Aviation History Facts: July

July 1

  • In 1872… Louis Blériot, the pioneer aviator who made the world’s first airplane flight across the English Channel, is born in Cambrai, France. After experimenting first with gliders, he designed and built his own monoplane with a 25-hp engine, which took him across the channel. (OTM)
  • In 1917… A School of Aeronautics is established at the University of Toronto in Canada. (OTM)
  • In 1925… The U.S. Air Mail Service begins overnight flights between New York and Chicago over the Allegheny Mountains. (AYY)
  • In 1926… The Royal Swedish Air Force is formed. (OTM)
  • In 1931… The first mail delivered by rocket in the United States is claimed by three Struthers, Ohio high school students led by philatelist, John Kiktavi. He sends mail from Struthers to Poland, Ohio. (OTM)

July 2

  • In 1859… Two American balloonists, John Wise and John La Mountain, fly in their balloon from St. Louis, Missouri to Henderson, New York. The 809-mile trip takes 20 hours. (OTM)
  • In 1900… The first trial of the first Zeppelin airship, the LZ-1, takes place over Lake Constance, Germany. The first of the rigid, monster airships, it is 420 feet long and contains 16 separate gas-bags with a total capacity of 338,410 cubic feet. It is tentatively successful, and attains a speed of 8½ mph. It is housed in a floating hangar, the first in history. (OTM)
  • In 1919… The first crossing of the Atlantic by airship, as well as the first double-crossing (return flight), is made by the British rigid airship, R-34. This giant dirigible, which flies non-stop from Scotland to Long Island, New York, has a 30-man crew and is piloted by Major G.H. Scott. (OTM)
  • In 1926… The U.S. Army Air Corps is formed out of the former Air Services. Provisions are made for an assistant secretary of war and a five-year Air Corps expansion program. (OTM)
  • In 1937… Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan are lost over the South Pacific near Howland Island in a Lockheed Electra. This was to be her last long-distance attempt. (OTM)

July 3

  • In 1919… Designed and built by the Engineering Division of the U.S. Bureau of Aircraft Production, the first of four XB-1As (originally designated USXB-1A) makes its first flight at McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio. (F&F)
  • In 1936… The first C-class Empire flying boat built by Shorts as the S.23 design, makes a brief 14-min. first flight piloted by John Lankester Parker. (F&F)
  • In 1981… The first international service with the Ilyushin Il-86 begins with an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to East Berlin, East Germany. (F&F)

July 4

  • In 1908… The Zeppelin LZ-4 makes a 12-hour flight crossing the Alps. It covers the 235 miles from Friedrichshafen to Zürich and reaches speeds of 32 mph. (OTM)
  • In 1927… The first flight of the Lockheed Vega, an influence in the design of later, larger transport of the 1930’s, takes place. (OTM)
  • In 1956… A Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft makes its first operational overflight. It is designed to fly at supersonic speeds and photograph the earth from 60,000 feet. (OTM)

July 5

  • In 1912… Captain Charles Chandler and Lieutenants Thomas Milling and Henry Arnold are presented with certificates qualifying them as the U.S.’s first “Military Aviators.” (AYY)
  • In 1927… Lady Bailey establishes a new light airplane altitude record of 17,283 feet, in a de Havilland D.H. 60 Moth, at the company’s airfield in Edgeware, Middlesex. (AYY)
  • In 1940… The first American paratrooper unit is formed at Fort Benning, Georgia. (AYY)
  • In 1944… The first U.S. rocket-powered military aircraft, the MX-324, flies at Harper Dry Lake, California. The pilot, Harry Crosby, makes the voyage. (OTM)
  • In 1979… French aviation pioneer and aircraft manufacturer Emile Dewoitine dies at the age of 87. (AYY)

