Important Events in the History of Aviation
Are you interested in the history of aviation? Who invented the airplane? How has the airplane changed over time? We've created a timeline with the most important events.
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1783 - First balloon flight
In the year 1783, the first flight was invented by the French Montgolfier brothers and took place with a hot air balloon. This was called the "Montgolfière".
1891 - Glide through the sky
Otto Lilienthal, a German pioneer of aviation, was the first person to glide through the sky. This started to look more like the flying that we know today.
1903 - First Airplane: Wright Flyer
The Wright brothers – Orville and Wilbur - were American inventors and pioneers of aviation. Their goal was to create a motorized aircraft. Their Wright-Flyer was, therefore, the first motorized aircraft to make a controlled flight on December 17, 1903. The aircraft weighed only 605 lbs (without pilot) and the first flight took about 12 seconds for a total distance of 120 feet.
1906 - Alberto Santos-Dumont
The Brazilian, Alberto Santos-Dumont, was the first person to fly a controlled and motorized flight over Europe three years later.
1909 - Across the English Channel
Frenchman Louis Blériot was the first to fly across the English Channel. His flight from Calais to Dover took about 37 minutes and with a distance of 31 miles.
1910 - First female pilot
In 1910, French aviation pioneer Raymonde de Laroche became the first female pilot in the world to receive her flying license.
1927 - Across the Atlantic Ocean
American pilot Charles Lindbergh was the first pilot to fly non-stop (and solo!) across the Atlantic Ocean. The flight was New York to Paris and upon arrival in Paris he was met by many people cheering him against his expectations. That's how he became famous instantly.
1929 - First flight over the North Pole
On May 9, 1929, Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett flew over the North Pole. The journey lasted about 15 hours and the men were received as heroes back in the United States.
1970 - Boeing 747
January 21, 1970. On this day the first flight of the Boeing 747 took place. Until 2005 (when the Airbus A380 was built), this was the largest passenger aircraft in the world.
1976 - First commercial flight of the Concorde
In 1976, the Concorde made its first commercial flight. The Concorde flew twice as fast as the speed of sound (1,354 mph at cruise altitude), twice as fast as a normal airliner.
2003 - Concorde's last flight
The Concorde made its last flight in 2003. Only 20 aircraft of the Concorde have ever been built. The reason for the discontinuation of Concorde's flights was the ever-increasing maintenance costs.
2003 - Centenary of the Wright brothers
The Wright brothers have made so much history that their centennial anniversary has not passed unnoticed in the United States. In 1903 they wrote a lot of history with their Wright-Flyer.
2007 - Largest passanger aircraft
The Airbus A380 is now the world's largest passenger airliner in the world. The plane has two floors and can accommodate up to 853 passengers!
2019 - First electric flight
In the Canadian city of Richmond, the airline Harbor Air made a complete electrically powered flight at the end of 2019. A seaplane with room for six people made a three-minute flight. This was in the harbor of Richmond, making it the first commercial aircraft ever to run on electricity.
What is the future of aviation? Will pilots be needed? And how fast will planes fly in 100 years from now?