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 →

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 →

September 20, 1904 Wilbur Wright made the first circular flight of a powered aircraft while piloting the Wright Flyer II plane off the ground of Huffman Prairie, a patch of rough pasture in southwestern Ohio. This flight took place 10 months after Wilbur and his brother Orville had made aviation history near the North Carolina... Continue Reading →

July 19, 1961 Trans World Airlines (TWA) introduced regularly scheduled in-flight movies during a transcontinental trip of a Boeing 707 between New York City and Los Angeles. The first movie to be shown as part of that new service was By Love Possessed, a drama starring Lana Turner and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. The screening of the movie... Continue Reading →

July 12, 1957 Dwight D. Eisenhower made transportation history when he became the first U.S. president to fly in a helicopter. This aviation “first” occurred after he went on board a Bell H-13J helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House. This helicopter had been purchased by the U.S. Air Force, and it was piloted... Continue Reading →

July 9, 1910 Just a couple of days before his 21st birthday, Walter Brookins broke the world’s altitude record for fixed-wing aircraft when he attained a height of 6,175 feet (1,882 meters) while piloting a Wright biplane in the skies above Atlantic City, New Jersey. This early-evening flight also marked the first time that a... Continue Reading →

June 4, 1784 A pioneering ascent of a hot-air balloon took place just outside the city of Lyon in southeastern France. This balloon was named the Gustave in honor of King Gustav III of Sweden. The king was visiting Lyon at that time, and he was among those on hand to watch the aircraft take... Continue Reading →

Over the past couple of decades, Mamta Patel Nagaraja has worked on various spaceflight priorities and initiatives at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). “I believe in the power of knowledge, of discovering, of exploring,” she said when describing her longtime passion for that field of human endeavor. Patel was born in Anaheim, California.... Continue Reading →

In 2017, entrepreneur and amateur pilot Ravinder Bansal set a new record as the first person of Indian origin to complete a solo flight around the world in a single-engine plane. Bansal was born in the city and municipal corporation of Ambala in India in 1949. By the 1970s, he had made his way to... 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 →

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