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

1 September

1 September 1914 (USA) — The first United States tactical air unit, the First Aero Squadron, is organized because of the August outbreak of war in Europe. Based in San Diego, California, the unit has 16 officers, 77 enlisted men, and 8 airplanes.

1 September 1921 (USA) — President Warren Harding authorizes the creation of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics, with Rear Admiral Moffett as its chief.

One September 1928 (Canada/USA) — Montréal, Canada, and New York are linked by airmail and passenger service when Colonial Air Transport starts scheduled operations.

1 September 1923 (Australia) — The Royal Australian Air Force is formed.

1 September 1934 (USA) — Colonel Roscoe Turner flies from Burbank, California, to Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York, in 10 hours 2 minutes 57 seconds, setting a new transcontinental record. (Wendell-Williams, Pratt & Whitney “Hornet” engine.)

1 September 1953 (Belgium/France ) — The first scheduled international helicopter service begins between Belgium and France. The service is operated by Belgian airline Sabena.

1 September 1953 (USA) — The first aerial refueling of a jet aircraft by a jet tanker is made with a Boeing B-47 “Stratojet” by a Boeing KB-47B “Stratojet” tanker.

1 September 1982 (USA) — Air Force Space Command established.

2 September

2 September 1858 (USA) — Samuel King introduces the first drag-line in America. It is a long rope attached to the basket, which helps to stabilize altitude by dragging on the ground when the balloon is flying very low.

2 September 1891 (Canada ) — The first parachute descent by a Canadian woman is made when Nellie Lamount jumps from a hot-air balloon during a fair in Québec.

2 September 1910 (USA ) — Blanche Scott, the first woman pilot in the United States, makes a solo flight at Lake Keuka, Hammondsport.

2 September 1921 (USA) — United States Marine Corps planes locate entire hidden “Moon Shine” village on Atlantic Coast.

2 September 1928 (France) — Maurice Finat in a Caudron, powered by a 40-hp Salmson engine, sets a light airplane duration record in France of 24 hours 36 minutes.

2-6 September 1928 (India/England) — Capt. C.D. Barnard, and Flight Officer E.H. Elliott, flying a Fokker monoplane, powered by a Jupiter engine, fly from Karachi, India to London in 4½ Days.

2 September 1939 (USA) — Frank Fuller, Jr., wins the Bendix Trophy Race with an elapsed time from Burbank, California, to Bendix, New Jersey, in 9 hours, 2 minutes, 5 seconds. By setting records between Burbank and Cleveland, Ohio and between Burbank and Bendix, New Jersey, he wins $12,500. His average speed was 217 mph. He flew a “Wasp” powered Seversky Racer.

2 September 1945 (Japan) — The Japanese sign the surrender documents aboard the battleship USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay. The V-J, Victory over the Pacific, is formally declared.

3 September

3 September 1908 (USA) — Orville Wright makes his first flight at Fort Meyer, Virginia, circling the field one-and-one-half times. During the next two weeks, he conducts a series of 14 long, high, and impressive flights, many of which set new records and are witnessed by government officials.

3 September 1924 (Canada) — Regular airmail service in Canada begins with flights between Ontario and Québec.

3 September 1955 (England) — British Squadron Leader J.S. Fifield in England makes the first successful demonstration of the use of an ejection seat from a moving aircraft while still on the ground. He ejects from a modified Gloster “Meteor 7” that is traveling 120-mph.

3 September 1971 (USA) — New Air Force Museum building at WPAFB, Dayton, Ohio, is dedicated by President Nixon.

4 September

4 September 1888 (Canada) — Edward Hogan in Québec makes the first parachute descents in Canada from a hot-air balloon.

4 September 1922 (USA) — First transcontinental air crossing made within a single day.

4 September 1936 (USA) — Louise Thaden becomes the first woman to win the prestigious coast-to-coast Bendix Trophy Race.

4 September 1945 (Wake Island) — Japanese troops on Wake Island surrender.

5 September

5 September 1908 (France) — The first flight of a full-size triplane, the French “Goupy,” is made. Built by Ambroise Goupy, it has three sets of wings; each stacked above the others and is powered by 50-hp Renault engine.

5 September 1921 (Italy) — Sadi Lecointe wins aviation Grand Prix at Brescia, Italy, 186.41 miles in one hour 13 minutes 19 seconds.

