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This Day In Aviation History — May
May Aviation Events & Milestones

May 1

  • 1 May 1928 (USA) — Gulf Air Lines starts six times weekly mail and passenger service between New Orleans and Atlanta, Georgia, 483 miles.

  • 1 May 1928 (USA) — Pitcairn Aviation, Inc., starts six times weekly mail service between New York and Atlanta, Georgia, 769 miles.

  • 1 May 1942 (USSR) — Squadron No. 588 of the Soviet Air Force, an all-woman night-bombing unit equipped with Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes, is formed in the USSR.

  • 1 May 1952 (USA/UK/France) — Trans World Airways (TWA), British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and Air France launch the world's first scheduled tourist-class flights on their transatlantic routes from New York, London and Paris.

  • 1 May 1960 (USSR) — A Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, piloted by United States Air Force Col. Francis Gary Powers, is shot down over the Soviet Union by a surface-to-air missile.

  • 1 May 1963 (USA) — Jacqueline Cochran takes off from Edwards Air Force Base, California, to set a 100-km (62-mile) closed-circuit world speed record for women of 1,203.7 mph in a Lockheed F-104 “Starfighter.”

  • 1 May 1965 (SA) — The Lockheed YF-12A interceptor set nine world records at 2,062 mph at 80,000 feet.

May 2

  • 2-3 May 1911 (Afghanistan) — Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States, is dead, and the United States is in possession of his body.

  • 2-3 May 1923 (USA) — Cross-country non-stop flight by Lts. J. A. Macready and Oakley G. Kelly in Fokker T-2, from New York to San Diego, 2520 miles in 26 hours 50 minutes 3 seconds.

  • 2 May 1925 (USA) — The Douglas C-1 biplane makes its first flight at Santa Monica, California and during the month completes trials at McCook Field.

  • 2-3 May 1928 (USA) — Lt. Royal V. Thomas in Bellanca monoplane “Reliance” makes record solo duration flight at Mitchel Field, New York, 35 hours 25 minutes 8 seconds

  • 2 May 1952 (England/South Africa) — The world's first regularly scheduled, fare-paying, jet passenger service opens with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) De Havilland “Comet 1” flight from London to Johannesburg.

  • 2 May 1958 (France) — Roger Carpentier beats Watkin's two-week-old world altitude record when he flies to 79,452 feet in a Sud-Ouest SO.9050 in Istres, France.

  • 2 May 1966 (England/Scotland) — British European Airways (BEA) opens the first jet service between London Heathrow and Glasgow, using de Havilland DH-106 “Comet 4Bs.”

May 3

  • 3 May 1907 (Austria) — The Wright brothers are elected honorary members of the Vienna Aviation Club, Austria.

  • 3 May 1923 (USA) — United States Air Service Fokker T-2 pilots Lts. Oakley G. Kelly and John A. Macready complete the first non-stop flight across the United States in 26 hours, 50 minutes, 38.4 seconds from Roosevelt Field, Long Island to Wickenburg, Arizona.

  • 3-5 May 1928 (USA) — Lts. Arthur Gavin and Zeus Soucek in Navy PN-12 make record duration flight for seaplanes, 36 hours 1 minute near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • 3 May 1952 (USA) — The first landing at the North Pole is made by Americans Lt. Col. William P. Benedict and Lt. Col. J. O. Fletcher on a ski-and-wheel equipped Air Force Douglas C-47 “Skytrain”.

  • 3 May 1976 (USA) — Pan Am's 747SP Clipper “Liberty Bell” returns after a world record for a round-the-world flight of 1 day, 22 hours, 26 minutes: it took off on May 1 and refueled in Delhi and Tokyo.

May 4

  • 4 May 1911 (USA) — The United States War Department approves a suggestion that S.C. No.1 (the Wright Flyer accepted by the Army August 2, 1909) be put at the disposal of the Smithsonian Institution for exhibition purposes following refurbishment.

  • 4 May 1922 (USA) — Fastest time ever made between Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas, and Pacific Coast negotiated by Lts. James H. Doolittle and Leland S. Andrews, United StatesA.S., 1200 miles being covered in 13 hours and 25 minutes.

  • 4 May 1924 (France) — The first helicopter flight in a closed circle is made in France by Etienne Oehmichen's helicopter No.2. The previous month, it established a world record by flying 1,182 feet (360 meters).

  • 4 May 1927 (USA) — A free balloon reached an unofficial altitude of 42,470 feet.

  • 4 May 1928 (USA) — Ninety machines flown in military maneuvers of U. S. Air Corps at Langley Field, Virginia.

