Time Line

1000 b.c.e.: The Chinese invent kites which carried men to scout troops.

1162: Ismail Cevheri, in Constantinople, Turkey, tries to fly using pleated fabric wings. He plummets from the top of a tower and dies.

1250′s: The first suggestion of flight by lighter-than-air devices is made by the English philosopher and theologian Roger Bacon. 1300′s: Marco Polo witnesses kites carrying humans in China.

1490′s-1510′s: Leonardo da Vinci, the famed Italian painter, sculptor, and thinker, sketches out several designs for flying machines, including ornithopters, helicopters, and parachutes.

1536: Frenchman Denis Bolor dies trying to fly using wings flapped by a spring mechanism.

1640′s: In what is believed by some to be the first successful attempt at gliding flight, the Turkish scientist Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi attempted a flight inspired by Ismail Cevheri and Leonardo da Vinci. Celebi constructed a wing out of rush-work and leaped from the Galata tower in Istanbul into a strong headwind. He was witnessed by the Ottoman Sultan Murat IV and a crowd of citizens below to fly 1 mile across the Bosporus strait, but was later exiled and died at an early age. The incident is not given much historical credence today, but remains as the first eyewitness account of a successful manned flight.

1678: A French locksmith named Besnier tries to fly with wings modeled after the webbed feet of a duck.

1709: Father Bartolomeu de Gusmao demonstrates a model hot air balloon to King John V of Portugal.

1783: On June 4, the Montgolfier brothers launch the first successful tethered flight, a balloon propelled by burning a pile of moist wool and old shoes. Three months later, on September 19, their second trial, before King Louis XVI, carries passengers: a rooster, a duck, and a sheep. On November 21, the Montgolfiers construct a hot-air balloon that rises 84 feet into the air, containing human fliers, Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and the Marquis Francois-Laurent d’Arlandes.

1783: On December 1, Jacques-Alexandre-Cesar Charles makes the first solo flight in a hot-air balloon, flying from Paris to Nesle, France.

1784: The French design a model helicopter.

1785: On June 15, 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.

1785: The first successful crossing of the English Channel by air is made by the French balloonist Jean-Pierre

Blanchard and American John Jeffries, using a hydrogen balloon. The flight lasts almost 3 hours.

1793: French armies use tethered balloons to see several miles beyond enemy lines during the French Revolution.

1795: Jean-Pierre Blanchard makes the first balloon flight in America, traveling from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Gloucester County, New Jersey. President George Washington is one of the dignitaries on hand watching the launch of the hydrogen-filled balloon. It was Blanchard’s forty-fifth flight, and he charged up to five dollars per person to allow people to observe his takeoff in what is today Independence Square.

1797: Andre Jacques Garnerin completes the first parachute jump, leaping from a balloon approximately 2,000

feet in the air.

1799: Sir George Cayley develops the concept of the fixed-wing aircraft configuration that is still used to this


1804: Cayley builds and flies the first fixed-wing glider model.

1809: Marie Madeleine Sophie Blanchard, wife of balloonist Jean-Pierre Blanchard, becomes the first female to die during flight when her hydrogen balloon catches fire amid a fireworks display. 1840: The first photograph is taken of the Moon.

1845: The first photograph is taken of the Sun.

1850: The first photograph is taken of a star.

1852: Henri Giffard successfully attaches a steam engine and propeller to a cigar-shaped balloon to create the first airship.

1861-1864: Balloons are used for reconnaissance during the American Civil War, one of the first effective uses of military air power.

1868: Matthew Boulton obtains a British patent on a design for ailerons as control surfaces.

1870-1871: The French use observation balloons during the Franco-Prussian War. 1880: Mary H. Myers becomes the first American woman to pilot her own balloon.

1884: English engineer Horatio Phillips determines that curved wings work better than flat wings in crude wind tunnel experiments, thereby inventing the airfoil. He also determines that wings with a high aspect ratio work better than stubbier wings.

1887: Samuel Pierpont Langley, director of the Smithsonian Institution, turns his attention to the development of a manned flying apparatus by constructing a large whirling arm 30 feet in radius and capable of speeds of up to 70 mile per hour at the tip.

1891: German Otto Lilienthal helps to develop and popularize hang gliders.

1896: On May 6, Samuel Pierpont Langley makes the first successful unmanned heavier-than-air flight in history, in a 25-pound aerodrome launched from atop a houseboat on the Potomac. Two successful flights were made totaling over 1 mile in flight distance.

1899-1902: The British use balloons and kites for observation purposes during the Boer War.

1900: Influential engineer Octave Chanute advises Orville and Wilbur Wright, Alexander Graham Bell, and Samuel Langley in their aviation projects.

