Important Events in the History of Aviation


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Page LF-001 (Revised 01/21/2006)

Year Month/Day Person Aviation Event
  Circa 1500      Jean-Baptiste Dante   Made flights with a glider near Lake Trasimene, Perugia
  1500      Leonardo Da Vinci   Sketched a parachute, an ornithopter and a helicopter.
  1676-7      Besnier   Suggested an apparatus consisting of two rods, pivoted on the shoulder and equipped with fore and aft collapsible surfaces (like a book opening downward). Each up-stroke closed the surfaces and each down-stroke opened the surfaces for sustentation. Oscillating motion effected by action of hands and feet. He claimed a successful flight.
  1742      Marquis de Bacqueville   Using imitation flapping wings, flew from his house on the Seine to the Garden of Tuileries. An accident midstream caused his failure (his wings ceased to act).
  1781      Karl Meerwein   At Baden, computed the area of a spindle-shaped, man-supporting surface, from proportions of bird weight and wing surface. These figures were later substantiated by Lillienthal. Aviator was fastened to the middle of the under surface, holding a rod which operated the wings. One attempt by Meerwein was unsuccessful.
  1809      Sir George Cayley   Built a glider of 300 foot wing surface, which skimmed the ground and sailed from hilltops.
  1842      Henson   Patented a monoplane to be driven by a steam engine. Wing span was 140 feet.
  1855      Captain LeBris   Made a partially successful flight with his glider.
  1866-7      Francis Wenham   Showed that the lifting power of one plane of large area could be obtained by dividing the large plane into several smaller planes arranged in tiers; hence Wenham's type with six superposed planes.
  1871      MA Penaudxx   Built a toy model plane which flew 131 feet in the Garden of he Tuileries.
  1874      DS Brown   Presented before the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain a memoire on an aeroplane with tandem planes. A stabilizing tail unit was included in the design.
  1876      Penaud   In collaboration with Gauehot, published designs of an aeroplane with two propellers.
  1877      William Kress   Made a model plane fitted with two propellers and double control.
  1879      Satin   Experimented with a model at Chalais-Mendon; model equipped with compressed air motor, actuating two propellers placed ahead of panels.
  1886      Colonel Renard   Presented to the Societe des Anus dee Sciences, a paper on the principles of aerial navigation.
  1889      Renard   Exhibited a model in the Exposition at Paris. Followed Wen- ham's principle of six superposed planes.
  1889      Lillienthal   Published his paper, "Bird Flight as a Basis for the Art of Flying."
  1890      Satin   Commenced his experiments with a model aeroplane.
  1890   Oct 9   Clement Ader   Near Gretz, France experimented with a monoplane driven by a 40 HP motor.
  1891      Langley   Published his memoir, "Experiments in Aerodynamics," the result of researches on the resistance of planes.
  1891      Lillienthal   Began experimental flights with monoplane gliders near Berlin.
  1893      Horatio Phillips   Constructed a multiplane aeroplane, with wings superposed, after the principle of Wenham. Equipped with a 5.5 HP motor and one propeller.
  1894      Sir Hiram Maxim   Built a three-man carrying machine; was a multiplane of 104 feet span, 4,000 feet supporting surface. Propellers operated by a 360 HP steam engine which weighed 11 pounds per horse power. Total weight, 8,000 pounds. Machine left the supporting track in final test and was wrecked.
  1895      Percy S. Pilcher   Built monoplane gliders which operated successfully.
  1896   May 6   Professor SP Langley   Built a steam-driven toy monoplane model which flew over the Potomac successfully for over 3,000 feet, at from 20 to 25 miles per hour.
  1896   Jun 22   Octave Chanute   Assisted by AM Herring and Avery, made experimental flights on sand dunes near Lake Michigan. They developed Chanute's multiple glider and the Chanute biplane glider.
  1896   Aug 9   Lillienthal   Flew a biplane glider previous to fitting it with a 2 1/2 HP engine. Operating principle was to continually shift weight of aviator so that center of gravity and center of pressure fell on the same vertical line. On the second flight he was killed.
