Aviation History Facts: October

October 01

  • In 1861… The United States Army Balloon Corps, consisting of five balloons and fifty men, is formed. (AYY)
  • In 1906… United States Army Lieutenant Frank Lahm wins the 1st Gordon Bennett international balloon race. (AYY)
  • In 1912… The Military Aviation Service is founded in Germany. (AYY)
  • In 1947… Los Angeles Airways opens the world’s 1st regular airmail service by helicopter, using Sikorsky S-51 machines. (AYY)

October 02

  • In 1918… The Kettering Bug pilotless airplane being developed by Charles F. Kettering makes its first successful unmanned flight test, albeit for only nine seconds. (F&F)

October 03

  • In 1785… Jean-Pierre Blanchard makes the 1st manned balloon ascent in Germany. (OTM)

October 04

  • In 1784… James Sadler becomes the 1st British aeronaut when he makes a flight in a Montgolfier-type balloon of a 170-foot circumference (AYY)
  • In 1909… More than a million New Yorkers watch as Wilbur Wright makes a flight along the Hudson River. (AYY)
  • In 1958… Britain’s national overseas airline BOAC becomes the 1st carrier to fly the Atlantic route by jet airliner. (AYY)

October 05

  • In 1751… Italian Andrea Grimaldi, exhibits a flying carriage: the machine, which remains untested, has a complex structure and a wingspan of 22 feet. (AYY)
  • In 1905… Wilbur Wright in the Flyer II makes the 1st flight of over a half-an-hour at Simms Station, Ohio. (AYY)
  • In 1907… The 1st British Army dirigible airship, the Nullis Secundus (second to none), makes a spectacular flight over the capital city of London. (AYY)
  • In 1914… A German Aviatik becomes the 1st aircraft to be shot down in a dogfight by a French Army-owned Voisin airplane. (AYY)

October 06

  • In 1908… Wilbur Wright and a French writer make the 1st passenger flight of over one hour. (OTM)
  • In 1922… Lieutenants John Macready and O.G. Kelly set a new world flight endurance record, staying aloft in their Fokker T-2 monoplane for a total of 35 hours, 18 minutes and 30 seconds. (AYY)

October 07

  • In 1909… Glenn Curtiss becomes the 1st American to hold an FAI airplane certificate. (AYY)

October 08

  • In 1883… French brothers Albert and Gaston Tissandier make the 1st flight with an airship powered by electricity. (OTM)

October 09

  • In 1890… The 1st full-sized manned airplane to leave the ground under its own power is Frenchman Clement Ader’s steam-powered, propeller-driven aircraft. (OTM)
  • In 1900… French aeronaut Count Henri de La Vaulx sets a world record for non-stop long-distance balloon flight. He flies for over 35 hours after taking off from Paris, France. (AYY)

October 10

  • In 1898… Augustus Herring pilots a powered biplane based on Octave Chanute’s glider design. (AYY)
  • In 1907… Robert Esnault-Pelterie makes the 1st airplane flight with a control stick, using a single, broom handle-like lever. (AYY)

October 11

  • In 1910… President Teddy Roosevelt becomes the 1st US president to fly when he is taken up in St. Louis. (AYY)

October 12

  • In 1976… The NASA/U.S. Army rotor systems research aircraft produced by Sikorsky as the S-72 makes its first flight. (F&F)

October 13

  • In 1931… Canadian pilot Godfrey Dean performs the 1st loop in an autogyro, at Willow Field, near Philadelphia. (AYY)

October 14

  • In 1947… Captain Charles “Chuck” Yeager becomes the 1st person to fly faster than sound. Yeager “breaks the sound barrier” in his Bell X-1 airplane, Glamorous Glennis, named after his wife. He was able to reach 670-mph or Mach 1.015 at Muroc Dry Lake, California. (AYY)

