August 19, 1904 Automotive and aeronautical engineer Maurice Wilks was born on Hayling Island, which is off the southern coast of England. Wilks worked for the British automobile manufacturer Hillman Motor Car Company from 1922 to 1926 and then spent two years in the United States at General Motors. He returned to Hillman in 1928 as... Continue Reading →

July 6, 1926 The first test flight of the racing seaplane Macchi M.39 took place in Italy. This seaplane had been designed by engineer Mario Castoldi, and it was built by the aircraft company Aeronautica Macchi (based in the city and comune of Varese in northwestern Italy). The first M.39 to take to the skies... Continue Reading →

May 27, 1972 The U.S. International Transportation Exposition -- best known as Transpo ‘72 -- was formally opened at Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia (26 miles [41.8 kilometers] west of Washington, D.C.). U.S. Transportation Secretary John A. Volpe presided over the opening of that extensive nine-day trade show. “Flying trains, square dancing helicopters and the... Continue Reading →

May 6, 1896 An aviation milestone took place in the vicinity of Quantico, Virginia, when Aerodrome No. 5 made the first successful flights of an unpiloted, tandem-winged, engine-powered, heavier-than-air model of substantial size. (“Aerodrome” is derived from a Greek phrase that roughly means “air runner.”) Samuel Langley, who invented Aerodrome No. 5, launched it twice using... Continue Reading →

April 6, 1983 Automotive designer Wellington Everett Miller died in Los Angeles at the age of 79. He developed a strong interest in the design of automobiles while attending an annual car show in Los Angeles in 1920, and subsequently took courses in mathematics and mechanical drawing to prepare for a career in that field.  In... Continue Reading →

In January 1999, President Bill Clinton nominated Evelyn Juanita Fields as the new director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps (also known as the NOAA Corps) and NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO). The primary mission of the NOAA Corps entails assessing oceanic conditions, supporting major waterways, and monitoring... Continue Reading →

February 16, 1843 Henry Martyn Leland, who would leave an indelible mark on the American automobile industry, was born in northeastern Vermont. As a young man, he worked as for the renowned tools manufacturer Brown & Sharp in Providence, Rhode Island. That job and others helped Leland refine a wide range of mass-production and mechanical... Continue Reading →

December 26, 1960 Airplane designer and builder Giuseppe Mario Bellanca died in New York City at the age of 74. Bellanca had been born on the island of Sicily in southern Italy in 1886. As a young man, he became enthralled with the possibilities of human flight. This enthusiasm led him in 1909 to help create... Continue Reading →

December 17, 1903 It was the dawn of a new era. Orville and Wilbur Wright made transportation history near the North Carolina town of Kill Devil Hills (about four miles, or6.4 kilometers, south of the better-known town of Kitty Hawk) by bringing about the world’s first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air human flight.  The brothers each... Continue Reading →

November 7, 1910 The first commercial air freight shipment occurred in Ohio between the cities of Dayton and Columbus. Max Morehouse, owner of the Columbus-based Morehouse Martens department store, asked aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright for help in transporting to him by air a 100-pound (45.4-kilogram) shipment of silk from a wholesaler in Dayton... Continue Reading →

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