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

1 October

  • 1 October 1861 (USA) — The United States Army Balloon Corps, consisting of five balloons and fifty men, is formed.

  • 1 October 1890 (USA) — President Harrison approves legislation creating the Weather Bureau and re-establishing the Signal Corps which is charged with the collection and transmission of information, among other duties. Military aeronautics is then considered as among such means, and Army aeronautics is revived.

  • 1 October 1906 (USA) — United States Army Lieutenant Frank Lahm wins the first Gordon Bennett international balloon race.

  • 1 October 1907 (USA) — The Aerial Experiment Association is formed by Dr A. Graham Bell, F.W. Baldwin, J.A.D. McCurdy, Glenn H. Curtiss and Thomas E. Selfridge.

  • 1 October 1912 (Germany) — The Military Aviation Service is founded in Germany.

  • 1 October 1921 (USA) — Aerial torpedo plane, radio controlled, is tested, Long Island to Pennsylvania.

  • 1 October 1921 (France) — Georges Kirsch Deutsche de la Meurthe Cup Race at Etampes, France, flying 186 miles, 3 turns, in 69 minutes 55 seconds. His average speed was 173 mph.

  • 1 October 1928 (England) — F. Handley Page, in England, is awarded the Sir Charles Wakefield Gold Medal for designing work in Great Britain towards safety in flying, for development of the automatic slot.

  • 1-16 October 1928 (USA) — The Third New England Aviation Exposition is held in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • 1 October 1947 (USA) — Los Angeles Airways opens the world's first regular airmail service by helicopter, using Sikorsky S-51 machines.

  • 1 October 1957 (USA) — For the first time, USAF military personnel launch an intercontinental missile, a Northrop SM-62 “Snark.”

2 October

  • 2 October 1918 (USA) — The Kettering Bug pilotless airplane being developed by Charles F. Kettering makes its first successful unmanned flight test, albeit for only nine seconds.

  • 2 October 1921 (USA) — US Marine Corps planes complete five days of maneuvers with the East Coast Expeditionary Forces at Wilderness Run, Virginia. They made 204 flights, with total distance flown of 10,500 miles.

  • 2 October 1921 (USA) — A Larsen J.L.-6 armored monoplane with 30 machine guns, was exhibited at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C.

  • 2 October 1934 (USA) — General Headquarters Air Force, directly under command of the Chief of Staff, United States Army, is established.

  • 2 October 1939 (USA) — The Moffett Memorial Trophy for best safety record in 1939 is won by the aviation unit of the battleship USS Tennessee.

  • 2 October 1942 USA) — The Bell P-59A “Airacomet&rdquo, made the first flight of a United States turbojet aircraft.

3 October

  • 3 October 1785 (Germany) — Jean-Pierre Blanchard makes the first manned balloon ascent in Germany.

  • 3 October 1907 (USA) — A record altitude of 23,110 feet is set by a United States Weather Bureau meteorological kite.

  • 3-6 October 1928 (USA) — Air Meet and Aircraft Show held at Albany, New York.

  • 3 October 1967 (USA) — Major William J. Knight pilots the North American Aviation X-15 to a speed record of 4,534 mph.

4 October

  • 4 October 1784 (England) — James Sadler becomes the first British Aeronaut when he makes a flight in a Montgolfier-type balloon with a 170-foot circumference

  • 4 October 1909 (USA) — More than a million New Yorkers watch as Wilbur Wright makes a flight along the Hudson River.

  • 4-5 October 1928 (USA) — First Aeronautical Safety Conference held in New York under the auspices of the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for Promotion of Aeronautics.

  • 4 October 1942 (USA) — An entire field artillery battery is dropped from a Fairchild C-82 “Packet” by parachute.

  • 4 October 1957 (USA) — Russia launches the first Earth satellite. The 184-lb. “Sputnik” attains an orbital velocity of 5 miles per second.

  • 4 October 1958 (England) — Britain's national overseas airline BOAC becomes the first carrier to fly the Atlantic route by jet airliner.

5 October

  • 5 October 1751 (Italy) — Italian Andrea Grimaldi, exhibits a flying carriage. The machine, which remains untested, has a complex structure and a wingspan of 22 feet.