  • 4-9 May 1942 (South Pacific) — Battle of the Coral Sea.

May 5

  • 5 may 1930 (England/Australia) — The first solo flight from England to Australia by a woman is made by British Amy Johnson in a De Havilland D.H.60G “Moth.” She flies from Croydon, England to Darwin, Australia in 19 days.

  • 5 May 1961 (USA) — USAF Air Rescue Service participated in first NASA suborbital flight.

  • 5 May 1961 (USA) — Commander Alan B. Shepard, Jr., United States Navy, becomes the second man to explore space when he rides his Mercury “Freedom 7” capsule, launched by a Redstone missile, to 115 miles above the Earth. It is three weeks since Yuri Gagarin's first manned space flight.

  • 5 May 1968 (USA/England) — The first non-stop Atlantic crossing by an executive jet aircraft is made as a Grumman “Gulfstream II” lands in London, England after completing a 3,500-mile (5,633 km) flight from Teterboro, New Jersey.

May 6

  • 6 May 1896 (USA) — After four years of work and failed flights, Samuel P. Langley succeeds in obtaining good results with his steam-powered, model-size, tandem-wing airplane. His model “No.5” makes a flight of 3,300 feet.

  • 6 May 1908 (USA) — The Wright brothers fly for the first time since 1905, at Kitty Hawk. Wilbur pilots the 1905 “Flyer III,” modified so that the pilot and a passenger can sit erect, on a flight of just over 1,000 feet.

  • 6 May 1912 (USA) — Three Army planes made first group cross-country flight.

  • 6 May 1919 (Canada/USA) — The first commercial flight, from Canada to United States, occurs as a Canadian Curtiss aircraft flies 150 pounds of raw furs from Toronto to Elizabeth, New Jersey. It is not a non-stop flight.

  • 6 May 1937 (USA) — The German dirigible “Hindenburg” explodes and burns on landing approach, killing 36, Lakehurst, New Jersey.

  • 6 May 1941 (USA) — Igor Sikorsky pilots the Sikorsky VS-300 helicopter in Stratford, Connecticut, on a flight of 1 hour, 32 minutes, 26 seconds, a world endurance record for a helicopter.

  • 6 May 1942 (Philippines) — America surrenders in the Philippines.

May 7

  • 7 May 1922 (USA) — 464th Pursuit Squadron, Organized Reserves, 100 acre tract used as flying field at Fort Benjamin Harris, Indiana, dedicated to the memory of Lieutenant Carl Shoen, an Indianapolis boy, who at the time he was shot job in the World War in 1918 was credited with seven enemy planes.

  • 7 May 1936 (England/South Africa) — Amy Mollison lands at Wingfield Aerodrome, Cape Town, South Africa, to set a new record of 3 days, 6 hours, 26 minutes for a flight from England.

  • 7 May 1937 (USA) — The first successful pressurized airplane cabin is achieved in the Lockheed XC-35.

  • 7 May 1958 (USA) — Lockheed F-104A “Starfighter” sets altitude record for aircraft of 91,243 feet.

  • 7 May 1979 (France) — Air France is the first airline to operate the Lockheed L-1011-500, a long-range version of the “TriStar” with shorter fuselage, more powerful engines, and improved aerodynamics.

May 8

  • 8-31 May 1919 (USA/England ) — Trans-Atlantic crossing by Lt. Albert C. Read and crew from Rockaway Beach, New York, to Plymouth, England, in NC-4, 53 hours 58 minutes.

  • 8 May 1926 (USA) — The first federal legislation regulating civil aeronautics is passed by the United States Congress. The Air Commerce Act authorizes the Weather Bureau to provide meteorological service over routes designated by the Secretary of Commerce.

  • 8 May 1928 (France) — Monument to Nungesser, Coli and Lindbergh unveiled at Le Bourget airport, Paris.

  • 8-16 May 1928 (France/India) — Capt. Pelletier D'Oisy, in Potez biplane, flies from Paris to Akyab, India.

  • 8 May 1935 (USA) — The United States Commerce Department announces in Washington, D.C. that blind-landing radio equipment developed by a United States Army Air Corps team under Capt. Hegenberger is to be installed at all major airports between New York and Los Angeles.

  • 8 May 1935 (Mexico/USA) — Amelia Earhart makes first non-stop from Mexico City, Mexico, to Newark, New Jersey in 14 hours 19 minutes (Lockheed Vega, Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine.)

  • 8 May 1942 (South Pacific) — Japan suffers first defeat of World War II during the Battle of the Coral Sea.

