1900 Master Index 1902

1901 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

1901 (undated)

  • 1901 (France) — At the start of the 20th century, the French Navy is a major user of shipboard balloons and man-lifting kites. [3]

  • 1901 (France) — The French Navy torpedo boat Foudre operates a spherical balloon experimentally during naval maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea. [3]

January 1901

  • No data

February 1901

  • 15 February 1901 (Brussels, Belgium) — The Aéro-Club de Belgique [Aero Club of Belgium] is founded.[1]

March 1901

  • No data

April 1901

  • No data

May 1901

  • No data

June 1901

  • 19 June 1901 (Whitewater, Virginia) — American experimenter Samuel P. Langley tests a quarter-scale model of his Aerodrome, a gasoline-driven flying machine. It makes four disappointingly short flights. [1]

  • 30 June 1901 (Germany) — German balloonists reached record height! At enormous personal risk, Herr Berson and Professor Süring Berliner Verein für Luftschiffahrt today established the first ratified altitude record for balloons. Their 8,510-ft³ balloon Preussen ascended to 35,435-feet above the earth, possibly the greatest altitude at which man can survive. Although oxygen cylinders with mouthpieces were used, both men suffered loss of consciousness for short periods. [1]

July 1901

  • 11 July 1901 (Kitty Hawk, North Carolina) — The Wright brothers arrive for their second season at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, during which they will test their 1901 glider. [3]

  • 12 July 1901 (Paris, France) — Albert Santos-Dumont, making an attempt on the Deutsch Prize, lands his dirigible N° 5 Trocadéro gardens after one of the cords controlling the rudder snaps. He uses a ladder to repair the machine where it lies before taking off again. [1]

  • 31 July 1901 (Germany) — German meteorologists Berson and SÜring climb to 10,800 m in a free balloon. [3]

August 1901

  • 8 August 1901 (Kitty Hawk, North Carolina) — Wilbur Wright achieves a flight of 389 feet at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in the Wright 1901 glider. [3]

  • 8 August 1901 (Paris, France) — Santos-Dumont's first flight in the N° 6 ended with a forced landing in the Rothschilds' Boulogne estate. Skill, tenacity and a lot of luck today saved the life of Alberto Santos-Dumont, the famous and colorful flyer, when he failed spectacularly in a second bid to win 100,000-franc Deutsch Prize. Santos-Dumont's first attempt on 13 July, ended up in a chestnut tree. Today, as he rounded the Eiffel Tower, in his, airship N° 5, began to lose gas. To stop the propellers from severing his suspension ropes, Santos-Dumont cut the motor. Before thousands of onlookers the drooping, sinking ship fell between the two roofs of the Trocagéro Hotel, and the pilot was left dangling upside down 35 feet above the street. To great cheers he skillfully clambered up to a ledge, from where he was rescued. [1]

  • 14 August 1901 (Fairfield, Connecticut) — Gustave Whitehead reportedly flew his engine-powered Whitehead N° 21 for a distance of 800 meters at a height of 15 meters according to articles in the Bridgeport Herald, the New York Herald and the Boston Transcript. No photographs were taken, but a sketch of the plane in the air was made by a reporter for the Bridgeport Sunday Herald, Dick Howell, who was present. This date precedes the Wright Brothers' Kitty Hawk, North Carolina flight by more than two years. [1,3]

September 1901

  • 1 September 1901 (United States) — Simon Newcomb, Ph.D., L.L.D., writes in McClure's for September: “The first successful flyer will be the handiwork of a watchmaker and will carry nothing heavier than an insect.” in December, Rear Admiral Melville, USN says in the North 'American Review: “A calm survey … leads the engineer to pronounce all confident prophecies at this time for future success as wholly unwarranted, if not absurd.” [2]

  • 1 September 1901 (Kitty Hawk, North Carolina) — Improve Wright glider still not perfect. Returning again to Kitty Hawk, the scene of their successful experiments of last year, the Wright brothers have brought with them an improved design of glider, having a greater wingspan at 22-feet and proper arrangements for the aerial pilot to adjust the flying control services as he lies on the lower wing. But, launched repeatedly from a prime location on Big Kill Devil Hill, these improvements seem only to have introduced new problems. Initially, lateral control proved almost impossible. Although it was mastered later, with glides of some 300-feet, attempts to turn, using the wing-warping system, sent the machine spinning to the ground. In response, Orville and Wilbur have cut short their flying season and returned to Ohio. They fear that, despite their extensive wind tunnel tests, their heavy reliance on the calculations of the late Otto Lilienthal may have been a great mistake. [1]

  • 18 September 1901 (Chicago, Illinois) — In a talk to the Western Society of Engineers, Wilbur Wright examines the possibility of powered flight and shows photographic slides taken during his and Orville's trip to Kitty Hawk this summer. [1]

October 1901

  • October 1901 (Dayton, Ohio) — The Wrights test a number of wing profiles with a bicycle adapted as a test platform. They also develop a wind tunnel in which they use delicate balances to measure the aerodynamic forces on a wide range of wing sections. [1]

