Facts, Feats and Records 1934 to 1977
8-9 August: First non-stop flight from Canada to Britain by J.R. Ayling and L.G. Reid, from Wasaga Beach, Ontario to Heston.
20 October: Start of the MacRobertson Air Race from England to Australia.
22 October-4 November: First flight from Australia to the United States.
8 December: Inauguration of the first regular weekly air mail service between England and Australia.
11-12 January: First solo flight by a woman from Honolulu, Hawaii to America.
13 April: Inauguration of the first through passenger service by air from England to Australia.
6 November: First flight of the Hawker Hurricane Britain’s first monoplane fighter with enclosed cockpit, retractable landing gear and armament of eight machine guns.
22 November: First scheduled air mail flight across the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco to Manila, Philippines.
March: First Spitfire flight.
26 June: The Focke-Wulf Fw 61 twin rotor helicopter, the first entirely successful powered rotary-wing aircraft in the world, made its first flight.
12 April: Frank Whittle in Britain successfully ran the world’s first aircraft gas turbine engine.
6 May: The German airship Hindenburg destroyed by fire in America.
26 June: The first through flying boat service from England to Australia was operated by Short C Class boats of Imperial Airways.
Mercury part of Short-Mayo
20-21 July: First commercial aeroplane flight across the North Atlantic, flown by the Mercury upper component of the Short -Mayo composite.
28 June: Inauguration of Pan American’s weekly New York to Southampton service flown with Boeing Model 314 flying boats.
5 August: Imperial Airways began an experimental Southampton to Montreal and New York mail service with Short C Class flying boats, which were refuelled in flight.
27 August: The German Heinkel He 178, the world’s first aircraft to fly solely on the power of a gas turbine engine, made its first flight.
2 September: Beginning of World War II.
5 April: First flight of the Heinkel He 280, the world’s first aircraft designed specifically as a turbojet powered fighter.
15 May: The first British aircraft powered by a turbojet, the Gloster Whittle
E 28/39, flew for the first time at Cranwell, Lincolnshire.
20 May: The Luftwaffe’s largest airborne assault was launched against the island of Crete.
2 October: The German Messerschmitt Me 163, the world’s first rocket powered combat aircraft was flown at a speed of 1,004 km/hr (624 mph) during early tests.
7-9 May: The Battle of the Coral Sea, the first naval battle in history which was fought entirely by carrier-based aircraft.
3 October: First successful launching of a German V-2 (A-4) ballistic rocket.
9 September: The Italian battleship Roma was hit and sunk by a German Ruhrstahl/Kramer X-1 radio guided armour piercing bomb.
12 July: Britain’s first jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor Mk.1, began to enter service with the Royal Air Force.
The Messerschmitt Me 262
3 October: Germany’s first jet fighter, the Messerschmitt Me 262 began to enter operational service.
14 March: First operational use of the British Grand Slam bomb, weighing 9,980 kg (22,000 lb)
Bell X-1 under B-29
6 August: First military use of an atomic bomb, when a nuclear device was exploded over the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
3 December: A de-Havilland Vampire I, used for deck landing trials aboard HMS Ocean, was the first jet fighter to operate from the deck of an aircraft carrier.
24 July: First manned experimental use of an ejection seat: the “guinea pig”, Bernard Lynch, ejected at 515 km/hr (320 mph)
14 October: The Bell XS-1 rocket powered research aircraft became the first aircraft in the world to exceed the speed of sound, piloted by Charles Yeager, USAF.
26 June: Beginning of the Berlin Airlift.
25 June: Beginning of the Korean War.
29 July: A Vickers Viscount made the world’s first scheduled passenger service to be flown by a turboprop- powered airliner.
21 February: A British English Electric Canberra bomber achieved the first non-stop unrefuelled crossing of the North Atlantic by a jet powered aircraft.
2 May: the world’s first regular passenger service flown by a turbojet powered airliner, the de-Havilland Comet 1.
18 May: American airwoman Jacqueline Cochrane, flying a North American F-86 Sabre, became the first woman in the world to fly at supersonic speed.
15 July: First flight of America’s first turbojet powered commercial aircraft, the Boeing 707.
21 May: The world’s first airborne hydrogen bomb was dropped on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
4 October: First man-made satellite, Sputnik 1, launched into Earth orbit by Russia.
19 December: First transatlantic passenger service flown by a turboprop-powered airliner.
4 October: First transatlantic passenger service flown by a turbojet-powered airliner, the de-Havilland Comet 4.
12 April: Russian spacecraft Vostok 1 launched into Earth orbit carrying Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to travel in space.
16 June: Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova launched into Earth orbit in Vostok 6, became the first woman to travel in space.
3 February: Russia’s Luna 9 spacecraft soft landed on the Moon’s surface and transmitted the first pictures of the lunar scene.
20 June: British airwoman Sheila Scott landed at Heathrow after setting a new women’s record of 33 days 3 mins for a round-the-world flight.
October: North American X-15A-2 rocket powered research aircraft was flown at a speed of 7,279 km/hr (4,534 mph) by W.J. Knight.
North American X-15
31 December: Russia’s Tupolev Tu-144 prototype made its first flight, the first supersonic commercial transport aircraft to fly.
9 February: First flight of the world’s first wide body turbojet-powered airliner, the Boeing Model 747.
2 March: The 001 prototype of the Anglo-French Concorde supersonic transport aircraft made its first flight at Toulouse, France.
The Hawker Kestrel
1 April: The Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the world’s first V/STOL close support aircraft, first entered squadron service.
21 July: Neil Armstrong, US astronaut, became the first man to step on the Moon’s surface.
The Lunar Rover
12 September: Launch of Russia’s unmanned spacecraft Luna 16, which landed on the Moon, collected soil samples, took off from the Moon under remote control and was recovered successfully on 24 September.
31 July: A Boeing Lunar Roving Vehicle was driven on the Moon’s surface for the first time.
14 August: First flight of a Panavia MRCA (now Tornado) multi-role combat aircraft prototype.
23 December: First flight of a Rockwell International B-1 strategic bomber prototype.
21 January: Concorde SST introduces into international commercial airline service simultaneously by Air France and British Airways.
20 July: Touchdown on Mars of the first Viking Lander.
7-25 February: Russia’s two manned Soyuz 24 docked with Salyut 5 spacelab during a flight lasting 424 hr 48 min.
Vostok Launcher at Le Bourget
By courtesy of : The International Encylopedia of Aviation, General Editor David Mondey, Crown Publishers New York 1977