  • 8 May 1945 (Germany) — Germany surrendered unconditionally.

  • 8 May 1973 (France) — The Airbus A300B prototype makes the type's first fully automatic landing in Toulouse, France.

May 9

  • 9 May 1922 (Cuba/USA) — “Santa Maria,” Aeromarine 11-passenger flying cruiser, arrives in New York from Havana, Cuba, with 9 passengers; 17 hours 35 minutes flying time.

  • 9 May 1926 (Norway/North Pole) — The first airplane flight over the North Pole is made by Americans Lt. Cdr. Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett in a Fokker F-VII/3m. Their total distance from Spitzbergen, Norway is 1,600 miles (2,575 km).

  • 9 May 1932 (USA) — United States Army Air Corps Capt. A. F. Hegenberger has become the first pilot in the world to make a “blind” landing using instruments alone, with no Back-up co-pilot on board in Dayton, Ohio.

  • 9 May 1936 (Germany/USA) — The German airship “Hindenburg” lands at Lakehurst, New Jersey after its first scheduled transatlantic flight.

  • 9 May 1949 (USA) — The Air Force's Republic XF-91, jet-rocket interceptor fighter, successfully completes its first test flight at Muroc Air Force Base, California. The aircraft piloted by Carl Bellinger flew for 40 minutes.

  • 9 May 1983 (USA) — The first all-woman flight crew to fly a round trip across the Atlantic is the Air France C-141 crew from the 18th Military Airlift Squadron, McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey.

May 10

  • 10 May 1919 (England) — The recently formed Avro Transport Company in Manchester opens Britain's first scheduled air service. A fare of four guineas (£4.20) is being charged for the journey of 50 miles. The company is using four of Avro 504K aircraft, modified to carry two passengers.

  • 10 May 1928 (USA) — Air Corps T. C. airship lands on deck of S.S. American Trader near Ambrose Light, New York, transfers cargo and takes off again.

  • 10 May 1935 (USA) — rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd returns to the United States from Second Antarctic Expedition.

  • 10 May 1961 (USA) — A Convair B-58A “Hustler” cruises at a speed of 1,302 mph (2,095 kph) and wins the Blériot trophy, created 30 years ago for the first airplane to maintain a speed of more than 2,000 kph for more than 30 minutes in a closed circuit.

  • 10 May 1972 (Vietnam) — “LineBacker I” offensive of Vietnam War begins.

  • 10 May 1983 (England) — Airspur Helicopters introduces the Westland 30 helicopter into scheduled airline service.

May 11

  • 11 May 1911 (France) — Edouard Niéport, a racing cyclist before he went into aircraft construction, sets a new speed record of 74.4 mph flying his “Nieuport” monoplane powered by a 28-hp engine.

  • 11 May 1918 (France) — AEF received a DH-4, its first American-made airplane.

  • 11 May 1926 (North Pole) — The first airship flight over the North Pole and the first crossing of the Arctic Ocean is made by Roald Amundsen of Norway, Umberto Nobile of Italy, Lincoln Ellsworth of the United States, and their crew in an Italian-built semi-rigid airship, N-1, “Norge”.

  • 11 May 1927 (USA) — Charles Lindbergh lands his new Ryan airplane, the “Spirit of St. Louis,” in St. Louis after a record non-stop overnight flight from San Diego of 14 hours, 25 minutes.

May 12

  • 12 May 1922 (USA) — Boston Airport provided by State of Massachusetts.

  • 12 May 1928 (USA) — Lt. Julian S. Dexter, Air Corps Reserve, completes aerial mapping assignment over Florida Everglades, 3000 square miles photographed in two months; 65 hours flying time.

  • 12 May 1949 (Germany) — The USSR ends its blockade of Berlin, Germany; the Western airlift continues to build up supplies in the city.

  • 12 May 1963 (USA/Australia) — American flyer Betty Miller lands in Brisbane, Australia, to complete the first transpacific flight by a woman; she left Oakland, California, on April 30.

  • 12 May 1964 (USA) — American flyer Joan Merriam Smith lands her Pipe “Apache” to complete the second round-the-world flight by a woman; she took 56 days.

May 13

  • 13 May 1911 (USA) — Lieutenants H. H. Arnold and T. D. Milling become first Wright School Army pilots.

  • 13 May 1922 (Philippines) — Five airplanes from Paranaque Beach, Manila, Philippine Islands, led by Major B. Q. Jones, United StatesA.S., Air Officer of Philippine Department, greets Prince of Wales on arrival at Manila.

