Throughout flying history, the most significant advances have generally occurred more rapidly during times of war, especially involving technological advancements.
Before the advent of aircraft, fleets of warships from the most powerful nations on earth would travel the oceans of the globe. Flying history shows that aircraft controlling the skies would often be a deciding factor in the outcome of conflicts.
Flying history reveals that at the time when airplanes were first employed as instruments of war, crews tossed small, improvised bombs over the side on to a terrorized enemy on the ground. Hitting a target was a matter of luck.
Flying history has established that modern airplanes can have the ability to employ stealth technology, arriving over a target without being detected, all the while traveling at trans-sonic and supersonic speeds. They can drop their ordnance with such accuracy as to minimize damage on surrounding areas.
In flying history, the advent of the jet engine and advances in aerodynamics mean that the airplane can fly higher and faster than ever before.
Although the speed of the airplane has increased greatly since the first ones took to the sky, accomplishments in flying history have also taken place with regard to maneuverability.
Exotic materials have allowed for stronger, yet lighter structures. Airplanes can travel farther than ever before through the use of streamlining and more efficient engines.
A study of flying history shows that the biggest accomplishments within the earth's atmosphere have involved larger payloads being lifted to higher altitudes. A few airplanes have set remarkable speed records, but those have been on the edge of space where a thinner atmosphere allowed less speed reducing friction.
Our wish is that, in the future, there will be enhance science that will further the development of peaceful technology.
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Friends Mozi and Lu Ban fly a kite made from bamboo and silk fabric, using a silk twine flying line, near Qufu, China.
In Southern Italy, Archytas builds a bird shaped steam powered model that is said to have flown about 655 feet.
In England, Roger Bacon writes about a flying machine that could flap its wings, similar to a bird, to achieve flight.
In Italy, Leonardo da Vinci draws plans for a parachute, a glider, a bird-like flying machine with flapping wings, and two flying machines with spiral-like rotors.
In Italy, Francesco Lana de Terzi conceives of a vacuum suspended aircraft. He has been called the Father of Aeronautics for his scientific works on aerial navigation.
June 24, 1709
In Portugal, Bartolomeu Laurenco de Gusmao proposes to demonstrate a flying machine before the King. It is described as boat-like, with a large sail over it, somewhat similar to a covered wagon, to provide lift. The machine would have bellows to blow into the sail if not enough wind was blowing. Magnets would propel the flying machine. The demonstration never occurred. De Gusmao also conceived of an air ship using a pyramid shaped gas bag to stay aloft, but it never materialized.
June 5, 1783
In France, brothers Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier show the workings of a hot air balloon to onlookers.
August 27, 1783
In France, a balloon using hydrogen gas makes a flight of approximately 16 miles. It is unmanned.
September 19, 1783
In France, a hot air balloon made by the Montgolfier brothers flies to an altitude of about 1,700 feet, then lands, while safely carrying a chicken, duck and a lamb.
October 15, 1783
Francois Laurent le Vieux d'Arlandes and Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier fly some 85 feet above the ground in a tethered Montgolfier hot air balloon.
November 21, 1783
A free flying Montgolfier hot air balloon takes flight in France carrying Francois Laurent le Vieux d'Arlandes and Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier.
December 1, 1783
In France, a balloon filled with hydrogen gas flies about 27 miles with Jacques Charles and Nicolas-Louis Robert aboard.
December 1, 1783
Jacques Charles ascends to an altitude of approximately 9,850 feet in the same balloon later that day.
September 19, 1784
For the first time in recorded history, a device is used to propel an aircraft. It is when a hand turned propeller is fastened to a balloon by Jean-Pierre Blanchard.
January 7, 1785
A hydrogen gas filled balloon flies from England to France, the first to cross the English Channel. It is piloted by Jean-Pierre Blanchard and also carries John Jeffries.
January 9, 1793
The first recorded cross country balloon flight in the United States is made from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Deptford, New Jersey, a distance of about 13 miles. The pilot of the balloon is Jean-Pierre Blanchard.
In England, Sir George Cayley flew a glider with a vertical tail and horizontal stabilizer, with an adjustable center of gravity controlled by a weight. Cayley put forth the scientific principles of flight that laid the foundation for the development of today's aircraft.