July 6

  • In 1919… The first person to arrive in the United States by air from Europe is Englishman Flt. Lt. J. E. M. Pritchard. He arrives with the airship R.34, which has entered American skies after leaving Scotland on July 2 to cross the North Atlantic. (F&F)
  • In 1951… The first in-flight refueling under combat conditions is made by four US RF-80 A’s, refueled by a KB-29 tanker. (AYY)
  • In 1960… Sikorsky’s S-62 amphibious helicopter wins federal approval for operation as a commercial passenger aircraft. (AYY)

July 7

  • In 1914… American physics professor, Robert H. Goddard receives a patent for his two-stage solid fuel rocket. (OTM)
  • In 1929… Transcontinental Air Transport Inc. inaugurates a 48-hour combined rail and air passenger service from coast to coast in the U.S. Colonel Charles Lindbergh flies the first plane over the air route. (OTM)
  • In 1962… Colonel Georgi Mossolov sets a new world absolute speed record for airplanes, flying the Mikoyan Ye-166 at 1,665.89 mph. (AYY)
  • In 1981… The first solar-powered aircraft flight across the English Channel is made by the MacCready Solar Challenger. The 180 mile flight takes over 5 hours and is powered by at least 16,128 solar cells on the upper surfaces of the wing and tailplane. (OTM)

July 8

  • In 1838… Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin is born in Baden, Germany. The first large-scale builder and pioneer of rigid dirigible balloons, Zeppelin made his first balloon ascent while serving as a volunteer and observer for the Union Army in America’s Civil War. (OTM)
  • In 1908… Thérése Peltier becomes the first woman to ascend in an airplane when Delagrange, her instructor, takes her up. She flies about 656 feet at a height of 13 feet. (AYY)
  • In 1953… New York Airways, America’s first scheduled passenger helicopter carrier, begins service. (AYY)

July 9

  • In 1910… Walter Brookins attains an altitude of 6,175 feet in a Wright biplane, becoming the first to fly a mile high and wins a prize of $5,000 for his feat. (AYY)
  • In 1924… The first recorded flight of a live bull takes place when champion breeder Nico V is flown from Rotterdam, Holland to Paris, France. The bull is carried by KLM in a Fokker F.III transport aircraft. (F&F)
  • In 1933… Flying their Lockheed Sirius built in 1929 and used for the 1931 survey flight of Alaska, the North Pacific and China, Charles Lindbergh and his wife begin a major route-proving tour of the North and South Atlantic. They complete their survey on December 6. (F&F)

July 10

  • In 1938… Howard Hughes, with crewmembers Harry Connor, Tom Thurlow, Richard Stoddart and Ed Lund, begin a record-breaking round-the-world flight in a specially modified Lockheed Super Electra. They cut in half the time set by Wiley Post in 1933; their flying time is 71 hours, 11 minutes, 10 seconds. (F&F)
  • In 1940… The fourth Messerschmitt Bf 109F series prototype makes its first flight in Germany, powered by one of the new 1,350-hp Daimler Benz DB 601E. (F&F)
  • In 1978… Airbus Industrie announces a decision to proceed with development of the A300B10, a shortened version of the A300 with a capacity of 225 passengers, compared to 281 on the B2 and B4. The designation is later changed to the A310. (F&F)

July 11

  • In 1922… An international convention for the regulation of air navigation begins. (AYY)
  • In 1935… Laura Ingalls arrives in Burbank, California after an 18-hour flight from Floyd Bennett Field, New York, making her the first woman to fly east to west across the United States. (AYY)
  • In 1955… The U.S. Air Force Academy is dedicated at its temporary location, Lowry Air Force Base. (AYY)

July 12

  • In 1785… The first manned balloon ascent in Holland is made by Jean-Pierre Blanchard in Hague. (OTM)
  • In 1901… Alberto Santos-Dumont, making an attempt on the Deutsch prize in Paris, lands his dirigible No.5 in the Trocadéro gardens after one of the cords controlling the rudder snaps. He uses a ladder to repair the machine where it lies before taking off again. (AYY)
  • In 1944… The British Royal Air Force (RAF) puts the first operational jet-powered airplanes into service. (AYY)

