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Glider flight - Mar 17, 1883 - John J Montgomery
began the first of a series of glider flights at Otay
Mesa (near El Cajon) CA.
Parachute jump - Jan 30,
1887 - Thomas E Baldwin, from a balloon at San Francisco
CA. It would be 25 years until this feat was tried
from an airplane.
Airplane factory - 1900
- Carl Dryden Browne started a commercial airplane
factory in Freedom KS and built a model, but was unable
to perfect his aircraft. The factory closed in 1902.
Wright glider posed nose-up
Wright brothers airplane
patent - March 23, 1903 - First US patent, based on
their 1902 glider, applied for. It was issued on May
Langley flight attempt -
Dec 8, 1903 - Second and last trial of the Langley
airplane, piloted by Charles Manly, was wrecked in
launching from a houseboat on the Potomac River in
Man-controlled powered flight
- Dec 17, 1903 - Orville Wright, at Kitty Hawk NC,
in a 12-second flight of 120 feet. (Wilbur Wright
had tried three days earlier, and failed to get airborne;
however, he made the second flight this historic day
for 850' in 69 seconds.)
Complete circle made by
an airplane - Sep 20, 1904 - Wright Flier, piloted
by Wilbur Wright.
Fully controllable and maneuverable
flight - June 23, 1905 - First flight of the Wright
Flyer #3 at Huffman Prairie, Dayton OH, in which a
fully-controllable aircraft was able to turn and bank,
and remain aloft for up to 30 minutes.
Distance and duration record
- Oct 5, 1905 - Wilbur Wright, in Wright Flier #3,
for 24.2 miles in 38m:03s.
Aero exhibition - Jan 1906
- New York Aero Show, in connection with the annual
Auto Show. The first all-aviation exhibition was the
Boston Aero Show, on 2/16/10.
Rotary motor used for flight
- 1907 - 63hp five-cylinder Adams & Farwell (Dubuque
IA), used by Emile Berliner in his helicopter.
Air Service - Aug 1, 1907
- The Aeronautical Division of the Signal Corps, in
which two enlisted men, under the command of Capt
Charles Chandler, were detailed to handle "all
matters pertaining to military ballooning, air machines,
and all kindred subjects," although the government
at the time had only balloons.
Aeroplane for export - Apr
16, 1908 - Wilbur Wright delivered a Flier to Italy
and instructed students.
Flight in which a motion
picture camera was used - Apr 24, 1908 - Wilbur Wright,
piloted his Flier at Centocelle, Italy, with a cinematographer
Passenger flight - May 14,
1908 - Wilbur Wright took along Charles Furnas, an
employee, in a check flight for delivery of a government
airplane. Of interest is that the Wright brothers
would not fly together for two years, on May 25, 1910.
Military pilot - May 19,
1908 - Army Lt Thomas E Selfridge, flying AEA's White
Wing. First military pilots to fly in service were
Army Lts Frederic Humphreys and Frank Lahm, soloing
on 10/26/09, after training by Wilbur Wright.
Flying club and civil airport
- June 10, 1908 - Aeronautical Society formed at New
York City, and Morris Park air field established — our first real airport.
Wholly public flight - July
4, 1908 - Glenn H Curtiss flew more than a mile at
Hammondsport NY in the AEA's June Bug. Fitted with
wingtip ailerons, it brought a lawsuit by the Wrights
over infringement of their patent.
Air ordinances - July 17,
1908 - Laws were passed governing local aeronautical
activities at Kissimmee FL.
Altitude, distance, and duration
record - Aug 8, 1908 - Wilbur Wright surpassed existing
French flight records for all three events at Camp
Fatality in a powered airplane
- Sep 17, 1908 - Lt Thomas E Selfridge, as a passenger*
with Orville Wright, in a demonstration flight at
Ft Myer VA. (* The first pilot of a powered airplane
to be killed was Eugène Lefèbvre in
France, on 9/7/09, but he did fly a Wright A to qualify
for this bleak honor.)
First woman to fly as an
airplane passenger? - Oct c.23, 1908 - There is much
contest about this "feat." So far we have
uncovered four other claims — Mrs Dick Ferris,
wife of aviator and organizer of Dominguez Hills Air
Meet, flew with Louis Paulhan (Jan 1910); PAWG Aerospace
Newsletter claim Leontine Wright, niece of the Wright
Brothers (c.1906); Paul Winslow emails: Tom Crouch's
book, "The Bishop's Boys," says Katherine
Wright went up as a passenger in France some time
in Feb 1909, and a Mrs Ralph Van Deman was taken up
at College Park MD in Oct 1909. If the above pictured
lady was, indeed, first to fly, she would be excluded
here as a non-American (although there is some validity
in doing so in an American airplane) and the contest
narrowed to first in the USA.
* The photograph is Mrs
Hart O Berg, wife of the Wrights' European business
manager. She flew with Wilbur in Oct 1908. The date
comes from Bishop Milton Wright's Diary, 1908 —
the bishop wrote the notation on Oct 7, 1908; Marvin
W McFarland, ed, The Papers of Wilbur & Orville
Wright, Volume Two: 1906-1948 (McGraw-Hill 1953),
Mme Bollee, the wife of
French engine manufacturer Leon Bollee, became the
second woman passenger in a heavier-than-air machine
in Oct 1908 (McFarland, The Papers, pg 931). Katherine
Wright flew with Wilbur at Pau, France, in March 1909
(becoming the third woman) to prove the safety and
reliability of the Wright machine to King Edward,
who was observing the flights; "Wilbur Wright's
Activities in France," Fly: The National Aeronautic
Magazine, Apr 1909, pg 13.
Mrs Ralph H (Sarah) Van
Deman flew at College Park MD as the first woman passenger
in America on Oct 27, 1909, the day after Lahm and
Humphreys soloed as the first Army aviators; Officer's
Wife Flies with Wilbur Wright," New York Times,
Oct 28, 1908, pg 4, and "First Woman Flies,"
Washington Journal, Oct 28, 1908. (— Charlie
Personal aircraft - Dec 28,
1908 - Matthew Sellers made several flights with his
quadraplane powered by an 8hp Dutheil-Chalmers motor,
our nation's first civil airplane designed and advertised
for personal use.
Rotary-wing aircraft - 1909
- William Purvis and Charles Wilson, railroad mechanics
in Goodland KS, quit their jobs to work on a rotary-winged
aircraft. The venture failed, but their design is
believed to be the first rotary-winged aircraft ever
patented, a predecessor to the helicopter.
Commercial civil aircraft
- Jan 22, 1909 - Pusher built by Glenn H Curtiss for
sale to the Aeronautic Society of New York.
Aeroplane dealership - June
22, 1909 - Wyckoff, Church & Partridge, auto dealers
in New York City, acquired the Curtiss line.
Wright Army A in early 1910
Army airplane - Aug 2, 1909 - Wright A, purchased
for $25,000, plus $5,000 as a bonus for exceeding
required specifications. Delivered to Ft Myer VA.
Speed record - Aug 23, 1909
- At the world's first major air meet in Rheims, France,
Glenn Curtiss became the first American to claim the
recognized speed record by flying at 43.385 mph in
Army air field - Aug 25,
1909 - On ground leased at College Park MD.