5 September 1923 (USA) — Two condemned naval vessels sunk by Army bombing tests.

5 September 1928 (France) — M. Laurent Eynac becomes the head of the new separate Ministry of Aviation in France.

  • 5 September/20 October 1928 (Portugal/Portuguese East Africa) — Capt. Pais Ramos, Lt. Viegas and Lt. Esteves of Portugal fly from Lisbon to Portuguese East Africa in two Vickers “Valparaiso” airplanes.

    5 September 1939 (USA) — Colonel Roscoe Turner wins the 300-mile Thompson Trophy Race at the National Air Races at Cleveland, Ohio. Turner's speed was 282.536 mph in a Turner-Laird Racer powered by a “Twin Wasp” engine. This was Turner's third triumph who announced his retirement from racing.

    6 September

    6 September 1900 (USA) — Wilbur Wright leaves Dayton for Kitty Hawk, arriving in Elizabeth City on September 11 by boat and arrives at Kitty Hawk on September 13.

    6 September 1916 (USA) — First fragmentation bomb tested.

    6 September 1921 (Germany) — Martens in Germany makes a new gliding record with a motor-less plane, remaining aloft 15 minutes, 40 seconds.

  • 6-7 September 1938 (USA/Hawaii) — Seventeen U.S. Navy planes make mass flight from San Diego, California to Hawaii, 2,570 miles in 17 hours 21 minutes (Consolidated PBY, 2 Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engines.)

    7 September

    7 September 1904 (USA) — The Wright Brothers first use their weight-and-derrick-assisted take-off device in order to make themselves independent of the wind and weather. When the heavy weight is released, the rope pulls the aircraft, which sits on a flatbed truck, over the launching track, thus assisting its take-off.

    7 September 1909 (USA) — The United States Army's first “Aerodrome,” an airfield or airport, is established in College Park, Maryland.

    7 September 1956 (USA) — New manned flight altitude record of 125,200 feet set by Capt. I.C. Kincheloe.

    8 September

    8 September 1856 (Canada) — The first Canadians to fly are A.E. Kierzkowski and A.X. Rambau, who fly in Eugene Godard's balloon.

    8 September 1928 (USA) — Seventy-six of the 260 graduates at West Point choose Air Corps as their branch of service and are assigned to Brooks Field, Texas, for primary flying training.

    8-16 September 1928 (USA) — An average of 28,000 persons a day attend the National Air Races and Exposition at Los Angeles California.

    8-16 September 1928 (USA) — Five national aeronautical conventions are held in Los Angeles and connection with the National Air Races, including Commercial Airplane Manufacturers Section of Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce, Society of Automotive Engineers, National Aeronautical Association, National Airport Executives and California Development Association's Aviation Conference.

    8 September 1945 (Japan) — General MacArthur enters Tokyo.

    8 September 1962 (USA) — First “Atlas-F” operational missile squadron installed at Schilling AFB, Kansas.

    9 September

    9 September 1830 (USA) — Charles Durant, America's first great balloonist, makes his first United States ascent at Castle Garden, New York. He stays in the air for two hours, landing at South Amboy, New Jersey. His skill and enthusiasm inspire a passion for ballooning in America.

    9 September 1911 (England) — The first mail carried by air in the United Kingdom is delivered. The mail contains messages for King George V and other members of the British Royal family.

    9 September 1921 (USA) -Benedict Crowell elected President Aero Club of America, succeeding Myron T. Herrick; H.E. Hartney elected Executive Secretary, succeeding Maurice G. Cleary.

    9 September 1967 (USA) — Sgt. Duane D. Hackney became the first living enlisted man to receive the Air Force Cross.

    10 September

    10-11 September 1928 (Australia/New Zealand) — Kingsford-Smith and Ulm, trans-Pacific pilots, fly their Fokker monoplane “Southern Cross” from the Sydney, Australia to Christchurch, New Zealand.

    10 September 1932 (USA) — Major J.H. Doolittle sets new world speed record averaging 294 mph over a 3 km course.

    10 September 1939 (USA) — Devon Francis, aviation editor of the Associated Press, is elected president of the Aviation Writers Association. Other officers are James Bassett and Maurice Rossi, vice-president's, and Michael Froelich, secretary-treasurer.

    10 September 1993 (USA) — Boeing finishes production of their 1,000th 747 airplane, 26 years after the 747 program was launched.

