January 20, 1959 The first flight of the British short-to-medium-range turborprop airliner Vickers Vanguard took place in the skies above southeastern England. This plane was designed and built by the British aircraft manufacturer Vickers-Armstrongs. The chief test pilot for the Vanguard’s maiden flight was E.R. “Jock” Bryce. A 1955 article in the Melbourne-based Age newspaper characterized... Continue Reading →

January 18, 1857 Henry Wigram, who became a transportation pioneer in New Zealand, was born in London, England. Wigram immigrated to what was then the British colony of New Zealand in 1883. He settled in the city of Christchurch, located in the Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island. Wigram eventually became involved in Christchurch’s... Continue Reading →

January 10, 1910 The first major airshow in the United States -- as well as one of the earliest airshows worldwide -- made its debut at Dominguez Field in Los Angeles County, California. Approximately 254,000 spectators turned out for the 10-day extravaganza, which was characterized by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the greatest public... Continue Reading →

December 27, 1773 George Cayley, an engineer and one of the key figures in aviation history, was born in the seaside town of Scarborough in England. He painstakingly observed and took notes on birds and how they were able to fly, and created the first successful glider able to carry humans.   Cayley, first and foremost, helped... Continue Reading →

December 10, 1948 A single-runway airport on Northerly Island, a 91-acre (437-hectare) artificial peninsula located along the section of Lake Michigan that is in Chicago, was officially opened. Construction on this airport had begun in 1946. The public officials taking part in the dedication ceremonies for Northerly Island Airport included Martin H. Kennelly, mayor of... Continue Reading →

December 2, 1961 An airport in northeastern Italy’s region of Friuli Venezia Giulia officially began commercial operations. This airport is specifically located about 19 miles (30 kilometers) northwest of Trieste, the capital city of Friuli Venezia Giulia. As far back as 1935, that aviation facility had been used as a base for the country’s air... Continue Reading →

During World War II, Thomas “Tom” Oxendine became the first Native American to be commissioned as a pilot in the U.S. Navy. Oxendine was a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. Most of the members of this tribe have lived in Robeson, Cumberland, Hoke, and Scotland counties in North Carolina. Oxendine was born... Continue Reading →

November 15, 1947 Standiford Field airport in Louisville, Kentucky, was opened for commercial flights, replacing Bowman Field as the main airport for the Bluegrass State’s largest city. Bowman Field had been providing plane flights for passengers since 1924. With the introduction of passenger services at Standiford Field, just about all of the commercial airline operations... Continue Reading →

November 11, 1935 U.S. Army Air Corps Captains Albert W. Stevens and Orvil A. Anderson, traveling in the high-altitude helium balloon Explorer II, established a record altitude of 72,395 feet (22,066 meters) for manned balloons. This airborne journey took place in the skies above South Dakota. “Successful Flight into Stratosphere,” read the headline for an... Continue Reading →

November 8, 1881 Aviation pioneer and spaceflight theorist Robert Esnault-Pelterie was born in Paris, France. With a strong background in engineering, he made major contributions to the origins of heavier-than-air flight in Europe during the first decade of the 20th century. In 1903, Esnault-Pelterie invented the aileron -- a movable airfoil that could be installed at the... Continue Reading →

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