  • 5 October 1905 (USA) — Wilbur Wright in the “Flyer II” makes the first flight of over a half-an-hour at Simms Station, Ohio.

  • 5 October 1907 (England) — The first British Army dirigible airship, the Nullis Secundus, makes a spectacular flight over the capital city of London.

  • 5 October 1914 (France) — A German Aviatik becomes the first aircraft to be shot down in a dogfight by a French Army-owned Voisin airplane.

  • 5 October 1928 (Czechoslovakia/Russia) — Capt. A. Vicherek of Czechoslovakia in an Avia monoplane, 60 hp Walter engine, makes a nonstop flight from Prague to Bednodernjanovsk, Russia. The distance covered is 1,246 miles.

  • 5 October 1928 (USA) — The United States Navy Department orders two rigid airships to be built by the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation.

  • 5 October 1965 (USA) — The United States Air Force made its first successful launch of an orbiting satellite.

6 October

  • 6 October 1908 (France) — Wilbur Wright and a French writer make the first passenger flight of over one hour.

  • 6 October 1913 (USA) — The first Military Aviator badges are awarded.

  • 6 October 1922 (USA) — Lieutenants John Macready and O.G. Kelly set a new world flight endurance record, staying aloft in their Fokker T-2 monoplane for a total of 35 hours, 18 minutes and 30 seconds.

  • 6 October 1928 (USA) — Air Meet at Wilmington, Delaware.

7 October

  • 7 October 1873 (USA) — Unsuccessful trans-Atlantic flight by W.H. Donaldson, Alfred Ford and George A. Lunt in balloon Graphic from Brooklyn, New York, to New Canaan, Connecticut,

  • 7 October 1909 (USA) — Glenn Curtiss becomes the first American to hold an FAI airplane certificate.

  • 7 October 1943 (Wake Island) -Japanese execute approximately 100 American POWs on Wake Island.

  • 7 October 1949 (USA) — United States Air Force officials reported immediate availability of atomic bombs if use ordered.

  • 7 October 1957 (USA) — Igor Sikorsky receives the Annual Meritorious Award of National Business Aircraft Association in recognition of his pioneering in: multi-engine aircraft, trans Ocean flying-boats and helicopters.

8 October

  • 8 October 1883 (France) — French brothers Albert and Gaston Tissandier make the first flight with an airship powered by electricity.

  • 8-28 October 1928 (Germany) — International Aeronautical Exposition held in Berlin, Germany.

  • 8 October 1940 (England) — The Royal Air Force announces formation of the first Eagle Squadron composed of United States volunteer pilots.

9 October

  • 9 October 1890 (France) — The first full-sized manned airplane to leave the ground under its own power is Frenchman Clement Ader's steam-powered, propeller-driven aircraft.

  • 9 October 1893 (USA) — The Chief Signal Officer, General Greely reports the purchase of a Lachambre balloon for the Signal Corps. First ascents are made at the Chicago exposition from October 31, 1893.

  • 9 October 1900 (France) — French Aeronaut Count Henri de La Vaulx sets a world record for non-stop long-distance balloon flight. He flies for over 35 hours after taking off from Paris, France.

  • 9 October 1918 (France) — More than 250 bombers and 100 pursuit planes attack enemy forces in France.

  • 9 October 1921 (USA) — A Loening Monoplane “Flying Yacht” flies 188 miles and 80 minutes, from Aberdeen, Maryland, to Port Washington, New York

  • 9 October 1934 (USA) — Gold-Medal of the Fédération Aéronautic Internationale is presented to Wiley Post.

  • 9-11 October 1934 (USA) — Thirty-fourth annual congress of the Fédération Aéronautic Internationale is held in Washington, D.C.

10 October

  • 10 October 1892 (USA) — The balloon section is being organized with each telegraph train by Chief Signal Officer, General A.W. Greely, who anticipates military airships and airplanes.

  • 10 October 1898 (USA) — Augustus Herring pilots a powered biplane based on Octave Chanute's glider design.

  • 10 October 1907 (France) — Robert Esnault-Pelterie makes the first airplane flight with a control stick, using a single, broom handle-like lever.