  1897   Oct 12   Clement Ader   At Sartory, France, experimented with a machine equipped with 270 square feet of supporting surface. Weight, 1,100 pounds. Twin propellers, driven by a 40 HP steam engine, which weighed seven pounds per horse power.
  1897   Oct 14   Clement Ader   Experiments continued. Machine wrecked on account of high wind.
  1899   Sep 3   Percy S. Pilcher   Killed while gliding in gusty weather.
  1900      Wilbur and Orville Wright   Experimented with gliders with arched surfaces and adjustable rudder in front. Flyer lay prone on upper surface of lower wing. Skids used for landing. Glider hovered in air for periods over a minute and glided over 600 feet. Velocity of 20 miles per hour necessary for sustentation.
  1903   Dec 17   Wright Brothers   Fitted a biplane glider with a 16 HP motor, driving double screws behind the planes. Total weight of machine, 750 pounds. Flew at speed of 30-35 miles per hour for a period of twelve seconds. Tests made on the Kill-Devil Dunes, NC, ultimately sustained flight for a period of 59 seconds, covering 852 feet. First successful sustained flight in the world.
  1904   Autumn   Wright Brothers   Made flights in a circle.
  1905   Oct 5   Wright Brothers   Flew for a distance of 24 miles in 38 minutes.
  1906   Sep 13   Santos Dumont   Made the first officially recorded European aeroplane flight, leaving the ground for a distance of 36 feet, flying at a velocity of 23 miles per hour, used a cellular aeroplane, resembling a Hargrave kite; equipped with a 40-50 HP motor. Two wheels fitted to machine to permit "taking off" and landing.
  1906      Santos Dumont   Remained in air for twenty-one seconds, and travelled a distance of 700 feet, winning several prizes offered by the French Aero Club.
  1907   Mar 30   Delagrange   Demonstrated a Voisin biplane.
  1907   Oct 26   Henry Farman   Flew a Voisin over 2,500 feet in 52.5 seconds, in a straight line.
  1908   Feb 11   Henry Farman   Made a complete circuit of about a mile, in one and one-half minutes.
  1908   Jun 22   Delagrange   Flew in Milan, in a Voisin machine, covering a distance of 10 1/2 miles in sixteen minutes.
  1908   Jul 4   Glenn H. Curtiss   Won the Scientific American trophy with the "June Bug," built by the Aerial Experiment Association, to the design of GH Curtiss. Machine weighed 650 pounds and had 370 square feet of supporting surface. Made 39 miles per hour. First previously announced flight in public.
  1908      Henry Farman   Remained in air for 21.5 minutes, flying 3/4 mile, and carrying a passenger.
  1908   Aug 8   Orville Wright   Made official flights at the Camp of Auvours, surpassing French records for duration, distance and height of flights.
  1908   Sep 9   Orville Wright   Made flight of one hour's duration.
  1908   Sep 21   Orville Wright   Made flight of 1 hour 31 minutes duration, covering 42 miles.xx
  1908   Oct 10   Orville Wright   Made flight of 1 hour's duration, with passenger.
  1908   Ocy 31   Farman   Made first cross-country flight from Chalons to Rheims, a distance of 16 miles, in 20 minutes. Rose 200 feet from course to clear obstacles.
  1908   End of year      First great Aeronautical Salon held in Paris. Over a dozen full-sized machines exhibited.
  1908         Lectures on Aeronautics commenced at Gottingen University.
  1908   Dec 31   Orville Wright   Made flight of two hours 19 minutes duration, with passenger.
  1909      Captain Spelterini   Italian officer explored the Alps in neighborhood of Mount Blanc.
  1909         British government appointed a permanent Aeronautical Committee; also a special department on Aeronautics, at the National Physical Laboratory at Leddington.
