)
September 11th
• Edison Mouton flies into Marina Field, San Francisco, to complete the 1st US
transcontinental airmail flight. Having left from New York, it took Mouton and
his crew over 75 hours to complete the feat. (AYY) (1920)
• The Fokker F-32 four-engined luxury airliner makes its 1st US flight at Teterboro
Airport. (AYY) (1929)
September 12th
• The 1st pilotless radio-controlled aerial bomb is tested in the United States. It is
actually a small biplane that can fly radio-guided for 50 miles with 308 pounds
of bombs aboard. (OTM) (1916)
September 13th
• In an effort to speed up the time it takes for mail to reach the United States
via Europe, a single-engined Liore et Oliver LeO 198 airplane is catapulted off
the Ile de France ocean liner, reducing the time it takes mail to reach the
United States by one whole day. (AYY) (1928)
• Millionaire film producer and amateur air racer Howard Hughes shatters the
world land plane speed record in his home built Hughes Racer airplane. (AYY)
September 14th
• The 1st successful flight into the eye of a hurricane is made by a three-man
American crew flying a Douglas A-20 Havoc. They demonstrate that valuable
scientific information can be obtained in this manner, which is still done today.
(OTM) (1944)
September 15th
• Italian diplomat, Vincenzo Lunardi, makes the 1st ascent in a hydrogen balloon
in Britain. (AYY) (1784)
• Wilbur Wright in the airplane Flyer II makes his 1st controlled half-circle while
in flight. (AYY) (1904)
September 16th
• The Canadian Aviation Corps is authorized by the Minister of Militia and
Defense to be formed. This is the beginning of Canada's military air force.
(OTM) (1914)
September 17th
• The 1st fatality in a powered airplane occurs when Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge
is killed while flying with Orville Wright at Fort Meyer, Virginia. (OTM) (1908)
• The North American X-15 rocket plane makes its 1st powered flight at Edwards
Air Force Base in California. (AYY) (1959)
September 18th
• The 1st rotating-wing aircraft to fly the English Channel is the Cierva C-8L
Autogyro flown by its designer, Spaniard, Juan de la Cierva. (OTM) (1928)
• The 1st flight of the Zeppelin LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin is made. It is the most
successful rigid airship ever built, flown commercially on a regular basis from
Europe to South America. It flies over a million miles and carries some 13,100
passengers before its demise in 1940. (OTM) (1928)
• The U.S. Air Force becomes an independent service within the unified U.S.
armed forces. This change recognizes the fact that air power is to be the
nation's 1st line of defense. (OTM) (1947)
• The 1st flight of a delta-wing jet airplane is made with the Convair XF-92A.
(OTM) (1948)
September 19th
• The 1st piloted helicopter rises at Douai in France. Piloted by Volumard, it rises
only about 2 feet and is steadied by men on the ground. It does not constitute
free, vertical flight. (OTM) (1907)
• The 1st diesel engine to power a heavier-than-air aircraft is flight tested in
Utica, Michigan. (OTM) (1928)
September 20th
• The Wright brothers make the 1st of nearly 1,000 glides on their modified No.
3 glider in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. It is this glider, made of spruce wood
and cloth, which incorporates for the 1st time the flight controls of the modern
airplane. (OTM) (1902)
• Wilbur Wright on the Flyer III in Huffman Prairie, Ohio makes the 1st circular
flight. (OTM) (1904)
• A British Gloster Meteor F.1 makes the 1st flight of an aircraft powered
completely by turboprop engines. A turboprop or propjet is an aircraft with a
propeller that is driven by a gas turbine engine. (OTM) (1945)
• Wilbur Wright in the airplane Flyer II makes the 1st complete circle in a
powered aircraft. (AYY) (1904)
September 21st
• Frenchman Andre-Jacques Garnerin makes the 1st parachute descent in
England, jumping from a balloon over London. (OTM) (1802)
September 22nd
• Stanley Spencer becomes the 1st Englishman to fly in a powered airship over
England. The 75-foot-long dirigible is powered by a 3-hp water-cooled engine
and makes a flight of 30 miles. (OTM) (1902)
September 23rd
• Peruvian Georges Chavez, who flies over the Simplon Pass between Italy and
Switzerland, makes the 1st airplane flight over the Alps. (OTM) (1910)
• Earl Ovington carries the 1st airmail in the United States in a Bleriot
́ monoplane
from Nassau Boulevard Aerodome, Long Island to Mineola, Long Island. (OTM)
• French pilot, Roland Garros, becomes the 1st person to fly across the
Mediterranean, a distance of 470 miles. He lands in Tunisia 7 hours and 53
minutes after taking off from France, which is of particular note because he
only had enough fuel for 8 hours of flight. (AYY) (1913)
September 24th
• French engineer, Henri Giffard, flies the 1st powered, manned airship.