    11 September

    11 September 1920 (USA) — Edison Mouton flies into Marina Field, San Francisco, to complete the first US transcontinental airmail flight. Having left from New York, it took Mouton and his crew over 75 hours to complete the feat.

    11 September 1921 (USA) — Aeromarine Navy H.S.-2 returns to New York after 7,491 mile round trip flight to Chicago, via St. Lawrence and around the Great Lakes. D.G. Richardson, pilot.

    11 September 1929 (USA) — The Fokker F-32 four-engine luxury airliner makes its first US flight at Teterboro Airport.

    11 September 1964 (USA) — Gen. Curtis E. LeMay awarded H. H. Arnold Trophy and named Aerospace Man of the Year.

    11 September 2001 (USA) — The September 11 attacks (called September 11, September 11th or 9/11), were a series of four coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda on the United States on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger jets. The hijackers intentionally crashed two planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and thousands of those working in the buildings. Both towers collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. A third plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Hijackers had redirected the fourth plane toward Washington, D.C., targeting either the Capitol Building or the White House, but crashed it in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers tried to take control of the plane. There were no survivors from any of the flights.

    Nearly 3,000 victims and the 19 hijackers died in the attacks. Among the 2,753 victims who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center were 343 Firefighters and 60 police officers from New York City and the Port Authority, and 8 private emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Another 184 people were killed in the attack on the Pentagon. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 70 countries.

    Suspicion quickly fell on al-Qaeda. Its leader Osama bin Laden initially denied involvement, but in 2004 he finally claimed responsibility for the attacks. Al-Qaeda and bin Laden cited United States support of Israel, the presence of United States troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions against Iraq as motives for the attacks. The United States responded to the attacks by launching the War on Terror, invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaeda members. It was not until May 2011 that bin Laden was found and killed. Many countries strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers. Some American stock exchanges stayed closed for the rest of the week following the attack and posted enormous losses on reopening, especially in the airline and insurance industries. The destruction of billions of dollars' worth of office space caused serious damage to the economy of Lower Manhattan.

    The damage to the Pentagon was cleared and repaired within a year, and the Pentagon Memorial was built adjacent to the building. Rebuilding at the World Trade Center site began in 2002. Ground was broken for the Flight 93 National Memorial on November 8, 2009, and the memorial is to be formally dedicated on September 10, 2011.

    12 September

    12 September 1916 (USA) — The first pilotless radio-controlled aerial bomb is tested in the United States. It is actually a small biplane that can fly radio-guided for 50 miles with 308 pounds of bombs aboard.

    12 September 1918 (France) — Lieutenant Frank Luke shut down his first enemy balloon.

    12-14 September 1942 (Guadacanal) — Battle of Bloody Ridge on Guadalcanal.

    13 September

    13 September 1928 (France) — In an effort to speed up the time it takes for mail to reach the United States via Europe, a single-engine Liore et Oliver LeO.198 airplane is catapulted off the Ile de France ocean liner, reducing the time it takes mail to reach the United States by one whole day.

    13 September 1935 (USA) — Millionaire film producer and amateur air racer Howard Hughes shatters the world land plane speed record in his home built Hughes Racer airplane.

    13 September 1939 (USA) — Dr. A. W. Winston, chief metallurgists of the Dow Chemical Company, informs the Electrochemical Society that as a result of development of new high-strength magnesium alloys, military airplane speeds of over 400 mph are practical.

    13 September 1943 (Italy) — Over 1,200 paratroopers dropped on Salerno, Italy without loss of man or plane.

    14 September

    14 September 1944 (USA ) — The first successful flight into the eye of a hurricane is made by a three-man American crew flying a Douglas A-20 “Havoc.” They demonstrate that valuable scientific information can be obtained in this manner, which is still done today.

    15 September

    15 September 1784 (England) — Italian diplomat, Vincenzo Lunardi, makes the first ascent in a hydrogen balloon in Britain.

    15 September 1904 (USA) — Wilbur Wright in the airplane “Flyer II” makes his first controlled half-circle while in flight.

    15 September 1921 (USA) — Capt. F.E. Guest, British Secretary Of State for Air, visits the United States.

    15 September 1928 (USA) — Lt. Uzal G. Ent, Air Corps, awarded Distinguished Flying Cross for heroic conduct in National Elimination Balloon Race on May 30, when Lieutenant Everet, pilot of his balloon, was struck by lightning. Ent remained with him in the burning balloon rather than assure his own safety by jumping with a parachute.