July 13

  • In 1909… If brief hops by Alliott Verdon Roe on June 8, 1908 are discounted, the first flight made by an Englishman in an English airplane takes place when Roe flies his Roe I triplane for the first time at Lea Marsches in Essex. He flies only 100 ft., but on July 23 he extends the distance to some 900 ft. off the ground. (F&F)
  • In 1919… The British military airship R.34, operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF), accomplishes the first two-way transatlantic air crossing. The outward journey is also the first air crossing of the Atlantic from east to west. (AYY)
  • In 1957… President Eisenhower becomes the first U.S. president to fly in a helicopter when he is flown from the White House to an unnamed military post in a USAF Bell UH-13J. (AYY)

July 14

  • In 1914… Dr. Robert H. Goddard is granted a patent for his liquid fuel rocket engine. (AYY)
  • In 1934… Flamboyant flying tycoon Howard Hughes lands in New York after a record-breaking flight around the Northern Hemisphere. (AYY)
  • In 1937… A Soviet crew breaks the world distance flying record by staying airborne for over two days while flying from Moscow over the North Pole. (AYY)
  • In 1948… Six Royal Air Force (RAF) Vampires land after completing the first transatlantic flight made by jet aircraft. (AYY)

July 15

  • In 1916… Timber merchant William E. Boeing forms a new aircraft company, the Pacific Aero Products Company. (AYY)
  • In 1923… Dobrolet, the Soviet state airline, opens its first scheduled domestic service, between Moscow and Nizhniy Novgorod. (AYY)
  • In 1925… Dr. A. Hamilton Rice’s expedition to the Amazon to explore the headwaters of the Amazon, the first exploration by airplane, returns safely. (AYY)
  • In 1968… The first direct airline service between the Soviet Union and the U.S. is inaugurated, ten years after negotiations began. (AYY)
  • In 1975… The first international manned space flight occurs between the Soviet Soyuz 19 and an Apollo spacecraft. (OTM)

July 16

  • In 1921… Cambridge wins the first air race between Oxford and Cambridge universities, using S.E. 5as. airplanes. (AYY)
  • In 1930… Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA) is formed when Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express merge. (AYY)
  • In 1947… Geoffrey Tyson test-pilots the first jet fighter to be modified as a flying boat. (AYY)
  • In 1957… Major John H. Glenn of the U.S. Marines sets a new record for a coast-to-coast flight across the U.S. The flight from Los Angeles, to New York takes just over three hours in a U.S. Navy Crusader supersonic jet. (AYY)

July 17

  • In 1908… The USA’s first aviation legislation is passed: a municipal ordinance requiring an annual license and regulating aircraft within the city limits of Kissimmee, Florida. (AYY)
  • In 1917… Ground is broken for the first building of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Langley Field laboratory. (AYY)
  • In 1969… The Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket blasts off from the Florida Space Center in route to the first moon landing. (AYY)

July 18

  • In 1914… The Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps is formed in Washington, D.C., with 60 officers, 260 men, and 6 airplanes. (AYY)
  • In 1914… French pilot, Maurice Guillaux, makes the first official airmail flight in Australia. His cargo includes 1,785 letters, some Lipton’s Tea and OT Lemon Squash. (AYY)
  • In 1915… Katherine Stinson becomes the first woman to loop the loop in an airplane. The stunt pilot performs the full rotation of her airplane over Chicago. (AYY)
  • In 1919… Self-styled Baroness Raymonde de Laroche, the first Frenchwoman to get her flying license, is killed in a flying accident in Northern France. (AYY)
  • In 1921… John H. Glenn, Jr., the first American to orbit the earth, is born in Cambridge, Ohio. After being selected by NASA with the first group of astronauts in 1959, he makes his historic orbital flight on February 20, 1962. (OTM)