Powered by a steam engine and propeller, the airship flies at about 5-mph and
covers 17 miles from Paris to Trappes, France. The craft marks the beginning of
the practical airship. (OTM) (1852)
September 25th
• The Wright brothers arrive at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to begin tests of their
1st powered aircraft. (AYY) (1903)
September 26th
• The governments of France, West Germany, and Britain sign a memorandum
that calls for the development of the Airbus A300 wide-bodied jet airliner.
(AYY) (1967)
September 27th
• The 1st piloted airplane to exceed Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound) is
the rocket-powered Bell X-2. (OTM) (1956)
• Katherine Stinson becomes the 1st woman in the United States to make an
official airmail flight. (AYY) (1913)
• Dr. Albert Taylor and Leo Young, scientists at the US Naval Aircraft Radio
Laboratory, make the 1st successful detections of objects by "radio
observation". They use wireless waves to detect objects not visible due to
weather or darkness. This insight leads to the advent of radar. (AYY) (1922)
September 28th
• American pilot Howard Rinehart, flying a Dayton-Wright R.B Racer, becomes
the 1st person to fly an airplane fitted with retractable landing gear. (AYY)
• Lufthansa, Germany's national airline flies its millionth customer. (AYY) (1934)
September 29th
• The 1st take-off and landing of the XC-142A vertical take-off transport is made
in Dallas, Texas. The aircraft has four 2,850-hp General Electric turboprops
mounted on the wings that can pivot 90 degrees to allow for a vertical take-
off. (AYY) (1964)
September 30th
• The 1st round-the-world flight in a helicopter is completed as the Bell Long
Ranger II, flown by Americans H. Ross Perot Jr. and Jay Coburn, lands safely.
(OTM) (1982)
Aviation History Facts: October
October 01
• In 1861... The United States Army Balloon Corps, consisting of five balloons and
fifty men, is formed. (AYY)
• In 1906... United States Army Lieutenant Frank Lahm wins the 1st Gordon
Bennett international balloon race. (AYY)
• In 1912... The Military Aviation Service is founded in Germany. (AYY)
• In 1947... Los Angeles Airways opens the world's 1st regular airmail service by
helicopter, using Sikorsky S-51 machines. (AYY)
October 02
• In 1918... The Kettering Bug pilotless airplane being developed by Charles F.
Kettering makes its first successful unmanned flight test, albeit for only nine
seconds. (F&F)
October 03
• In 1785... Jean-Pierre Blanchard makes the 1st manned balloon ascent in
Germany. (OTM)
October 04
• In 1784... James Sadler becomes the 1st British aeronaut when he makes a
flight in a Montgolfier-type balloon of a 170-foot circumference (AYY)
• In 1909... More than a million New Yorkers watch as Wilbur Wright makes a
flight along the Hudson River. (AYY)
• In 1958... Britain's national overseas airline BOAC becomes the 1st carrier to fly
the Atlantic route by jet airliner. (AYY)
October 05
• In 1751... Italian Andrea Grimaldi, exhibits a flying carriage: the machine,
which remains untested, has a complex structure and a wingspan of 22 feet.