    15 September 1928 (USA) — Universal Air Lines starts daily passenger service between Chicago and Cleveland , 313 miles.

    15 September 1928 (England/Australia/Singapore) — Four British Royal Air Force Supermarine “Napier” flying boats, twin Napier-Lion engine, reached Singapore after a 25,000 mile flight from England via Australia, which started on October 14, 1927.

    15 September 1939 (USA) — Jacqueline Cochran, in a Seversky monoplane, powered by a 700-hp Pratt & Whitney “Wasp” engine, sets a new international speed record of 305.926 mph for 1,000 km on Burbank, San Francisco, Burbank course.

    15 September 1944 (Peleliu) — United States Marines amphibious landing on Peleliu launched the Battle of Peleliu.

    15 September 1991 (USA) — McDonald Douglas C-17 “Globemaster III” makes first flight.

    16 September

    16 September 1914 (Canada) — The Canadian Aviation Corps is authorized by the Minister of Militia and Defense to be formed. This is the beginning of Canada's military air force.

    16 September 1958 (Taiwan) — First delivery of Lockheed F-104 “Starfighters” announced.

    17 September

    17 September 1908 (USA) — The first fatality in a powered airplane occurs when Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge is killed while flying with Orville Wright at Fort Meyer, Virginia.

    17 September 1921 (Belgium/Ireland) — Capt. Paul Armbruster, Swiss aeronaut, wins International Gordon Bennett Balloon Race, from Brussels to Lamby Island, Ireland , 515.14 miles.

    17 September 1959 (USA) — The North American X-15 rocket plane makes its first powered flight at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

    18 September

    18 September 1928 (England/France) — The first rotating-wing aircraft to fly the English Channel is the Cierva C-8L “Autogyro” flown by its designer, Spaniard, Juan de la Cierva.

    18 September 1928 (South Africa) — Col. Sir Pierre van Ryneveld and Gen. A.J. Brink flying a 450-hp “Jupiter” engine powered DH-9, make a nonstop flight from Pretoria to Cape Town, South Africa, in seven hours 25 minutes.

    18 September 1928 (England/France) — Juan de la Cierva flies his autogiro from London to Paris.

    18 September/18 October 1928 (Germany/Japan) — Swedish pilot, Lindner, and Baron von Huenefeld fly a Junkers monoplane from Berlin to Tokyo, Japan.

    18 September 1940 (Germany) — The first flight of the Zeppelin LZ-127 “Graf Zeppelin” is made. It is the most successful rigid airship ever built, flown commercially on a regular basis from Europe to South America. It flies over a million miles and carries some 13,100 passengers before its demise in 1940.

    18 September 1947 (USA) — The United States Air Force becomes an independent service within the unified United States armed forces. This change recognizes the fact that air power is to be the nation's first line of defense.

    18 September 1948 (USA) — The first flight of a delta-wing jet airplane is made with the Convair XF-92A.

    19 September

    19 September 1907 (France) — The first piloted helicopter rises at Douai in France. Piloted by Volumard, it rises only about 2 feet and is steadied by men on the ground. It does not constitute free, vertical flight.

    19 September 1911 (USA) — One of the first aerial photography experiments was made from an airplane.

    19 September 1928 (USA) — The first diesel engine to power a heavier-than-air aircraft is flight tested in Utica, Michigan.

    20 September

    20 September 1902 (USA ) — The Wright brothers make the first of nearly 1,000 glides on their modified No. 3 glider in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. It is this glider, made of spruce wood and cloth, which incorporates for the first time the flight controls of the modern airplane.

    20 September 1904 (USA ) — Wilbur Wright on the “Flyer III” in Huffman Prairie, Ohio makes the first circular flight in a powered aircraft.

    20-28 September 1934 (Australia/England) — C.J. Melrose flies from Darwin, Australia, to Croydon, England, in 8 days, 9 hours, setting a new record. (DeHavilland “Puss Moth,” the Havilland “Gypsy Major“ engine.)

    20-30 September 1934 (USA) — Soaring Society of America holds gliding meet at Big Meadows, Virginia.

    20 September 1944 (USA) — Vought F4U-4 “Corsair” first flight.

    20 September 1945 (England ) — A British Gloster “Meteor F.1” makes the first flight of an aircraft powered completely by turboprop engines. A turboprop or propjet is an aircraft with a propeller that is driven by a gas turbine engine.