  • 13 May 1927 (USA) — Colonial Air Transport offers a sightseeing trip from Teterboro, New Jersey, around New York City for just $8, less than the price of a similar trip in a taxi.

  • 13 May 1940 (USA) — The first successful free flight of a true helicopter is made by Igor I. Sikorsky's single-rotor VS-300.

  • 13 May 1946 (USA) — Federal Aid Airport Bill signed by President Truman.

May 14

  • 14 May 1908 (USA) — The first passenger flies in an airplane. Wilbur Wright takes Charles W. Furnas of Dayton, Ohio on a 28-3/5 seconds flight that covers 600 meters at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

  • 14 May 1909 (England) — Samuel Cody makes the first powered airplane flight of more than one mile in Britain. He flies the British Army Aeroplane No.1 from Laffans Planin to Danger Hill in Hampshire at average height of 30 feet.

  • 14 May 1915 (USA) — The United States Navy contracts with the Connecticut Aircraft Company for its first airship.

  • 14 May 1922 (USA) — 136th Squadron (Observation) Tennessee National Guard holds his first flying meet on Blackwood Field, Nashville, Tennessee.

  • 14 May 1922 (USA) — Aeromarine Airways opens in New York Division flying operations.

  • 14 May 1922 (USA) — Aeromarine flying boat “Mendoza” carries 27 passengers from Keyport, New Jersey to New York and return.

  • 14-28 May 1931 (USA) — Transcontinental autogiro flight by John M. Miller, from Philadelphia to San Diego area.

May 15

  • 15 May 1918 (USA) — The first regular air mail service begins with regular flights between Washington, D.C. and New York City. It is operated by the United States Army Signal Corps.

  • 15 May 1919 (USA) — The United States Post Office Department begins its first air mail service operations between Chicago and Cleveland, later extended to New York and San Francisco. A De Havilland DH-4A is carrying the mail.

  • 15 May 1921 (USA) — Laura Bromwell loops in New York State 199 times in 1 hour, 20 minutes, setting a new women's record for consecutive loops.

  • 15 May 1928 (USA) — National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics holes third annual engineering research conference at Langley Field, Virginia.

  • 15 May 1928 (Philippines) — Sixth Photo Section, Air Corps, completes 3000 square miles aerial mapping of northeast coast Luzon, Philippine Islands.

  • 15 May 1930 (USA) — The first airline stewardess is Ellen Church, a nurse who flies on the Boeing Air Transport flight between San Francisco, California and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

  • 15 May 1935 (USA) — Major E. E. Aldrin makes amphibion speed record for 100 km of 159.781 mph at Newark, New Jersey flying a Douglas “Dolphin” powered by two Pratt & Whitney “Wasp” engines.

May 16

  • 16 May 1919 (USA) — The first transatlantic flight is made in stages by the United States Navy's Curtis N-4 seaplane flown by Lt. Cdr. A. C. Read and his crew.

  • 16 May 1928 (USA) — Seventy-five Air Corps planes stage combat exhibition with Field Artillery School of Fire at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

  • 16 May 1928 (Panama Canal Zone/USA) — Lt. Robert W.. Douglass, Jr., and Lt. James E. Parker, Air Corps, and two Curtiss pursuit planes land at Bolling Field, Virginia, after 3815 mile flight from Panama Canal Zone.

  • 16 May 1929 (USA) — At the first Academy Award ceremonies in Los Angeles, the Oscar for Best Picture for 1927-1928 goes to the Paramount movie “Wings.” This World War I flying epic remains a classic today.

  • 16-17 May 1935 (USA) — D. W. Tomlinson and J. S. Bartels May 14 speed records for airplanes at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York flying a Douglas DC-1 powered by 2 Wright “Cyclone” engines.

  • 16 May 1949 (USA) — The Douglas D-558-2 “Skyrocket,” jet-rocket special research plane, flies under dual rocket power. After exhausting its rocket fuel, the aircraft continued on a routine research flight under its jet power.

  • 16 May 1955 (USA) — “USAF” markings approved for use on aircraft wings.

  • 16 May 1968 (USA/England) — A British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) “Super VC-10” on a routine service from Chicago and Montreal makes the airline's first fully automatic approach and landing in London.

May 17

  • 17 May 1900 (USA) — French-born gliding pioneer Octave Chanute replies to a letter from the Wright brothers. He recommends they study gliding tests carried out by a number of innovators, including Louis-Pierre Mouillard and Percy Pilcher.

  • 17 May 1919 (USA) — The War Department in Washington, D.C. orders the use of the national insignia on all United States military aircraft.