September 24, 1852
In France a dirigible, with steam turning a propeller, flies about 17 miles at a speed of approximately 6 mph.
June 30, 1853
A successful flight of glider designed by Sir George Cayley, flown by an unknown pilot over an unknown distance is recorded in Yorkshire, England.
Steam and wind-up propeller powered unmanned aircraft are successfully flown in France by Felix Du Temple.
September 20, 1874
A steam engine powered aircraft flown by Felix Du Temple makes a short flight of an unknown distance after being launched from a ski-jump type down ramp.
In Germany, Otto Lilienthal first flew a glider of his own design that laid the foundation for hang gliders and ultra light aircraft. During his life time he made numerous glider flights. Lilienthal lost his life in a glider accident when it stalled some 50 feet above the ground.
May 6, 1896
In the United States Samuel Pierpoint Langley built an unpiloted biplane with a steam engine turning a propeller. It was catapulted from a boat and flew about 3,950 feet.
In the United States Ocatave Chanute invented a system for biplane and triplane type aircraft employing wing struts and wires to strengthen aircraft wings.
Oct. 19, 1901
While flying his own built and designed dirigible around the Eiffel Tower, Brazilian born Alberto Santos-Dumont demonstrated that it was possible to control the direction of its flight.
December 17, 1903
First controlled flight of a manned powered aircraft - Wright Flyer
August 3, 1904
First U.S. Army dirigible takes flight - California Arrow
October 23, 1906
In France, Brazilian Born Alberto Santos-Dumont flew his canard-type powered biplane design that used a gasoline engine turning a pusher propeller a distance of about 200 feet at a maximum altitude of about 15 feet above the ground. It is the first controlled flight of a powered aircraft in Europe.
November 10, 1907
Controlled flight for over 60 seconds of a manned powered aircraft in Europe is achieved - Farman 1
November 30, 1907
First U.S. company to mass produce aircraft opens - Curtiss Airplane And Motor Co., New York
July 4, 1908
Awarding of the first United States aeronautical trophy for a flight of over one kilometer (3,280 ft.) - AEA June Bug
November 11, 1908
First European manufacturer of mass produced aircraft opens - Short Bros., England
February 23, 1909
First controlled powered flight that takes place in Canada - AEA Silver Dart
May 17, 1909
First airplane routes map for France published - Cartes Guides Campbell
July 25, 1909
First airplane crosses English Channel - Bleriot XI
October 16, 1909
First airliner service started -Delag
March 28, 1910
First seaplane takes flight - Hydravion
May 30, 1910
First experimental jet powered aircraft receives a patent - Coanda-1910
August 27, 1910
First successful use of a radio in an airplane.
December 10, 1910
First experimental jet powered aircraft takes flight - Coanda-1910
February 18 , 1911
First delivery of mail by airplane - Humer-Sommer biplane
October 22, 1911
First use of aircraft in a war (scouting mission in Italo - Turkish War) - Bleriot XI
November 1, 1911
First bombs dropped (4 ea. 4.5 lbs.) from an airplane in a war (Italo - Turkish War) - Etrich Taube
November 5, 1911
Completion of first New York to California (coast-to-coast) U.S. airplane flight in 49 days - Burgess-Wright
February 1, 1912
First airplane to fly at over 100 mph - Deperdussin Monocoque
April 16, 1913
First airplane to win a Schneider Cup race - Deperdussin Racer
May 10, 1913
First four engine airplane takes flight -Sikorsky S-21
August 30, 1913
First airplane to fly on auto pilot - Curtiss AB-2
December 10, 1913
First Russian four engine strategic bomber flies - Sikorsky Illya Muromets
October 10, 1914
A dedicated fighter airplane takes flight - Vickers F.B.5 Gun Bus
December 3, 1914
Machine gun fires through airplane propeller arc - Morane Saulnier
April 1, 1915
First Russian aircraft designed as an escort fighter takes flight - Sikorsky S-XVI
May 23, 1915
First aircraft with a synchronized machine gun firing through the propeller arc - Fokker Eindecker
July 25, 1915
British RFC Capt. L.G. Hawker receives the first ever Victoria Cross presented for aerial combat.