  • 10 October 1928 (USA) — Capt. William E. Kepner and fifteen officers and enlisted men in Air Corps semi-rigid airship RS-1 land at Brooks Field, Texas, after an 11 hour flight of 1,000 miles from Scott Field, Illinois.

  • 10 October 1928 (USA) — The last contingent of the Byrd South Pole Expedition sails from San Pedro, California.

  • 10 October 1928 (USA) — Capt. St. Clair Streett and Capt. Albert W. Stevens , Air Corps, at Dayton, Ohio, make a record two-man altitude flight of 37,854 feet, only 564 feet less than official world record single occupant flight.

  • 10 October 1947 (USA) — The United States Patent Office issued a patent on the Norton bombsight applied for 17 years earlier.

  • 10 October 1957 (USA) — President Eisenhower announces that the United States will attempt to launch a four-pound “test” satellite in December.

  • 10 October 1957 (USA) — Lockheed aircraft Corporation and the United States Air Force release first details of the new Q-5 supersonic target missile now in the flight-test stage. The drone missile is a ramjet powered and reportedly travels at more than twice the speed of sound.

11 October

  • 11 October 1910 (USA) — President Teddy Roosevelt becomes the first United States President to fly when he is taken up in St. Louis.

  • 11 October 1921 (USA) — Lieutenant Howard K. Ramey, USAS, in a DH-4B makes a record flight from Washington, D.C., New York City, a distance of 220 miles, in 79 minutes.

  • 11-15 October 1928 (Germany/USA) — The German Zeppelin, Graf Zeppelin, with a crew of 40 and 20 passengers makes voyage from Friedrichshafen, Germany , to Lakehurst , New Jersey , detouring via the Mediterranean and Bermuda to avoid storms , 111½ hours cruising time.

  • 11 October 1957 (USA) — Arthur E. Raymond, Vice President Engineering, Douglas Aircraft Company, receives the 1957 Daniel Guggenheim Metal “ for notable achievements in the advancement of Aeronautics.”

  • 11 October 1958 (USA) — The USAF launched “Pioneer I” lunar probe attaining a height of approximately 80,000 miles.

12 October

  • 12 October 1918 (France) — The first night air pursuit operations by American pilots in France commences.

  • 12 October 1976 (USA) — The NASA/United States Army rotor systems research aircraft produced by Sikorsky as the S-72 makes its first flight.

  • 12 October 1939 (USA) — Harry B. Chapman, flying an Aeronca seaplane, powered with a Continental 65-hp engine, establishes a world distance record for light seaplanes with a 1,163.8 mile flight from Jamaica Bay, New York, non-stop to New Orleans, Louisiana. The former record was 898 miles, held by Dewey Eldred, set in January of 1939, in a Taylorcraft, powered by a 50-hp Lycoming engine, during a flight from Port Washington, New York to Daytona, Florida.

13 October

  • 13 October 1860 (USA) — Successful aerial photos taken by William Black from a balloon, Boston, Massachusetts.

  • 13 October 1922 (USA) — Liberty Engine Builder's Trophy Race won by a speed of 128.8 mph.

  • 13 October 1931 (USA) — Canadian pilot Godfrey Dean performs the first loop in an autogiro, at Willow Field, near Philadelphia.

14 October

  • 14 October 1921 (USA) — Loening Monoplane “Flying Yacht,” during an efficiency contest held by the Aero Club of America, establishes a new seaplane efficiency record, making six round trips between Port Washington and New London, in 5 hours 33 minutes, with 24 passengers carried in all, at a total cost of operation of $65.

  • 14 October 1947 (USA) — Capt. Charles “Chuck” Yeager becomes the first person to fly faster than sound. Yeager “breaks the sound barrier” in his Bell X-1 airplane, “Glamorous Glennis,” named after his wife. He was able to reach 670-mph or Mach 1.015 at Muroc Dry Lake, California.

15 October

  • 15 October 1783 (France) — The first man to ascend in a tethered balloon is French scientist Jean Pilatre de Rozier. His hot-air Montgolfier balloon ascends to 84 feet — the length of the rope holding the balloon.

  • 15 October 1913 (France) — Lieutenant Ronin makes the first official airmail flight in France.