  • 17 May 1928 (South Africa/England) — Lady Mary Heath in Avro “Avian” powered by a Cirrus engine, lands at Croydon, London, completing a solo flight from Cape Town, South Africa, starting February 12.

  • 17 May 1997 (USA) — The first flight of the McDonnell Douglas X-36 tailless fighter technology demonstrator, power for which is provided by a 700 lb. s.t. Williams International F112 turbofan. The fighter takes off from Edwards AFB, California.

May 18

  • 18 May 1907 (USA/England/France/Russia) — Wilbur Wright sails for Europe to discuss the sale of his “Flyer III” in London, Paris, Moscow and Berlin.

  • 18 May 1910 (France) — International talks open in Paris to draw up a legal basis for flight between countries.

  • 18 May 1918 (France) — American day bombardment aviation begins at Amenty Aerodrome, France.

  • 18 May 1935 (USA) — D. W. Tomlinson and J. S. Bartels make eight speed records for airplanes at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York flying a Douglas DC-1 powered by 2 Wright “Cyclone” engines.)

  • 18 May 1949 (USA) — The city's first heliport, built on Pier 41 by the Hudson River, opens in New York City.

  • 18 May 1953 (USA) — American Jacqueline Cochran becomes the first woman to fly faster than the speed of sound while flying a Canadian-built North American F-86 “Sabre.” On the same day, she sets the world speed record for women at 652 mph (1,049 km/h).

  • 18 May 1966 (USA) — The first round-the-world solo flight by a woman is made by British pilot Sheila Scott. She flies 29,000 miles (46,670 km) in stages in her Piper Comanche “Myth Too.”

  • 18 May 1983 (USA) — American Airlines carries its 500,000,000th passenger.

May 19

  • 19 May 1919 (USA) — M/Sgt R. W. Bottriell made first free Back-type parachute jump.

  • 19 May 1928 (USA) — Major Charles A. Lutz wins the Curtiss Marine Trophy Race at Washington, D.C., flying Curtiss “Hawk,” Curtiss D-12 engine, over 100 mile course at 157.6 mph.

  • 19 May 1934 (Russia) — The first flight of the Russian Tupolev Ant-20 “Maxim Gorki,” at this time the largest aircraft in the world. Powered by eight engines, capable of carrying 80 passengers, it is used mainly as a mobile propaganda office.

  • 19 May 1935 (France) — Third annual Deutsch de la Meurthe Cup Race won by Raymond Delmotte at 275.8 mph. (Caudron C.460, Renault engine.)

  • 19 May 1949 (USA) — The United States Navy flying boat “Marshall Mars” lands after flying from Alameda, near San Francisco, with a record 301 passengers.

  • 19 May 1959 (USA) — The first Boeing 707-436 “Intercontinental,” destined for British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) makes its maiden flight, landing at Boeing Field, Seattle, after 1 hour, 11 minutes in the air. BOAC ordered 15 “Intercontinentals” in 1956.

May 20

  • 20 May 1784 (France) — The first women to ascend in a tethered balloon are the Marchioness de Montalembert, the Contess de Montalenbert, the Contess de Podenas, and Mademoiselle de Ligarde. Their Montgolfier balloon lifts to the length of the restraining rope.

  • 20 May 1918 (USA) — Army aeronautics severed from Signal Corps; two departments created: Bureau of Military Aeronautics and Bureau of Aircraft Production.

  • 20 May 1926 (USA) — Air Commerce Act (Bingham- Parker Bill) signed by President Coolidge; Aeronautics Branch, Department of Commerce, established.

  • 20 May 1927 (USA/France) — The first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic is made by Charles A. Lindbergh. In his Ryan monoplane “Spirit of St. Louis,” he covers 3,600 miles in 33 hours, 29 minutes and wins the Orteig Prize of $25,000.

  • 20 May 1929 (USA) — Charles Lindbergh marries Anne, daughter of Dwight W. Morrow, United States Ambassador to Mexico and author of an influential report on American aviation.

  • 20 May 1930 (USA) — Dirigible-launched Vought observation plane, flown by Lt. Commander Charles A. Nicholson from United StatesS. Los Angeles to United StatesS. Saratoga, Lakehurst, New Jersey

  • 20 May 1932 (Canada/Northern Ireland) — The first solo flight by a woman pilot across the Atlantic is made by American Amelia Earhart. She flies from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland to Londonderry, Northern Ireland in a Lockheed “Vega” monoplane in 13 hours, 30 minutes.

  • 20-21 May 1935 (Gambia/Brazil) — Juan I. Pombo flies from Bathurst, Gambia, Africa to Natal, Brazil, in 16 hours 55 minutes. (British Aircraft “Eagle”, De Havilland “Gipsy Major” engine.)