• In 1905... Wilbur Wright in the Flyer II makes the 1st flight of over a half-an-
hour at Simms Station, Ohio. (AYY)
• In 1907... The 1st British Army dirigible airship, the Nullis Secundus (second to
none), makes a spectacular flight over the capital city of London. (AYY)
• In 1914... A German Aviatik becomes the 1st aircraft to be shot down in a
dogfight by a French Army-owned Voisin airplane. (AYY)
October 06
• In 1908... Wilbur Wright and a French writer make the 1st passenger flight of
over one hour. (OTM)
• In 1922... Lieutenants John Macready and O.G. Kelly set a new world flight
endurance record, staying aloft in their Fokker T-2 monoplane for a total of 35
hours, 18 minutes and 30 seconds. (AYY)
October 07
• In 1909... Glenn Curtiss becomes the 1st American to hold an FAI airplane
certificate. (AYY)
October 08
• In 1883... French brothers Albert and Gaston Tissandier make the 1st flight
with an airship powered by electricity. (OTM)
October 09
• In 1890... The 1st full-sized manned airplane to leave the ground under its own
power is Frenchman Clement Ader's steam-powered, propeller-driven aircraft.
• In 1900... French aeronaut Count Henri de La Vaulx sets a world record for non-
stop long-distance balloon flight. He flies for over 35 hours after taking off
from Paris, France. (AYY)
October 10
• In 1898... Augustus Herring pilots a powered biplane based on Octave Chanute's
glider design. (AYY)
• In 1907... Robert Esnault-Pelterie makes the 1st airplane flight with a control
stick, using a single, broom handle-like lever. (AYY)
October 11
• In 1910... President Teddy Roosevelt becomes the 1st US president to fly when
he is taken up in St. Louis. (AYY)
October 12
• In 1976... The NASA/U.S. Army rotor systems research aircraft produced by
Sikorsky as the S-72 makes its first flight. (F&F)
October 13
• In 1931... Canadian pilot Godfrey Dean performs the 1st loop in an autogyro, at
Willow Field, near Philadelphia. (AYY)
October 14
• In 1947... Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager becomes the 1st person to fly faster
than sound. Yeager "breaks the sound barrier" in his Bell X-1 airplane,
Glamorous Glennis, named after his wife. He was able to reach 670-mph or
Mach 1.015 at Muroc Dry Lake, California. (AYY)
October 15
• In 1783... The 1st man to ascend in a tethered balloon is French scientist Jean
Pilatre de Rozier. His hot-air Montgolfier balloon ascends to 84 feet - the length
of the rope holding the balloon. (OTM)
• In 1913... Lieutenant Ronin makes the 1st official airmail flight in France. (AYY)
• In 1927... Captain Dieudonne´ lands in Brazil becoming the 1st person to fly
non-stop across the South Atlantic. The 2100-mile flight takes just over 18
hours. (AYY)
• In 1939... New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia dedicates an airport in Flushing
bearing his name. La Guardia airport is the costliest to build at the time, $45
million. (AYY)
October 16
• In 1908... Samuel Cody becomes the 1st man to fly in Britain. Flying the British
Army Aeroplane N° 1, Cody flies for 1,391 feet before crashing. (AYY)
• In 1909... German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin forms the world's 1st
commercial airline. (OTM)
• In 1910... The 1st airship crossing of the English Channel is made by the
French-built dirgible Cle´ment-Bayard II. The 244-mile route is completed in 6
hours. (AYY)
• In 1917... Final testing is made for the US Army-designed air-to-air radio
communication system with a wireless set. (AYY)
October 17
• In 1922... Lieutenant V.C. Griffin, in a Vought VE-7SF airplane, achieves the 1st
take-off from the USS Langley, America's 1st operational aircraft carrier. (AYY)
October 18
• In 1909... Charles Comte de Lambert, Wilbur Wright's 1st aviation pupil, flies
around the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (OTM)
October 19
• In 1968... USAF test pilot Major William "Pete" Knight wins the Harmon
international aviator's trophy for "exceptional individual piloting performance".