1900: Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin constructs and flies the first dirigible, in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

1903: On December 17, Wilbur and Orville Wright make the first successful powered heavier-than-air flight in their Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

1904: Captain Thomas S. Baldwin accomplishes the first circuit flight in a navigable balloon in Oakland, California, on August 3.

1904-1905: During the Russo-Japanese War, the role of balloons leads to later military systems for employing aircraft for reconnaissance and artillery spotting.

1906: On September 13, Alberto Santos-Dumont flies his 14-Bis, a box-kite canard design, becoming the first to fly an aircraft in Europe.

1907: Paul Cornu makes the first helicopter flight, in France.

1908: Madame Therese Peltier becomes the first woman to fly solo in an airplane.

1908: Orville Wright wins a U.S. Army contract to produce military aircraft.

1909: Louis Bleriot makes the first flight across the English Channel.

1910: Aviation pioneer Anthony H. G. Fokker builds his first aircraft, named “The Spider.”

1911: Glenn H. Curtiss demonstrates the first amphibian type of aeroplane equipped with wheels and floats.

1911: Earle Ovington carries the first U.S. airmail from Nassau Boulevard Aerodrome, New York, to Mineola, New York.

1911: On December 10, CalRodgers completes the first transcontinental flight from Long Island, New York, to Pasadena, California.

1912: Anthony Fokker establishes an airplane factory at Johanneshal, Germany, where he develops the Dr.I.triplane flown by Manfred von Richthofen, the “Red Baron,” during World War I. 1913: Igor Sikorsky develops the first passenger airplane.

1913: Roland Garros makes the first crossing of the Mediterranean on September 13.

1914: Airplanes provide vital reconnaissance for the first time in a major conflict during the Battle of the Maine in World War I.

1914: Two British aircraft destroy a German zeppelin in the world’s first aircraft bombing raid.

1914: Anthony Fokker develops German pursuit planes during World War I and invents a timing mechanism for the shooting of rear-mounted machine guns through an airplane’s propeller blades.

1915: The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) is established by the U.S. government to foster avionics research.

1915: German zeppelin raids on London are the first example of strategic bombing by military aircraft.

1915: Donald W. Douglas joins the Glenn L. Martin Company in Los Angeles, California, as chief engineer.

1916: Boeing is first incorporated by William E. Boeing as the Pacific Aero Products Company to develop the B & W seaplane. The company is renamed the Boeing Airplane Company the following year. 1918: The United States Post Office officially inaugurates airmail service.

1919: On April 28, Leslie Irvin, using a parachute designed by Floyd Smith, makes the first jump from an air- plane.

1919: On July 14-15, British Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Albert Brown make the first nonstop transatlantic flight, from Newfoundland to Ireland.

1919: Robert H. Goddard publishes “A Method for Reaching Extreme Altitudes.”

1919: The Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (KLM) is incorporated in The Hague, Netherlands.

1920′s-1930′s: The U.S. government, which controls most of the world’s supply of helium, operates four rigid airships for long-range reconnaissance.

1920: With David R. Davis, Donald Douglas forms the Davis Douglas Company near Santa Monica, California.

1920: Anthony Fokker designs the F.II, one of the first passenger transport planes.

1920: The first scheduled KLM flight is made from London to Amsterdam.

1921: The Douglas Company is incorporated.

1921: Bessie Coleman becomes the first African American woman to receive a pilot’s license from the

Federation Aeronautique Internationale. 1921: On August 24, the U.S. airship R-38, built for high altitudes, maneuvers hard at alow altitude, breaks in half, and explodes.

1921: U.S. Army colonel Billy Mitchell demonstrates the might of air power by sinking a battleship, the most destructive manmade force on Earth at the time, with a single aircraft.

1922: Anthony Fokker moves to the United States, where he eventually builds three more aircraft factories.

1922: The U.S. Navy contracts with the Douglas Company for the DT-2 torpedo bomber, a modified version of which is requested by the U.S. Army Air Service.

1923: On May 3, Lieutenants Oakley Kelly and John Macready complete the first nonstop coast-to-coast air- plane flight.

1923: On December 21, the French airship Dixmude explodes in flight during a thunderstorm, killing fifty crew members.

1923: Aeroflot is established by the Soviet government as the nation’s official airline.

1924: KLM begins scheduled flights between Amsterdam and the Dutch colonies in Indonesia.

1924: The U.S. Post Office Department opens regular day-and-night airmail service between New York and San Francisco.

1924: Four Douglas World Cruiser aircraft leave Santa Monica for an around-the-world flight, which two com- plete.

1925: The Douglas C-1 military transport, the first military aircraft given the “C” designation for cargo trans- port, based on the DWC, makes its first flight, and the first Douglas mailplane, the M-1, starts manufacturer’s flight trials.

1925: Scientists observe a total eclipse of the sun from above the clouds.