Army aviation students -
Oct 8-Nov 5, 1909 - Lts Frank P Lahm, Benjamin D Foulois,
and Frederick E Humphreys were selected to learn to
fly an airplane from Wilbur Wright at College Park
MD. Humphreys would be first to solo, with Lahm right
after him, on Oct 26. Foulois, who took a first lesson
on Oct 23, would not solo until Mar 2, 1910.
Monoplane - Dec 9, 1909 -
Dr Henry W Walden. Technically the first monoplane
flight, albeit only for about 30 feet. His subsequent
flights on 8/3/10, are more often credited with this
record. Overseas, five months earlier, Louis Blériot
had flown the world's first monoplane across the English
Channel (July 25).
Pilot license - 1910 - Recipient
of license #1 was Glenn Curtiss. Four more were awarded
that year: #2: Frank Lahm, #3: Louis Paulhan, #4:
Orville Wright, #5: Wilbur Wright. Why was Curtiss
#1 and the Wright's #4 and #5? Simply because, with
so few recipients when the system of licensing began,
they were assigned alphabetically.
Organized air meet - Jan
10-20, 1910 - Dominguez Hills, Los Angeles, attended
by an estimated 45,000 spectators. SEE The full story.
Commercial flight school
- Mar 19, 1910 - Orville Wright opened the first Wright
Flying School at Montgomery AL. (The site would later
become Maxwell AFB.)
Night flight - June ??, 1910
- Charles W Hamilton, over Knoxville TN. A similar
claim is made for Walter Brookins, also in 1910, for
a night flight in a Wright at Montgomery AL.
Mile-high altitude record
- July 17, 1910 - Walter Brookins climbed 6,234' (>6,175')
into the sky over Atlantic City NJ in his new Wright
Model A, for which he was awarded a $5,000 prize.
Tricycle gear - Aug 10, 1910
- Conversion from skids to a wheeled tricycle gear
made on the Army's Wright by Lt Benjamin Foulois and
mechanic O G Simmons.
Gun fired from an airplane
- Aug 20, 1910 - Two shots were fired from a Curtiss
biplane at a ground target with a rifle by Lt Jacob
A Fickel at Sheepshead Bay NY. Several claims of earlier
occasions are unsubstantiated.
Air-to-ground radio - Aug
27, 1910 - James McCurdy, in a Curtiss, sent and received
messages. A similar event also occurred this year,
but undated, when Elmo N Pickerill sent what was claimed
to be the "first air-to-ground telegraph," during a flight from Mineola to Manhattan Beach NY.
Woman to solo an airplane
- Sep 2, 1910 - Blanche Scott; however, since it was
never established if her brief flight, measured in
seconds, was intentional or accidental (some witnesses
claimed it was caused by a gust of wind), Bessica
Medlar Raiche is most often credited with her solo
flight on 9/16/10, although Scott did rate her own
US postage stamp in 1995.
President to fly - Oct 10
or 11, 1910 - Theodore Roosevelt, then out of office,
with Arch Hoxsey piloting a Wright Flier at a St Louis
flying meet. First Chief Executive to fly during his
term was the other Roosevelt, in 1943.Airplane
flown from a ship - Nov 14, 1910 - Eugene Ely, in
Curtiss Albany Flyer, from an 83-foot platform on
battleship USS Birmingham.
Monoplane flying boat -
1911 - Designed and built by Grover Loening.
Licensed woman pilot - 1911
- Harriet Quimby, earning FAI pilot license #37. She
was also the first woman to fly across the English
Channel, from Dover to Hardelot, France, on 4/16/12,
and the first woman to receive a piloting license
from the Aero Club of America (second was Matilde
Moisant, third was Julia Clarke, and fourth was Katherine
Airplane flown to a ship
- Jan 10, 1911 - Eugene Ely, in Curtiss Albany Flyer,
landed on a platform on USS Pennsylvania moored at
San Francisco Bay.
Water takeoff and landing
- Jan 26, 1911 - Glenn Curtiss, in his Hydro, at San
Diego. (Henri Fabre had had made a successful a water
take-off in his Hydroavion monoplane on 3/28/10, at
Martigues, France, but could not alight on water because
of fragility of his airfoil pontoons and had to land
on shore instead.)
Navy aviator - Jan 28, 1911
- Lt T G Ellyson, flying a Curtiss pusher at San Diego
Commercial aircraft manufacturer
- Feb 1, 1911 - Burgess & Curtis Co at Marblehead
MA, receives authorization from the Wright Co. (This
was not Glenn Curtiss.)
Mail delivery by air sanctioned
by a Post Office - Feb 17, 1911 - 18 miles flown by
Fred Wiseman from Petaluma to Santa Rosa CA. SEE the
Air Mail feature page.
Naval Aviation Service created
- May 8, 1911 - With funds of $24,000 appropriated
by Bureau of Navigation on 3/4/11. This was also the
date of requisition of USN's first airplane, a Curtiss
Model D to be delivered on 7/1/11.
Military flight school -
May 20, 1911 - The Army established its pilot training
school at College Park MD, and bids were taken for
Altitude record - June 1,
1911 - 6,450' attained by Army Lt Henry H Arnold in
US Navy airplane - July 1,
1911 - Curtiss D Triad as Navy A-1, first flown by
Lt T G Ellyson. This was followed by a Curtiss A-2
and Wright B-1.
- Sep 17-Nov 5, 1911 - Calbraith P Rodgers, in Wright
EX Vin Fiz, from Sheepshead Bay NY to Pasadena CA,
3,390 (estimated) miles in 82h:04m flying time, requiring
49 days and 69 stops, many of them crashes. SEE The
Vin Fiz story. Almost concurrently, Robert G Fowler
began the first west-to-east crossing on 10/19/11,
from Los Angeles to Jacksonville FL, 2,520 miles in
112 days ending 2/12/12. SEE The Fowler story.
Official air mail delivery
- Sep 23, 1911 - Six miles flown by Earl Ovington
from Long Island to Mineola NY, in a Blériot.
SEE the Air Mail feature page.
Retractable landing gear
- Nov 3, 1911 - Application filed by F McCarroll for
a retracting mechanism, and patent issued on 11/7/15.
Parachute jump from an airplane
- Mar 1, 1912 - Tethered jump by Army Capt Albert "Bert" Berry, at 3,500' (>1,500') over
St Louis MO, wearing a "medium sized" parachute
deployed from a conical container attached to the
landing skid of a Benoist Headless, for which Tom
Benoist and Tony Jannus received US patent #1,053,182
for their "parachute carrying and dispensing
means carried by an airplane."
Asked if he would repeat the performance, Berry replied: "Never again! I believe I turned five somersaults
on my way down... My course downward... was like a
crazy arrow. I was not prepared for the violent sensation
that I felt when I broke away from the aeroplane."
Aerial weaponry - June 7,
1912 - A Lewis machine gun was test-fired by Army
Capt C D Chandler from an Army Wright B in flight
over College Park MD.