October 20
• In 1920... Flying his Nieuport Delage, Sadi Lecointe set a world speed record
flying at 187.99-mph. (AYY)
October 21
• In 1929... The Colonial Flying Service and Scully Walton Ambulance Company
organize the United State's 1st civilian air ambulance service. (AYY)
October 22
• In 1797... The modern parachute is born as Andre-Jacques Garnerin makes the
1st human parachute descent from the air. Garnerin jumps from a hydrogen
balloon at a height of 2,300 feet in Paris. (OTM)
• In 1898... Augustus Herring pilots a powered biplane based on Octave Chanute's
glider design. (AYY)
October 23
• In 1906... Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos Dumont makes the 1st sustained
airplane flight in Europe in his own airplane, the N° 14 bis. (AYY)
October 24
• In 1912... Harry Hawker wins the British Empire Michelin Cup for endurance. He
flies for over 8 hours in a Burgess-Wright airplane. (AYY)
October 25
• In 1939... The prototype Handey Page Halifax (serial no. L7244) makes its first
flight from RAF Bicester with J.L.B.H. Cordes at the controls. (F&F)
October 26
• In 1907... Henry Farman flies his Voisin Farman I flying machine just under
2,530 feet, breaking the world distance record. ( (AYY)
October 27
• In 1909... Mrs. Ralph van Denman flies for four minutes with Wilbur Wright at
College Park, Maryland, becoming the U.S.'s 1st female passenger. (AYY)
October 28
• In 1914... Aviators in Melbourne form an Australian Aero Club. (AYY)
October 29
• In 1917... An American-built DH-4 flies for the 1st time. (AYY)
October 30
• In 1908... Henry Farman performs the 1st cross-country flight in Europe as well
as the 1st flight between two towns. (AYY)
• In 1909... Claude Moore-Brabazon wins a £1,000 prize offered by the Daily Mail
for a circular flight of one mile. (AYY)
October 31
• In 1933... France's air minister Pierre Cot formally inaugurates the country's
national airline, Air France. (AYY)
• In 1956... The US Navy R4D-5 Skytrain Que Sera Sera, commanded by Rear
Admiral George Dufek, becomes the 1st airplane to make a landing at the South
Pole. (AYY)
Aviation History Facts: November
November 1
• In 1944... The International Civil Aviation Conference opens in Chicago. (OTM)
November 2
• In 1931... The USS Akron, a purpose-built aircraft-carrying airship, is
commissioned. (AYY)
November 3
• In 1897... The 1st all-metal rigid airship is tested in Germany. It uses wafer-
thin aluminum, a major innovation, but crashes soon after taking off. (OTM)
• In 1926... Captain Charles Lindbergh jumps from his disabled airplane during a
night airmail flight, making this his 4th time he has had to use his parachute to
save his life. (OTM)
• In 1949... Charles Moore makes the 1st manned flight in a polyethylene balloon
over Minneapolis, Minnesota. (OTM)
November 4
• In 1910... The 1st dirigible to fly from England to France is the British non-rigid
airship City of Cardiff, built by E.T. Willows. (OTM)
November 5
• In 1908... Wilbur Wright receives the Grand Gold Medal of the Aéro Club of
France for advances in aviation. (AYY)
• In 1910... The Willows airship N° 3 City of Cardiff arrives after the 1st dirigible
flight across the English Channel, flying from London in 10 hours and 30
minutes. (AYY)
• In 1911... Calbraith Rodgers becomes the 1st person to cross the United States
in an airplane. (AYY)
November 6
• In 1915... The 1st catapult launching of an airplane from a moving ship is made
from the USS North Carolina in Pensacola, Florida. (OTM)
• In 1945... The 1st jet plane to land on an aircraft carrier is a Ryan FR-1 piloted
by U.S. Navy Ensign Jake West. (OTM)
November 7
• In 1910... The 1st use of an airplane to carry commercial freight is the Wright
Company's airplane that flies from Dayton to Columbus, Ohio carrying 10 bolts
of silk to the Morehouse-Martens Company. (OTM)
• In 1945... The 1st speed record of over 600 mph is established by British pilot
Hugh Wilson in a Gloster Meteor jet fighter at 606 mph. (OTM)
November 8
• In 1881... Robert Estnault-Pelterie, early aviation pioneer is born. He invented
ailerons (movable wing parts) and coined the word astronautics. (OTM)
November 9
• In 1904... Wilbur Wright flies for five minutes, four seconds over Huffman
Prairie, Ohio, covering 2 ¾ miles. (OTM)
• In 1932... Wolfgang von Gronau and crew in a Dornier Wal complete the 1st
flight around the world by a seaplane. Their flight takes 111 days (OTM)
November 10
• In 1907... Louis Bleriot introduces what will become the modern configuration
of the airplane. His No.VII has an enclosed or covered fuselage (body), a single
set of wings (monoplane), a tail unit, and a propeller in front of the engine.