1925: On September 3, the USS Shenandoah airship breaks apart in a thunderstorm, killing fourteen of the forty- three crew members.

1926: Allan Loughead (name later changed to Lockheed) establishes the Lockheed Aircraft Company in Holly- wood, California, where he and Jack Northrop design the popular and record-setting Vega monoplane.

1926: Western Air Express delivers airmail using a Douglas M-2 on its Salt Lake City-to-Los Angeles route— the airline’s first two passengers fly the route for a $90 fare.

1926: Deutsche Luft Hansa Aktienge sells chaft is formed by the merger of Deutsche Aero Lloyd (DAL) and Junkers Luftverkehr and begins scheduled flights.

1926: Robert H. Goddard launches the first liquid-fueled rocket in Auburn, Massachusetts.

1926: Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company produces its first engine.

1926: U.S. Naval Commander Richard E. Byrd makes the first flight over the North Pole.

1927: On May 27, airmail pilot Charles A. Lindbergh makes the first transatlantic solo flight from Long Island,New York, to Paris, France, in his Ryan aircraft, dubbed the Spirit of St. Louis. 1927: The Cessna Aircraft Company is incorporated.

1927: Iberia Airlines is formed and begins regular service between Madrid and Barcelona, Spain.

1928: On May 25, the Italian airship Italia loses buoyancy and crashes attempting to reach the North Pole.

1928: Hubert Wilkins and Carl Ben Eiselson make the first trans-Arctic flight.

1928: Charles Kingsford-Smith and Charles Ulm make the first transpacific flight, from California to Australia.

1928: On June 17, Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to cross the Atlantic.

1928: U.S. Naval Commander Richard E. Byrd, BertBalchen, Captain Ashley C. McKinley, and Harold I. June make the first flight over the South Pole. 1928: Franz von Opel flies the first rocket-powered plane in Germany, reaching speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.

1928: After building airmail and military aircraft throughout the 1920′s, Boeing Airplane Company is merged into the United Aircraft & Transport Corporation (UATC), a group of aircraft manufacturers and airlines.

1928: Cessna produces the first full cantilever-wing light airplane to go into production in the United States.

1928: The Douglas Aircraft Company is organized in November.

1929: The Lockheed Aircraft Company is purchased by the Detroit Aircraft Corporation, which declares bankruptcy three years later. 1929: The Graf Zeppelin makes the first around-the-world flight by a dirigible.

1930: On October 5, the British R-101 airship crashes and burns, killing forty-eight of the fifty-four total passengers and crew.

1930: The Aviation Corporation, a holding company acquiring small aviation companies, is incorporated into American Airways.

1930: Amy Johnson becomes the first woman to solo between England and Australia.

1930: Transcontinental Western Air (TWA) is formed by the merger of Western Air Express (WAE) and Trans-continental Air Transport (TAT) and the new airline inaugurates transcontinental service, with an overnight stop in Kansas City, Missouri.

1931: United Air Lines is incorporated as a management company to coordinate the operations of four original subsidiary airlines, Boeing Air Transport, Pacific Air Transport, Varney Air Lines, and National Air Transport.

1931: Two Swiss airlines, Balair and Ad Astra, merge to form Swissair.

1931: Wiley Post and Harold Gatty make the first around-the-world flight in a single aircraft, the Winnie Mae.

1931: Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon make the first nonstop crossing of the Pacific.

1931: Sir Frank Whittle of Britain designs and patents the first jet engine.

1932: Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

1932: The Lockheed Corporation is reorganized by a group of investors who improve the company’s fortunes throughout the Great Depression with the production of the dual-engine Electra airliner.

1932: Jack Northrop establishes the Northrop Corporation, a Douglas subsidiary, at El Segundo, California.

1933: On April 3, the USS Akron airship is driven into the sea by downdrafts in a storm, killing seventy-three of the seventy-six crew members.

1933: From July 15 to 22, Wiley Post makes the first round-the-world solo flight in Winnie Mae.

1933: Swissair becomes part of the European night mail network, with flights between Basel, Switzerland, and Frankfurt, Germany.

1933: The first Douglas airliner, the DC-1, makes its first flight.

1933: A group of airlines collectively named the Societe Centrale pour l’Exploitation des Lignes Aeriennes (S.C.E.L.A.). is renamed Air France. 1933: Deutsche Luft Hansa Aktiengesellschaft is renamed Lufthansa.

1934: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Air Mail Act of 1934, which includes the provision for the appointment of a Federal Aviation commission.

1934: After the cancellation of federal commercial airmail contracts, the U.S. Army Air Corps begins flying the mail in Douglas O-35′s and B-7′s.

1934: Continental Airlines’s predecessor, Varney Speed Lines, makes its first flight, from Pueblo, Colorado, to El Paso, Texas.