"Hap" flies the
radio (photo from an unknown family album)
Air-to-ground radio (?) - Nov 2, 1912 - USAS Lts Follett
Bradley (radioman) and Henry H Arnold (pilot). Official
Army claim of event competes with a similar claim
on Aug 27, 1910 (qv), and one undated earlier that
year, but there might be a differentiation between
Morse Code and actual voice transmission. This is
still unclear since both refer to a "wireless," which could be either.
Postage stamp depicting
an airplane - Dec 16, 1912 - Issued this date. Oddly,
it was a 20-cent parcel post stamp, since our air
mail system had yet to be devised.
Woman parachutist - June
21, 1913 - 18-year-old Georgia "Tiny" Broadwick
made a tethered jump from 1,000' over Los Angeles
Skywriting - July 19, 1913
- By Milton J Bryant over Seattle WA, in forming a
business of aerial advertising.
Inside loop - Nov 18 (>27),
1913 - Lincoln Beachey, in a custom-built Curtiss
over Coronado CA, was also the first to fly upside-down.
First woman to loop was Ruth Law, in June 1915.
Scheduled airline using
an airplane - Jan 1, 1914 - St Petersburg to Tampa
FL, in a Benoist flying boat piloted by Anthony Jannus.
One-way fare was $5.00. Contract ended Mar 30.
Naval Air Station - Jan 15-20,
1914 - Pansacola FL established as a permanent site
after temporary camps at San Diego and Annapolis 1911-12.
Tethered parachute jump -
Feb 23, 1914 - Automatic attached backpack-type parachute
demonstrated by Charles Broadwick. However, two years
earlier, on March 1, 1912 (qv), Albert Berry is documented
as first, but for some reason his feat more often
Electric starter - Apr 15,
1914 - Battery-operated self-starter installed on
200hp Anzani of a "Collier" flying boat.
Gyroscopic stabilizer - June
??, 1914 - Lawrence Sperry, son of inventor Elmer
A Sperry, flew a Curtiss flying boat fitted with four
gyroscopes over the Seine River in France while standing
in the cockpit with his hands clearly off the controls,
and his mechanic standing on the lower wing. Despite
gusty winds, the ship maintained longitudinal stability
and won a 50,000-franc first prize.
Army Aviation Section created
- July 18, 1914 - As part of the Army Signal Corps.
Strength: 60 officers and cadets, 260 enlisted men.
NACA formed - Mar 3, 1915
- The Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (later the
National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) was established
by a rider to the Naval Appropriations Act "...to
supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems
of flight, with a view of their practical solution."
$5,000 a year was appropriated for 5 years — total appropriation for USN aeronautics was $1 million.
Evolved into NASA Oct 1, 1958.
Catapult launch from a boat
- Apr 16, 1915 - USN AB-2 flying boat successfully
catapulted from a floating barge, flown by Lt P N
Bellinger. Lt T G Ellyson is sometimes credited with
this feat, but his take-off was a demonstration of
feasibility made from a cable at Hammondsport NY on
Catapult launch from a moving
ship - Nov 6, 1915 - Made from USS North Carolina
underway on Pensacola Bay, by LtCdr Henry C Mustin.
Army 1st Aero Squadron -
Mar 15, 1916 - Activated for duty in the Mexican Punitive
Campaign at Columbus NM, under the command of Capt
Benjamin D Foulois. Provision organization first came
on Mar 5, 1913, at Texas City TX, with issuance of
Army Field Order #1.
Altitude record - Apr 2,
1916 - 16,072' attained by USN Lt R C Saufley in a
Coast Guard Aviation Section
- Aug 29, 1916.
Air-to-air radio transmission
- Sep 2, 1916. Possibly a world first, as well — data are sketchy.
Loop in a seaplane - Feb
13, 1917 - USMC Capt Francis T Evans in a single-float
Aircraft Manufacturers Association
formed - Feb 13, 1917 (>July 24, 1917) - Frank
H Russell as president. Established to handle cross-licensing
patents between all manufacturers.
National aircraft insignia
- May 19, 1917 - A white star with a red dot in its
center on a blue circle, and vertical red-white-blue
stripes on the rudder was approved by the Army. This
was temporarily replaced in Feb 1918 by a concentric
red-blue-white circle until the end of World War I.
Army Aviation Section renamed
- June 2, 1917 - Aviation Section became the Airplane
Division of the Army Signal Corps. Maj B D Foulois
appointed officer-in-charge on 7/23/17.
McCook Field established
- Oct 19, 1917 - Aeronautical experimental station
for the Army Signal Corps in Dayton OH.
USMC Aviation Unit - Oct
27, 1917 - First Marine Aviation Co was formed by
the Navy Dept at Philadelphia Navy Yard under the
command of Capt Roy S Geiger. For overseas deployment,
he First Marine Aviation Force was formed at NAS Miami,
Apr 15, 1918, headed by Capt A A Cunningham.
Aerial combat - Apr 14,
1918 - Air Service Lts Douglas Campbell and Alan Winslow,
94th Pursuit Squadron; each downed one German plane.
National air mail service
inaugurated - May 15, 1918 - Washington DC to Philadelphia
to New York City regular service by the Aviation Section
of the Signal Corps. SEE Air Mail feature page.
Air Service established -
May 24, 1918 - Aeronautical Division revised as the
Army Air Service, independent from the Army itself.
The Army Reorganization act of June 4, 1920, was later
adopted, making the Air Service part of the Army.
Altitude record - Sep 18,
1918 - 28,899' attained by Army Maj Rudolph W "Shorty" Schroeder over Dayton OH.
Service combat ace - Sep
1918 - Capt Edward V Rickenbacker, with a final victory
total of 26. First victory on Apr 29, 1918 eight days
after the death of von Richthofen). First American
combat ace outside of US service was Capt Paul F Baer,
serving with Lafayette Escadrille.
flight - Dec 4, 1918 - Four Air Service Curtiss JN-4s
left San Diego CA, but only reached Jacksonville FL,
on Dec 22, 1918, piloted by Maj Albert D Smith.
Untethered rip-cord parachute
jump - Apr 28, 1919 - Leslie L Irvin (founder of Irvin
Parachute Co in 1923), at McCook Field, Dayton OH,
in a 26' all-silk 'chute, proving conclusively that
one would not lose consciousness in a free-fall parachute
jump, as had been predicted by some "experts."
Scheduled airline with multiple
destinations - May 1919 - Motion pictures director
Cecil B DeMille's Mercury Air Service, aka Mercury
Aviation Co, DeMille Field, West Los Angeles CA. Scheduled
service to Santa Catalina Island and San Diego, later
San Francisco, with Junker-Larsen JL-6 monoplanes.
Inaugurated five months before KLM began operations
Transatlantic flight - May
16-31, 1919 - USN LtCdr Albert C Read and pilot Lt
Walter Hinton, in Curtiss NC-4, one of a flight of
three, from Long Island to Plymouth, England, via
Newfoundland, the Azores, and Lisbon, 4,514 miles
in 53h:58m. SEE The full NC-4 story.
Forestry air patrol - June
1, 1919 - An organized and sustained aerial forest
fire patrol was initiated at Rockwell Field CA, using
Curtiss JN-4Ds and JN-6Hs.