  • 15 October 1927 (France/Brazil) — Capt. Dieudonne lands in Brazil becoming the first person to fly non-stop across the South Atlantic. The 2,100-mile flight takes just over 18 hours.

  • 15 October 1939 (USA) — New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia dedicates an airport in Flushing bearing his name. La Guardia airport is the costliest to build at the time, $45 million.

  • 15 October 1955 (USA) — Douglas A4D “Skyhawk” sets a new closed course world speed record of 695.163 mph.

  • 15 October 1958 (USA) — The North American Aviation X-15 research aircraft is unveiled.

16 October

  • 16 October 1908 (England) — Samuel Cody becomes the first man to fly in Britain. Flying the British Army Aeroplane N°1, Cody flies for 1,391 feet before crashing.

  • 16 October 1909 (Germany) — German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin forms the world's first commercial airline.

  • 16 October 1910 (France/England) — The first airship crossing of the English Channel is made by the French-built dirigible “Clément-Bayard II.” The 244-mile route is completed in 6 hours.

  • 16 October 1917 (USA) — Final testing is made for the United States Army-designed air-to-air radio communication system with a wireless set. A distance of 25 miles is achieved.

  • 16 October 1921 (USA) — The Aero Club of America holds an Aviation Meet at Curtiss Field, Garden City, New York.

17 October

  • 17 October 1922 (USA) — Lieutenant V.C. Griffin, in a Vought VE-7SF airplane, achieves the first take-off from the USS Langley, America's first operational aircraft carrier.

  • 17 October 1928 (Canada) — Lieutenant Commander H.C. McDonald and in a DeHavilland “Moth,” powered by a “Gipsy” engine, leaves Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, on an Atlantic flight. He was lost at sea.

  • 17 October 1949 (USA) — The first Boeing C-97A “Stratofreighter” is delivered to the Military Air Transport Service.

18 October

  • 18 October 1907 (Netherlands) — Air bombing prohibition signed at second Hague conference.

  • 18 October 1909 (France) — Charles Comte de Lambert, Wilbur Wright's first aviation pupil, flies around the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

  • 18 October 1928 (USA) — Fred Lund in a Sport Waco, Wright engine, makes first out-side loop in a commercial airplane, at Advance Aircraft test field, Troy, Ohio.

  • 18-19 October 1934 (Italy/Eritrea) — Mario Stoppani, Corradina Corrado, and Amadeo Suraion set a seaplane distance record of 2,566.808 miles from Monfalcone, Italy, to Massaua, Eritrea, Africa. (Cant Z-501, Isotta-Fraschini-Asso engine.)

  • 18 October 1984 (USA) — First flight of the North American Rockwell B-1B “ Lancer.”

19 October

  • 19 October 1928 (USA) — Six enlisted men make parachute jumps from separate planes over Brooks Field, Texas, secure machine gun dropped by parachute and begin firing within three minutes after leaving planes.

  • 19 October 1968 (USA) — USAF test pilot Major William "Pete" Knight wins the Harmon international aviator's trophy for "exceptional individual piloting performance".

20 October

  • 20 October 1911 (USA) — The original Wright Army plane delivered to the Smithsonian Institution.

  • 20 October 1920 (France) — Flying his Nieuport Delage, Sadi Lecointe set a world speed record flying at 187.99-mph.

  • 20-22 October 1934 (England/Australia) — C.W.A. Scott and T. Campbell Black fly from the Mildenhall, England, to Darwin, Australia, in 52 hours 30 minutes, setting a new record. (De Havilland Comet, 2 De Havilland Gipsy Six R engines.)

  • 20-23 October 1934 (England/Australia) — MacRobertson International Air Race won by C.W.A. Scott and T. Campbell Black, flying from Mildenhall, England, to Melbourne, Australia, in 70 hours 54 minutes 18 seconds. (DeHavilland Comet, two De Havilland Gypsy Six R engines.)

  • 20 October/4 November 1934 (Australia/USA) — Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith and Capt. P. G. Taylor fly from Brisbane, Australia, to Oakland, California. (Lockheed “Altair,” Pratt & Whitney “Wasp” engine.)

  • 20 October 1944 (Philippines) — United States Army invades Leyte day in the Philippines.