1934: Federal antitrust regulations require the splitting of the United Aircraft & Transport Corporation into three separate companies: the United Aircraft Company, the Boeing Airplane Company, and United Air Lines.

1934: American Airways is renamed American Airlines.

1934: Lufthansa makes the first regularly scheduled transoceanic airmail deliveries across the South Atlantic.

1935: On February 12, the fin of the USS Macon is ripped off in storm, and the airship loses buoyancy and crashes at sea, killing two of the eighty-three crew members. 1935: The Douglas Sleeper Transport (DST), a predecessor of the DC-3, makes its first flight.

1935: Helen Richey becomes the first woman to be employed as an airline pilot, by Central Airlines.

1935: The first air traffic control center goes into operation at Newark, New Jersey, on December 1.

1935: Boeing’s Flying Fortress B-17 bomber, which later plays a crucial role in U.S. success during World War II, is first flown.

1936: American Airlines becomes the first in the nation to fly the Douglas DC-3 for passenger service.

1936: For the third time, the Detroit News names the Airmaster the world’s most efficient airplane, awarding the trophy to Cessna permanently.

1936: Aer Lingus Teoranta is established by the Irish government.

1937: On May 6, the Hindenburg, a hydrogen-filled dirigible, crashes and burns at Lakehurst, New Jersey, killing thirty-six people.

1937: Amelia Earhart disappears on July 2, en route to Howland Island from Lae, New Guinea.

1937: Russian pilots discover the shortest transpolar air route, flying from Russia over the Arctic Ocean to Vancouver, Canada.

1937: Douglas Aircraft Company takes control of its Northrop Corporation subsidiary, which is renamed the following year as the Douglas El Segundo Division.

1937: The name of Varney Speed Lines is changed to Continental Airlines, and the new airline’s headquarters are moved from El Paso, Texas, to Denver, Colorado.

1938: Air France becomes the world’s third-largest airline network, with one hundred aircraft. Its expansion is subsequently interrupted by World War II. 1939: World War II begins in Europe.

1939: US Airways’ predecessor, All American Aviation, begins operations flying airmail to western Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley.

1939: Engineer James S. McDonnell incorporates the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri.

1939: The German Heinkel He-178 becomes the first test aircraft to fly using a jet engine.

1939: Howard Hughes takes ownership control of Trans World Airlines, controlling the airline for the next twenty-five years.

1939: Iberia makes its first international flight, from Madrid and Lisbon, Portugal.

1939: First flight of the VS-300, the first practical helicopter, piloted by Igor Sikorsky.

1939: Two British airlines, Imperial Airways and British Airways, are nationalized to form the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC).

1939: Swissair suspends its operations with the outbreak of World War II; they are later resumed.

1940′s: Lockheed begins a long-term association with the U.S. military, providing P-38 Lightning bombers during World War II and establishing the Advanced Development Projects division, or Skunk Works, atop-secret facility for military aircraft development.

1940′s: Continental modifies B-17 and B-29 bombers for the United States during World War II.

1940: Germany launches the Battle of Britain over the United Kingdom. The Royal Air Force holds its own.

1940: The Army Air Corps requests from McDonnell a proposal for fighter construction, and a contract to build the XP-67 is awarded the following year. 1940: American becomes the first in the nation in revenue passenger miles flown.

1941: The Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American fighter squadron in the United States armed forces, is formed.

1941: The first successful test flight of the V-2 rocket is made on October 3.

1941: On December 7, the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, drawing the United States into World War II.

1941: Larry Bell, entrepreneur and founder of Bell Aircraft Corporation, encourages inventor Arthur Young in helicopter development.

1942: Douglas SBD Dauntless dive-bombers, flying from three U.S. aircraft carriers, sink four enemy carriers on June 4, the first day of the Battle of Midway, the turning point in the Pacific War.

1942: The U.S. Army Air Forces conduct the first U.S. attack on Nazi-occupied Europe on July 4. The mission is flown by six American crews using Douglas DB-7B’s (A-20C) provided by the RAF.

1942: Sky Chefs, an American Airlines subsidiary, begins airline catering operations.

1942: Boeing’s Superfortress (B-29) bomber, which contributes greatly to the U.S. war effort, is first flown.

1943: U.S. Army Air Forces C-47′s, along with British RAF DC-3 Dakotas, begin spectacular night operations for the invasion of Sicily by towing gliders from North Africa across the Mediterranean.

1944: The German Messerschmitt Me-262 becomes the first production aircraft to use jet engines.

1944: Alaska Star Airlines, the result of a series of mergers since 1934, changes its name to Alaska Airlines, and, in the late 1940′s, it becomes the largest charter carrier in the world.