  • 20 May to 3 July 1937 (South Pacific) — Amelia Earhart Putnam and Fred Noonan lost in Pacific in round-the-world attempt.

  • 20 May 1939 (USA/Portugal/France) — North Atlantic airmail service begun by PAA between Port Washington, Long Island, the Azores, Portugal and Marseille, France.

  • 20 May 1945 (China) — Japanese begin withdrawal from China.

  • 20 May 1951 (Korea) — Capt. James Jabara became the first USAF jet ace.

May 21

  • 21 May 1878 (USA) — Glenn Hammond Curtiss, pioneer of the first years of powered flight and rival of the Wright brothers, is born in Hammondsport, New York.

  • 21 May 1922 (USA) — Flying Circuit for the benefit of the Army Relief Fund held at Crissy Field, San Francisco, California, by Army Air Service personnel

  • 21 May 1935 (USA) — Langley Medal for Aerodromics awarded by Smithsonian Institution to Dr. Joseph S. Ames for the work of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

  • 21 May 1946 (Netherlands/USA) — Royal Dutch Airlines, KLM, inaugurates a scheduled service to New York. It is the first European airline to open post-war flights to New York.

  • 21 May 1956 (South Pacific) — First known airborne hydrogen bomb exploded over Bikini Atoll.

  • 21 May 1977 (USA/France) — The Concorde makes a special trip from New York to Paris to mark the 50th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's historic flight on the same route in the “Spirit of St. Louis.” The airliner takes just 3 hours, 44 minutes, compared with Lindbergh's time of 33 hours, 29 minutes.

May 22

  • 22 May 1906 (USA) — The Wright brothers are granted United States patent No. 821,393 for their airplane control system.

  • 22 May 1929 (USA/Panama) — Pan American Airways inaugurates a new passenger service from Miami, Florida to Managua, Panama with stops at Belize. The journey by a Fokker F.VII/3m takes 56 hours.

  • 22 May 1961 (USA) — General Curtis LeMay announced as new USAF Chief of Staff.

  • 22 May 1990 (Germany) — The German Luftwaffe flies the Lockheed F-104 “Starfighter” for the last time before it is withdrawn from service. The airplane was nicknamed the “Widow-Maker” because of its terrible safety record. In its five years of service, 110 “Starfighter” pilots were killed.

May 23

  • 23 May 1848 (Germany) — Otto Lilienthal, key figure in the history of flying, is born in Anklam, Germany. He became the first man to fly (glide) with both regularity and control. The Wright brothers regarded his 1899 book as their bible.

  • 23 May 1908 (Italy) — The first airplane flight in Italy is made by Léon Delagrange in Rome.

  • 23 May 1922 (USA) — Three DH-4-B airplanes from Mitchell Field, Long Island, New York, bomb New York with 20,000 paper bombs, advertising Citizens' Military Training Camps.

  • 23 May 1924 (Canada) — The first scheduled air service in Canada begins. Laurentide Air Service Ltd. offers flights between Angliers, Lake Fortune and Rouyn, Québec.

  • 23 May 1940 (USA) — 320 Army aircraft participated in the first simulated European combat operations.

  • 23 May 1955 (France) — The first short-haul jet airliner to go into widespread service, the Sud-Aviation SE 210 “Caravelle,” makes its first flight at Toulouse, France.

May 24

  • 24 May 1918 (USA) — United States Army Air Service organized.

  • 24 May 1922 (USA) — Master Sgt. Chester W. Kolinsky, 90th Squadron, at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas, makes parachute jump from altitude of 10,600 feet.

  • 24-25 May 1928 (USA/Mexico) — Capt. Emilo Carranza, Mexican Army, in Ryan monoplane flies from San Diego, California to Mexico City, 1575 miles in 18 hours 20 minutes.

  • 24 May 1939 (England) — The English Imperial Airways Short Seaplane “Cabot” is successfully refueled in mid-air by a Handley Page bomber modified to carry 891 gallons of aviation fuel.

  • 24 May 1976 (USA) — Two Concorde supersonic airliners — one in British Airways colors, the other in those of Air France — land at Washington's Dulles International Airport. They are the first Concordes to visit the United States.

  • 24 May 1982 (Egypt/England) — British Airways retires the Boeing 707. Its last scheduled flight is from Cairo to Heathrow.

May 25

  • 25 May 1905 (France) — Ferdinand Ferber makes his first aerial tests in Chalais-Meodon, France with his “No.6 bis” glider fitted with a 12-hp Peugeot motor.

