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Chronology of Flight


The Montgolfier brothers make the first flight in a hot air balloon.


The first balloon crossing of the English Channel by Blanchard and Jeffries.


A steam powered airship was flown over Paris by Henri Giffard.


Sir George Cayley built a glider in which his coachman flew across a valley in Yorkshire.

17 December 1903

Replica of the Wright FlyerOn this day Orville Wright made the first controlled powered flight. He flew a distance of 120 feet, lasting 12 seconds. On the second flight his brother Wilbur Wright flew a distance of 850 feet, lasting 69 seconds.


Samuel Cody made the first powered flight in the UK. Perhaps more famous for his wild west shows before this.

25 July 1909

Louis Bleriot crosses the English Channel from Baraques (nr Calais, France) to Dover Castle (England) in a Bleriot XI a distance of 231/2 miles in 36 minutes and 30 seconds winning the 1000 prize offered by the Daily Mail.

14 November 1910

The first aeroplane flight from a ship. Eugene Ely flew a Curtiss Albany Flyer from the USS Birmingham.

19 August 1913

The first parachute drop in Europe by Frenchman Pegoud. He was also the first person to perform aerobatics in a specially strengthened Bleriot.

20 August 1913

The first loop was made by Piotr Nesterov in a Nieuport Monoplane.

3 March 1915

NACA was formed " supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight, with a view of their practical solution".


John Alcock and Arthur Brown made the first east to west non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in 16 hours and 27 minutes.


Charles Lindbergh made the first west to east non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in The Spirit of St Louis.

17 to 18 June 1928

Amelia Earhart is the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air, from Newfoundland to Wales, as a passenger in the Wilmer Stultz-Louis Gordon Fokker C-2 Friendship.


Frank Whittle patented the jet engine.

Amy Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.

22 April 1931

Amelia Earhart sets the Autogyro altitude record at 18,400 feet.

14 October 1947

Bell X1The Bell X1 was the first aircraft to break through the sound barrier flown by Captain Charles E Yeager. The X1 was launched by a Boeing B29 at 30000 feet, once released the rocket motor was fired and it begun it's ascent to 42000 feet and 670 mph (Mach 1.015).

20 November 1953

The first aircraft to break Mach 2. A Douglas D-558-2 was flown by A Scott Crossfield to Mach 2.005 (1,328 mph) over Edwards Air Force Base.

7 September 1956

An altitude record of 126000 feet was set by Capt Iven C Kincheloe in a Bell X-2 at a speed of more than 1500 mph.

23 December 1986

Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager complete the first non-stop circumnavigation of the world without any refuelling in the Rutan Voyager. A distance of 24987 miles in 9 days 3 minutes and 44 seconds.


Daedelus, a human powered aircraft was flown 74 miles across the Aegaen Sea, piloted and propelled by Kanellos Kanellopoulos.