July 19

  • In 1867… Englishmen J.W. Butler and E. Edwards make the first delta-wing airplane designs. They take out patents for delta-wing monoplanes and biplanes to be propelled by jets of steam, compressed air, or gas. (OTM)
  • In 1920… The Vickers R. 80 airship, designed in an innovative streamlined shape by company designer Barnes Wallis, makes its first flight. (AYY)
  • In 1937… The official search for missing flyers Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan is abandoned. (AYY)
  • In 1985… Sharon Christa McAuliffe is chosen by NASA to be the first private citizen passenger in the history of space flight. (OTM)

July 20

  • In 1908… Orville Wright warns Glenn Curtiss that the wing flaps used in the AEA’s June Bug are an infringement of the Wrights’ patent. (AYY)
  • In 1948… Sixteen Lockheed Shooting Stars complete the first west to east transatlantic flight by jet aircraft. (AYY)
  • In 1969… Neil Armstrong lands the lunar module Eagle on the surface of the moon. His immortal first words are, “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” (AYY)

July 21

  • In 1909… The first international Zeppelin (airship) show is held in Frankfurt, Germany. (AYY)
  • In 1911… Denise Moore crashes and dies on a solo flight in a Farman airplane, the first woman killed in a plane. (AYY)
  • In 1919… Anthony Fokker founds the Dutch Aircraft Company at Schipol, near Amsterdam. (AYY)

July 22

  • In 1914… Britain’s first airplane passenger service is launched. The short-lived service flies from Leeds to Bradford and back, on half-hour intervals. (AYY)
  • In 1920… Aviation enthusiast David R. Davis and airplane designer Donald W. Douglas team up to form the Davis-Douglas Company. Their goal is to build the first aircraft capable of flying non-stop across the U.S. (AYY)
  • In 1933… One-eyed pilot Wiley Post lands after completing the first solo flight around the world. Post pioneers the early development of a pressure suit and proves the value of navigating instruments, especially the automatic pilot. (OTM)

July 23

  • In 1906… Having abandoned his helicopter project, Alberto Santos-Dumont unveils a new aircraft, the No.14 bis. at Bagatelle, France. The odd-looking machine is dubbed canard [duck]. (AYY)
  • In 1917… Maj. Benjamin D. Foulois, one of the great figures of early American aviation, is appointed commanding officer of the Airplane Division of the U.S. Signal Corps. (F&F)
  • In 1937… The International Military Aircraft Competition at Dübendorf near Zürich provides the picturesque venue for the first major demonstration of the Messerschmitt Bf 109. (F&F)

July 24

  • In 1898… Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly alone across the Atlantic Ocean and one of the world’s most famous aviators, is born in Atchinson, Kansas. (OTM)
  • In 1917… Congress approves the expenditure of $640 million on military aviation. It is the largest single appropriation approved by Congress. (AYY)
  • In 1943… The Royal Air Force (RAF) use “Window,” metal foil dropped to confuse enemy radar, for the first time. (AYY)
  • In 1946… Bernard Lynch becomes the first person to be “shot” out of an airplane. Lynch was involved in the first airborne test of a British “ejection seat.” (AYY)

July 25

  • In 1907… At Issy-les-Moulineaux, Blériot flies 492 feet in his monoplane No.VI, the Libellule [dragonfly]. Built by Louis Peyret, the foreman at his works, it has two sets of wings in tandem. To control vertical movement, the pilot slides to end fro on a wheeled seat. (AYY)
  • In 1909… Van den Schkrouff makes the first flight in Russia in a Voisin biplane at Odessa. (OTM)
  • In 1909… Louis Blériot of France, who flies his Blériot No.XI monoplane from Les Baraques to Dover, England in 37 minutes, makes the first airplane crossing of the English Channel. The event increases public and government awareness of the possible military aspects of the airplane. (OTM)

July 26

  • In 1910… Capt. G. W. P. Dawes becomes the first British Army officer to be awarded an aviator’s certificate in England, when he qualifies for certificate no.17 on a Humber Monoplane at Wolverhampton, England. (F&F)
  • In 1929… Johnny Burtin sets a new world altitude record of 26,531 feet for airplanes with a 1-ton load. Burtin’s flight also proves that at high altitudes, fuel consumption drops considerably and wind resistance is reduced, making high-altitude flying more economical and profitable. (AYY)
  • In 1937… Famous pilot, Jacqueline Cochran, sets a new speed record for women by flying over 203 mph. (AYY)

