Dawn of Flight Timeline

1902-1909 Flight Timeline

Wright Brothers' first flight.
Wright Brothers' first flight.
Wright State University Archives

­September-October 1902 The Wright brothers test their first successful glide­r a­nd ultimately make nearly 1,000 flights.

1903 Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky advocates the use of liquid propellants for spaceships.

October 7, 1903 Samuel Pierpont Langley's full-size Aerodrome crashes on its first test fligh­t.

December 8, 1903 Samuel Pierpont Langley's Aerodrome crashes on its second flight attem­pt.

December 17, 1903 The Wright brothers achieve powered, controlled flight at Kitty Hawk.

­1904 Robert Esnault-Pelterie flies a glider with ailerons.

May 26, 1904 The Wrights start flying the Flyer II and ultimately make 105 flights.

September 20, 1904 Wilbur Wright makes a successful closed-circuit flight.

November 9, 1904 Wilbur Wright flies for more than five minutes.

June 6, 1905 Gabriel Voisin lifts off from a river in a "boxkite" glider towed by a motorboat.

June 23, 1905 The Wrights fly the Flyer III, the world's first practical airplane.

September 12, 1906 Jakob Ellehammer makes a sustained tethered flight.

September 30, 1906 Lieutenant Frank Lahm wins the Gordon Bennett Cup.

October 23, 1906 Alberto Santos-Dumont makes a short flight in his 14-bis.

November 12, 1906 Alberto Santos-Dumont makes the first officially recognized flight of a heavier-than-air plane in Europe.

1907 Horatio Phillips achieves flight in a 22-horsepower Multiplane, but the flight is never officially recognized.

July 11, 1907 Louis Blériot flies his Type VI, the Libellule, the first plane with cantilever wings.

August 1, 1907 The Aeronautical Division of the U.S. Army Signal Corps is formed.

October 26, 1907 Henri Farman sets a European distance record of 2,530 feet.

­November 13, 1907 Paul Cornu makes a short free flight in an experimental helicopter.

Late November 1907 Louis Blériot flies the Type VII, the first aircraft with a tractor engine, enclosed fuselage, a rear-mounted tail, and a two-wheel main undercarriage with tailwheel.

November 30, 1907 Curtiss Motor Vehicle Company, the first U.S. airplane company, is formed.

January 13, 1908 Henri Farman makes the first one-kilometer circuit flight in Europe, flying around a pylon 500 meters away and winning 50,000 francs.

March 12, 1908 The A.E.A. develops the Red Wing.

May 14, 1908 Charles Furnas becomes the first ever air passenger when he flies with Wilbur Wright.

May 19, 1908 Thomas Selfridge solos in an A.E.A. plane, the White Wing.

July 4, 1908 Glenn Curtiss wins the Scientific American Trophy in June Bug.

July 8, 1908 Thérèse Peltier becomes the first female air passenger.

August 8, 1908 Wilbur Wright flies at Le Mans, France.

September 3, 1908 Flight trials of the Wright military plane begin.

September 6, 1908 Leon Delagrange flies for 1/2 hour in Europe.

September 17, 1908 Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge is killed in the crash of a Wright aircraft.

Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge died and Orville Wright was severely injured in a crash of a Wright Flyer. Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge died and Orville Wright was severely injured in a crash of a Wright Flyer.
Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge died and Orville Wright was severely injured in a crash of a Wright Flyer.
Wright State University Archives

October 16, 1908 American Samuel Franklin Cody makes the first airplane flight in England.

1909 The first Gnome rotary aircraft engine appears.

­1909 Robert Goddard concludes that liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen would be an excellent propellant.