1944: V-1 and V-2 rockets launched by Germany during World War II are the first intercontinental ballistic missiles.

1944: German Me-262 and British Meteor are the first military jet aircraft.

1944: More than 1,000 military DC-3 and C-47 aircraft, many towing troop-carrying gliders, airlift more than 20,000 paratroopers and their weapons across the English channel during the first hours of D day, June 6.

1944: On September 14, a Douglas A-20 Havoc makes the first successful flight into a hurricane for scientific data.

1944: Iberia Airlines is nationalized and expands its route network.

1944: American introduces regularly scheduled freight service, the first in the United States.

1945: Bombing of Dresden, Germany, by Allied forces on February 13-14 levels the city.

1945: The B-29 bomber Enola Gay drops the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6.

1945: All Lufthansa flights are canceled, and the airline goes into receivership.

1946: Duringtrials aboard the USS FranklinD. Roosevelt, the McDonnell FH-1 Phantom makes the first carrier takeoff and landing by an U.S. jet aircraft. 1946: KLM begins transatlantic services to New York.

1946: Iberia begins service to London and Rome and becomes the first airline to fly between Europe and South America, establishing a route from Madrid to Buenos Aires.

1946: The United States and France sign the Five Freedoms Agreement, giving reciprocal rights for each country to operate commercial airlines over the territory of the other.

1946: Air France inaugurates Paris-to-New York service.

1946: SAS, a consortium of three Scandinavian airlines, Swedish Intercontinental Airlines (SILA), Det Danske Luftfartselskap (DDL), and Det Norske Luftfartselskap (DNL), is formed for the purpose of joint transatlantic service.

1946: A new British airline, British European Airways (BEA), is established to handle continental European and domestic British flights. BOAC introduces London-to-New York service.

1946: Arthur Young’s Model 47 helicopter becomes the first commercially licensed helicopter in the world, and Bell delivers its first unit to the U.S. Army.

1947: Alitalia makes its first flight, from Turin to Rome.

1947: Air France cooperates with the French Postal Service to establish night-mail service, giving the airline the largest network in the world.

1947: Singapore Airlines’ predecessor, Malayan Airways, flies between Singapore and the Malayan cities of Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, and Penang.

1947: As Swissair becomes the national flag carrier of Switzerland, the airline inaugurates service to New York, with regular scheduled flights beginning two years later.

1947: The official world air speed record is broken on August 25 by U.S. Marine Corps major Marion Carl, flying the Douglas D-558 Skystreak, a high-speed research aircraft, with an average speed of 650.7 miles per hour.

1947: The rocket-powered aircraft Bell X-1 piloted by Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier, reaching speeds of 700 miles per hour, just over Mach 1. 1948: Alitalia makes its first intercontinental flight, flying a thirty-six hour, Milan-to-Rome-to-Dakar-to Natal- to-Rio de Janeiro-to-Sao Paulo-Buenos Aires route. 1948: On June 26, the Berlin airlift begins, by which the United States, Britain, and France attempt to break the Soviet blockade of Berlin.

1949: All American Aviation changes its name to All American Airways and introduces passenger service.

1949: American becomes the first airline with a fleet consisting entirely of postwar pressurized aircraft.

1949: The Berlin airlift ends on September 30.

1950: TWA officially changes its name to Trans World Airlines.

1950-1953: The military use of helicopters for medical evacuation increases during the Korean War, in which 80 percent of helicopters used are of Bell design.

1951: Bell Aircraft creates a separate helicopter division in Fort Worth, Texas, to accommodate the overwhelming demand for production.

1952: Boeing’s Stratofortress (B-52) bomber, which will remain the primary U.S. bomber for the next four decades, is first flown.

1952: BOAC flies De Havilland Comet jets on service to Johannesburg, South Africa.

1953: Continental merges with Pioneer Airlines, expanding its services further into Texas and New Mexico.

1953: With an expanded route system, All American again changes its name, to Allegheny Airlines.

1953: A. Scott Crossfield reaches Mach 2 on November 20.

1953: The Douglas DC-7 airliner makes its first flight. With a maximum speed of400 miles per hour and a cruise speed of 375 miles per hour, it is the largest and most efficient of the DC series yet designed.

1954: Cessna introduces the 310, its first business twin, and production of Cessna’s T-37 Air Force jettrainer be- gins.

1954: After two crashes in one year, BOAC removes De Havilland Comets from service.

1955: Douglas is selected by the Air Force to be the prime contractor for the Thor missile, America’s first intermediate-range ballistic missile. 1955: Lufthansa resumes scheduled flights.

1955: The Fokker F-27 Friendship turboprop aircraft makes its first flight.

1956: The Cessna Skyhawk, which becomes the most popular airplane in history, is introduced.

1956: The United States first employs the U-2 spy plane for high-level reconnaissance.

