1830-1839 Master Index 1850-1859

1840-1849 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events


  • 1840 (Canada) — Louis Anslem Lauriat makes the first manned flight in Canada, at Saint John, New Brunswick, in his balloon Star of the East. [3]

  • 8 September 1840 (USA) — Col. John H. Sherburne urges the Secretary of War to use night balloons to locate Seminoles. [2]

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  • 22 October 1842 (USA) — American balloonist John Wise proposes to capture Vera Cruz by air. [2]

  • November 1842 (England) — English engineer William Samuel Henson makes the first completed draft of a power driven airplane with steam engine drive. The patent follows the works of Cayley. The English House of Commons rejects the motion for the formation of an &lquo;Aerial Transportation Company” with great laughter. [1]


  • 1843Designer patents a ‘steam airplane’ — all England is talking about the proposed “Aerial Steam Carriage” patented this year by William Samuel Henson. It seems more like a practical flying machine than anything hitherto suggested. Lacemaking industry engineer Henson, based in Somerset, has had a number of bright aviation ideas. This remarkable flying machine would be a monoplane, with two pusher propellers to be driven by a light steam engine of 25 to 30 hp. Henson actually ordered this engine from colleague John Stringfellow last year. Even if the Aerial Steam Carriage never flies, its impact has already been tremendous. Pictures of it appeared in magazines and newspapers, and is much talk about. [1,4]

  • 1843 — William Samuel Henson and John Stringfellow filed articles of incorporation for the world's first air transport company, the Aerial Transit Company. [3]


  • 16 October 1844 (USA) — American's first air patent to Muzio Muzzi in direction of balloons. [2]


  • 18 September 1845 (USA) — Rufus Porter proposes a steam airship line, New York-California, to carry goldseekers at $100 a trip. Stock sales unsatisfactory. His 1849 booklet illustrates a jet-propeller passenger rocket.[2]

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  • 1848 — William Samuel Henson and John Stringfellow build a steam powered model aircraft, with a wingspan of 10 ft (3.5 m) which successfully flies a distance of 40 m before crashing into a wall. This was the world's first heavier-than-air powered flight. [3]


  • 12-25 July 1849 (Venice) — While blockading Venice, the Austrian Navy launches unmanned balloons (Montgolfières) equipped with explosive charges from the deck of the steamship Vulcano in an attempt to bombard Venice. Although the experiment is unsuccessful, it is both the first use of balloons for bombardment and the first time a warship makes offensive use of an aerial device. [3]

  • 1849 (Yorkshire, England) — Sir George Cayley launches a 10-year old boy in a small glider being towed by a team of people running down a hill. This is the first known flight by a person in a heavier-than-air machine. [3]

  • 7 October 1849 (France) — October 7, Frenchman Francisque Arban flies over the Alps in a free balloon (Marseille-Subini near by Turin). [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. Shupek, John (photos and card images), The Skytamer Archive., Whittier, CA

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