  • 15 October 1901 (Austria) — Benz seaplane engine was far too heavy. A piano-maker of 65 has failed in a courageous attempt to become the first person to fly a powered heavier-than-air aircraft. Vasili V. Kress was 57 when he decided to study engineering at Vienna University to acquire the skills to fulfill his ambition to build an aircraft. Construction of his craft began in 1898. It was a remarkable machine, made of carefully selected steel tubing and supported by aluminum floats. Its three-pairs of wings were designed to avoid each other's airstream for maximum lift, and three rudders - for turning and lift in the air and steering on water - were controlled by just one lever. Unfortunately, Kress's engine let him down in today's attempt to fly on Tullnerbach reservoir. He had been promised a 40-hp, 475-lb Benz motor, but got a 30-hp one of almost double the weight. The aircraft failed to lift out of the water before Kress, at the controls, saw a groyne looming ahead and swerved to avoid it. The wind caught the craft capsized it. With a lighter, faster engine Kress might have made history. Instead, a disappointed pioneer has seen his hopes dashed, literally, to pieces. [1]

  • 20 October 1901 (London, England) — Britons found club for air enthusiasts. Motoring enthusiasts led by wealthy wine merchant Frank Hedges Butler have united to form the Aero Club of the United Kingdom. Although these aeronauts are probably less scientific than learned members of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain (founded in 1866), they make good any theoretical deficiencies with practical enthusiasm and big bank balances. A group of enthusiasts, including Butler and Charles Rolls, discovered the joys of flight in perfect weather at Crystal Palace last month. After a two-hour, 5,000-foot ascent in a balloon named City of York, one said “it was like climbing an invisible mountain above the Thames valley. [1]

  • 29 October 1901 (London, England) — The Aero Club of the United Kingdom, predecessor of the Royal Aero Club, is established. [3]

November 1901

  • 4 November 1901 (Paris, France) — Santos-Dumont, flamboyant Eiffel flyer, gives away all his hard-won prize money. After a two-week dispute, Alberto Santos-Dumont has been awarded the Deutsch Prize of 100,000 gold francs by the French Scientific Committee and the Aéro-Club de France. On October 19 he flew his airship N° 6 from Saint-Cloud around the Eiffel Tower and Back in under 30-minutes, only to be told he had failed because the airships guide rope was not secured until past the time limit. The aeronaut was incensed, and the public and most of the press agreed with him. In the end, the committee gave way. In an extraordinary act of generosity typical of him, Santos-Dumont is giving FF75,000 of the money to the poor of Paris and the rest of the men who built the airship. [1]

  • 15 November 1901 (London, England) — Frank and Vera Hedges Butler and Charles Rolls make the inaugural balloon flight of the Aero Club in the City of York with aeronaut Stanley Spencer. [1]

  • 20 November 1901 (London, England) — Kite patent sought by Wild West hero. Samuel F. Cody, the ex-cowboy from America who is famous for his Wild West shows, has applied for a patent for a system of “war kites”. The idea of using kites for military observation came to him when he heard about the British Army's problems when they used balloons in South Africa during the sieges of Mafeking and Ladysmith. Plagued by high winds and lack of hydrogen, the balloons were often unavailable when most needed. Cody's ingenious system uses a large kite to hold the Observer, while the cable is supported by several smaller kites. There is believed to be some official interest. [1]

  • 22 November 1901 (Dayton, Ohio) — The Wright Brothers began wind tunnel experiments in Dayton, Ohio, to optimize the wing design of what will become their 1902 glider. During their experiments which will last into December, they will in essence develop the modern understanding of aerodynamics. [3]

December 1901

  • 3 December 1901 (London, England) — The British experimenter Sir Hiram Maxim addresses a meeting of the Aeronautical Society on the subject of “aerial navigation by bodies heavier than air”. He argues that a practical airplane will be developed and will be used for “military purposes.” [1]

  • 7 December 1901 (Nice, France) — Frenchman makes a brief flight off scaffold. Today, France's top glider experimenter, Captain Ferdinand Ferber of the Artillery Corps, demonstrated a 2-second flight using his new glider, N° 4. Having made a brief run forward from planking on top of a specially constructed 16-foot high wooden scaffolding tower, he dangled beneath the billowing wing as it carried him a distance of 50-feet. Glider N° 4 is based on the configuration of an earlier glider built by the German Otto Lilienthal, but is not so well designed or built. It has wing surface area of 160-ft² and weighs 66-lbs. Ferber intends to use gliders as a stepping-stone to the development of a powered machine. [1]

  • 16 December 1901 (France) — Artillery Captain Ferdinand Ferber argues in an article on heavier-than-air engines in the magazine Auto Vélo for the importance of the gasoline motor. [1]

  • December 1901 (Leeds, England) — Major F.C. Trollope inspects American ex-cowboy Samuel F. Cody's man-carrying kite on behalf of the War Department. [1]

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, 1901 in aviation
  4. Shupek, John (photos and card images), The Skytamer Archive., Whittier, CA

Copyright © 1998-2018 (Our 20th Year) Skytamer Images, Whittier, California