1956: Aeroflot inaugurates regular passenger turbojet service in September, two years ahead of British and American airlines.

1957: On October 4, the Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the first artificial satellite.

1957: On November 3, Sputnik 2 is launched, carrying the dog Laika.

1957: After the death of Larry Bell, Bell Aircraft’s helicopter division is reorganized as Bell Helicopter Corporation.

1957: Boeing’s firstjetliner, the 707, makes its firstflight, entering service the following year. The company subsequently develops a series of jetliners that are enormously popular worldwide.

1957: Alitalia merges with Linee Aeree Italiane (LAI) to form a national Italian airline.

1957: World War II pilot Charlie Willis is named chairman and chief executive officer of Alaska Airlines.

1957: With the inauguration of SAS’s pioneering Copenhagen-Anchorage-Tokyo polar route, flying time to Japan is reduced from 52 to 32 hours.

1958: The United States launches its first artificial satellite, Explorer 1, on January 31.

1958: NASA becomes operational on October 1 and makes its first launch, of Pioneer 1, on October 11.

1958: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is established in the United States.

1958: Aerlinte Eirann, Aer Lingus’s associate company, makes first transatlantic flight from Dublin to New York.

1958: BOAC makes the first transatlantic jet flights, between London and New York.

1959: On September 12, the Soviet Union lands Luna 2, the first artificial object to reach the Moon.

1959: American Airlines becomes the first airline to offer transcontinental jet service, with the Boeing 747.

1959: NASA selects McDonnell Aircraft as prime contractor for Project Mercury, America’s first manned orbital spacecraft, and awards Douglas Aircraft a contract to design, test, and produce a new multistage rocket using a modified Thor as the first stage. The new launch vehicle is named Delta.

1960′s: With IBM, American develops the Semi-Automated Business Research Environment (SABRE), a real-time data processing system that allows agents to track flight reservations.

1960′s: Boeing participates in the U.S. space program by designing and manufacturing Apollo and Saturn rockets and lunar orbiters.

1960: Ed Yost, of Bruning, Nebraska, reintroduces a newly designed hot-air balloon, initiating a renaissance in hot-air ballooning.

1960: Textron purchases several Bell Aircraft companies, including the Bell Helicopter Corporation.

1961: NASA names McDonnell Aircraft as prime contractor for the Gemini Program, the nation’s second-generation crewed spaceflight program.

1961: On April 12, Russian Major Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space, after his capsule Vostok 1 makes one full Earth orbit in a flight that lasts less than two hours.

1961: United acquires Capital Airlines and becomes the largest airline in the world.

1961: On May 5, Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space in his Mercury capsule Freedom 7.

1961-1975: The military use of helicopters is cemented during the Vietnam War.

1962: On February 20, John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit Earth in the Mercury capsule Friendship 7.

1962: On December 14, Mariner 2 makes the first successful planetary flyby, of Venus.

1962: The Soviet Union initiates its space station program, Soyuz.

1962: The South Korean government establishes a new national carrier to replace the former carrier, Korean National Airlines.

1962: TWA begins regularly using Doppler radar navigation systems.

1963: On June 16, Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman to solo in space.

1963: In response to national political changes, Malayan Airways is renamed Malaysian Airways.

1963: Continental Airlines moves its headquarters to Los Angeles, California, and transports U.S. troops to Asia during the Vietnam War. 1964: The Fokker F-28 Fellowship jet makes its first flight.

1964: The United States employs missiles with multiple warheads.

1965: Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov takes first walk in space on March 18.

1965: On March 23, the first crewed Gemini Program mission, Gemini 3, is launched with astronauts Virgil

“Gus” Grissom and John W. Young. 1965: Ed White makes the first U.S. spacewalk from Gemini IV in June.

1965: Mariner 4 makes the first flyby of Mars on July 14.

1965: SAS introduces its SASCO electronic airline reservations system.

1966: Malaysian Airways’ name is again changed, to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA) to reflect its govern- mental owners.

1967: On January 27, the Apollo 1 capsule catches fire on the launch pad, killing astronauts Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White.

1967: Alitalia introduces Arco, a new electronic booking system.

1967: McDonnell and Douglas companies merge to form the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.

1968: From October 11 to 12, Apollo 7 makes the first piloted Apollo mission, with astronauts Wally Schirra,Donn Eisele, and Walter Cunningham.

1968: December 21-27: Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, and William Anders become the first humans to orbit the Moon.

1968: The Soviet Union flies the world’s first supersonic aircraft, the Tu-144, on December 31.

1968: In relief of Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War, U.S. B-52′s carry out the most concentrated bombing raid in military history.

1968: Allegheny merges with Lake Central Airlines, based in Indianapolis.

1968: Swissair renews a prior cooperation agreement with SAS and also includes KLM, to form the KSS Group.