October 15

  • In 1783… The 1st man to ascend in a tethered balloon is French scientist Jean Pilatre de Rozier. His hot-air Montgolfier balloon ascends to 84 feet – the length of the rope holding the balloon. (OTM)
  • In 1913… Lieutenant Ronin makes the 1st official airmail flight in France. (AYY)
  • In 1927… Captain Dieudonne´ lands in Brazil becoming the 1st person to fly non-stop across the South Atlantic. The 2100-mile flight takes just over 18 hours. (AYY)
  • In 1939… New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia dedicates an airport in Flushing bearing his name. La Guardia airport is the costliest to build at the time, $45 million. (AYY)

October 16

  • In 1908… Samuel Cody becomes the 1st man to fly in Britain. Flying the British Army Aeroplane N° 1, Cody flies for 1,391 feet before crashing. (AYY)
  • In 1909… German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin forms the world’s 1st commercial airline. (OTM)
  • In 1910… The 1st airship crossing of the English Channel is made by the French-built dirgible Cle´ment-Bayard II. The 244-mile route is completed in 6 hours. (AYY)
  • In 1917… Final testing is made for the US Army-designed air-to-air radio communication system with a wireless set. (AYY)

October 17

  • In 1922… Lieutenant V.C. Griffin, in a Vought VE-7SF airplane, achieves the 1st take-off from the USS Langley, America’s 1st operational aircraft carrier. (AYY)

October 18

  • In 1909… Charles Comte de Lambert, Wilbur Wright’s 1st aviation pupil, flies around the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (OTM)

October 19

  • In 1968… USAF test pilot Major William “Pete” Knight wins the Harmon international aviator’s trophy for “exceptional individual piloting performance”. (AYY)

October 20

  • In 1920… Flying his Nieuport Delage, Sadi Lecointe set a world speed record flying at 187.99-mph. (AYY)

October 21

  • In 1929… The Colonial Flying Service and Scully Walton Ambulance Company organize the United State’s 1st civilian air ambulance service. (AYY)

October 22

  • In 1797… The modern parachute is born as Andre-Jacques Garnerin makes the 1st human parachute descent from the air. Garnerin jumps from a hydrogen balloon at a height of 2,300 feet in Paris. (OTM)
  • In 1898… Augustus Herring pilots a powered biplane based on Octave Chanute’s glider design. (AYY)

October 23

  • In 1906… Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos Dumont makes the 1st sustained airplane flight in Europe in his own airplane, the N° 14 bis. (AYY)

October 24

  • In 1912… Harry Hawker wins the British Empire Michelin Cup for endurance. He flies for over 8 hours in a Burgess-Wright airplane. (AYY)

October 25

  • In 1939… The prototype Handey Page Halifax (serial no. L7244) makes its first flight from RAF Bicester with J.L.B.H. Cordes at the controls. (F&F)

October 26

  • In 1907… Henry Farman flies his Voisin Farman I flying machine just under 2,530 feet, breaking the world distance record. ( (AYY)

October 27

  • In 1909… Mrs. Ralph van Denman flies for four minutes with Wilbur Wright at College Park, Maryland, becoming the U.S.’s 1st female passenger. (AYY)

October 28

  • In 1914… Aviators in Melbourne form an Australian Aero Club. (AYY)

October 29

  • In 1917… An American-built DH-4 flies for the 1st time. (AYY)

October 30

  • In 1908… Henry Farman performs the 1st cross-country flight in Europe as well as the 1st flight between two towns. (AYY)
  • In 1909… Claude Moore-Brabazon wins a £1,000 prize offered by the Daily Mail for a circular flight of one mile. (AYY)

October 31

  • In 1933… France’s air minister Pierre Cot formally inaugurates the country’s national airline, Air France. (AYY)
  • In 1956… The US Navy R4D-5 Skytrain Que Sera Sera, commanded by Rear Admiral George Dufek, becomes the 1st airplane to make a landing at the South Pole. (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)

From the US Centennial of Flight Commission