1820-1829 Master Index 1840-1849

1830-1839 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events


  • 9 September 1830 (New York City, USA) — The first successful American aeronaut was Charles Ferson Durant. On September 9, 1830, he made his first ascent from New York's Castle Garden. He was the first person to drop leaflets from the sky, scattering copies of poems he wrote that told of the joys of flight. [1]

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  • 7-8 November 1836 (England/Germany) — Balloonists fly from London to Germany — Balloonist Charles Green has today successfully completed the world's longest flight when he landed near Weilburg, in the duchy of Nassau. He also became the first man to fly with a 1,000-foot trail rope, slung beneath the basket, to help control the balloons altitude. Green with two passengers, British member of Parliament Robert Holland and theater producer Thomas Monck Mason, ascended from London yesterday and during the 18 hours in the air covered an estimated 480 miles. The trio flew over Kent to Canterbury — where they dropped by parachute in a letter to the mayor — and Dover, crossed the English Channel and then flew over Calais and Liège before landing at 730 a.m. [1]


  • 24 July 1837 (Lee, England) — Robert Cocking jumps from a balloon piloted by Charles Green at a height of 2,000 m (6,600 ft) to demonstrate a parachute of his own design, and is killed in the attempt. [3]

  • 18 September 1837 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) — parachute demonstration in America when John Wise drops animals from a balloon at Philadelphia. [2]


  • 11 August 1838 (Easton, Pennsylvania) — American John Wise developed a balloon that if ruptured or deflated when aloft would collapse to form a parachute (the bottom half would fold upwards into the top half to form the classic parachute shape) which would allow the occupants of the basket to descend without injury or loss of life. Although the idea was not original, Wise was the first to build a working version and the first to demonstrate its use. On a flight from Easton, Pennsylvania, on 11 August 1838, in bad weather, the design was put to an impromptu test when Wise's balloon was punctured at 13,000 feet. In less than ten seconds all the gas had escaped. The balloon descended rapidly with an oscillating motion, and, on reaching the earth, rebounded, throwing Wise ten feet from the car. Wise survived without injury. He later advertised that on 1 October 1838 he would ascend and in the air would convert his balloon into a parachute, which feat he successfully accomplished. [1,3,5]

  • 1838 (USA) — The American John Wise introduces the ripping panel which is still used today. The panel solved the problem of the Montgolfière dragging along the ground at landing and needing to be stopped with the help of anchors. Among Wise's other innovations was the use of drag-lines to stabilize altitude and the rip panel for controlled deflation on landing. Prior to Wise's use of the rip panel, balloons would drag along the ground when landing and had to be secured by anchors and lines. Balloonists wishing to deflate their balloons would climb out of their baskets onto the netting surrounding the balloon, and having scaled to the top of the balloon would open the valve to allow the gas to escape. The weight of the balloonist would cause the balloon to collapse inwards and there had been a number of accidents where the balloonists had been killed after becoming entangled in the rigging. Wise also recognized that the heat from the sun played a valuable role in warming the gas in the balloon, and built a black balloon to utilize the effects. He was the first to observe the jet stream, noting there was a “great river of air which always blows from west to east”. [3,4]


  • 1839 — Charles Green and the astronomer Spencer Rush climb up to 7,900 m in a free balloon. [3]

Works Cited

  1. Gunston, Bill, et al. Chronicle of Aviation. Liberty, Missouri: JL Publishing Inc., 1992. 14-17
  2. Parrish, Wayne W. (Publisher). "United States Chronology". 1962 Aerospace Yearbook, Forty-Third Annual Edition. Washington, DC: American Aviation Publications, Inc., 1962, 446-469.
  3. Wikipedia, Timeline of Aviation — 19th Century
  4. Wikipedia, John Wise (balloonist)

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