The French carrier UTA will join two years later, and the group will be renamed KSSU Consortium. 1969: The Soviet Union docks two crewed spacecraft in orbit, Soyuz 4 and 5, on January 16.

1969: The Concorde supersonic airplane makes its first flight on March 2.

1969: On July 20, Apollo 11 touches down on the Moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on board.

1969: The Hanjin Group takes over operation of the government-owned Korean Air Lines (KAL).

1969: Continental Airlines inaugurates service to Hawaii.

1969: Alitalia retires its last remaining turboprop aircraft, becoming the first European airline with an all-jet fleet.

1970: The DC-10, Douglas’s first jumbojet, makes its first flight.

1970: TWA is the first airline to offer nonsmoking sections on board all of its flights.

1970: The first wide-body jumbojet, Boeing’s 747, with twice the passenger capacity of any previous jet, enters service.

1971: Russia’s Salyut 1 becomes the first crewed space laboratory.

1971: The United States’s Mariner 9 becomes the first mission to orbit another planet (Mars).

1971: Southwest Airlines inaugurates service within Texas, between the cities of Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

1972: Allegheny Airlines acquires Mohawk Airlines, based in Utica, New York.

1972: After MSA ceases operations, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines continue as individual national flag carriers.

1972: NASA announces the space shuttle program, and makes the last Apollo mission to the Moon.

1973: Skylab is launched, although the program ends the following year.

1974: Southwest Airlines carries its one-millionth passenger.

1974: British Airways is formed by the merger of BOAC and BEA.

1974: American introduces one-stop automated check-in service.

1974: Air France flies the first Airbus A300 aircraft.

1975: The United States and the Soviet Union make their first joint space project, the Apollo-Soyuz TestProject.

1976: Cooperating with Air France, British Airways inaugurates supersonic travel on the Concorde.

1976: Air France introduces the Concorde for supersonic travel along the airline’s Paris-Dakar-Rio de Janeiro route.

1976: Viking 1 lands on Mars on July 20.

1977: Southwest carries its five-millionth passenger, and its stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange as


1977: A KLM 747 collides with a Pan Am 747 on a runway at Tenerife Airport, Canary Islands, resulting in the worst air disaster of the twentieth century, with 583 casualities. 1977: Aeroflot begins offering supersonic passenger service, which is suspended the following year.

1978: The United States ends government regulation of airline routes and rates.

1979: Allegheny Airlines changes its name to USAir to reflect its continually expanding route network, with new service to Arizona, Texas, Colorado, and Florida. 1979: American moves its headquarters from New York City to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.

1980′s: Boeing develops both the air-launched cruise missile and the MX intercontinental ballistic missile


1980′s: Lockheed develops the F-117A stealth fighter.

1981: The first space shuttle, Columbia, is launched on April 12.

1981: American introduces its revolutionary Advantage frequent flier award program and establishes its first hub at Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, strengthening its hub-and-spoke network throughout the 1980′s.

1982: Bell Helicopter is incorporated as a subsidiary of Textron, now officially known as Bell Helicopter Textron.

1982: The space shuttle Columbia has its first mission from November 11 to November 16.

1982: McDonnell Douglas devises a new commercial aircraft designation system that combines the “M” of McDonnell and the “D” of Douglas. The designation is first employed on the former DC-9 Super 80, which becomes the MD-80.

1983: Aer Lingus Commuter airline is established.

1983: Continental Airlines reorganizes under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code.

1983: Straying off course, Korean Air Lines Flight 007 flies into Soviet airspace and is shot down by a Soviet fighter, killing all 269 people on board. 1983: Flying on the seventh space shuttle flight, Sally K. Ride becomes the first American woman in space.

1983: Guy Bluford becomes the first African American astronaut, on the eighth space shuttle flight.

1983: Two new Fokker aircraft are launched to replace the F-27 and the F-28: the Fokker F-50 and the Fokker F-100.

1984: Virgin Records entrepreneur Richard Branson launches Virgin Atlantic Airways, with flights from Lon- don to New York.

1984: American Airlines introduces its regional American Eagle network and retires its freight fleet.

1984: Hughes Helicopters merges with McDonnell Douglas.

1985: Cessna merges with General Dynamics Corporation as a wholly owned subsidiary.

1986: Continental Airlines reemerges from Chapter 11 and, a year later, becomes the third-largest U.S. airline, with the consolidation of Frontier, New York Air, and People Express.

1986: On January 28, the space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after liftoff, killing seven astronauts, including the first civilian astronaut.

1986: On December 23, Jeana Yeager and Dick Rutan make the first nonstop flight around the world without refueling, in the experimental Voyager aircraft.

1987: The British government privatizes British Airways through a public stock offering.

