Air Disasters and Notable Crashes

1785: On June 15, Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and a companion become hot-air ballooning’s first fatalities, after falling to their deaths when their hybrid hot-air-and-hydrogen balloon ignites over the English Channel. 1908: On September 17, during a demonstration flight for the U.S. Army, Orville Wright’s plane crashes near Fort Myer, Virginia. Wright suffers several brokenbones […]

A Few Important Web Sites

The Internet has proven to be a valuable research tool. Information about almost any topic is available on-line. Finding that information, however, can be difficult. The Web sites listed below relate specifically to articles in this work. Although every effort has been made to ensure their accuracy, readers must be aware that Web sites are […]

Chuck Yeager

Date: Born on February 13, 1923, in Myra, West Virginia Definition: World War II ace, test pilot, and pioneer in aviation endurance and speed records. Significance: Yeager was the first person to break the sound barrier, as the speed of sound was perceived in the 1940′s. Pilot and Ace Charles Elwood “Chuck” Yeager was born […]

Ferdinand von Zeppelin

Date: Born on July 8, 1838, at Konstanz, Baden, Germany; died on March 8, 1917, at Charlottenburg, Germany Definition: A pioneering builder of rigid airships. Significance: Zeppelin helped build the first practical airships capable of navigating over long distances, stimulating aeronautical experimentation and paving the way for military and commericial applications of airships. Trained as […]

Wright Flyer

Also known as: Flyer 1, Aerostat, the Flying Machine Date: From 1899 to 1903 Definition: The first heavier-than-air plane flown under its own power by a human being in controlled flight. Significance: The Wright Flyer, the most honored airplane in history, revolutionized modern aviation. Through their scientific and engineering research, Orville and Wilbur Wright solved […]

X planes

Definition: Experimental aircraft intended to test new configurations or unexplored aerodynamics. Significance: The U.S. Xplanes were the first to fly faster than the speed of sound, the first to test a variable-sweep wing in flight, the first to fly at altitudes greater than 100,000 feet, and the first to fly three to six times the […]

Wilbur Wright

Date: Born on April 16, 1867, near Millville, Indiana; died on May 30, 1912, in Dayton, Ohio Orville Wright Date: Born on August 19, 1871, in Dayton, Ohio; died on January 30, 1948, in Dayton, Ohio Definition: Aviation pioneers who made the first piloted flight in a powered heavier-than-air plane on December 17, 1903. Significance: […]

World War II

Date: From 1939 to 1945 Definition: Military operations that included transportation of troops, supplies, and equipment; support of land and naval forces by bombardment and aerial observation; direct combat between fighter planes; and bombing of strategic communication, factories, and population centers including the atomic bombs that ended the war. Significance: The outbreak of World War […]

Women and flight

Definition: A brief history of women’s struggles and accomplishments in the world of aviation. Significance: The contributions made by women in flight have been extensive, from aviation to the space program. In the early days of aviation, women faced many more obstacles than just finding a way to fly. The original notions of flight and […]

Women's Airforce Service Pilots

Also known as: WASPs Date: From August, 1943, to December, 1944 Definition: Women pilots who flew training missions and ferried aircraft for the United States Army during World War II. Significance: WASPs demonstrated the military potential of women pilots. They also compiled an outstanding record of service and flight safety, and became a symbol of […]