• In 1907... Henri Farman makes the 1st flight in Europe of over one minute in his
Voisin-Farman I biplane in France. (OTM)
November 11
• In 1935... Orville Anderson and Albert Stevens in Explorer II establish altitude
record for balloons of 72,395 feet in the United States. (OTM)
November 12
• In 1903... The 1st fully practical airship, the Lebaudy, makes a successful flight
in Paris, France. The 190-foot-long airship flies 38 ½ miles and achieves a
speed of 25-mph. (OTM)
• In 1906... Alberto Santos-Dumont flies some 720 feet and wins the Aéro-Club de
France prize for exceeding 100 meters. (OTM)
• In 1912... The 1st successful catapult launch of a seaplane is made at the
Washington, D.C. Navy Yard. Catapulted by a compressed air system from an
anchored barge, the floatplane is a Curtiss A-1. (OTM)
• In 1921... The 1st air-to-air refueling is made when American Wesley May steps
from the wing of one aircraft to that of another carrying a five-gallon can of
gasoline strapped to his back. (OTM)
November 13
• In 1907... The 1st piloted helicopter rises vertically in free flight in France.
Built by Paul Cornu, it's powered by a 24-hp Antoinette engine driving two
motors. (OTM)
November 14
• In 1910... The birth of the aircraft carrier occurs when Eugene Ely takes off
from the cruiser USS Birmingham in Virginia, on a Curtiss biplane. The warship
has an 83-foot platform built over the foredeck for the take-off. (OTM)
November 15
• In 1965... The 1st flight around the world over flying both Poles is made by U.S.
airline Flying Tigerline Captain J.L. Martin. (OTM)
November 16
• In 1915... Victor Carlstrom becomes the 1st pilot to fly from Toronto to New
York. Carlstrom flies in a Curtiss R-2 biplane and was in the air for 6 hours and
40 minutes. (AYY)
November 17
• In 1906... The Daily Mail of London offers a £10,000 prize for the 1st flight from
London to Manchester. (AYY)
• In 1962... President John F. Kennedy dedicates the Dulles International Airport
in Herndon, Virginia. (AYY)
November 18
• In 1930... The Boeing XP-9 monoplane fighter makes its 1st flight in Dayton,
Ohio. (AYY)
November 19
• In 1938... Construction begins on a new airport serving the nation's capital,
Washington, D.C. Built in nearby Virginia, this airport will become Ronald
Reagan National Airport. (OTM)
November 20
• In 1919... The 1st municipal airport in the United States opens in Tucson,
Arizona and is still in use today. (OTM)
• In 1953... The 1st man to exceed Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound) is
American test pilot Scott Crossfield in a Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket. (OTM)
November 21
• In 1783... The 1st free or untethered human flight takes place when Jean
Francois Pilatre de Rozier flies as high as 500 feet and travels 5 miles over Paris
in a Montgolfier hot-air balloon. (OTM)
November 22
• In 1909... Wright Company is incorporated with a capital stock of $1,000,000.
Formed to manufacture airplanes, the company's president is Wilbur Wright and
his brother Orville is the vice president. (OTM)
November 23
• In 1942... Dubbed "Flying Flapjack," the most radical conventionally-engined
aircraft ever built makes its 1st flight when Chance Vought test pilot, Boone T.
