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Post-World War II Flight Timeline


1946-1948 Flight Timeline
The Bell XS-1 took Chuck Yeager into the history books when it broke the sound barrier.
The Bell XS-1 took Chuck Yeager into the history books when it broke the sound barrier.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

Decemb­er 9, 1946 The Bell XS-1 makes its first powered flight.

December 12, 1946 A Gloster Meteor sets a ­London-to-Paris record of 23 minutes, 37 seconds.

January 26, 1947 Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden is killed in a KLM DC-3 accident in Copenhagen.

March 17, 1947 The North American XB-45 Tornado jet bomber debuts. It is the first USAAF production jet bomber.

April 15, 1947 The Douglas D-558 Skystreak makes its first flight.

June 8, 1947 American Airlines begins transcontinental DC-6 services.

June 19, 1947 A Lockheed P-80R sets a world speed record of 623.738 miles per hour.

July 3, 1947 The Tupelov Tu-4, a Chinese copy of the B-29, makes its first flight.

July 8, 1947 The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser makes its first flight.

July 16, 1947 The Saunders-Roe SR.A/1 flying boat jet fighter debuts.

August 20, 1947 A Douglas Skystreak D-558-1, flown by Commander Turner Caldwell, sets a world speed record of 640.663 miles per hour.

August 25, 1947 Major Marion Carl raises the speed record of the Douglas Sky­streak D-558-1 to 650.796 miles per hour.

September 18, 1947 The United States Air Force is established.

October 1, 1947 The North American XP-86 Sabre debuts.

October 1, 1947 The first scheduled helicopter services begin in Los Angeles with the Sikorsky S-51.

October 14, 1947 Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier in the Bell XS-1.

October 21, 1947 The Northrop YB-49 jet flying wing makes its first flight.

November 2, 1947 The Hughes Flying Boat makes its first and only flight.

November 14, 1947 The Avro AW-52 twin-jet flying wing makes its first flight.

November 24, 1947 The Consolidated-Vultee XC-99, a cargo version of the B-36, makes its first flight.

December 17, 1947 The Boeing XB-47 debuts.

December 30, 1947 The MiG-15 prototype makes its first flight.

January 15, 1948 BOAC withdraws Boeing 314 flying boats and substitutes Con­stel­­lations between the United Kingdom and Bermuda.

January 30, 1948 Orville Wright dies.

January 30, 1948 An Avro Tudor IV disappears on a flight to Bermuda; Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham, the father of British ground-attack tactics, is on board.

February 4, 1948 Army Air Force and Navy Air Force transport services are merged to form Military Air Transport service.

February 4, 1948 The Douglas D-558-2 makes its first flight.

March 1, 1948 The last Curtiss fighter, the XF-87, makes its first flight.

March 23, 1948 Group Captain John Cunningham sets a world altitude record of 59,446 feet in a de Havilland D.H.100 Vampire.

April 5, 1948 A Soviet fighter collides with a British airliner over Berlin; 15 people are killed.

April 25, 1948 The XP-86 Sabre goes supersonic in a dive. It is the first jet to do so.

May 3, 1948 Howard C. Lilly dies in the crash of a Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak. He is the first NACA test pilot killed in the line of duty.

May 20, 1948 The Israeli Air Force goes into action for the first time.

June 26, 1948 The Berlin Airlift begins: 32 sorties by C-47s carry 80 tons of food.

­July 12-14, 1948 Six de Havilland Vampires make the first jet crossing of the Atlantic.