November 5, 1915
First catapult launch of an aircraft from a moving ship - Curtiss AB2
January 1, 1916
First flight of an aircraft built mainly from metal - Junkers J1
May 16, 1916
British WWI ace Albert Ball scores his first aerial victory - Bristol Scout
July 15, 1916
William E. Boeing establishes himself in the aviation business by opening the Pacific Aero Products Co.
March 22, 1917
First airline company to provide scheduled flights is formed - Red Arrow Flying Service
August 2, 1917
Airplane lands on a moving ship - Sopwith Pup
September 22, 1917
First aircraft built by the new Supermarine Co. - P.B. 31E Nighthawk quadraplane
August 21, 1918
First flight of what will be the fastest fighter aircraft of its time and the primary French Air Force fighter - Nieuport-Delage NiD-29
February 5, 1919
Passenger airliner service between France and England begins - Farman F60 Goliath
May 15, 1919
U.S. postal air service commences.
May 31, 1919
Completion of the first flight from New York to England with stops along the way - Navy-Curtiss NC-4
June 15, 1919
Completion of first non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean -
June 25, 1919
First non-military commercial transport built entirely without wood takes flight - Junkers F 13
July 21, 1919
Fokker Aircraft Co. is started.
October 7, 1919
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is started.
November 15, 1920
First airplane with retractable landing gear takes flight - RB-1 Racer
July 21, 1921
First battleship sunk by airplanes - Martin NBS-1
August 3, 1921
First crop duster - Curtiss Jenny
March 20, 1922
First U.S. aircraft carrier - U.S.S. Langley
September 4, 1922
First U.S. coast-to-coast flight in less than 24 hours - Airco DH4
October 26, 1922
First plane to land on a U.S. aircraft carrier - Aeromarine Co. Model 39
February 23, 1923
First landing and take off of a fighter plane from a Japanese aircraft carrier - Mitsubishi 1MF
March 5, 1923
Sikorsky Aero Engineering begins operating in the U.S.A.
May 3, 1923
First U.S. coast to coast flight without landing is completed - Fokker T-2
June 23, 1924
Flight of the first aircraft built by the newly formed Focke Wulf Co. - A-16
September 28, 1924
First flight circumnavigating the world is completed - Douglas World Cruisers
November 26, 1925
First Soviet all-metal heavy bomber - Tupolev ANT-4 / TB-1
March 16, 1926
Robert H. Goddard successfully flies a liquid fueled rocket that he invented and built. Through 1941 Goddard is credited with a total of 34 liquid fueled rocket flights achieving speeds up to 550 mph and altitudes of up to about 8,500 feet.
April 6, 1926
Lufthansa Airlines begins flight operations.
May 9, 1926
First flight crossing the North Pole - Fokker Trimotor
March 14, 1927
Pan American World Airways opens for business.
May 21, 1927
Completion of first solo non-stop flight acorss the Atlantic from New York to Paris- Ryan NYP
September 7, 1927
Cessna Aircraft Co. begins business.
June 11, 1928
First successful rocked powered airplane flight - Lippisch Ente
June 17, 1928
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, from Newfoundland to Wales, U.K. She is a passenger seated in a Fokker F.VII piloted by Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon.
August 29, 1929
Civilian airplane tops front line military airplane in a race - Travel Air Mystery Ship
November 29, 1929
First flight crossing South Pole - Ford Trimotor
October 25, 1930
TWA starts regular scheduled transcontinental flights in the U.S.A.
