Milestones in Aviation
Mention aviation to a layperson, and they’d probably be able to think of the Wright Brothers, an iconic aircraft such as Concorde, or perhaps even a major aviation obstacle that has been conquered – such as breaking the sound barrier. Historic aviation truly is fascinating, and boasts a backstory like no other. Here at Flightstore, we’re going to look back at the truly monumental events in the history of aviation, from the pioneers to the innovators.
First hot air balloon flight
Of course, our story begins with Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier, of Annonay, France. Paper manufacturers by trade, the Montgolfier brothers serendipitously discovered that hot air when flowing directly upwards into a paper or fabric bag, would enable the bag to rise. Expounding immediately on these ideas, by 1983, the Montgolfier’s displayed before a stunned crowd their iconic invention, the hot air balloon. Their first passengers included a sheep, rooster and duck, used as guinea pigs to test the effects of living beings flying at high altitude.
First powered flight
It’s time to fast forward into the 20th century with the legendary Orville and Wilbur Wright. Hailing from Millville, Indiana and Dayton, Ohio, respectively, the Midwestern Wright brothers were able to engineer one of the most crucial and impressive aviation breakthroughs, still to this day, with their 1903 Wright Flyer, the aircraft known for completing the first powered flight. Utilising propellers for a concept that was famously patented as a ‘Flying Machine’, the Wright brothers were able to lay claim to the first successful powered flight – a journey that lasted all of 3 seconds, but would cement the two brothers’ names in history.
First solo non-stop aerial transatlantic journey
Perhaps the first true ‘rockstar of the skies’, in May of 1927, Charles Lindbergh accomplished what few believed possible at the time, a non-stop solo aerial crossing of the Atlantic. Lindbergh’s flight in the Spirit of St. Louis took him from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York; to le Bourget Field in Paris, spanning 3,600 miles and lasting over 33 hours. Receiving a well-deserved hero’s welcome as he touched down in France at the end of his journey, reports state that Lindbergh was mobbed by close to 200, 000 spectators, who instantly whisked him out of his cockpit before carrying him on their shoulders for an hour afterwards. Lasting global fame and countless commemorations and medals were bestowed upon Lindbergh for his monumental achievement.
First pilot to fly solo around the world
Next up, another famed US aviator. Wiley Post’s accolades and accomplishments include his instrumental work indeveloping the very first pressure suits, and his discovery of the jet stream; however, his magnum opus is undoubtedly his >solo circumnavigation of the world. Truly the stuff of dreams, Wiley Post’s 1933 journey took less than 8 days, and utilised a primitive autopilot system in place of an onboard navigator.
First flight to successfully break the sound barrier
In 1947, Chuck Yeager became the first confirmed pilot to break the sound barrier, at an altitude of around 45, 000 feet, Yeager had to fly at speeds close to 660 mph to exceed the speed of sound during level flight. His iconic Bell X-1 aircraft was launched from a B-29 and soared through the clouds to earn himself the title of the ‘fastest man alive’, at least for a little while. Most people are probably familiar with his achievements through the Philip Kaufman film ‘The Right Stuff, however you can check out actual footage of his supersonic flight below:
Of course, there are a huge amount of other pivotal breakthroughs when it comes to aviation history, we want to know what you think are the most important milestones – so feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch with Flightstore via our social media buttons underneath this post.