October 22, 1900 - The Wright Brothers make their first glider flight
September 25, 1903 - The Wright Brothers arrive in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to prepare for their historical flights
December 14, 1903 - Wilbur and Orville Wright flip a coin to see who will be the first to fly. Wilbur wins the toss however, the flight is unsuccessful.
December 17, 1903 - The Wright Flyer lifts into the air at 10:35 am. The flight lasted only 12 seconds and covered a distance of just 121 feet (37 m). It is the first powered, manned, heavier-than-air, controlled flight.
1904 - The Wright Brothers build their second machine, but their total flying time during 1904 is only 45 minutes
January 18, 1905 - The Wright Brothers contact their congressman to inquire if the U.S. Government is interested in their experiments and machine. The reply is a form letter from the President of the Board of Ordnance and Fortifications indicating that the Board is not interested in "financing experiments."
May 22, 1906 - Patent No. 821,393 issued to the Wright Brothers on a Flying Machine
November 13, 1907 - First helicopter flown by Paul Cornu, a French inventor. The flight lasted only 20 seconds and hovered just 1 foot (30 cm) above the ground
1908 - Madame Therese Peltier was the first woman to fly solo in an airplane
February 8, 1908 - The U.S. War Department concludes a contract with the Wright Brothers for $25,000 to become the owner of one flying machine.
August 8, 1908 - Wilbur Wright makes his first flight in Europe at Champs d'Auvours, France
September 3, 1908 - Orville Wright makes the first demonstration flight for the Army at Fort Myer, Virginia
November 22, 1909 - The Wright Company becomes incorporated with a capitalization of $1,000,000
May 21, 1910 - Wilbur Wright makes his last flight as a pilot in the United States. He flew at Simm's Station in Dayton, Ohio.
May 25, 1910 - Orville and Wilbur Wright make a short flight at Huffman Field, Dayton, Ohio. It is the only time the Wright Brothers are in the air together
September 2, 1910 - Blanche Stuart Scott becomes the first (unofficial) American woman to solo
September 16, 1910 - Bessica Faith Raiche becomes the first (official) American woman to solo
February 1912 - The Wright Brothers produce a new model incorporating a patented stability device that automatically banks the aeroplane at a correct angle when turning
May 30, 1912 - Wilbur Wright dies at age 45 years. Orville succeeds his brother as President of Wright Company
1914 - Robert Goddard was granted two U.S. patents for rockets using solid fuel, liquid fuel, multiple propellant charges, and multi-stage designs
June 24, 1914 - Igor Sikosky sets an unofficial world distance record by flying a 1,590-mile round trip flight from Saint Petersburg to Kiev, Russia in the II'ya Muromets
June 29, 1916 - William E. Boeing builds and test-flies his first aeroplane, the "B&W" trainer
November 1918 - As World War I nears its end, Orville Wright notes to a friend that, "The Aeroplane has made war so terrible that I do not believe any country will again care to start a war."
May 3, 1919 - The first Municipal Airport in the U.S. is dedicated at Atlantic City, New Jersey
June 15, 1921 - Bessie Coleman becomes the first African-American woman to receive Fédération Aéronautic Internationale (FAI) pilot's license
June 12, 1922 - Capt. A. W. Stevens, U.S. Air Service, makes record parachute jump from 24,206 ft. from a supercharged Martin bomber over McCook Field, USA
1923 - A radio-controlled airplane flew without a pilot at the E'tampes Aerodrome in France
March 4, 1924 - U.S. Army Air Service planes avert a flood in Platte River Valley, Nebraska, by dropping bombs to clear an ice jam
June 12, 1925 - Daniel Guggenheim donates $500,000 toward the establishment of a School of Aeronautics at New York University
February 13, 1926 - The U.S. Post Office Department puts new 10-cent airmail stamp on sale
May 20-21, 1927 - Spirit of St. Louis: First nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic by Charles A. Lindbergh
June 17, 1928 - Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to cross the Atlantic
1929 - Fritz Opel of Germany flew the first rocket-powered plane for 1 minute 15 seconds
February 27, 1929 - Former Secretary of War Dwight Davis presents the Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded by the U.S. Congress, to Orville Wright and, posthumously, to his brother Wilbur
August 8-29, 1929 - The Graf Zeppelin accomplishes the first around-the-world flight by a dirigible
April 20, 1930 - Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow set a transcontinental speed record from Los Angeles to New York, 14 hours, 45 minutes
May 5-24, 1930 - Amy Johnson becomes the first woman to solo between England and Australia
June 11, 1930 - John and Kenneth Hunter begin refueling endurance flight over Chicago, which breaks all records when they remain in the air for 533 hours, 41 minutes and 30 seconds
1931 - Britain's' Frank Whittle designed and patented the first jet engine
June 23 - July 1, 1931 - Winnie Mae: first circumnavigation of the world by a lone aircraft by Wiley Post and Harold Gatty
