May 17, 1920 Royal Dutch Airlines, or KLM (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij N.V.), began service with a flight between Croydon Airport in London, England, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands. This airline, like several others in major European countries, came into existence within the first few years after the end of World War I. Royal... Continue Reading →

Melvin Kealoha Bell of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) played a major lifesaving role when it came to maritime traffic during one of the darkest chapters in American history. Bell was born in 1920 in the town of Hilo on the island of Hawaii (popularly known as the “Big Island”), part of what was then... Continue Reading →

May 15, 1928 The pioneering non-profit Australian Inland Mission (AIM) Aerial Medical Service was established in the town of Cloncurry in Queensland, Australia. Reverend John Flynn, a Presbyterian minister, launched this use of aircraft as ambulances in the Australian Outback as a “mantle of safety” for those living in remote, underserved areas and lacking ready transportation... Continue Reading →

Kalpana Chawla, an American astronaut who became the first woman of Indian descent to travel into space, was born in the city of Karnal in northern India in 1962. As a child, she demonstrated a strong enthusiasm for human flight by drawing pictures of airplanes. She also visited flying clubs in that region of India... Continue Reading →

May 10, 1869 The First Transcontinental Railroad – originally called the Pacific Railroad -- was officially completed with the tracks of the eastbound Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) joining those of the westward Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) during ceremonies at Promontory Summit in what was then the Territory of Utah. “The long-looked-for moment has arrived,” reported... Continue Reading →

In the western section of the United States, thousands of Chinese laborers played a pivotal role in building the Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) line between 1865 and 1869. The CPRR encompassed 690 miles (1,110 kilometers) of track from California’s capital city of Sacramento to Promontory Summit in what was then the Territory of Utah. It... Continue Reading →

May 8, 1944 Balloonist and aviation pioneer Albert Leo Stevens died at the age of 67 at the home of his brother Frank in Bardonia, New York. Born in Cleveland, Albert developed a strong interest in human flight at a young age. Stevens was only 12 when he started taking to the skies in a... Continue Reading →

Susan Ahn Cuddy, the first Asian-American female U.S. Navy officer, was born in Los Angeles in 1915. Her parents Dosan Ahn Changho and Helen Lee had been the first married Korean couple to immigrate to the United States. Dosan Ahn Changho became a prominent leader of the Korean-American community in California. He was also a... Continue Reading →

May 6, 1994 The Channel Tunnel, running beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover and linking the port town of Folkestone in southeastern England with the commune of Coquelles in northern France, was officially opened. (“England and France, Now a Train Trip,” proclaimed a headline in the New York Times.) The 31.35-mile (50.45-kilometer)-long tunnel,... Continue Reading →

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