21 October

  • 21 October 1907 (USA) — Second Bennett International Balloon Race, St. Louis, is won by Oscar Erbsloh of Germany.

  • 21 October 1929 (USA) — The Colonial Flying Service and Scully Walton Ambulance Company organize the United State's first civilian air ambulance service.

  • 21 October 1970 (USA) — The Martin X-24A aerospace vehicle makes its first supersonic flight.

22 October

  • 22 October 1797 (France) — The modern parachute is born as Andre-Jacques Garnerin makes the first human parachute descent from the air. Garnerin jumps from a hydrogen balloon at a height of 2,300 feet in Paris.

  • 22 October 1842 (USA) — John Wise proposes to capture Vera Cruz by air.

  • 22 October 1898 (USA) — Augustus Herring pilots a powered biplane based on Octave Chanute's glider design.

  • 22 October 1955 (USA) — The Republic F-105A “Thunderchief“ exceeds the speed of sound on its first flight.

  • 22 October 1957 (USA) — United States Defense Secretary Neil McElroy orders the service secretaries to submit weekly reports to him on their missile programs.

  • 22 October 1957 (USA) — The “Jupiter,” United States Army's intermediate-range ballistic missile, flies his prescribed course and lands in a pre-selected target area.

23 October

  • 23 October 1906 (France) — Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos Dumont makes the first sustained airplane flight in Europe in his own airplane, the N°14 bis.

  • 23 October 1909 (USA) — Lt. Benjamin D. Foulois took his first flying lesson from Wilbur Wright.

  • 23-30 October 1928 (USA) — Aircraft show held at Boston, Massachusetts.

  • 23 October 1934 (USA) — Dr. and Mrs. Jean Piccard ascending to a height of 57,979 feet and a stratosphere balloon, take off from Dearborn, Michigan, and land near Cadiz, Ohio.

  • 23 October 1934 (Italy) — Lieut. Francesco Agello sets a seaplane speed record of 440.681 mph at Desenzano, Italy, (Macchi-Castoldi 72, Fiat AS-6V engine.)

  • 23-26 October 1944 (Leyte Gulf) — Battle of Leyte Gulf.

24 October

  • 24 October 1912 (England) — Harry Hawker wins the British Empire Michelin Cup for endurance. He flies for over 8 hours in a Burgess-Wright airplane.

  • 24 October 1928 (USA) — Capt. C.B.D. Collyer and Harry J. Tucker in a Lockheed Vega plane Yankee Doodle, Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, make a non-stop flight from New York to Los Angeles in 24 hours 51 minutes.

  • 24 October 1957 (USA) — The United States Navy successfully launches its “Vanguard” test vehicle at Patrick AFB, Florida. It was the third of the “Vanguard” tests and consisted of an actual first stage powered by a 27,000-lb thrust General Electric engine, but only dummies second and third stages.

  • 24 October 1964 (USA) — A new rescue message method to snatch personnel from land or sea by aircraft is announced.

25 October

  • 25 October 1939 (England) — The prototype Handley Page “Halifax” (L7244) makes its first flight from RAF Bicester with J.L.B.H. Cordes at the controls.

  • 25 October 1942 (Hong Kong) — American bombers raided Japanese occupied Hong Kong for the first time.

  • 25 October 1944 (Leyte Gulf) — The first suicide air (Kamikaze) attacks occur against United States warships in the Leyte Gulf.

  • 25 October 1957 (USA) — Donald W. Douglas, Jr., is elected president of the Douglas aircraft Company, Inc., succeeding his father, Donald Douglas, Sr., who remains chairman of the board and chief executive officer.

  • 25 October 1957 (USA) — The United States Air Force “Thor” IRBM is launched successfully at Patrick AFB, being its third straight successful launching. The United States Defense Department also reports a successful test of the “Bomarc” market interceptor missile.

26 October

  • 26 October 1907 (France) — Henry Farman flies his Voisin Farman I flying machine just under 2,530 feet, breaking the world distance record.

  • 26 October 1909 (USA) — Lt. F.E. Humphreys becomes the first Army officer to solo the first Army airplane.