Practical multi-engine airliner
- Aug 23, 1919 - Built in Milwaukee WI, the twin-engine
Vincent Burnelli-designed Lawson C-2 Air-Line (not "Air Liner") was test-flown by Charles Cox
and Alfred Lawson as America's first commercial aircraft
created specifically for carrying passengers in luxury
Altitude record - Sep 18,
1919 - 31,420' (>34,610') attained by Roland Rohlfs
in a Curtiss L-3 triplane.
Army transcontinental reliability
and endurance flight - Oct 8-31, 1919 - New York to
San Francisco and return. 44 aircraft completed westbound,
15 eastbound, and 10 made the round-trip.
- Oct 30, 1919 - Successfully tested at McCook Field.
Scheduled international airline
service - Nov 1, 1919 - Aeromarine West Indies Airways,
between Key West FL and Havana, Cuba. (>11/1/20?)
Retractable gear of practical value - 1920 - Dayton-Wright
RB, which also had the world's first variable-camber
Altitude record - Feb 27,
1920 - 33,113' attained by Army Maj Rudolph W "Shorty"
Schroeder in a turbo-supercharged Liberty-powered
Packard-LePere, over McCook Field, Dayton OH. Also
should qualify as World's first vapor trail, as viewers
on the ground reported everything from a passing comet
to "a visitor from Mars," unaware of its
Law violation - Apr 27, 1920
- Issued to Ormer Locklear for "reckless aerial
driving" over Los Angeles. He was fined $25.00.
Air Service created - June
4, 1920 - The Army Reorganization bill was signed
by President Wilson to designate the USAS, comprised
of 1,516 officers and 16,000 enlisted men.
NACA wind tunnel - June 11,
1920 - NACA's own program of aeronautics research,
conducted by its own staff in its own facilities,
began with the first operation of its five-foot wind
tunnel at Langley Laboratory.
All-metal airplane - June
20, 1920 - Gallaudet CO-1.National
Air Race - Nov 27, 1920 - Mitchel Field NY.
National Guard aeronautical
operation - Jan 17, 1921 - 109th bservation Squadron,
St Paul MN.
California was one of the first states to establish
an aviation detachment, beginning in 1909. A month
after Eugene Ely's landing on Pennsylvania, MajGen
E A Forbes organized the Aeronautical Detachment of
the 7th Co, Coast Artillery Corps, California National
Guard (CNG), with Ely as a private! Immediately afterwards,
three members of the Company were detailed to the
Curtiss Aviation School at San Diego. On Apr 1, 1911,
the Aeronautic Detachment of the CNG received $1,000
from Ely as a donation to a fund of $10,000 that was
being raised to conduct experiments in Army aviation,
and he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the
CNG on July 27, 1911. (— Ron Reuther 12/08/99)
Transcontinental air mail
service - Feb 22, 1921 - Mineola NY to San Francisco,
in a de Havilland DH-4M, taking 23h:20m. The route
was established Aug 8, 1920.
Pressurized military airplane
- June 8, 1921 - First flight of an rmy Air Service
pressurized cabin airplane, a DH-9A piloted y Lt Harold
Battleship sunk by airplanes
- July 21, 1921 - Joint service tests against the
German battleship Ostfriesland ended dramatically
when BrigGen Billy Mitchell's Army bombers dropped
eleven 1000- and 2000-pound bombs, sinking the ship.Crop
dusting - Aug 4, 1921 - 5,000 catalpa trees sprayed
in 15 minutes at Troy OH by a hopper-rigged Curtiss
JN-4D (p: Lt ohn Macready with Etienne Dormoy).
Navy Bureau of Aeronautics
established - Aug 10, 1921 - Rear Adm William A Moffett
as first chief.Altitude record -
Sep 18, 1921 - 34,508' attained by Air ervice Lt John
A Macready in a Packard-LePere, Dayton OH.
Aerial "refueling" - Nov 12, 1921 - First air-to-air refueling, as such,
made when Wesley May stepped from the wing of one
biplane to that of another with a five-gallon can
of gasoline strapped to his back.
Aircraft carrier - Mar 20,
1922 - USS Langley commissioned as CV-1 at Norfolk
VA, converted from collier Jupiter.
Helicopter in controlled
horizontal flight - June 16, 1922 - Henry Berliner
in a war-surplus Nieuport biplane fighter modified
with tilting tail rotor, and a short-span upper wing
with 14'0" helicopter blades at the tips, in
a demonstration for the military at College Park MD.
Aircraft carrier takeoff
- Oct 17, 1922 - USN Lt Virgil C Griffin, in a Vought
VE-7SF [A987], from USS Langley moored at YorkRiver
Speed record - Oct 18, 1922
- BGen William H Mitchell becomes the first US military
pilot to hold the recognized speed record at 222.97mph
in the Curtiss R-6 at Selfridge Field MI.
Aircraft carrier landing
- Oct 26, 1922 - USN LtCdr Godfrey Chevalier, in an
Aeromarine 39-B, on USS Langley. He was fatally injured
in a crash two weeks later.
Caterpillar Club member -
Oct 29, 1922 - Air Service test pilot Lt Harold Harris,
when he jumped from a crippled plane over McCook Field
(OH). The Caterpillar Club was exclusive to those
whose lives were saved by parachutes.
Aircraft carrier catapult
launch - Nov 18, 1922 - USN Lt Cdr Kenneth Whiting,
in a Consolidated PT floatplane, from USS Langley.
Dropable auxiliary fuel
tank - Mar 5, 1923 - A jettisonable auxiliary belly
tank fitted to the bomb rack of a Thomas-Morse MB-3A
at Selfridge Field increased its flying radius to
about 400 miles.
Speed record - Mar 29, 1923
- Air Service Lt R L Maitland, 239.95 mph in Curtiss
R-6 at Dayton OH.
Kelly and Macready
Transcontinental non-stop flight - May 2-3, 1923 -
Air Service Lts Oakley G Kelly and John A Macready,
in a Fokker T-2, from Roosevelt Field NY to San Diego
CA, about 2,500 miles in 26h:50m.
refueling - June 27, 1923 - Capt L H Smith and Lt
J P Richter, in an Army de Havilland DH-4B over Rockwell
Field, San Diego. They also set a distance record
of 3,293 miles covered in the flight.
- Sep 18, 1923 - Over Langley Field VA, a Sperry M-1
Messenger (p: Lt Rex K Stoner) "landed" on a trapeze suspended from the D-3 Army Air Service
airship. Accomplished again on 12/15/24, with Army
Speed record - Nov 4, 1923
- USN Lt Alford Williams, 266.59 mph in Navy-Curtiss
Racer at Mitchel Field, Long Island, which remained
a US record until 1930.
Flight on instruments -
Mar 7, 1924 - USAS Lts E H Barksdale and E Jones,
for 575 miles in a flight from Dayton OH to Mitchel
Field NY in a DH-4B.
Global flight - Apr 6-Sep
28, 1924 - Four Douglas DWC World Cruisers commanded
by Army Maj F Martin, from and to Seattle WA. Only
two planes completed the 26,345-mile (>28,945-mile)
flight of 371h:11m; average speed: 75mph.
