Golden Age of Flight Timeline

By: the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.  | 
The Douglas Aircraft Company was boosted into the big time with the successful round-the-world flight of its Douglas World Cruisers in 1924. See more ­flight pictures.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

February 21, 1924 The first airmail in Alaska is flown by Carl Eielson in a DH-4H.

April 6, 1924 Four Douglas World Cruisers depart Seattle to attempt the first round-the-world flight.


Flight Pictures

April 16-May 19, 1924 Stanley Goble and Ivor McIntyre circumnavigate Australia in 90 hours.

May 1924 The Fokker C V makes its first flight.

May 19, 1924 Lieutenant John Macready sets a new American altitude record in a LePere LUSAC-11 at 35,239 feet.

June 23, 1924 Lieutenant Russell Maughan completes a "Dawn to Dusk" flight in a Curtiss PW-8. He makes five stops en route and covers 2,670 miles in 21 hours, 48 minutes, and 30 seconds.

June 23, 1924 The first Focke-Wulf, the A 16 four-passenger monoplane, flies.

July 1, 1924 TAT, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania railroad, begins transcontinental travel--air by day, train by night.

August 1924 The Savoia-Marchetti S.55 flies for the first time.

August 24, 1924 The dirigible ZR-3 is completed in Germany for war reparations. Delivery to the United States is scheduled for October.

September 28, 1924 Two Douglas World Cruisers land in Seattle to complete the first flight around the world.

October 15, 1924 The LZ 126, from Friedrichshafen, Germany, arrives in the United States after an 81-hour flight. It becomes the the USS Los Angeles (ZR-3).

December 15, 1924 A Sperry Messenger successfully makes an aerial hookup onto the trapeze of the U.S. Army Airship TC-3.

December 25, 1924 Mrs. Calvin Coolidge christens the USS Los Angeles (ZR-3).

1925 The French Potez 25, a general-purpose biplane, makes its first flight.

January 3, 1925 The Fairey Fox flies for the first time, revolutionizing RAF thinking on engines and aircraft.

January 24-25, 1925 Scientists in 25 aircraft fly above the clouds to view a total eclipse of the sun. The new USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) carries Naval Observatory scientists.

February 2, 1925 President Calvin Coolidge signs the Kelly Bill, authorizing contract air transportation of airmail.

February 22, 1925 The de Havilland D.H.60 Moth flies for the first time.

March 12, 1925 The Fokker F VII flies for the first time.

April 8, 1925 The first night carrier landings are made on the USS Langley.

April 13, 1925 Henry Ford starts an airplane freight line to operate between Detroit and Chicago.

July 7, 1925 The first Boeing 40A flies, establishing Boeing in the airmail business.

August 31-September 10, 1925 Commander John Rogers attempts to fly from San Francisco to Hawaii in a PN-9 patrol plane. Forced down at sea, he travels 450 miles by sail for ten days until he is picked up.

September 3, 1925 The USS Shenandoah is torn apart by a line squall when ordered to fly into a stormy area by official flight orders.

September 4, 1925 The tri-motor Fokker F VIIa/3m flies. It will become important all over the world.

October 12, 1925 Lieutenant Cy Bettis, in an Army Curtiss R3C-1 landplane racer, wins the Pulitzer Trophy race. He sets two unofficial speed records.

October 27, 1925 Lieutenant Jimmy Doolittle sets an official world speed record for seaplanes in a Curtiss R3C-2 at 242.166 miles per hour.

November 24, 1925 The prototype ANT-4 (Tupelov TB-1) bomber flies.

December 17, 1925 Billy Mitchell is found guilty by court martial of discrediting the U.S. Army.

January 6, 1926 Deutsche Lufthansa is formed.

­January 22-February 10, 1926 Commandante Ramón Franco makes the first east-west crossing of the South Atlantic in a Dornier Wal.


1926-1927 Flight Timeline

January 29, 1926 Lieutenant John Macready sets a U.S. altitude record of 38,704 fe­et in an XCO-5A.

February 6, 1926 Pratt & Whitney produces the first Wasp engine.


March 16, 1926 Robert Goddard launches the world's first liquid-fueled rocket, which flies 184 feet to become the "Kitty Hawk" of rocketry.

April 16, 1926 The Department of Agriculture purchases its first crop duster.

May 9, 1926 Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett fly over the North Pole in a Fokker "Josephine Ford."

May 14, 1926 Roald Amundsen and Lincoln Ellsworth fly over the North Pole in the dirigible Norge, landing in Teller, Alaska, after a 70-hour flight from Norway.

May 20, 1926 President Calvin Coolidge signs the Air Commerce Act, regulating civil aeronautics.

May 23, 1926 Western Air Express begins operations between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

June 11, 1926 The prototype Ford Tri-Motor flies for the first time.

July 2, 1926 The U.S. Army Air Corps is created.

November 3, 1926 The Boeing F2B-1 single-seat fighter flies, beginning a long line of Navy and Army biplane fighters.

December 21, 1926 Five Loening COA-1 amphibians depart Kelly Field, Texas, on a Pan American Goodwill flight.