  • 26 October 1942 (Santa Cruz) — Battle of Santa Cruz off Guadalcanal between United States and Japanese warships results in the loss of the carrier USS Hornet (CV-8).

27 October

  • 27 October 1909 (USA) — Mrs. Ralph van Denman flies for four minutes with Wilbur Wright at College Park, Maryland, becoming the United States' first female passenger.

  • 27 October/2 November 1934 (Australia/England) — Lieut. Owen Cathcart-Jones and Kenneth H.F. Waller fly from Darwin, Australia, to Lympne, England, in 5 days 15 hours and 23 minutes, setting a new world record. (De Havilland Comet, two De Havilland Gipsy Six R engines.)

  • 27 October 1944 (Philippines) — The 9th Fighter Squadron flew its first mission from the Philippines since 1942.

  • 27 October 1957 (South Pacific) — The United States Air Force reports sending a rocket at least 1,000 miles and perhaps 4,000 miles above the earth at Eniwetok Atoll in “Operation Far Side.”

28 October

  • 28 October 1907 (USA) — Admiral C. M. Chester urges anti-submarine airships and shipboard airplanes at the International Aeronautic Congress.

  • 28-29 October 1907 (USA) — International Aeronautic Congress held in New York City, New York.

  • 28 October 1914 (Australia) — Aviators in Melbourne form an Australian Aero Club.

  • 28 October 1924 (USA) — Army planes broke up cloud formation with electrified sand.

  • 28 October 1957 (USA) — The Boeing Airplane Company rolls out its first production 707 jet transport which is expected to fly in December.

  • 28 October 1957 (USA) — Total employment in the aircraft industry will drop from a peak of 909,100 in April 1957 to about 800,000 monthly average, according to the American Aviation DAILY survey.

  • 28 October 1957 (USA) — The United States Air Force announces that its Bell GAM-63 “Rascal&rdqu; air-to-surface guided missile has hit three thousand-foot diameter target on last four launches.

29 October

  • 29 October 1917 (USA) — An American-built DH-4 flies for the first time.

  • 29 October/1 November 1928 (USA/Germany) — The German airship Graf Zeppelin makes the return flight from the United States to Friedrichshafen Germany, in 71 hours 12 minutes.

  • 29 October 1953 (USA) — A North American Aviation F-100 “Super Sabre” sets a speed record of 755.149 miles mph over a 9.3 mile course.

30 October

  • 30 October 1908 (France) — Henry Farman performs the first cross-country flight in Europe as well as the first flight between two towns.

  • 30 October 1909 (England) — Claude Moore-Brabazon wins a £1,000 prize offered by the Daily Mail for a circular flight of one mile.

  • 30 October 1919 (USA) — Reversible pitch propeller tested.

31 October

  • 31 October 1921 (USA) — United States Navy hydroairplane is launched from catapult.

  • 3 1 October 1921 (USA) — American Legion Flying Meet, during National Convention at Kansas City, Missouri, has 100 planes participating. Curtiss and Larsen J.L-6 planes with passengers fly from New York prior to the events.

  • 31 October 1933 (France) — France's air minister Pierre Cot formally inaugurates the country's national airline, Air France.

  • 31 October 1939 (USA) — The Mackay Army Trophy for 1938 is presented to the 2nd Bombardment Group, Langley Field, Virginia by the Secretary of War, Harry H. Woodring. The trophy was won as a result of the efficient and successful completion of the flight of six Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortresses” from Langley Field, Virginia, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and return during February, 1938.

  • 31 October 1939 (USA/Ecuador) — Comdr. Humberto Gallino And Capt. Victor Gallino, Peruvian brothers, land on Puna Island, Ecuador, in the Gulf of Guayaquil off Ecuador , after flying approximately 3,300 miles, from New York, which they left on 29 October in a Barkley-Grow monoplane , powered by 2 Pratt & Whitney “Wasp Junior” engines. Lack of fuel forced the plane to land short of Lima, Peru, its goal.

  • 31 October 1956 (South Pole) — The US Navy R4D-5 “Skytrain” Que Sera Sera, commanded by Rear Admiral George Dufek, becomes the first airplane to make a landing at the South Pole.

  • 31 October 1968 (USA) — President Johnson orders a halt to bombing of North Vietnam.


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