  1909   Jul 19   Latham   In a trial flight over the Channel, fell in the sea, seven miles from shore.
  1909   Jul 25   Bleriot   Crossed the English Channel, Calais to Dover, in 37 minutes.
  1909   Aug   GH Curtiss   Won the Gordon Bennett Cup in an international speed race at Rheims. Speed attained, 43 miles per hour, on Curtiss machine. Seven aeroplanes in the air.
  1909   Sep 29   Wilbur Wright   Flew around the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor.
  1909   Nov 3   Henry Farman   Broke the world's record for distance, covering 145 miles in 4 hours, 18 minutes, 53 seconds.
  1909   Nov 6   Paulhan   Broke the record for altitude, attaining a height of 970 feet.
  1910   Jan 7   Latham   Reset the world's record for altitude, climbing 3,281 feet: duration of flight, 42 hours 11 seconds.
  1910   Jan 12   Paulhan   Surpassed Latham by climbing to 4,163 feet.
  1910   Jan 19   Paulhan   Demonstrated bombing from an aeroplane.
  1920   Apr 20   Sommer   Established the world's record in flight with three passengers, covering 4.3 miles in the vicinity of Douzy.
  1910   May 28   Curtiss   Made Albany-Governor's Island flight, 135.4 miles, in 2 hours 32 minutes. First flight using a river as a guide for an aerial highway.
  1910   Jun   Curtiss   Successfully alighted on water, at Lake Keuka, Hammondsport, NY. Curtiss demonstrated bombing from an aeroplane.
  1910   Jul 7   Latham   Surpassed Paulhan in establishing the world's record for altitude, attaining 4,541 feet, at Rheims.
  1910   Jul 13   Curtiss   Left Atlantic City and, flying oversea, covered 49.6 miles in 1 hour 15 minutes, at an elevation of 1600 feet.
  1910   Aug   McCurdy   Received and sent wireless messages from an aeroplane in flight, at Sheepshead Bay, NY.
  1910   Aug 11   Drexel   At Lanark, raised world record for altitude to 6,604 feet.
  1910   August   Curtiss & Lt Fickelxx   Demonstrated aerial sharpshooting from an aeroplane, at Sheepshead Bay, NY.
  1910   Sep 23   Chavez   Passed over the hospital at Simplon (Alps), at 2,000 m, crossed the pass at Dondo, flying toward Italy, and landed at Domodossola. First aviator to cross the Alps.
  1910   Oct 15   Leblanc   Broke the speed record—1 mile in 53 seconds.
  1910   Oct 16   Wynmalen Dufour   Made long distance flight of 285 miles in 9 hours.
  1910   Dec 9   Legagneaux   Set altitude record for the year—19,171 feet at Pau.
  1910   Dec 30   Labuteau   Set distance record for the year—362 miles at Buc.
  1911      Curtiss   Successfully rose from the water, and made a sustained and controlled flight, after experiments extending over several years.
  1911   Jan 18   Eugene Ely   Alighted on, and flew from the deck of a battleship, at San Francisco.
  1911   Jan 29   MacCurdy   Flew from Key West to shore off Havana; 99 miles in 2 hours.
  1911   Feb 23   Curtiss   Flew from land to water and from water to land, at San Diego, California.
  1911   Jun 28   Lincoln Beachey   Flew over Niagara Falls and thru the Gorge.
  1911   Sep 4   Garros   Set altitude record for the year—12,959 feet, at Parame.
  1911   Sep 8   Helen   Flew over the Lhinnery-Gidy course, a distance of 1,252 kms. in 14 hours 7 minutes. Longest flight of the year.
  1911   Dec 24   Gobe   Set distance record for the year—459 miles at Pau.
  1911      CT Weymann   Won the Gordon-Bennett prize, flying a Nieuport monoplane at 80 miles per hour.
  1911      Prier   Flew from London to Paris, 290 miles, without a stop.
  1911   Dec      Third Paris Aero Show, in which 28 makes of machines were exhibited. Twenty monoplanes were shown, and fourteen biplanes. Average horse power was about 60.
