1900 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events
23 March 1900 (Paris, France) — Huge prize offered for flight over Paris — It was announced at the A´ro-Club de France today that oil magnate and financier Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe has established a generous cash prize of FF100,000 in order to encourage the further practical development of the science of aeronautics.
14 April 1900 (Paris, France) — The spectacular Paris International Exhibition opened on this date. Clément Ader's “Avion III” was one of the exhibits. 
25 April 1900 (Vaal River, South Africa) — Observers of the British Army's Third Balloon Section direct artillery fire against the Boer positions near the River Vaal. 
7 May 1900 (Kimberley, South Africa) — Siege of Mafeking proves value of aerial observation techniques — Aerial direction of artillery from balloons manned by British soldiers has defeated Boer attempts to contain the advance of a relief column on beleaguered Mafeking. The Boers had hoped to stop the 10th Division at Fourteen Streams, just north of the River Vaal, with artillery using smokeless powder to aid concealment. On April 25, after a six-week march from Cape Town, the 3rd Balloon Section under Lieut. R.B.D. Blakeney sent up observers near the river to direct fire from 5-inch howitzers of 37th Battery, Royal Field Artillery. The spotters' corrections were shouted through a megaphone, and the results were encouraging. Five days ago the British brought up a 6-inch gun, mounted on a railway wagon. In two days its counter-battery fire, directed from the air, silenced enemy artillery. While the attention of the Boers was concentrated on this, the main part of the British division was outflanking its enemy with a river crossing to the west. Not surprisingly the Boers detest balloonists. Even some British soldiers believe their use to be “unfair … against a chivalrous opponent. 
17 May 1900 (Chicago, Illinois) — French-born gliding pioneer Octave Chanute replies to a letter from Wilbur Wright, a bicycle manufacturer from Dayton, Ohio. He recommends that the Wright Brothers, who at that time were keen experimenters with kites, study gliding test carried out by a number of researchers, including Louis-Pierre Mouillard and Percy Pilcher. [1,4]
2 July 1900 (Friedrichshafen, Germany) — Zeppelin flies over Lake Constance — Fishermen on Lake Constance witnessed an extraordinary sight today when a great cigar-shaped object sailed above them for about 20 minutes.
What the astonished locals were seeing was the first flight of the LZ 1, a powered dirigible (steerable), airship which is the brainchild of former Army General Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. Zeppelin, 62, has been interested in airships for nearly 30 years, having seen them used in the American Civil War. It was 1893, however, before he submitted a design to the War Ministry. A government commission refused to sponsor the project, but the Count went on to join up with top German engineers to found his own airship company two years, and the Luftschiff Zeppelin 1 [Airship Zeppelin] is the result. Designed as a cylinder tapered to a point at each end, it is 420-feet long and 38-feet wide. Two gondolas, which today carried five men, including the Count and his chief engineer, Mike Dürr, hang underneath the craft, with a 15-hp Daimler engine attached to each. Within the aluminum-framed envelope, 17 hydrogen-filled cells of rubberized cotton provide buoyancy. Despite problems with height control and steering, the airship flew for nearly 9.3 miles at 1,000 feet before returning safely to its wooden landing-stage near Friedrichshafen. 
6 September 1900 (Dayton, Ohio) — Wilbur Wright leaves Dayton, Ohio, for the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. This is the location where Wilbur and Orville Wright plan to test their full size glider. This site was recommended to the Wright Brothers by the staff of the US Weather Bureau due to its strong, steady winds. 
one 9 September 1900 (Paris, France) — French oil magnate Henry Deutsch de la Meurthe, at a reception for the International Congress of Aeronautics, says: “Let us hope … automobiles of the air will one day exceed the speed of all automobiles on land.” 
one 19 September 1900 (Paris, France) — Paris hosts airman — The establishment of a permanent International Aeronautical Commission came one step closer today as distinguished delegates gathered in the French capital for the opening of the International Congress of Aeronautics. The creation of the commission is top of the agenda for the Congress, which is sponsored by the Aéro-Club de France.
There will also be debate on all aspects of aeronautics, including the possibility of heavier-than-air flight. One of the highlights is sure to be the flight plan by Brazilian Albert Santos-Dumont in N° 4, his new improved powered dirigible airship. 
22 September 1900 (Paris, France) — Brazilian-born aeronaut Alberto Santos-Dumont flies his dirigible N°4 over the Tuileries Palace during a dinner for the mayors of France. 
30 September 1900 (Brest Konyaski, Russia) — French aeronaut Count Henri de La Vaulx flies solo from France to Brest Konyaski, Russia. 