December 22, 1930
World's first modern four engine monoplane bomber - Tupolev TB-3
November 29, 1931
Japanese aircraft attack Manchuria - Mitsubishi G3M Rikko
May 20, 1932
Amelia Earhart flies a Lockheed Vega, taking off from Newfoundland bound for Paris. Due to poor weather and engine problems, she lands in Culmore, Northern Island, a distance of 2,026 miles. The flight takes 14 hours 56 minutes to complete. With the flight, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
February 8, 1933
First of a generation of "modern" airliners takes flight - Boeing 247
July 15, 1933
First Atlantic crossing by a large aircraft squadron - Savoia Marchetti S.55
July 22, 1933
Completion of first solo circumnavigation of the world - Lockheed Vega
October 31, 1933
First single wing with no external bracing fighter aircraft that has retractable landing gear - Polikarpov I-16
July 1, 1934
World record of an airplane flying a total of 635 hours, 34 minutes before landing - Curtiss Robin
October 23, 1934
The still standing propeller driven seaplane speed record of 440.68 MPH is established - Macchi Castoldi MC-72
March 23, 1935
World's first successful retrieval in flight of a parasite fighter by its mother ship - Soviet Zveno Project
July 17, 1935
Mass produced modern four engine U.S. bomber takes to the sky - Boeing B-17
December 17, 1935
The world's most advanced airliner to date takes to the sky - Douglas DC-3
March 4, 1936
The largest vehicle ever to fly takes to the sky - Zeppelin LZ 129 Hindenberg
July 20, 1936
The first mass military air transport of the Spanish Civil War - Junkers Ju 52
August 7, 1936
First Luftwaffe fighter aircraft are deployed to aid Franco's forces in Spain - Heinkel He 51
May 6, 1937
World's largest Zeppelin lost while attempting to land - LZ 129
May 29, 1937
Grumman's first twin engine plane, first successful monoplane, and first commercial airliner - Grumman G-21 Goose
July 4, 1937
Fully controlled helicopter long duration flight - Focke Wulf FW-61
August 11, 1937
British fighter aircraft with more than four machine guns takes to the sky - Boulton Paul Defiant
November 2, 1937
British fighter intercepts another aircraft using ground based radar - Glouster Gauntlet
October 11, 1938
British single seat twin engine fighter aircraft flies - Westland Whirlwind
December 31, 1938
World's first passenger airliner with interior pressurization - Boeing 307
January 26, 1939
First U.S. fighter plane capable of speeds over 400 mph - Lockheed P-38 Lightning
April 26, 1939
German aircraft sets a world speed record of 469 mph - Messerschmitt Me 209
August 27, 1939
Experimental jet takes flight - Heinkel He 178
December 17, 1939
First air-to-ground rockets - Ilyushin IL-2
December 17, 1939
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan enacted - de Havilland Tiger Moth
July 28, 1940
Radar intercept of an enemy aircraft: Bristol Blenheim
August 3, 1940
Transport helicopter flies - FA-223
August 27, 1940
First Italian jet powered aircraft - Caproni Campini N1
September 22, 1940
Jet fighter takes flight - He-280
December 7, 1940
Monoplane RAF dive bomber takes to the sky - Fairey Barracuda
October 1, 1940
First single engine U.S. fighter with a top speed over 400 mph - F4U Corsair
October 26, 1940
Prototype flight of what will become the premier escort fighter of WW II flies - North American P-51 Mustang
March 12, 1941
Four engine bomber flies World War II missions against German forces - Halifax
April 6, 1941
First aircraft ejection seat - Heinkel He 280
April 17, 1941
First ever lift off and landing of a helicopter on water - Vought-Sikorsky VS-300
August 8, 1941
Soviet aircraft bomb Berlin for the first time - Ilyushin IL-4
September 23, 1941
The Soviet battleship Marat sinks after being hit by a 2,200 lb. bomb dropped by a Luftwaffe dive bomber - Junkers Ju-87
December 7, 1941
Japanese carrier launched aircraft attack Pearl Harbor Hawaii, sinking or seriously damaging most of the U.S. Pacific Fleet - Aichi Val
December 18, 1941
Lt. Col. Boyd Wagner becomes first U.S. ace of WW II - Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
December 28, 1941
Test flight of a cruise missile - Fieseler Fi 103 V-1
January 14, 1942
First time that a helicopter lands on a ship at sea - Sikorsky R-4
March 17, 1942
The Luftwaffe fits their dive bombing aircraft with 37 mm anti-tank cannons - Junkers Ju-87 Stuka
April 18, 1942
U.S. aircraft raid on Japan after the start of World War II - North American B-25
May 21, 1942
Airplane designated from the start as a night fighter takes to the air for the first time - Northrop P-61
June 11, 1942