Altitude record - May 19,
1924 - 35,239' attained by Army Lt John Macready in
a LePere fighter over Dayton OH.
flight - June 23, 1924 - New York to San Francisco
by Army Lt Russell L Maugham in a Curtiss PW-8, with
five fuel stops enroute.
Scheduled air freight service
- Apr 13, 1925 - Implemented by auto manufacturer
Henry Ford, between Detroit and Chicago.
Airplane over the North
Pole - May 8-9, 1926 - Adm Richard E Byrd, pilot Floyd
Bennett, and crew in Fokker BA-1 Josephine Ford. There
is controversy over Byrd's claim of a world record,
with expressed doubts by Bernt Balchen (who also piloted
Byrd on the 1929 South Pole flight) and others, and
more recent research suggesting that he was well short
of his goal when he turned back — most damning
was an admission by Bennett shortly before his death
that they had, indeed, not made it to the Pole. Reconciling
the plane's average true speed of about 77mph and
its fuel consumption with the 15.5 hours flight time
(plus 12 minutes Byrd had claimed to have circled
the Pole) for the measured distance of 1,535 miles
also showed that it was not possible to make it all
the way at less than 100mph average ground speed.
Honors should instead go to Umberto Nobile and Roald
Amundsen, who flew from Spitzbergen over the Pole
to Alaska a few days later. SEE SIDEBAR: An interview
with Bess Balchen Urbahn.
Air Commerce Act - May 20,
1926 - President Calvin Coolidge signed into law the
first Federal legislation regulating civil aeronautics.
Aerial reforesting - July
2, 1926 - Seeding by airplane in Hawaii.
Army Air Corps established
- July 2, 1926 - Army Air Service restructured under
the Air Corps Act.
Paratroops - 1927 - 12 battle-ready
Marines successfully parachuted from a USMC transport
plane in 14 seconds at Anacostia, and shortly afterward
duplicated the feat by parachuting over the Potomac
River with rubber rafts that were inflated during
Airplane to receive an ATC
- Mar 1927 - Buhl-Verville J-4 Airster proudly wore
Approved Type Certificate #1.
Transatlantic solo flight
- May 20-21, 1927 - Charles A Lindbergh, in Ryan NYP
Spirit of St Louis, from Long Island to Paris, in
33h:32m (>33h:39m). Although 91 persons in 13 separate
flights had crossed the Atlantic before him, he flew
directly between two great world cities and did it
alone. Incidental to this flight, he also set several
new intercity speed records in flying the Ryan from
San Diego to New York.
Transpacific flight - June
28-29, 1927 - Army Lts A F Hegenberger and Lester
J Maitland, in Fokker C-2 Bird of Paradise, from Oakland
to Honolulu in 25h:49m using dead reckoning. While
it was technically not fully transpacific, it was
the longest over-water flight ever attempted at the
time. At least sharing some honor were Emory Bronte
and Ernie Smith, who followed on July 14-15, 1927,
in a Travel Air cabin City of Oakland. Nearly out
of fuel, Smith stall-landed in trees on Molokai and
they walked away from it.
Air map - July 15, 1927 -
Moline IL-to-St Louis MO strip map issued by DoC.
Altitude record - July 25,
1927 - 38,484' attained by USN Lt C C Champion in
a Wright Apache.
flight - Mar 1-9, 1928 - USAAC Lts Burnie R Dallas
and Beckwith Havens in a Loening Amphibian. Total
flight time: 32h:45m.
Woman to cross the Atlantic
by air - June 17-18, 1928 - Amelia Earhart, from Newfoundland
to Wales, as a passenger in the Wilmer Stultz-Louis
Gordon Fokker C-2 Friendship.
Woman to fly transcontinental
round-trip - Aug 31, 1928 - Amelia Earhart on her "vagaboding trip" in an Avro Avian [G-EBUG=7083],
from Rye NY to Glendale CA and return.
Autogiro flight - Dec 19,
1928 - Harold F Pitcairn, Willow Grove PA.
Endurance record - Jan 1-7, 1929 - USAAC Maj Carl
Spaatz and crew Capt Ira Eaker, Lt Elwood Queseda,
Lt Harry Halverson, and Sgt Roy Hooe, in Fokker C-2A
Question Mark, using air-to-air refueling over Los
Angeles. Time aloft: 150h:40m:15s. This was the first
of the official endurance records.
Women's endurance record
- Feb 11, 1929 - Evelyn Trout sets a solo flight endurance
record of 17h:21m:37s in her Golden Eagle.
Women's endurance record
- Apr 24, 1929 - 17-year-old Elinor Smith sets a women's
solo flight endurance record of 26h:21m:32s in a Bellanca
CH at Roosevelt Field NY.
Altitude record - May 8,
1929 - 39,140' attained by USN Lt Apollo Soucek in
a Wright Apache over Anacostia DC.
Endurance record - May 19-26,
1929 - 172h:321m:02s at Fort Worth TX by James Kelly,
an ex-cowboy with only a few hours f flight time,
and Reginald Robbins, a railroad mechanic who had
been flying since 1922, in a well-used Ryan brougham.
Distance traveled: about 12,900 miles.
Endurance record - July 13-30,
1929 - 420h:21m:30s at St Louis by Dale Jackson and
Forrest O'Brine in Curtiss Robin [NR59H]. Distance
traveled: about 25,500 miles — more than the
circumference of the earth at the equator!
In-flight motion picture
- Summer 1929 - Transcontinental Air Transport, over
Columbus OH, where a demonstration consisted of a
comedy short and a newsreel.Art Walker
and Nick Mamer
round-trip - Aug 15-21, 1929 - Nick Mamer and Art
Walker in Buhl CA-6 Special Spokane Sun God, using
air-to-air refueling to travel 7,200 point-to-point
miles (in 10,000 air miles) from Spokane WA to New
York City. Time aloft: 120h:01m:40s. 1930 Aircraft
Year Book shows 115h:45m:10s. SEE The full story.
Takeoff and landing on instruments
- Sep 24, 1929 - USAAC Lt James H Doolittle in a Consolidated
NY-2, for a 15-mile flight in a covered cockpit at
Mitchel Field NY, but with a safety pilot n an open
Airplane over the South Pole
- Nov 28-29, 1929 - USN Adm Richard Byrd, pilot Bernt
Balchen, radioman Harold June, and photographer A
C McKinley, in Ford 4-AT Floyd Bennett.
Altitude record - June 4,
1930 - 43,166' attained by USN Lt Apollo Soucek in
a Wright Apache over Anacostia DC to regain his record
Hunter Brothers Mechanic's
running-board (K O Eckland coll)
Endurance record - June 11-July 4, 1930 - 553h:41m:30s
at Chicago by John and Kenneth Hunter in Stinson SM-1B
City of Chicago [NC5189], covering about 40,000 miles
in so doing. Refueling plane was flown by their brothers,
Albert and Walter. Their feat was short-lived as the
title was regained by Jackson and O'Brine the following
month. SEE next.
Endurance record - July 21-Aug
17, 1930 - 647h:28m:30s at St Louis by Dale Jackson
and Forrest O'Brine in Curtiss Robin [NR59H], regaining
their title set in 1929.