Guyton, takes the V-173 into the air. (F&F)
• In 1947... The Convair XC-99 (serial no. 43-52436) makes its first flight, piloted
by Russell R. Rogers. (F&F)
• In 1989... An Airbus A310-300 opens Air France's new direct Lyon/New York
service. (AYY)
November 24
• In 1955... The prototype Fokker F.27 Friendship medium-range twin-turboprop
transport flies for the 1st time. (AYY)
November 25
• In 1956... U.S. Air Force Sergeant Richard Patton makes the 1st successful
parachute jump in Antarctica. He jumps from 1,500 feet as a test to determine
the cause of parachute malfunction in sub-zero weather conditions. (OTM)
November 26
• In 1939... British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) is established through
the amalgamation of Imperial Airways and British Airways. (OTM)
November 27
• In 1912... The aeronautical division of the US Army Signal Corps receives the
1st "flying boat", a Curtiss Model F, capable of takeoff from water. (AYY)
November 28
• In 1929... American Commander Richard Byrd and crew make the 1st flight over
the South Pole, in a Ford 4-AT Trimotor monoplane, November 28-29. (OTM)
November 29
• In 1945... A U.S. Army Sikorsky R-5 helicopter off the coast of Long Island, New
York, makes the 1st air-sea rescue. (OTM)
November 30
• In 1784... Jean-Pierre Blanchard makes the 1st scientific observations from
above the earth in a hydrogen balloon over London. (OTM)
• In 1905... The Aero Club of America is established in New York City. (AYY)
• In 1907... Glenn Curtiss founds the Curtiss Aeroplane Company. It is the 1st US
airplane manufacturing company. (AYY)
• In 1908... La Compagnie Generale de Navigation Aérienne, the French Wright
company, is organized. (OTM)
Aviation History Facts: December
December 1
• In 1783... J. A. C. Charles and another man make the first trip in a hydrogen
balloon, flying 27 miles from Paris to Nesle, France. After landing, Charles goes
up again by himself, achieving the first solo balloon flight. (OTM)
• In 1934... The first airway traffic control center is opened in Newark, N.J.,
operated by staff of Eastern Air Lines, United Air Lines, American Airlines and
• In 1969... The first legislation to limit aircraft noise levels at airports is
introduced in U.S. Federal Air Regulation, Part 36. (OTM)
December 2
• In 1976... The Boeing 747 SCA, an ex-American Airlines airliner which has been
adapted to carry the US reusable space shuttle, makes its flight. (AYY)
• In 1986... A Concorde airliner carrying 94 passengers returns to Charles de
Gaulle airport after an 18-day round-the-world journey; total flying time
amounted to 31 hours 51 minutes. (AYY)
December 3
• In 1945... A de Havilland Sea Vampire fighter becomes the first purely jet-
powered airplane to operate from an aircraft carrier, when Lieutenant-
Commander E. M. "Winkle" Brown lands his aircraft on the HMS Ocean in
England. (AYY)
• In 1958... An aircraft exchange, which will function like the stock markets and
commodity exchanges, opens in New York. (AYY)
December 4
• In 1908... The Englishman J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon (later Lord Tara of Brabazon)
makes a flight of 1,350 ft. in a Voisin biplane at Issy-les-Moulineaux in France.
He becomes one of the guiding lights of early British aviation and is issued the
first British pilot's license, then called an aviator's certificate. (F&F)
• In 1961... The National Air and Space Museum receives the Douglas C-54
transport Sacred Cow used by Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. (AYY)
• In 1991... Pan Am World Airways goes out of business after 64 years of service.
The sudden shutdown of this aviation pioneer strands many passengers and
leaves about 9,000 employees out of work. (OTM)
December 5
• In 1909... George Taylor makes the first manned glider flight in Australia in a
glider of his own design. He eventually makes a total of 29 flights at Narrabeen
Beach in New South Wales. (F&F)
• In 1921... Western Australia Airways opens the first scheduled regular airline
service in the country. (AYY)
December 6
• In 1960... The first flight of the Sikorsky S-61L helicopter is made in the United
States. It serves as a transport craft as well as patrol, rescue, and even anti-
submarine duty. (OTM)
• In 1975... The first airmail flight by a supersonic aircraft is made by the
Tupolev Tu-144, carrying mail between Moscow and Alma Ata, within the
U.S.S.R. (OTM)
December 7
• In 1945... New Zealand National Airways Corporation is founded with
amalgamation of Union Airways, Air Travel and Cook Strait Airways. (AYY)
• In 1980... Pan Am's Boeing 747 China Clipper arrives in Peking from New York
via Tokyo to complete the first official flight between China and USA since
shortly before 1949. (AYY)
December 8
• In 1938... Germany officially launches its first aircraft carrier, the 280-foot by
89-foot Graf Zeppelin. (AYY)
• In 1940... The New York City experiences its first blackout and anti-aircraft
exercise, around the Brooklyn Navy Yard. (AYY)
• In 1964... A United Lines Caravelle makes the first landing in the USA
completely controlled by computer (automatic touchdown). (AYY)
December 9
• In 1904... The Wright brothers discontinue trials with Flyer II after completing
105 tests and 80 brief flights since they began flying the new machine in May.
