Flying History
(A Timeline of Flight)

Flying history, an airplane and aviation timeline of flight, from balloons to today's space flight, with accomplishments, pictures, sound, specifications, and a guide to scale model radio control airplanes.

Protected by Copyscape DMCA Takedown Notice Checker

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.

Custom Search

TO FIND A SUBJECT ON THIS PAGE: Enter "Ctrl F" on your computer. A box will open on your screen that says "Find." Type in what you are looking for and it will be highlighted on the page.

450 B.C.

Friends Mozi and Lu Ban fly a kite made from bamboo and silk fabric, using a silk twine flying line, near Qufu, China.

400 B.C.

In Southern Italy, Archytas builds a bird shaped steam powered model that is said to have flown about 655 feet.

1250 A.D.

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

Email us.