Woman's solo transcontinental
flight - Oct 5-9, 1930 - Laura Ingalls, in her de
Havilland Gypsy Moth, from Roosevelt Field NY to Glendale
CA with nine stops. Flight time 30h:27m.
air service - Oct 25, 1930 - Between New York City
and Los Angeles
flight - 1931 - John Miller in a Pitcarin PCA-2.
Autogyro altitude record
- Apr 22, 1931 - 18,400' attained by Amelia Earhart.
Unrefuelled endurance record
- May 28, 1931 - Bellanca with Packard DR-980 diesel
engine flew for 84h:32m without refuelling, a record
that has never been broken.
Rocket-powered, manned flight
- June 4, 1931 - William G Swan, at Bader Field, Atlantic
City NJ, in his rocket-powered glider. He also carried
some pieces of mail, which would undoubtedly qualify
this flight as the first rocket air mail, as well.
A second successful flight followed the next day.
Flight particulars were not found.
Lightplane altitude record
- June 13, 1931 - 22,500' attained by Mae Haizlip
in her Buhl LA-1 Speedwing.
Global flight - June 23-July
1, 1931 - Wiley Post and Harold Gatty, from and to
Roosevelt Field NY in Lockheed Vega Winnie Mae, over
15,474 miles with 14 stops. Flight time 8d:15h:51m.
Transpacific non-stop flight
- Oct 3 (>4-5), 1931 - Clyde Pangborn and Hugh
Herndon Jr, from Sabishoro, Japan to Wenatchee WA,
4,500 miles in 41h:13m as the final leg of their round-the-world
flight in Bellanca CH-400 Miss Veedol that began July
Bendix Trophy - Sep 4, 1931
- James H. Doolittle wins the first Bendix transcontinental
race flying a Laird Super Solution from Los Angeles
to Cleveland in 9h:10m with an average speed of 223.058mph.
He then flew to New York to complete a record full
flight across the continent.
Diesel altitude record -
Feb 14, 1932 - By Ruth Nichols in Lockheed Vega 1
Miss Teaneck, altitude of 19,928' still has not been
surpassed to date.
Solo blind flight - May 9,
1932 - By USAAC Capt A F Hegenberger, flying solely
on instruments without a check pilot aboard, at Dayton
Transatlantic solo flight
by a woman - May 20-21, 1932 - Amelia Earhart, in
a Lockheed Vega 5B, from Newfoundland to North Ireland,
2,026 miles in 14h:56m.
Transcontinental solo flight
by a woman - Aug 25, 1932 - Amelia Earhart, in a Lockheed
Vega 5B, from Los Angeles to Newark, 2,448 miles in
Presidential aircraft -
1933 - One USN Douglas RD-2 Dolphin  was officially
assigned for executive use by Franklin D Roosevelt,
but there is no record of him traveling in it, mainly
due to his physical disability. It would be 10 more
years before he flew in an airplane.
Global solo flight - July
15-22, 1933 - Wiley Post, in Lockheed Vega 5 Winnie
Mae, 15,596 miles from and to Floyd Bennett Field
NY in 7d:18h:49m:30s.
Pressurized flying suit
- 1934 - Goodrich Corp engineer Russ Colley conceived
and built the first pressure suit that would enable
pilots to fly at altitudes of 30,000 feet and more,
flight tested later in the year by Wiley Post.
Army civil mail flights -
Feb 19, 1934 - President Franklin D Roosevelt issued
an Executive Order canceling existing airmail contracts
because of fraud and collusion. The USAAC was designated
to take over airmail operations.
Bureau of Air Commerce established
- July 1, 1934 - to replace the Aeronautics Branch
in the Department of Commerce.
In-flight sound motion picture
- Summer 1935 - Central Airlines, enroute from Washington
DC to Pittsburgh.
Blind carrier landing - July
30, 1935 - USN Lt Frank Akers flew a Berliner-Joyce
OJ-2 from NAS San Diego to USS Langley at sea and
landed on instruments (under a hood), for which feat
he was awarded a DFC.
Akers made the first demonstration of a blind landing
system intended for carrier flying when he flew under
a hood at College Park MD on 5/1/34. He later took-off
blind from Anacostia and landed blind at College Park.
(— Andries Visser 5/2/02)
Transpacific scheduled airline
- Nov 22, 1935 - Pan-American Airways, from Alameda,
on San Francisco Bay, to Manila in the Martin M-130
Aerial traffic report -
1936 - Broadcast from the Goodyear blimp over New
Transcontinental speed record
- Jan 13, 1936 - Howard Hughes in Jacqueline Cochran's
Northrop Gamma 2G, modified with a 850hp Wright Cyclone,
from Burbank CA to Newark NJ in 9h:27m at an average
speed of 259 mph, earning the Harmon Trophy. Then
he then went on to set intercity records for New York
to Miami and Chicago to Los Angeles in his rental.
flight - Sep 2-15, 1936 - Henry T "Dick" Merrill and Harry Richman, in Vultee V1-A Lady Peace,
from New York to London, 3,300 miles in 18h:38m, and
from Southport to Newfoundland, 2,300 miles in 17h:24m.
300mph fighter plane - 1937
- Curtiss XP-37 attained 340mph at 20,000' with new
liwuid-cooled Allison V-1710-C8.
Global speed record - July
10-14, 1938 - Howard Hughes (and crew: Harry Connor,
Ed Lund, Richard Stoddard, Thomas Thurlow) in Lockheed
14 — NYC, Paris, Moscow, Omsk, Yakutsk, Fairbanks,
Minneapolis, NYC — 14,791 miles in 3d:19h:08m:10s.
lightplane flight - Nov 29, 1938 - John M "Johnnie" Jones, in an Aeronca KCA, from Los Angeles to New
York, 2,785 miles in 30h:47m.
Flight of a pressurized airliner
- Dec 31, 1938 - Boeing 307, the first one put in
use by TWA in April 1940. (First experiments in pressurization
began in 1922 at Wright Field, in a de Havilland DH-4.)
Successful single main rotor
helicopter - 1939 - Sikorsky VS-300 (p: Igor Sikorsky).
Transcontinental speed record
- Feb 11, 1939 - Lockheed XP-38 flown (in secrecy)
by USAAF Lt Ben Kelsey from March Field CA to Mitchel
Field NY in flight time of 7h:2m; average speed just
under 400mph. Kelsey caught a tree-top on landing
and crashed into a golf course sand trap, sustaining
only minor injury.
Transatlantic scheduled airline
- May 20, 1939 - Pan-American Airways, from New York
to Portugal and France, in a Boeing 314 Yankee Clipper,
at first only air mail. Pathfinder flight from Baltimore,
3/26/39, carried 21 passengers. SEE The PAA Clippers.
While the Graf Zeppelin did commercially connect Europe
and the Americas in the mid-1930s, it was the airplane
that would represent the means for fast, scheduled
Autogyro air mail service
- July 6, 1939 - Eastern Air Lines, from Philadelphia
Post Office to Camden NJ, in a Kellett KD-1B.