• In 1909... American Dr. Henry W. Walden makes the first flight with his triplane
known as the Walden III. It is powered by a three-cylinder, 22-HP Anzani engine
and takes off from Mineola, Long Island, N.Y. (F&F)
December 10
• In 1919... Capts. Ross Smith and Keith Smith become the first Australians to fly
directly between Great Britain and Australia, a distance of 11,340 mi., after
flying 135 hr. 55 min. at an average speed of 83 MPH. (F&F)
December 11
• In 1917... Katherine Stinson flies 606 miles from San Diego to San Francisco,
setting a new American non-stop distance record. (AYY)
December 12
• In 1953... Mach 2.5 (2 ½ times the speed of sound) is achieved for the first
time by Major Charles "Chuck" Yeager in the Bell X-1A. The rocket-propelled
experimental aircraft reaches 1,650 mph at 70,000 feet. (OTM)
December 13
• In 1918... The first flight from England to India is made by A.S. MacLaren,
Halley, and McEwen in Handley Page V-1500 four-engined bomber. (OTM)
December 14
• In 1903... Wilbur Wright makes the first and unsuccessful attempt at powered
flight at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. His aircraft stalls after 3 ½ seconds in
the air and crash-lands 105 feet away. (OTM)
• In 1965... A Learjet 23 executive transport shows off its impressive capabilities
by climbing to 40,000 feet in 7 minutes 21 seconds with seven people aboard.
• In 1988... Japan Air Lines says its future Boeing 747-400s will be fitted with
personal video screens in the first and business class. (AYY)
December 15
• In 1920... The first of a number of flying schools to train reserve pilots for the
military opens at Orly, south of Paris. (AYY)
• In 1970... Artem Mikoyan, founder of the dynasty of MiG fighters, dies (AYY)
December 16
• In 1951... The first helicopter powered by a gas-turbine engine flies
successfully. The Kaman K-225 uses a turbine that makes for a lighter, simpler,
more powerful engine compared to a conventional piston engine. (OTM)
• In 1979... The British Airways Concorde lands in London after flying from New
York in less than three hours (2 hours 58 minutes) at an average speed of 1,172
mph. (AYY)
December 17
• In 1903... Orville Wright makes the first sustained, controlled, powered flight
in the Flyer airplane at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. The historic first flight
lasts 12 seconds and covers 120 feet. (OTM)
• In 1969... The USAF closes Project Blue Book, its 22-year investigation into
sightings of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. (AYY)
December 18
• In 1912... French aviator Rolland Garros becomes the first pilot to bridge two
countries in a single flight. He flies his Blériot monoplane from North Africa to
Europe, half-way across the Mediterranean, 177mi. (F&F)
• In 1970... Airbus Industrie is formally established to develop the Airbus A300; it
is comprised of Aérospatiale, Deutsche Airbus, Fokker and Hawker Siddeley.
December 19
• In 1908... The world's first aerodrome, Port-Aviation, is opened 12 miles
outside of Paris. (AYY)
• In 1968... The Boeing Company receives its first order, from Israeli airline El Al,
for a long-range version of the 747 Jumbo Jet, production of which was
announced just under a month ago. (AYY)
• In 1978... The first solar-powered aircraft, Solar One, makes a successful flight
in England. (OTM)
December 20
• In 1916... The US Army Balloon School is established in Fort Omaha, Nebraska.
• In 1928... Australian George Wilkins and Lieutenant Carl Eielson make the first
flight over Antarctica. They use a Lockheed Vega for the 10-hour flight. (OTM)
December 21
• In 1960... The first major combat aircraft with variable geometry wings, the
General Dynamics F-111, makes its first flight. (OTM)
• In 1982... The last V-bomber squadron of Britain's RAF, 44, is disbanded at
Waddington, Lincolnshire. (AYY)
December 22
• In 1930... The Tupolev ANT-6 heavy bomber makes its first flight in U.S.S.R.