Dedicated Soviet night bomber regiment aircraft begin harassment missions against German troops - Polikarpov Po-2
June 12, 1942
First U.S. bomber raid on Ploesti - B-24 Liberators
July 18, 1942
Operational jet aircraft flight - Me-262
September 9, 1942
Air attack by Japan on U.S. mainland - Yokosuka E14Y
October 3, 1942
First successful flight of German long range ballistic missile - V-2
December 4, 1942
First U.S. planes bomb Italy - B-24 Liberators
December 10, 1942
First successful flight of a German cruise missile - V-1 Fieseler Fi 103
December 23, 1942
Long range bomber designed to attack U.S. East Coast takes flight - Messerschmitt Me 264
June 15, 1943
Jet bomber flies - Arado Ar 234
June 23, 1943
Operational aircraft with ejection seats - Heinkel He-219
August 18, 1943
Dedicated rescue helicopter takes flight that would eventually be used in the Antarctic - Sikorsky H-5
August 31, 1943
U.S. Navy's newest fighter plane flies first sorties - F6F Hellcat
September 9, 1943
After Italy joins the Allies, their battleship Roma sinks after being hit by two radio control bombs dropped by Luftwaffe bombers - Dornier Do 217
September 12, 1943
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini is rescued from captors by aircraft - Fieseler Fi 156
October 20, 1943
Experimental German bomber intended to drop bombs on the U.S. flies for the first time - Junkers Ju 390
November 2, 1943
Multi-engine U.S. Navy fighter flies - Grumman F7F
November 5, 1943
U.S. carrier aircraft begin attacks on Japanese warships near Truk Island - Douglas SBD Dauntless
January 8, 1944
First flight of what will become the U.S.A.F. first operational jet fighter- P-80 Shooting Star
January 18, 1944
U.S. aircraft anti-submarine patrols launched over the Strait of Gibraltar- PBY Catalina
February 17, 1944
U.S. Carrier aircraft launch night raids on Japanese targets on and around Truk Island - Grumman Avenger
May 22, 1944
Kamikaze attacks launched - Ki-45
June 14, 1944
Production rocket propelled fighter plane becomes operational - Me163
June 15, 1944
U.S. heavy bombers begin strategic bombing of Japan - B-29 Superfortress
August 14, 1944
Allies begin parachuting troops into France - Douglas C-47 Skytrain
September 5, 1944
German plan to kill Soviet leader Stalin is aborted when their transport airplane is damaged beyond repair upon landing - Arado Ar 232
March 21, 1945
Japanese rocket plane deployed for the first time - Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka
September 6, 1945
First flight of a helicopter across the English Channel - FA-223
June 25, 1945
First U.S. sheduled cargo transport company, National Skyway Freight, begins operations - Budd C-93 Conestoga
August 6, 1945
U.S. aircraft drops atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima - Boeing B-29
November 6, 1945
First ever jet power airplane landing on an aircraft carrier - Ryan FR Fireball
December 3, 1945
British jet airplane lands on an aircraft carrier - de Havilland Vampire
January 10, 1946
A Sikorsky helicopter climbs to 21,000 feet, making it the highest flying helicopter of the time - H-5
June 1, 1946
Pan American World Airways begins regular service from New York to London - Constellation
June 21, 1946
First pure jet to land on U.S.Navy carrier - McDonnell Phantom
June 25, 1946
Flying wing bomber takes flight - XB-35
August 17, 1946
First U.S. test of manned ejection seat during aircraft flight - P-61 Black Widow
September 29, 1946
Non-stop flight distance record set - P2V Neptune
August 9, 1947
Flight of first jet combat aircraft of Latin America. It is of Argentine origin - FMA IAE 27
September 2, 1947
British Navy jet flies - Sea Hawk
October 14, 1947
Aicraft goes supersonic in level flight - Bell X-1
November 24, 1947
Grumman jet fighter takes flight - F9F
December 17, 1947
Swept wing bomber deployed by the U.S.A.F. - Boeing B-47
June 26, 1948
Berlin Airlift commences - C-54 Skymaster
July 16, 1948
First mid-range turboprop aircraft used for passenger transportation - Vickers Viscount
September 5, 1948
Weight of cargo carried aloft record set - Martin Mars
December 8, 1948
U.S.A.F. bomber flies 9,400 non-stop without refueling - B-36
December 8, 1948
Smithsonian Institute takes possession of first aircraft to achieve controlled powered flight - Wright Flyer
March 2, 1949
Completion of the first around the world airplane flight with mid-air refueling - Boeing B-50
April 16, 1949
American production jet aircraft with afterburner, and operational all weather interceptor - F-94
May 13, 1949
First British jet bomber - English Electric Canberra
Flight History from 1950 to Present is continued on - Page 2