1987: A bomb planted on a KAL 747 explodes in midair, and the plane crashes into the sea off Burma, killing all 115 people on board.

1987: Virgin Atlantic carries its one-millionth passenger. Its founder, Richard Branson, makes a record-breaking balloon flight across the Atlantic and subsequently launches the Virgin Airship and Balloon Company.

1988: On April 22, Daedalus is the first human-powered craft to be flown from the island of Crete to Santorini, in the Mediterranean Sea.

1988: Alaska Airlines begins offering service to Mexico.

1988: USAir acquires Pacific Southwest Airlines of San Diego.

1988: SAS establishes a cooperative agreement with Continental Airlines.

1989: In the largest merger to that date in airline history, USAir joins with Piedmont Airlines, established in 1948.

1989: Swissair enters agreements with Delta Air Lines, SAS, and Singapore Airlines.

1990: Responding to increasing competition in the airline industry, Air France merges withUTA and Air Inter to become the Air France Group, one of the world’s largest air transport groups. 1990: After Germany’s reunification, Lufthansa resumes flights to Berlin, its first in forty-five years.

1990: Southwest Airlines passes the one-billion-dollar revenue mark, becoming a major airline.

1990: The Hubble Space Telescope is deployed.

1991: A U.N. coalition exhibits a full range of modern military aircraft to defeat Iraq during the Gulf War.

1991: With delivery of its fiftiethMD-80 aircraft, SAS becomes the world’s largest MD-operating airline carrier outside the United States.

1991: On January 17, Richard Branson and Per Lindstr and make the first hot-air transpacific flight, in the largest hot-air balloon flown.

1992: General Dynamics sells Cessna to Textron.

1992: Richard Branson sells Virgin Records for $880 million and reinvests the money in Virgin Atlantic.

1992: USAir begins a partnership with the Trump Shuttle, which is renamed USAir Shuttle.

1993: British Airways enters into a partnership with USAir, which is dissolved four years later.

1994: Twelve-year-old Vicki Van Meter becomes the youngest pilot to make a transatlantic flight, in a Cessna 210.

1994: American institutes nonsmoking transatlantic service.

1994: Morris Air merges with Southwest.

1994: United begins the operation of Shuttle by United along the West Coast.

1995: Air France launches the Airbus A340 wide-body aircraft.

1995: The Global Positioning System (GPS) becomes fully operational on April 27.

1995: Virgin Atlantic adopts a nonsmoking policy on all transatlantic and Hong Kong-route flights.

1995: Lockheed merges with the Martin Marietta Corporation.

1995: Southwest introduces “Ticketless Travel,” or travel without a paper ticket, system wide.

1996: Shannon Lucid sets a U.S. record for a continuous space stay, aboard the Mir Space Station.

1997: A KAL flight crashes into a Guam hillside, killing 228 of the 254 people on board.

1997: Lufthansa and SAS join with United Air Lines, Air Canada, and Thai Airways, in the Star Alliance, and all SAS flights are made nonsmoking flights. 1997: McDonnell Douglas merges with the Boeing Company.

1997: USAir officially adopts its new corporate identity by changing its name to US Airways.

1998: John Glenn returns to space at age seventy-seven, becoming the world’s oldest astronaut, with a flight on the space shuttle.

1998: Swissair introduces a nonsmoking policy on all European flights.

1998: During a period of reorganization in the aerospace industry, Boeing purchases divisions of Rockwell International involved in aerospace and defense electronics. 1998: Fokker Aircraft declares bankruptcy and is reorganized as Fokker Aviation, which is acquired by Stork.

1998: Lockheed absorbs the defense electronics and systems integration divisions of Loral.

1998: SAS forms an alliance with Lufthansa.

1998: A Swissair flight en route from New York to Geneva crashes off the coast of Nova Scotia, killing all 229 on board.

1998: Alitalia enters into an alliance with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to expand its service.

1999: The one world Alliance, a global network of airlines including British Airways, Aer Lingus, American Airlines, Iberia, Canadian Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, and Qantas, is formed. 1999: Swissair makes its first flight with an all-woman cockpit crew.

1999: Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones make the first nonstop global circumnavigation, in a hybrid hot-air and helium balloon, from March 1 to March 20. 1999: Fokker Aviation is renamed Stork Aerospace Group.

2000: An Air France Concorde jet crashes shortly after take off from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport, killing all on board and four on the ground. Air France and British Airways suspend their Concorde operations until November, 2001.

2001: On September 11, hijackers crash two commercial airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York

City, causing both towers to collapse. A third hijacked plane is crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. A fourth hijacked plane crashes outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. More than 3,000 people, both in the air and on the ground, are killed. The airline industry, both in the United States and around the world, suffers economically from the resulting decrease in air travel.

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