• In 1974... The Dassault Breguet Mirage F1-E makes its first flight, in the hands
of Guy Mitaux-Maurourard. (AYY)
December 23
• In 1907... The chief signals officer of the U.S. Army, Brig. Gen. James Allen,
issues specification no. 486, the first military aircraft specification for which
commercial tenders were invited. The specification is written around the
capabilities of the Wright Flyer and, though published for bids to conform to
army requirements, only the Wrights are expected to respond by the closing
date of February 1, 1908. (F&F)
• In 1940... The first U.S. all-cargo air service is inaugurated by United Air Lines
when at 11:30 P.M. a flight leaves New York for Chicago, where it arrives at
3:40 A.M. local time the following morning after stopping in Cleveland. (F&F)
December 24
• In 1908... The world's first aeronautical exhibition opens in Paris when the
French president inaugurated the second half of the Annual Automobile Salon
at the Grand Palais. (F&F)
• In 1944... The people of the Philippines receive a surprise when airplanes of
43rd Bombing Group flew over to drop a million Christmas cards; each one
contains the words: "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 1944 - General
Douglas MacArthur." (AYY)
• In 1963... New York International Airport is rededicated as John F. Kennedy
Airport in honor of the murdered president (AYY)
December 25
• In 1934... French pilot Raymond Delmotte sets a new world speed record for
landplanes of 314.33 mph, flying a Caudron 460. (AYY)
• In 1946... Today is nicknamed "Black Christmas" as three airlines crash trying to
land in bad weather, killing 72 people. It is the worst day so far in the history
of Chinese civil aviation. (AYY)
December 26
• In 1948... I. V. Fedorov becomes the first Soviet pilot to break the sound
barrier. He achieves the necessary speed by diving his Lavochkin La-176 jet,
powered by a Rolls-Royce Nene engine, at full throttle. (AYY)
• In 1980... Aeroflot puts the Ilyushin Il-86 into service on its Moscow-Tashkent
route. (AYY)
December 27
• In 1773... George Cayley is born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England. Pioneer of
early aviation regarded by many as the father of flight. His glider takes his
coachman on the first manned flight in 1853. (OTM)
• In 1949... US carriers American Airlines and TWA begin coast-to coast coach-
class flights with 60-passenger DC-4s, charging US $110 one-way (AYY)
December 28
• In 1988... An analysis of the wreckage of the Pan Am Boeing 747, which crashed
at Lockerbie, Scotland a week ago, reveals that a bomb had been planted in
the jet's luggage hold. (AYY)
December 29
• In 1921... Edward Stinson and Lloyd Bertaud set a world endurance record of 26
hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds flying a BMW-engined Junkers-Larsen over
Roosevelt Field. (AYY)
December 30
• In 1905... The Wright brothers sign a contract for one million francs with
Frenchman Arnold Fordyce for the sale of a powered flying machine capable of
flying a nonstop distance of 31 mi. When contingent of French government
officials come to Dayton in April 1906 to change the agreement by seeking
exclusivity for one year, the idea is dropped; for their trouble, the Wrights
received 25,000 francs (then about US $5,000), the first money they earn from
flying. (F&F)
• In 1947... The prototype of the second Mikoyan Type S fighter, an early version
of the MiG-15, makes its first flight; it has an imported Rolls-Royce Nene 2 jet
engine. (AYY)
December 31
• In 1908... Wilbur Wright at Auvours, France, makes the first flight over 2 hours.
He flies for 2 hours and 20 minutes, covers 77 miles, and wins the Michelin Cup
for 1908. (OTM)
• In 1951... This year, for the first time, air passenger miles flown (10.6 million)
have exceeded passenger miles traveled in Pullman cars on the railroad (10.2
million). (AYY)
• In 1958... This year, for the first time, more passengers (1.2 million) have
crossed the North Atlantic by air than by sea. (AYY)
• In 1968... The world's first supersonic transport aircraft to fly, the Tupolev Tu-
144, takes to the air, powered by four 28,660/38,580-lb. s.t. Kuznetsov NK-144
turbofans. (F&F)