  • 25 May 1910 (USA) — Orville Wright takes his 82-year-old father for his first airplane ride. Also on this day, Wilbur and Orville fly together for the only time in a six-and-one-half minute flight at Simms Station, near Dayton, Ohio.

  • 25 May 1913 (USA) — Issuance of G.O. No. 39, provided that Army officers who qualified as Military Aviators received a Military Aviator's Certificate and badge. Twenty-four officers qualified.

  • 25 May 1928 (Norway ) — Italian semi-rigid airship “Italia” wrecked near Spitsbergen after flight over North Pole. Some survivors later rescued including Gen. Umberto Nobile, head of expedition. Others either lost on ice or carried off on wrecked ship.

  • 25-26 May 1928 (USA) — Lts. Zeus Soucek and Lisle V. Maxson, in U. S. Navy PN-12 seaplane powered by twin Pratt & Whitney 525-hp “Hornet” engines, make a record duration flight for seaplanes carrying 1,000-kg load, 17 hours 55 minutes 13 seconds.

  • 25-28 May 1931 (USA) — A World endurance record for non-refueled flight is set over Jacksonville, Florida by Walter E. Lees and F. A. Brossi flying a Bellanca powered by a Packard Diesel 225-hp. The time is 85 hours 32 minutes 38 seconds.

  • 25 May 1935 (England) — Empire Air Day celebrated at Royal Air Force stations in England.

  • 25 May 1945 (USA) — “Operation Olympic” approved — Invasion of Japan — scheduled for 1 November 1945.

  • 25 May 1999 (France) — The first flight of Airbus A319-133X ACJ (Airbus Corporate Jet), an airliner-sized business jet takes place.

May 26

  • 26 May 1922 (USA) — Major Rory S. Geiger, USMC, flies from Quantico, Virginia, to Pensacola, Florida, 952 miles in 11 hours 15 minutes.

  • 26 May 1923 (USA/Canada) — Lieutenant H. G. Crocker lands at Gordon, Ontario, to complete a non-stop transcontinental south/north flight from Houston, Texas, of 11 hours, 55 minutes.

  • 25 May 1927 (USA) — Outside loop demonstrated by Lt. James H. Doolittle.

  • 26 May 1928 (USA) — Western Air Express starts daily passenger and express service between Los Angeles and San Francisco, 378 miles.

  • 26 May 1942 (USA) — The Northrop XP-61 “Black Widow” night fighter prototype flies for the first time.

  • 26 May 1953 (USA) — the North American Aviation YF-100 “Super Sabre” exceeds Mach 1 on its initial flight.

  • 26 May 1970 (Russia) — The prototype Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic airliner reaches a speed of 1,335 mph, becoming the first commercial transport in the world to exceed Mach 2.

  • 26 May 1972 (USA) — Cessna Aircraft Corporation announces completion of the company's 100,000th aircraft, becoming the first company in the world to achieve such a production figure.

May 27

  • 27 May 1877 (Japan) — A major milestone in Japanese aviation history is accomplished with the first flight of a military balloon. It has a capacity of 14,000 ft³ and is inflated with coal gas.

  • 27 May 1920 (USA) — The GAX Twin-engine triplane armed with 6 machine guns and 37 mm cannon tested.

  • 27 May 1924 (France) — Adrienne Bolland wins the women's record for looping from Laura Bromwell, performing the feat 212 times in 1 hour, 1 minute in her Caudron 127 in Paris.

  • 27 May 1931 (USA) — A full-scale wind tunnel goes into operation at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Laboratory at Langley Field, Virginia.

  • 27 May 1961 (England/France) — The first crossing of the English Channel by a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft is made by the Short SC.1, which is flown by A. Roberts from England to Paris for the Paris Air Show.

May 28

  • 28 May 1912 (USA) — Capt. Charles de Forest Chandler, commanding officer of the United States Signal Corps Aviation School at College Park, Maryland, receives War Department form no. 395 AGO, dated February 2, 1912, which was the first document on United States aviation medicine. It dictates that “all candidates for aviation only shall be subject to a vigorous physical examination to determine their fitness for duty.”

  • 28 May 1913 (USA) — A two-man duration and distance record of 4 hours 22 minutes covering 220 miles was set.

  • 28 May 1914 (USA) — Glenn Curtiss successfully flies the refurbished Langley “Aerodrome” for a distance of approximately 150 ft. at Keuka Lake, Hammondsport, New York.

  • 28 May 1920 (USA) — The first Lewis & Vought VE-7 (Vought Experimental No.7) is delivered to the United States Navy.

