First successful flying model propelled by an internal combustion engine Samuel Pierpont Langley builds a gasoline-powered version of his tandem-winged "Aerodromes." the first successful flying model to be propelled by an internal combustion engine. As early as 1896 he launches steam-propelled models with wingspans of up to 15 feet on flights of more than half a mile.
First sustained flight with a powered, controlled airplane Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, complete the first four sustained flights with a powered, controlled airplane at Kill Devil Hills, 4 miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. On their best flight of the day, Wilbur covers 852 feet over the ground in 59 seconds. In 1905 they introduce the Flyer, the world’s first practical airplane.
Concept of a fixed "boundary layer" described in paper by Ludwig Prandtl German professor Ludwig Prandtl presents one of the most important papers in the history of aerodynamics, an eight-page document describing the concept of a fixed "boundary layer," the molecular layer of air on the surface of an aircraft wing. Over the next 20 years Prandtl and his graduate students pioneer theoretical aerodynamics.
First take off from a ship
Eugene Ely pilots a Curtiss biplane on the first flight to take off from a ship. In November he departs from the deck of a cruiser anchored in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and lands onshore. In January 1911 he takes off from shore and lands on a ship anchored off the coast of California. Hooks attached to the plane's landing gear, a primitive version of the system of arresting gear and safety barriers used on modern aircraft carriers.
Automatic gyrostabilizer leads to first automatic pilot awrence Sperry demonstrates an automatic gyrostabilizer at Lake Keuka, Hammondsport, New York. A gyroscope linked to sensors keeps the craft level and traveling in a straight line without aid from the human pilot. Two years later Sperry and his inventor father, Elmer, add a steering gyroscope to the stabilizer gyro and demonstrate the first "automatic pilot." 1914-1918
Dramatic improvements in structures and control and propulsion systems During World War I, the requirements of higher speed, higher altitude, and greater maneuverability drive dramatic improvements in aerodynamics, structures, and control and propulsion system design. 1915
National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
Congress charters the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, a federal agency to spearhead advanced aeronautical research in the United States.
The Junkers J4, an all-metal airplane, introduced
Hugo Junkers, a German professor of mechanics introduces the Junkers J4, an all-metal airplane built largely of a relatively lightweight aluminum alloy called duralumin.
Airmail service inaugurated
The U. S. Postal Service inaugurates airmail service from Polo Grounds in Washington, D.C., on May 15. Two years later, on February 22, 1920, the first transcontinental airmail service arrives in New York from San Francisco in 33 hours and 20 minutes, nearly 3 days faster than mail delivery by train.
U.S. Navy aviators make the first airplane crossing of the North Atlantic U.S. Navy aviators in Curtiss NC-4 flying boats, led Lt. Cdr. Albert C. Read, make the first airplane crossing of the North Atlantic, flying from Newfoundland to London with stops in the Azores and Lisbon. A few months later British Capt. John Alcock and Lt. Albert Brown make the first nonstop transatlantic flight, from Newfoundland to Ireland.
Passenger service across the English Channel introduced Britain and France introduce passenger service across the English Channel, flying initially between London and Paris. 1919 the first nonstop transatlantic flight, from Newfoundland to Ireland.
Introduction of lightweight, air-cooled radial engines The introduction of a new generation of lightweight, air-cooled radial...
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