9 October 1900 (Korostichev, Russia) — Frenchman sets a balloon distance record — French aeronaut Count Henri de La Vaulx has set a new world record for non-stop long-distance balloon flight. Today, 35 hours and 45 minutes after taking off from Paris accompanied by two other balloons is flown by Count Georges de Castillon de Saint-Victor and Jacquese Faure, de La Vaulx's balloon Centaur landed at Korostichev near Kiev in the Ukraine, distance of 1,200 miles. It is the second year running that the Count has won the long-distance ballooning competition organized by the Aéro-Club de France. Last month Centaur 769 miles, a record unbroken until today. For this week's flight, which took place as part of the current Paris Exposition, the Count took oxygen breathing apparatus. The gas-filled balloon reached a maximum altitude of 2,078 feet. Centaur's maximum speed was 35-mph.
20 October 1900 (Kitty Hawk, North Carolina) — The first flights of Wilbur and Orville Wright's full size man-carrying aircraft were at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on October 5th or 6th 1900. The aircraft was originally intended to have a wing area of 200 square feet, however the glider had only 165 square feet because of the shorter 16 foot white pine spars the Wright Brothers were forced to use.
The initial test flights of the craft were tethered or as a kite with the first manned free-flight made by Wilbur on 20 October 1900. The best flights were from 15 to 20 seconds long and covered a distance from three hundred to four hundred feet. The aircraft had a wingspan of 17½ feet, a chord of 5 feet, and weighed 52-lbs. [??]
1 December 1900 (Kitty Hawk, North Carolina) — Methodical bicycle-makers try out glider designs in windy dunes of North Carolina — A remarkable series of experiments has just been concluded on the desolate sand dunes of the North Carolina coast. For the last two months Wilbur Wright, 33, and his 29-year-old brother Orville, bicycle manufacturers from Dayton, Ohio, have been testing a biplane glider with flexible wings and forward “horizontal rudder” which enables them to maintain control in moving currents of air.
Their choice of remote Kitty Hawk was dictated by the need for a constant wind … and soft ground, in case of accidents! Advice from the U.S. Weather Bureau indicated that such conditions, with steady 20-25 mph winds blowing onshore, were most likely to be found on the Atlantic seaboard. Most of the experiments have been conducted from the ground, with ropes attached to the wings and glider flying much like a kite, although some involve one of the brothers lying on the lower wing.
The striking thing about the work of the pair is the quiet precision with which they approach each element of the mystery of flight. Drawing on old documents and the records of the latest experimenters, they examine and test everything in a detailed process of discovery. Most valuable to date have proved the dynamic calculations of German pioneer Otto Lilienthal, killed in 1896, and the work of Octave Chanute, whose rigging system the glider has used. The brothers have also introduced their own ideas, particularly the so-called “wing-warping” system for lateral control. This idea was prompted by the flexing wings of buzzards in flight, which involves changing the profile of the wing by a system of wires.
Although the glider is a large machine with a wing span of 17-feet, it did not generate the amount of lift predicted by Wilbur's calculations. It is understood that the brothers intend building a larger version next summer to continue their research. 
31 December 1900 (Paris, France) — Aviators experiment with lighter engines — With the dawn of a new century, it is suggested that the “steam” has been taken out of airplane experimentation. While only steam airplanes have so far managed to raise their pilots in brief hops, the view is now widely held that gasoline internal combustion engines may bring that day closer when airplanes will demonstrate sustained flying.
The power-to-weight ratio of gasoline engines makes them ideal for airships, where weight affects the performance. Their efficiency comes from harnessing heat inside the cylinders from the internal combustion of fuel mixture.
There have been a number of recent breakthroughs. For example the single-cylinder De Dion-Bouton of 1889 has formed the basis of Alberto Santos-Dumont's 3.5-hp twin-cylinder engine flown recently in his two airships. This weighs just 66-lbs, 19-lbs/hp. Still greater weight savings would be made if it were somehow possible to use air, rather than water to cool the engine. 
- Gunston, Bill, et al. Chronicle of Aviation. Liberty, Missouri: JL Publishing Inc., 1992. 14-17
- Parrish, Wayne W. (Publisher). "United States Chronology". 1962 Aerospace Yearbook, Forty-Third Annual Edition. Washington, DC: American Aviation Publications, Inc., 1962, 446-469.
- Wikipedia, Timeline of Aviation — 19th Century
- Shupek, John (photos and card images), The Skytamer Archive. Skytamer.com, Whittier, CA
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