May 9, 1932 - Capt. Albert F. Hegenberger, U.S. Army Air Corps, makes the first solo "blind flight" at Wright Field, seeing nothing but the instruments before him from take-off to landing
May 20-21, 1932 - Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic
November 19, 1932 - A national monument, commemorating the Wright Brothers' flight, is dedicated in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
July 15-22, 1933 - Wiley Post makes the first round-the-world solo flight in his Lockheed Vega "Winnie Mae"
January 11-12, 1935 - Amelia Earhart makes the first solo flight from Hawaii to the American mainland
May 8, 1935 - Amelia Earhart Putnam flies nonstop from Mexico City to Newark, New Jersey, in 14 hours, 18 minutes, 30 seconds, becoming the first person to fly this course nonstop from South to North and the only woman to fly it either way
November 22, 1935 - Pan American Airways makes the first pacific mail service route leaving San Francisco with 111,000 letters
December 1, 1935 - The first airway traffic control center went into operation at Newark, New Jersey
December 17, 1935 - The DC-3, the first successful passenger airliner, takes off for the first time from Santa Monica, California
May 12, 1936 - The world's largest high-speed wind tunnel is put into operation at Langley Field Laboratories of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
May 6, 1937 - The Hindenburg, the famous German dirigible, is destroyed by fire and an explosion of an unknown origin during landing proceedings at Lakehurst, New Jersey. 36 people lost their lives.
June 28, 1939 - Pan American Airways flew the first trans-Atlantic passenger service
September 14, 1939 - The VS-300 becomes the first practical helicopter to ever take off. Igor Sikorsky himself piloted the vehicle and on his first flight, Sikorsky was able to lift off 3 ft for about 10 seconds
March 25, 1940 - The Army and Navy agree to stand aside to give France and Britain virtually unhindered access to the latest models of American warplanes, releasing to the Allies over 600 planes now under construction
July 8, 1940 - The first flight of the Boeing Stratoliner, the first airliner with a pressurized cabin. This allowed the plane to fly up to 20,000 feet, avoiding turbulence
April 16, 1941 - Igor I. Sikorsky sets a national helicopter record by hovering virtually motionless over a Stratford, Connecticut airport, for 1 hour, 5 minutes
July 19, 1941 - The Tuskegee Airmen, the first black fighter squadron in the United States armed forces, is formed
September 5, 1941 - Nine U.S. Army Air Forces B-17 "Flying Fortresses" fly from Hawaii to the Philippines, the first mass flight of heavy bombers across the western Pacific
December 7, 1941 - Japan pulls a surprise air raid on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, doing heavy damage to the U.S. Fleet and destroying the majority of military aircraft at Hickman Field
1942 - The German Heinkel He 219 becomes the first aircraft to be equipped with crew ejection seats as standard equipment
January, 1943 - Franklin D. Roosevelt boarded a Boeing 314 flying boat in Miami, Florida, and became the first chief executive to make a wartime flight while in office
January 7, 1944 - The U.S. Army Air Forces announces development and production of its first jet-propelled fighter airplane, the Bell P-59 "Airacomet"
January 8, 1944 - The U.S. Army's new P-61 "Black Widow" night fighter, built by Northrop Aircraft, Inc., makes its first public appearance at the Army-Navy Los Angeles Air Show
June 6, 1944 (D-Day) - A gigantic sky-train, nine planes wide and 200 miles long, carries American and British air-borne troops across the English Channel for invasion of Europe
September 8, 1944 - The V-2 became the first combat ballistic missile used by Germany against England
May 8, 1945 - The War in Europe ends with the collapse of Germany
August 6, 1945 - A U.S.A.A.F. B-29 bomber, the "Enola Gay," piloted by Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., drops the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan
August 14, 1945 - Japan's surrender ends World War II
September 28, 1945 - The first round-the-world air service is inaugurated by the Air Transport Command when a Douglas C-54E "Globester," carrying nine passengers, flies 23,147 miles in 149 hours, 44 minutes, from Washington, around the globe, to Washington
March 22, 1946 - The WAC, the first American-built rocket to actually leave the Earth's atmosphere, reaches an altitude of 50 miles
August 6, 1946 - Two B-17 bombers, minus pilot and crews, are flown nonstop from Hilo, Hawaii to Muroc Lake, California, controlled entirely by radio
August 27, 1946 - A new pilot-ejector seat, designed to catapult a pilot from the cockpits of high-speed airplanes, is successfully tested by the U.S. Army at Wright Field, Ohio
1947 - The F-86 "Sabre Jet" made by North American Aviation became America's first single-seat, swept-wing jet fighter
April 27, 1947 - United Airlines introduces the Douglas DC-6 aircraft, the first postwar aircraft to feature full-cabin pressurization.