Hydraulic carrier-deck catapult
- Aug 4, 1939 - Flush-deck catapults first used on
carriers Yorktown and Enterprise to launch Curtiss
SBC-3 and Vought O3U-3.
Airplane to exceed 400 mph
in level flight - Oct 1 (>8), 1940 - Vought F4U
Corsair; 404 mph.
Army Air Force established
- June 20, 1941 - Army Regulation 95-5 created the
USAAF, with the USAAC and GHQ-AF as its principal
parts, but GHQ was dissolved 3/9/42. The Air Corps
became a subordinate element of the AAF and continued
to exist as a combat arm of the Army until 1947.
JATO flight test - March
1941 - First trial was with an Ercoupe in July 1941
at March AAB (p: Lt Homer Boushey), using rockets
developed by Cal Tech. The rocket units were then
refined and installed on an A-20A for 44 test launches
at Muroc AAB, Apr 7-24, 1942.
Civil Air Patrol established
- Dec 1, 1941.
Aerial combat victory of
and George Welch of 5th Fighter Group, 47th Pursuit
Squadron, both with two victories over Japanese attackers
near Oahu this day in P-40Bs. Times were not recorded,
so it is impossible to say who was first on the clock.
USAAF 16, 1941 - Lt Boyd "Buzz" Wagner, in a P-40.
Flying Tigers enter combat
- Dec 20, 1941 - The American olunteer Group (Claire
Chennault's Flying Tigers) in action over Kunming,
Naval battle fought entirely
by airplanes - May 4-8, 1942. Battle of New Guinea,
more popularly Battle of the Coral Sea, a strategic
victory for the Allies, whose surface ships, using
only aircraft, never came within gunshot range of
USN 20, 1942 - Lt Edward "Butch" O'Hare, in
US attack on Japanese homeland
- Apr 18, 1942 - 16 North American B-25s commanded
by LtCol James H Doolittle, take-off from USS Hornet
(CV-8) at sea and bomb Tokyo.
US attack on Nazi Europe
- July 4, 1942 - Flown by B-17s of the 97th Bombardment
Group against the Rouen-Sotteville railyards in France.
The first USAAF air raid on Germany was made by 8th
AF B-17s against Wilhelmshaven and other targets in
northeastern Germany on 1/27/43.
Jet airplane - Oct 1, 1942
- Bell XP-59A, piloted by Robert Stanley, at Muroc
Practical use of JATO -
Jan 8, 1943 - First jet-assisted take-off with permanent
JATO units on an A-20A at Muroc AAB CA.
President to fly while in
office - Jan 11, 1943 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt,
in a Boeing 314 Clipper Dixie Clipper, to Casablanca
and back. (On the return trip, he celebrated his 65th
birthday.) The first designated presidential aircraft,
shortly thereafter, was a Consolidated C-87A Liberator
Express. SEE ALSO 1953.
Turbojet engine - Mar 1943
- First American-designed turbojet, Westinghouse X19A.
Composite jet and piston
engine airplane - June 25, 1944 - Ryan FR-1 Fireball.
Rocket airplane - July 5,
1944 - Northrop MX-334.
Non-stop flight over the
North Pole - 1944 - USAF B-29 Pacusan Dreamboat, Honolulu
Navy jet airplane - June 7, 1945 - Ryan FR-1 Fireball,
a fighter propelled by both a turbojet and a reciprocating
Carrier jet landing - Nov
6, 1945 - Ryan FR-1, piloted by USN Ens Jake C West,
whose landing on USS Wake Island (CVE-65) was inadvertent — the plane's piston engine failed, and West
came in powered only by the turbojet.
Helicopter to receive an
ATC - Mar 8, 1946 - Bell X-47.
Carrier jet launch - July
21, 1946 - An XFD Phantom piloted by LtCdr James Davidson
made first successful landings and takeoffs (deck
launched without catapults) on USS Franklin D Roosevelt
Lightplane global flight
- 1947 - Piper PA-12 Super Cruisers City of Washington
(p: Clifford Evans), and City of Los Angeles (p: George
Air Force established - Sep
18, 1947 - With passage of the National Security Act
the USAAF became the US Air Force, a separate military
Helicopter airmail service
- Oct 1, 1947 - Los Angeles Airways, Sikorsky S-51.
Airplane to break the sound
barrier - Oct 14, 1947 - Bell XS-1, flown to Mach
1.06 (700mph) by USAF Capt Charles E Yeager at Muroc
Jet bomber - May 17, 1946
- Maiden flight of America's first jet bomber, Douglas
XB-43, piloted by Bob Brush and Russell Thaw at Muroc
Dry Lake CA.
Berlin Airlift - June 26,
1948 - Operation Vittles began with Douglas C-47 crews
bringing in 80 tons of supplies on the first day.
By the time it ended on 8/30/49, the Anglo-American
airlift delivered a total of 2,324,257 tons of food,
fuel, and supplies to the beleaguered city.
Non-stop global flight -
Mar 2, 1949 - Boeing B-50A Lucky Lady II of the 43rd
Bomb Group (p: Capt James Gallagher, Lt Arthur Neal)
flew 23,452 miles with four aerial refuelings, departing
Carswell AFB TX, and returning there 94h:01m later.
For this the 14-man crew became the first USAF recipients
of the Mackay Trophy.
Hoist rescue by helicopter
- Nov 1949 - Sikorsky R-5.
Transatlantic jet flight
- Sep 22, 1950 - USAF Col David C Schilling flew from
England to Limestone ME, 3,300 miles in 10h:01m.
All-jet combat - Nov 8, 1950
- A Lockheed F-80C, piloted by USAF Lt Russell J Brown
Jr, downed a MiG-15 in the Korean War.
Jet bomber - 1951 - Boeing's
B-47 rolled off the production line in Wichita.
Jet transport - Apr 21, 1951
- Chase C-122A with four paired GE J47s underwing.
Jet ace - May 20, 1951 -
USAF Capt James Jabara, who went on to down 15 enemy
planes in Korea.
Helicopter to fly across
the Atlantic - Aug 1, 1952 - Two Sikorsky S-55s set
not only this record, but the non-stop distance record
for rotary-wing aircraft, as well, in flying 3,410
miles from Westover MA to Prestwick, Scotland in 42h:25m.
Pilots were USAF Capt Vincent H McGovern and Lt Harold
President to solo an airplane
- 1953 - Dwight D Eisenhower, who soloed in 1937 while
serving with Gen Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines
and received his pilot's license in July 1939. Eisenhower
was also the first to have a presidential helicopter,
in 1957. First President as an active pilot was George
H Bush, who flew combat missions in a USN Grumman
TBF during in aviation. Son, George W Bush, was first President
qualified as jet pilot (Texas ANG).
Franklin D Roosevelt was the first President to use
air travel, in 1932. The Democratic National Convention,
meeting in Chicago, had nominated him as their presidential
candidate and he flew from Albany NY, where he was
serving as Governor, to Chicago to deliver his acceptance
speech in person. Until then candidates did not routinely
attend the conventions and sent their acceptance speeches,
which were then delivered by others. Roosevelt wanted
to make a grandstand play to attract public attention,
which, of course, he did. He also scared the hell
out of reporters accompanying him, most (or all) of
whom had never flown before. Their introduction to
aviation came on what I have heard was a very stormy
night flight! (— Robert Booth 10/6/00)
Airplane to exceed Mach 2
- Nov 20, 1953 - Douglas D-558-2, flown to Mach 2.435
(1,648 mph) by A Scott Crossfield at Edwards AFB CA.