  1912   Jan 10   RC Fowler   Flew across the continent from Jacksonville, Fla., to San Francisco, Calif., a distance of 2,232 miles in 151 days. First transcontinental flight.
  1912   Jun 12   S Christoferson   Made the first start from a roof, Portland, Ore.,in a Curtiss machine.
  1912   Jul 12   Lieut. Andreadi   Flew from Sebastopol to Odessa and then to Petrograd, covering 1,860 miles in 27 days.
  1912   Jul 19   Lieut. Lybousky   Flew from Sebastopol direct to Petrograd, covering 1,612 miles in 30 days.
  1912   Sep 11   Fourny   Set the distance record for the year—627 miles at Etampes.
  1912   Oct 17   Birtch   Made a tour, Denmark, covering 1,240 miles in 15 days.
  1912   Dec 11   Garros   Set altitude record for the year—18,480 feet at Tunis.
  1912   Dec 14   Janus   Flew from Omaha to New Orleans, 1,970 miles in 89 days.
  1912      Jules Vedrines   Won the Gordon-Bennett prize, flying a 160 horse power Deperdussin monoplane, at 105 miles per hour.
  1913   Jan 25   Bielovucic   Flying a Hauriot machine, crossed the Alps.
  1913   March 11   Perreyon   Set altitude record for the year—19,270 feet at Buc, France.
  1913      Prevost   Won the Gordon-Bennett prize, flying a 200 HP Deperdussin monoplane at 126.59 miles per hour.
  1913   Apr      Monaca Meet, for over-water machines. The average horse power of motors used was 117; the maximum being the Salms at 200 HP in the Briguet.
  1913   May      Prince Henry Meet (German). Average horse power used by competitors was 94.
  1913   May   Robert Fowler   Flew across the Isthmus of Panama, following the line of the canal.
  1913   Jun   Brindejonc   Flew a Morane-Sauliner monoplane from Paris to Warsaw, stopping at Berlin. Covered 933 miles in 11 hours including stops.
  1913   Jun   Verplank & Havenxx   Made an all-over water trip from Chicago to Detroit, following the Great Lakes. Distance 880 miles.
  1913   Sep 1   Adolphe Pegoud   Demonstrated the first inverted (upside down) flight in a Bleriot monoplane.
  1913   Dec   Sopwith   Produced the first small high speed biplane of the "scout" class. Speed, 92 miles per hour. Fitted with an 80 HP Gnome rotary motor; landing speed, 37 miles per hour. Total gross weight, 1,040 pounds with a supporting area of 240 square feet.
  1914   Apr      The Sopwith Scout won the Monte Carlo races. Refitted with twin floats and a 100 HP motor. Speed, 75 miles per hour.
  1914   Jul      Trials of the "America," a Curtiss flying boat built to attempt a flight across the Atlantic. Gross load, 5,000 pounds; air speed, 65 miles per hour. Two motors used, each driving one propeller. The boat was a success.
  1916         Curtiss Triplane Flying Boat, weighing 22,000 pounds (fully loaded), built and sent to England for trials. This machine flew successfully.
  1914-18         WW-I. Development of machines for distinctive functions:
(a) Speed Scouts and Single-seat Fighters:
Spad, Nieuport, Morane Parasol, SE-6, SVA, SIA, Albatross (D class), Rumpler & Fokker.
(b) Two-Seater Combat Machines:
Bristol, Spad, Salmson, DeHaviland, Curtiss Triplane 18-2, Albatross (G class), Rumpler, DWF, LVG & Roland.
(c) Reconnaissance and Day Bombing:
Breguet, Voisin, Farman & WA (English).
(d) Night Bombers:
Handley Page, Caproni, Candron, Gotha & Friedrichshafen Zeppelin.
(e) Coast Patrol:
Curtiss Flying Boats, Macchi, FBA, Curtiss HA Hydroaeroplane, Lehner & Ago(Hydro).
(f) Training Planes:
(1) Primary—Curtiss JN, Standard JI, Avro & Farman.
(2) Speed-Thomas Morse & S-4C.

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