September 16, 1947 - The United States Air Force is established as a separate and equal element of the United States armed forces.
October 14, 1947 - Capt. Charles E. Yeager flies faster than sound for the first time in the rocket powered Bell X-1
March, 1948 - The U.S. Air Force announces the dropping of the world's largest bomb, weighing 21 tons, from a B-29 bomber in a test flight at Muroc Air Force Base, California
June 10, 1948 - The Air Force makes its supersonic flights public
June 26, 1948 - The Berlin airlift begins by the U.S., Britain, and France to break the Soviet blockade of Berlin, supplying the city entirely by air
March 2, 1949 - Lucky Lady II: This Boeing B-50A makes the first nonstop around-the-world flight
November 1, 1950 - The U.S. Navy announces development of an automatic pilot for helicopters
1951 - The Atlas rocket by Convair was the first liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of more than 5,000 miles
June, 1951 - Douglas Aircraft announces development of a supersonic missile that can be guided to an enemy plane and exploded upon contact
August 28, 1952 - American Airlines flies 10,000,000 passenger-miles today, setting a new single-day mileage record for all airlines
November, 1954 - First Boeing 707 made its test flight
November 24, 1954 - The First Air Force One is christened
1956 - First air traffic accident occurs over Arizona killing all 128 passengers
1957 - The Boeing 707 became the first successful jet airliner to enter passenger service
January 15-18, 1957 - First jet flight around the world
October 4, 1957 - The Russians launch Sputnik I, the first artificial Earth satellite
November 3, 1957 - Sputnik II is launched carrying the dog "Laika"
1958 - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was established in the United States
January 31, 1958 - Explorer I: First U.S. launched artificial satellite which made the first records of micrometeorite activity and led to the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts around the earth
January 2, 1959 - The USSR's Luna 1 launched and became the first man-made object to escape Earth and orbit the Sun
September 12, 1959 - The USSR's Luna 2 is laucnhed and becomes the first human object to reach the Moon
September 15, 1959 - A. Scott Crossfield became the first to pilot the fastest and highest flying aircraft in history, the rocket powered X-15.
April 1, 1960 - Tiros I: First weather satellite launched
April 12, 1961 - Vostok I: First human being (Maj. Yuri Gagarin) to travel in space by completing one full orbit of the earth
May 5, 1961 - Freedom 7: First U.S. human (Alan Shepard) space flight
February 20, 1962 - Friendship 7: First American (John Glenn) to orbit Earth
July 10, 1962 - Telstar 1: NASA launched first privately built satellite for communications which relays the first live television pictures between the US and Europe
November 27, 1962 - First flight of Boeing 727
January 9, 1963 - First TV program transmitted by satellite
June 16, 1963 - Russian Cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova, becomes the first woman to solo in space
April 11, 1964 - Jerrie Mock becomes the first woman to pilot a plane around-the-world successfully
March 18, 1965 - Alexei Leonov takes first walk in space
1966 - Boeing 747 "Jumbo Jet" revolutionizes mass air transport
February 3, 1966 - Luna 9 makes the first soft landing on the Moon
October 3, 1967 - X-15 (experimental aircraft) sets speed record at 4,520 mph
December 31, 1968 - The Tu-144, the first Soviet Super Sonic Transport, flew
January 16, 1969 - First docking of two manned spacecraft in orbit, Soyuz 4 and 5
July 16-24, 1969 - Apollo 11: First human lunar landing. At 4:18 p.m. EST on July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin landed on the lunar surface while command module pilot Michael Collins orbited overhead. "That's one small step for man - one giant leap for mankind."
July 26 - August 7, 1971 - Apollo 15: Fourth lunar landing (David Scott, Alfred Worden, and James Irwin), first use of Lunar Rover
September 3, 1971 - The Concorde makes its first transatlantic crossing.