Speed record - Dec 12, 1953
- Bell X-1A, flown at 1,600 mph by USAF Maj Charles
VTOL flight - Aug 1, 1954
- Convair XFY-1. First transition to horizontal flight
Aerial refueling of a jet
aircraft - Sept 1, 1954 - Boeing B-47 bomber, by a
Air Force Academy - July
11, 1955 - First class of 306 Cadets sworn in at Colorado
flight in one day - May 21, 1955 - USAF Lt John M
Conroy in a North American F-86, from NYC to Los Angeles
and back over 5,085 miles in 11h:33M;27s.
Altitude record - Sep 7,
1956 - Bell X-2, piloted by Capt Iven C Kincheloe
to an altitude of 126,000' at more than 1,500 mph,
for which he was awarded the 1956 Mackay Trophy. The
record stands in a separate category as rocket-powered
aircraft altitude flight, excluding dedicated spacecraft.
President to use a helicopter
- 1957 - Dwight D Eisenhower, in a Bell H-13J.
Global non-stop jet flight
- Jan 17-18 - USAF MGenl Archie J Olds Jr led a flight
of three Boeing B-52s around the world in 45h:19m;
distance 24,325 miles, average speed 525 mph.
Supersonic woman - May 18,
1957 - Jacqueline Cochran flew a Canadair North American
F-86 faster than the speed of sound.
flight - July 16, 1957 - USAF Maj John Glenn in a
Vought F8U. Los Alamitos CA to Floyd Bennett Field
NY, 03h:22m:50s, v (avg): 723.517.
NASA formed - Oct 1, 1958
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration replaces
NACA. T Keith Glennan, administrator, and Hugh Dryden,
Endurance record - Dec 4, 1958 - John Cook and Robert
Timm took-off from McCarran Airfield in Las Vegas
NV in a Cessna 172 and, with in-flight refueling,
remained aloft for 64d:22h:19m:5s — more than
two months in continual flight. They finally landed
at McCarren on 2/7/59.
Domestic jet passenger service - Dec 10, 1958 - National
Airlines route between NYC and Miami FL.
Altitude record - Dec 6,
1959 - 98,556' attained by USN Cdr Lawrence E Flint
in McDonnell XF-4H-1.
Highest parachute jump -
Aug 16, 1960 - from 102,800' in a parachute test over
New Mexico by USAF Capt Joseph W Kittinger, clad in
a pressure suit and carried to that altitude in a
balloon gondola. It took 01h:43m to reach altitude,
and only 13m:45s to make the return trip. He also
set three other records at the same time: (1) the
highest man had ever gone in unpowered flight, (2)
the longest free-fall in history — 16 miles,
(3) the first man to exceed the speed of sound without
an aircraft — 614mph at that altitude.
Speed record - Nov 22, 1961
- 1606.3mph by LtCol Robert B Robinson in McDonnell
Commercial airliner to exceed
the speed of sound - Apr 1962 - Douglas DC-8-53 [N9608Z],
in service with Philippine Airlines, during a brief
Joint military aircraft designations
- Sep 18, 1962 - A common (tri-service) method of
designating aircraft effected for all US services.
Solo global flight by a
woman - 1964 - Geraldine "Jerrie" Mock,
in a Cessna 180 The Spirit of Columbus.
Altitude record - May 1,
1965 - 80,258' by Lockheed A-12/SR-71.
Airplane to exceed Mach 3
- May 1965 - Lockheed A-12/SR-71.
Altitude record for a paper airplane - Aug 11, 1966
- 50,125'. A test vehicle placed in the speed brake
of a Vought F-8D was released at altitude somewhere
between Eglin AFB & Cecil Field NAS. The pilot
preferred to remain anonymous, and the historic craft
was never recovered. Neither FAI nor NASM expressed
any interest in the feat.
flight - June 6, 1967 - From USS Bonhomme Richard
in the Pacific to USS Saratoga in the Atlantic, 03h:28m,
in a Vought F8U Crusader flown by USN Capt Robert
Dose & LCdr Paul Miller.
Composite materials airplane
- Dec 1969 - Windecker Eagle AC-7 certified by FAA,
designed by Dr Leo Windecker, who began experimenting
with composite materials in 1956.
Female airline pilot - Jan
29, 1973 - Emily H Warner, as second officer on a
Frontier Airlines Boeing 737.
Female USN pilot - Feb 27,
1974 - Ltjg Barbara Ann Allen, at NAS Corpus Christi.
Altitude record - July 28,
1976 - USAF Capt Robert C Helt attained 85,069' in
horizontal flight in a Lockheed SR-71A at Beale AFB
Speed records - July 28,
1976 - Two records set; USAF Capt Eldon W Joersz,
2193.16 mph over a straight course, and USAF Maj Adolphus
H Bledsoe, 2092.29 mph over a closed circuit, both
in Lockheed SR-71As at Beale AFB CA.
Man-powered flight to meet
the Kremer requirements - Aug 23, 1977 - Gossamer
Condor completed the Kremer Circuit, piloted by cyclist
Bryan Allen in a figure-8 around two pylons one-half
mile apart, in 06m:22s at Shafter (CA) airport to
win a cash prize of £50,000 from the Royal Aeronautical
Society of London for designer Paul MacCready.
Man-powered flight across
the English Channel - June 12, 1980 - Gossamer Condor
won the Kremer Prize for a Channel Crossing when cyclist
Bryan Allen flew from Folkestone to Cap Gris-Nez,
France, in 02h:55m.
All-female USN aircrew -
Mar 21, 1983 - First to conduct an operational mission,
in a Grumman C-1 Trader from VRC-30, ended with an
arrested carrier landing on USS Ranger. Lt Elizabeth
Toedt, Ltjg Cheryl A Martin, AD3 Gina Greterman, ADAN
Global non-stop, non-refuelled
flight - Dec 14-23, 1986 - Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager
set a distance record for airplanes, and for the first
non-stop global flight without refuelling in their
Voyager — 24,987 miles in 216h:03m:44s (more
than nine days) — nearly double the previous
distance record set in 1962 by a USAF B-52H.
Female USAF test pilot -
June 10, 1989 - Capt Jacquelyn S Parker graduated
from the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB
Transcontinental speed record
- Mar 6, 1990 - Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, on a flight
from Oxnard CA to Salisbury MD at an average speed
of 2,124.05 mph (Mach 2.8) in slightly less than 01h:08m.
After the flight, the aircraft was signed over to
aircraft - June 12, 1994 - Boeing 777-200 first flown.
Female bomber pilot - Mar
31, 1995 - 2Lt Kelly Flinn began training at Barksdale
AFB, and graduated Sep 25; assigned to fly B-52 Stratofortress.
Jet pilot as US President - 2001 - George W Bush,