    20 September 1950 (USA) — USAF announces remote controlled airplane tests would be made from ground by using TV.

    21 September

    21 September 1802 (England) — Frenchman Andre-Jacques Garnerin makes the first parachute descent in England, jumping from a balloon over London.

    21 September 1964 (USA) — The North American XB-70A “Valkyrie” makes his first flight.

    22 September

    22 September 1902 (England) — Stanley Spencer becomes the first Englishman to fly in a powered airship over England. The 75-foot-long dirigible is powered by a 3-hp water-cooled engine and makes a flight of 30 miles.

    22 September 1928 (USA/Antarctic) — Wilkins Antarctic Expedition sails from New York.

    22 September 1928 (USA) — The number of lives saved by parachute jumps passes the 100 mark when Lieutenant Roger V. Williams jumps at San Diego, California.

    22 September 1950 (USA) — First non-stop flight of Atlantic made by jet aircraft.

    23 September

    23 September 1910 (Italy/Switzerland) — Peruvian Georges Chavez, who flies over the Simplon Pass between Italy and Switzerland, makes the first airplane flight over the Alps.

    23 September 1911 (USA) — Earl Ovington carries the first airmail in the United States in a Blériot monoplane from Nassau Boulevard Aerodome, Long Island to Mineola, Long Island.

    23 September 1913 (France/Tunisia) — French pilot, Roland Garros, becomes the first person to fly across the Mediterranean, a distance of 470 miles. He lands in Tunisia 7 hours and 53 minutes after taking off from France, which is of particular note because he only had enough fuel for 8 hours of flight.

    23 September 1921 (USA) — Day and night of bombardment tests resulted in sinking of the battleship USS Alabama.

    23 September 1928 (USA) — Eleven over 23 entrants finish in Los Angeles-Cincinnati Air Derby. Robert A. Drake wins Class A Race in American Moth plane (American Cirrus), Charles W. Holman wins Class B Race in Laird (Wright Whirlwind), and Arthur Goebel wins the non-stop race in a Lockheed Vega (Pratt & Whitney Wasp), his time 15 hours 17 minutes 30 seconds.

    23-25 September 1934 (Portland/Russia) — The Gordon Bennett Balloon Race is won by F. Hynek and W. Pomaski of Poland, traveling 826.77 miles from Warsaw to Anna, Russia.

    24 September

    24 September 1852 (France) — French engineer, Henri Giffard, flies the first powered, manned airship. Powered by a steam engine and propeller, the airship flies at about 5-mph and covers 17 miles from Paris to Trappes, France. The craft marks the beginning of the practical airship.

    24 September 1928 (USA) — The Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce of America gives testimonial dinner to motion picture industry.

    24 September 1929 (USA) — Lt. James H. Doolittle makes the first blind, all-instrument flight.

    25 September

    25 September 1903 (USA) — The Wright brothers arrive at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to begin tests of their first powered aircraft.

    25 September 1918 (France) -Capt. Eddie RickenBacker, 94th Aero squadron, attacks seven enemy aircraft, shooting down two and is awarded the first Medal of Honor given for air activity.

    25 September 1921 (France) — Sadi Lecointe makes a speed of 330 km/h (204.6 mph) in a Nieuport, near Paris, France.

    25 September 1921 (USA/Cuba) — Aeromarine Airways H.S.-2 flying boat “President Zayas” arrives in Havana, Cuba, from New York, in 19 hours flying time.

    25 September 1939 (Italy) — Col. Nicola de Mauro, at Vigna di Valle, Italy, establishes a new world altitude record for seaplanes of 44,429.044 feet, in a Caproni 161 seaplane, powered by a Piaggio XI RC 100 engine. The former record was held by Lt. Apollo Soucek, United States Navy, in 1929.

    25 September 1939 (Hawaii/Philippines) — Fourteen United States Navy Consolidated patrol bombers alight at Cavite, Philippine Islands, completing the first Hawaii to Manila mass flight ever attempted.

    26 September

    26 September 1921 (USA) — United States Army-Air Service completes aerial warfare tests against the USS Alabama in Chesapeake Bay.

    26 September 1947 (USA) — Transfer of personnel, bases and material from Army to USAF ordered.

    26 to September 1967 (France/West Germany/UK) — The governments of France, West Germany, and Britain sign a memorandum that calls for the development of the Airbus A300 wide-bodied jet airliner.

    27 September