November 13, 1971 - Mariner 9: First mission to orbit another planet arrived (Mars)
December 2, 1971 - First soft landing on Mars
July 23, 1972 - Landsat 1: the first U.S. environmental satellite, which demonstrated global remote-sensing of Earth's surface, is launched
May 14, 1973 - Skylab: Unmanned space station launched
July 15-24, 1975 - Apollo-Soyuz Test Project: First joint U.S.-Soviet human flight (Tom Stafford, Vance Brand, "Deke" Slayton; Alexei Leonov, Valeri Kubasov)
July 20, 1976 - Viking 1: First U.S. landing on another planet (Mars)
June 26, 1978 - Seasat, the first satellite launched to provide global observations of the Earth's oceans
July 24, 1979 - NASA research pilot Thomas McMurtry conducted the first flight of a KC-135 jet, with winglets, to demonstrate fuel efficiency
November - Solar Challenger: First solar powered plane flew
April 12-14, 1981 - Launch of STS-1, the first test flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia (John Young, Bob Crippen). The mission was the first to employ both liquid- and solid-propellant rocket engines for the launch of a spacecraft carrying humans
November 11-16, 1982 - STS-5, Space Shuttle Columbia, launched on first operational mission. Astronauts deployed two commercial communications satellites
June 13, 1983 - Pioneer 10 becomes the first man-made object to leave the solar sytem
June 18-24, 1983 - STS-7 launched and Sally K. Ride became the first American female Astronaut
April 6-14, 1984 - STS-41C: First onorbit satellite repair (Solar Maximum Mission), aboard Space Shuttle Challenger
August 30 - September 5, 1984 - STS-41D: First flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery
October 3-7, 1985 - STS-51J: First flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis
January 28, 1985 - STS-51L, Challenger accident, in which seven astronauts were killed
February 20, 1986 - The Soviet Union announced the launch of its new space station, Mir
March 13, 1986 - Leonid Kizim and Vladimir Soloviev become the first crew launched to Mir
August 25, 1989 - Voyager 2: First encounter with Neptune
April 24-29, 1990 - STS-31: Deployed the Hubble Space Telescope
May 2-16, 1992 - STS-49: First flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour and the first three-person spacewalk. Astronauts captured a private satellite for repair and reboost
1994 - Test flight of Boeing 777; the first aircraft to be designed entirely on a computer
June 27-July 7, 1995 - STS-71: Space Shuttle Atlantis and Mir linked and American astronaut Norm Thagard and a Russian crewmate were returned to earth
June 27-July 7, 1995 - STS-71: Space Shuttle Atlantis and Mir linked and American astronaut Norm Thagard and a Russian crewmate were returned to earth
November 28, 1995 - The McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 made the first safe, automated landing of a transport aircraft using engine thrust
September 26, 1996 - STS-79: Shannon Lucid returns from Mir after setting U.S. record for continuous stay in space and beginning a more than two-year continuing U.S. presence in space
July 4 - December, 1997 - Mars Pathfinder and Sojourner explored the Red Planet (Mars)
March 27, 1998 - NASA announces that the Hubble Space Telescope has captured the first actual image of a planet outside our own solar system
October 29-November 7, 1998 - STS-95: At age 77, John Glenn becomes the oldest astronaut in space
December 6, 1998 - Unity, a six-sided connector for future station components, is connected to Zarya by Shuttle Mission STS-88. Together, the two modules form the new, 70,000-pound, 76-foot long International Space Station
March 20, 1999 - After a 46,759-mile balloon flight which lasted 19 days, 21 hours and 55 minutes, the Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon, flown by Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard, achieves a non-stop round-the-world balloon flight
March 23, 2001 - The remains of the Russian space station Mir re-enters the Earth's atmosphere on its final flight and splashes down in the Pacific Ocean
June 23, 2001 - The X-35B becomes the first Joint Strike Fighter demonstrator to perform a vertical takeoff and vertical landing.
November 2, 2001 - The International Space Station marks one full year of continuous international human presence in orbit
July 30, 2002 - The first successful flight test of a hypersonic scramjet engine in Australia. This air-breathing scramjet engine, which burns hydrogen fuel, could theoretically power aircraft at Mach 8, for two-hour trans-Atlantic flights.
August 25, 2002 - NASA set a world record for the largest balloon successfully launched, when it flew a 60 million cubic foot balloon carrying a 1,500-pound scientific payload to the fringes of space.
January 22, 2003 - After more than 30 years in space, the Pioneer 10 spacecraft sends its last signal to Earth.
March 7, 2003: The Bell Agusta 609, the world's first civilian tiltrotor aircraft, rose vertically for the first time from Bell Textron's Flight Research Center in Arlington, Texas. The maiden flight lasted 36 minutes and included hovering, turns, forward and backwards flight as well as four takeoffs and landings.