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There have been many people who have tried to fly over the years. As early as 1000 BC, man has tried to fly by putting leaves shaped as wings around the body while jumped off a hill. In the early 1700's, man invented the hot air balloon and in 1850, Sir George Cayley, carried out glider experiments in his hometown of Yorkshire, England when a ten year old boy into a three winged glider and pushed him down a hill. Sir Cayley is now recognized as the father of aerial aviation.
This section summarizes the history of flight starting with Sir George Cayley quest to develop a glider. The time line describes the history of aircraft starting in the 1890's and concludes with today's modern jets.
1891 - Otto Lilienthal successfully tested a series of monoplanes and biplane gliders but died in 1896 when his aircraft crashed and ended his goal to develop a powered machine.
1903 - The Wright Flyer becomes the first aircraft to achieve sustained flight with a man on board. The first hop covered a distance of 120 feet and lasted about 12 seconds.
1904 - Wilber Wright takes Flyer II a distance of 2.75 miles, which was the first flight lasting over 5 minutes.
1906 - The first European flight made by Brazilian pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont, in his biplane and set the first world distance record.
1907 - First free flight by a helicopter. Paul Cornu's machine hovered for 20 seconds, 1 inches of the ground, near Lisieux France.
1908 - Charles Furnas becomes the first air passenger when taken for a half minute flight by Wilber Wright.
1908 - The first fatal air accident when Orville Wright crashes in Virginia, he survives but his passenger is killed.
1909 - Louis Bleriot successfully flies across the English Channel.
1912 - The first single seat scout aircraft " the Farnborough BS1" flies at 91 mph.
1913 - Roman Garros makes the first non stop crossing of the Mediterranean Sea, a distance of 453 miles.
1913 - The first air combat takes place when 2 pilots exchange pistol shots during the Mexican Civil war.
1914 - The first scheduled operation starts on New Years day from Tampa to St Petersburg. The scheduled service lasts for 4 months.
1914 - The first bombs to be dropped on a city. 5 bombs from a German aircraft land on Paris.
1914 - Joseph Franz and Corporal Quenaulty flying a Voisin, become the first aircrew to shoot down another aircraft. This leads to the red Baron shooting down 80 aircraft during World War I.
1919 - Deutsche Luft -Reederei starts the first regular daily passenger service between Berlin and Weimar Germany.
1919 - The first transatlantic flight was completed by John Alcock and Arthur Brown in a Vickers fitted with extra fuel tanks.
1919 - KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is founded. It is the oldest airline still flying under its original name.
1922 - Two airlines collide between Paris and London. This first mid air collision forced authorities to devise the air lane system in which airlines are allotted strict routes, times and schedules to avoid such tragedies.
1924 - Two Douglas World Cruisers become the first aircraft to fly around the world. The trip (four planes started) took from April to September.
1927 - Charles Lindbergh flies nonstop from New York, Log Island to Paris a distance of 3,610 miles. His average speed was 107 miles per hr. Only 84 gallons of fuel remained.
1929 - The Dornier become the largest flying boat and holds 150 people.
1929 - First flight over the South Pole by Bernt Balchen in a Ford Trimotor, with Richard Bryd in charge.
1930 - Ellen Church becomes the first airline stewardess.
1932- Amelia Earhart becomes the first women to fly solo across the United States from Los Angeles, California and landed in Newark, New Jersey.
1933 - The first flight of the Boeing 247, the ancestor of the modern airliner.
1935 - Amelia Earhart first person to fly solo across the Pacific ocean from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland California.
1935 - First flight of the Douglas DC-3 , the most successful airliner ever.
1936 - Maiden flight of the Focke- Achgelis FW-61, the first successful helicopter.
1939 - Pan American Airways, Boeing 314 Clipper stars the first regular airmail service across the North Atlantic.
1939 - Maiden flight of the Heinkel He 178 , the worlds first jet aircraft.
1942 - The German Heinkel He 219 night fighter, is the worlds first aircraft to be fitted with ejection seats as a standard.
1944 - Messerschmitt ME 26 twin jet fighter goes into service with the German Air force.
1945 - German Air Ace Erick Hartmann scores the most enemy aircraft downed @ 352.
1947 - Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis , piloted by Chuck Yeager , breaks the speed barrier at Mach 1.015.
1949 - Prototype of the de Havilland Comet flies, becoming the first worlds jetliner entering service.
1953 - Jacqueline Cochrane, becomes the first woman to go supersonic flying a Sabre jet.
1953 - A Douglas Skyrocket research aircraft flies at twice the speed of sound reaching Mach 2.005.
1954 - The Boeing Model 367-80 makes its first flight later developed as a military tanker and as the 707 jetliner.
1958 - A Lockheed F-104A Starfighter establishes a new jet record of 1403 mph.
1960 - First hovering flight of the British P117 vertical take off jet. This aircraft was developed into the highly successful Harrier jet of today, the only really successful vertical take off combat jet.
1964 - First flight of the SR-71A Blackbird, the worlds fastest military jet.
1967 - X-15A- rocket plane hits Mach 6.72 the fastest ever for a winged aircraft.
1969 - First flight of the Concord supersonic airliner.
1972 - First flight of the Airbus A300 wide body jetliner.
1974 - First flight of the General Dynamic F-16 which flies in the air force of dozens of countries.
1977 - First one mile figure eight flight of a man powered aircraft called the Gossamer Condor.
1981 - First Space Shuttle is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
1986 - Ritan Voyager takes off on a round the world un refueled flight. Taking 9 days to complete.
1991 - Lockheed F-117A is the first stealth aircraft used in combat.