May 29

  • 29 May 1908 (France) — The first passenger flight in Europe occurs as Henri Farman takes up Ernest Archdeacon for a brief flight at Issy-les-Moulineaux, France.

  • 29 May to 6 June 1922 (USA/Canada) — Chicago Tribune's Curtiss “Seagull” makes flight from Long Island for timber patrol service beyond Québec.

  • 29 May 1925 (England/Switzerland/England) — Alan Cobham lands the prototype de Havilland D.H.60 “Moth” after flying 1,000 miles to Zurich, Switzerland and Back to Croydon, England in a single day.

  • 29 May 1934 (USA) — The Collier trophy for the year's outstanding aviation achievement is awarded in Washington, D.C. to Hamilton Standard Propeller Company for the development of the controllable-pitch propeller.

  • 29 May 1940 (USA) — Chance Vought XF4U-1 “Corsair” prototype first flight.

  • 29 May 1946 (USA) — Air Rescue Service organized and assigned to Air Transport Command.

  • 29 May 1951 (Norway/USA) — Capt. Charles Blair lands in his North American F-51 “Mustang” after making the first solo flight across the North Pole in a single-engine aircraft, from Bardufoss, Norway to Fairbanks, Alaska, covering 3,375 miles in 10 hours, 29 minutes.

May 30

  • 30 May 1908 (France) — The first European flight of over 15 minutes takes place. Léon Delagrange flies his Voisin-Delagrange in France.

  • 30 May 1912 (USA) — Wilbur Wright dies of typhoid fever at the early age of 45. His death marks the end of his extraordinary partnership with his brother Orville, which culminated in 1903 with the first true powered flight in history.

  • 30 May 1922 (USA) — Flying Club of Baltimore holds annual meet.

  • 30 May 1928 (USA) — Capt. W. E. Kepner and Lt. W. O. Eareckson, Army Air Corps, win the National Elimination Balloon Race, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Weems, Virginia, 261.5 miles in twelve hours.

  • 30 May 1941 (USA) — Major General George H. Brett appointed Chief of Air Corps.

  • 30 May 1949 (England) — The first use of a Martin-Baker ejection seat in a genuine emergency occurs when pilot J. O. Lancaster ejects himself from the Armstrong Whitworth “Flying Wing” jet airplane. The seat worked perfectly well.

May 31

  • 31 May 1862 (USA) — Information obtained from Thadeus S. C. Lowe's balloon observation saves Union forces from defeat at the Battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia during the U. S. Civil War. Union General George McClellan is warned by Lowe of Confederate General Albert Johnston's approaching troops.

  • 31 May 1922 (USA) — Major Oscar Westover, United StatesA.S. with 1st Lt. Carlton F. Bond as aide, wins first place in the National Balloon Race from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 866.5 miles; H. E. Honeywell, 553.4 miles, second, and Lt. W. F. Reed, Navy, 431 miles, third.

  • 31 May 1928 (USA/Australia) — The first airplane flight across the Pacific is made by British Capt. Charles Kingsford-Smith and crew in a Fokker F-VIIB/3m. They fly from Oakland Field, California to Brisbane, Australia, 7,389 miles (11,890 km), in 83 hours, 38 minutes. On the way, it becomes the first airplane to land in Fiji.

  • 31 May 1928 (England) — Sir Alan and Lady Cobham land at Plymouth, England, completing 20,000 mile flight around Africa in Short flying boat, twin Rolls-Royce engines.

  • 31 May to 2 June 1928 (Italy) — Maj. Arturo Ferrarin and Maj. Carlo del Prete in Savoia-Marchetti monoplane, 550 hp Fiat engine, make record closed-circuit flight near Rome, 4763.7 miles in 51 hours 59 minutes.

  • 31 May to 10 June 1928 (USA/Australia) — Capt. Charles E. Kingsford-Smith, Capt. C. T. P. Ulm, pilots, Lt. Cmdr. Harry W. Lyon, navigator, and James Warner, radio operator, in Fokker tri-motored Wright “Whirlwind” monoplane, “Southern Cross” fly from Oakland, California to Brisbane, Australia, first trans-Pacific flight, stopping at Honolulu, Fiji Islands and Brisbane, 7400 miles in 83 hours 15 minutes flying time.

  • 31 May 1932 (USA) — New distance and duration record set for balloons of 35,000 cubic feet.

  • 31 May 1995 (USA) — The first flight of the Schweizer RU-38A “Twin Condor” long-range surveillance aircraft takes place in Elmira, New York.


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