Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Post-World War II Flight Timeline

1945-1946 Flight Timeline

July 7, 1946 Howard Hughes is critically injured when his Hughes XF-11 aircraft crashes during a test flight.

July 11­, 1946 A Lockheed Constellation crashes during a training flight. All remaining Constellations are grounded; two earlier accidents also involved this aircraft.

July 21, 1946 Congress post-humously awards Billy Mitchell a medal, which promotes him to Major General.

August 8, 1946 The Convair prototype XB-36 bomber makes its first flight.

September 2, 1946 The Air University is opened at Maxwell Field.

September 27, 1946 Geoffrey de Havilland, Jr., is killed when his de Havilland D.H.108 breaks up in a test flight over Thames Estuary.

October 1, 1946 A U.S. Navy PV2-1 Neptune "Truculent Turtle" flies nonstop from Perth, Australia, to Columbus, Ohio, (11,236 miles) in 55 hours, 15 minutes.

October 6, 1946 The Pacusan Dreamboat, a B-29, makes a 9,442-mile flight over the North Pole, from Honolulu to Cairo, Egypt, in 39 hours, 35 minutes.

October 11, 1946 Slick Goodlin makes an unpowered flight in a Bell XS-1.

December 1, 1946 An American Overseas Airways Connie flies from New York to London in 10 hours, 12 minutes, averaging 324 miles per hour.November 6, 1945 A Ryan Fireball, using jet power only, lands on the USS Wake Island. It's the first jet to land on a carrier.

November 7, 1945 The Gloster Meteor IV sets a world speed record of 606.25 miles per hour.

November 20, 1945 A USAAF B-29 flies nonstop from Guam to Washington, D.C.: 8,190 miles in 35 hours, 4 minutes.

December 2, 1945 The Bristol Freighter debuts.

December 3, 1945 A de Havilland Vampire becomes the first pure jet to land on a carrier, the HMS Ocean.

January 10, 1946 A Sikorsky R-5 helicopter sets an unofficial world altitude record of 21,000 feet.

January 16, 1946 The United States initiates its space program using V-2 rockets.

January 19, 1946 Jack Woolams pilots a Bell XS-1 in its first unpowered flight.

January 21, 1946 The United States announces that the USAAF has reduced its strength from a wartime peak of 2,400,000 troops to 900,000 and will go down to 400,000.

January 26, 1946 Colonel William Council flies an F-80 across the United States in 4 hours, 13 minutes, covering 2,470 miles nonstop at 584.6 miles per hour.

February 4, 1946 Pan Am flies a Constellation from the United States to England in 14 hours, 9 minutes.

February 15, 1946 TWA introduces Constellations on transcontinental flights.

February 28, 1946 The Republic XP-84 Thunderjet fighter makes its first flight.

March 21, 1946 The USAAF establishes Strategic Air Command (SAC), Tactical Air Command (TAC), and Air Defense Command (ADC).

April-September 1946 The United States tests 64 V-2 missiles at White Sands, New Mexico.

April 1, 1946 The Bell Rascal guided missile program is started.

April 19, 1946 The USAAF and Consolidated-Vultee launch Project MX-774, which will later lead to the Atlas missile.

April 24, 1946 The first Soviet jet aircraft, the Yak-15 and MiG-9, make their first flights.

May 17, 1946 The Douglas XB-43, the first American jet bomber, debuts.

May 22, 1946 The de Havilland Chipmunk trainer makes its first flight powered by a 140-horsepower Gypsy Major engine.

­June 22, 1946 Jets (two P-80s) carry mail for the first time in the United States.