July 27

  • In 1901… Wilbur and Orville Wright make the first of a series of test glides at Kill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Their redesigned biplane glider No. 2 has a larger wing area and wing control worked by a pilot’s hip-cradle device. (OTM)
  • In 1909… Orville Wright makes the first official test flight of the U.S. Army’s first airplane in Fort Meyer, Virginia. President William Howard Taft, his cabinet, and 10,000 spectators witness the flight. (OTM)
  • In 1912… Lieutenant John Rodgers and Ensign Charles Maddox, in a Wright B1 Flyer, send the first wireless message from an airplane to a ship, the torpedo boat USS Stringham, stationed in Annapolis, Maryland. (AYY)
  • In 1923… Edward Stinson lands his Junkers at Mitchell Field in New York after making the first non-stop flight from Chicago. (AYY)
  • In 1931… The Air Line Pilots Association of the USA is formed (AYY)
  • In 1949… The de Havilland 106 Comet becomes the world’s first jet airliner to be used in commercial travel. (AYY)

July 28

  • In 1933… Dr. Albert Forsythe and Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson land at Atlantic City to complete the first return flight to the West Coast by African-American pilots. (AYY)
  • In 1934… Nelly Diener becomes Europe’s first air stewardess. (AYY)
  • In 1950… The first scheduled passenger service flown by a gas-turbine powered airliner (turboprop) is British European Airway’s (BEA) Vickers V. 630 Viscount. (OTM)

July 29

  • In 1909… Georges Legagneux makes the first airplane flight in Sweden in his Voisin biplane in Stockholm. (OTM)
  • In 1952… A USAF North American RB-45 completes the first non-stop transpacific flight by jet aircraft. (AYY)
  • In 1958… President Eisenhower signs the National Aeronautics and Space Act, creating a new federal agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA’s stated goal is to enable the U.S. to lead the exploration of space for peaceful purposes to benefit humanity. (AYY)
  • In 1959… The first jetway in the U.S. is installed at the International Airport in San Francisco, California. Designed to protect passengers from the weather when they board or leave the jet plane, it is a powered telescopic or collapsible corridor that extends to the aircraft and connects the plane to the terminal. They are commonplace in all airports today. (OTM)

July 30

  • In 1909… The Rinji Gunyo Kikyu Kenkyu Kai (Provisional Committee for Military Balloon Research) is formed in Japan. (AYY)
  • In 1921… Swiss pilot, Francois Durafour, achieves a daring first by landing his airplane on the slopes of Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain in the Alps. (AYY)
  • In 1924… Two Japanese airmen, Yukichi Goto and his flight engineer Minezo Yonezawo, return to Osaka after completing the first flight around Japan. The flight covers 2,727 miles and takes over 33 hours. (AYY)
  • In 1935… Lieutenant Frank Akers of the U.S. Navy becomes the first person to make a “blind” landing at sea. His biplane has a hooded cockpit allowing him to see only his controls and instruments. He lands on the USS Langley. (AYY)

July 31

  • In 1879… Richard Cowen and Charles Page fly the Canadian, the first balloon to be built in Canada. (AYY)
  • In 1948… The New York International Airport begins operations and becomes the largest airport in the U.S. (AYY)
  • In 1952… Two Sikorsky H-19’s set a new world distance record for helicopters while making the first transatlantic helicopter flight. They cover 920 miles in over 42 hours. (AYY)

Works Cited

Editor-in-Chief: Bill Gunston, Aviation: Year by Year, Amber Books Limited, London, UK, 2001. (AYY)
Leonard C. Bruno, On the Move: A Chronology of Advances in Transportation, Gale Research Inc., Detroit, MI, 1993. (OTM)
Arthur George Renstrom, Wilbur & Orville Wright: A Chronology, United States, Library of Congress, 1971 (COFC)