1927 The Curtiss XB-2 Condor bomber, ordered in 1926, flies for the first time.

January 15, 1927 Boeing Aircraft begins Boeing Air Transport, predecessor of United Air Lines.

March 9, 1927 The Navy buys its first transport plane, a Ford Tri-Motor, XJR-1.

March 9, 1927 Captain H. C. Gray ascends to 28,910 feet in a free balloon for an American record.

March 14, 1927 Pan American Airways is formed.

April 4, 1927 Colonial Air Lines initiates regular passenger service between Boston and New York.

April 12, 1927 Clarence Chamberlin and Bert Acosta set an American flight duration record of 51 hours, 11 minutes, and 25 seconds.

April 28, 1927 The Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis, Charles Lindbergh's airplane, is flown for the first time.

May 2, 1927 The Pan American Goodwill flight of 22,065 miles ends at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C. Two of the ten pilots were killed en route when two COA-1s collided over Buenos Aires.

May 4, 1927 Captain H. C. Gray reaches 42,470 feet in a free balloon.

May 5, 1927 Lieutenant C. C. Champion flies a Wright Apache seaplane to 33,455 feet, setting a new altitude record for seaplanes.

May 8, 1927 Lieutenant Charles Nungesser and Captain Francois Coli dis­appear in an attempted Paris-New York flight.

May 17, 1927 The Bristol Bulldog fighter flies for the first time.

May 20-21, 1927 Charles Lindbergh flies solo nonstop from New York to Paris.

May 25, 1927 Jimmy Doolittle does the first outside loop.

June 4-6, 1927 Clarence Chamberlin and backer Charles A. Levine fly nonstop from New York to Germany in 43 hours, 49 minutes.

June 28-29, 1927 In a Fokker (Atlantic) trimotor named Bird of Paradise, Lieutenants Albert F. Hegenberger and Lester J. Maitland fly from Oakland, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii (2,407 miles), the longest distance ever completed over open sea.

June 29, 1927 Admiral Richard Byrd makes an unsuccessful transoceanic attempt in a Fokker F VIIIa/3m America.

July 5, 1927 Germans form the Society for Space Travel.

­July 25, 1927 Lieutenant C. C. Champion sets a world altitude landplane record of 38,418 feet in a Wright Apache.


1927-1929 Flight Timeline

The beautiful USS Lexington was one of the United States' first large aircraft carriers.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

August 1927 The first Huff-Daland bombers are delivered to the Air Corps.

August 17, 1927 Art Goebel and William Davis win the $25,000 Dole air race.


September 1­, 1927 American Railway Express and major U.S. airlines begin air express operations.

October 12, 1927 Wright Field is dedicated; it becomes the primary research and development site for the Air Corps.

October 14-15, 1927 Dieudonné Costes and Joseph Le Brix make the first nonstop crossing of the South Atlantic in a Breguet 19.

October 28, 1927 Pan Am establishes an international air station at Key West, Florida.

November 16, 1927 The USS Saratoga, an aircraft carrier, is commissioned.

December 14, 1927 The USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier, is commissioned.

1928 The NACA develops a cowling for radial engines.

January 7, 1928 The Polikarpov U-2 (later Po-2) makes its first flight.

February 7-22, 1928 Bert Hinkler flies solo from England to Australia.

February 28, 1928 The Navy contracts with Consolidated for the XPY-1, the first U.S. monoplane flying boat.

March 30, 1928 Flying a Macchi M.52, Major Mario de Bernardi attains a record speed of 318.623 miles per hour over a three-kilometer course.

April 12-14, 1928 The Junkers W 33 Bremen makes the first east-west crossing of the Atlantic.

April 15-21, 1928 Captain George Hubert Wilkins and pilot Carl Ben Eielson fly a Lockheed Vega over a 2,200-mile polar route, Alaska to Norway, in 20 hours, 20 minutes.

May 16, 1928 Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT), the predecessor of TWA, is formed.

May 23, 1928 The tragic flight of Italian airship Italia begins.

May 31-June 9, 1928 Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm fly from San Francisco to Australia.

June 1928 A prototype Hawker Hart two-seater flies.

June 11, 1928 Fritz Stammer makes the first piloted rocket-powered flight in the Ente (Duck).

June 20, 1928 Braniff Airways is formed. June 25, 1928 The Boeing 100 prototype for the P-12 and F4B makes its first flight.

July 3-5, 1928 Italians Arturo Ferrarin and Carlo del Prete set a straight-line distance record: 4,466 miles in a Savoia-Marchetti S.64.

September 18, 1928 The Graf Zeppelin, the world's most successful dirigible, is launched.

September 19, 1928 The Packard Diesel, the first diesel engine to power a heavier-than-air craft, flies.

November 14, 1928 The Fairey Long-Range Monoplane flies. It will set many records.

December 19, 1928 The first American autogiro, the Pitcairn, is flown.

December 20, 1928 Captain George Hubert Wilkins and Carl Ben Eielson fly their Lockheed Vega over Antarctica.

January 1929 A Soviet TB-1 aircraft bomber flies from Moscow to New York.

January 1929 The first Link Trainer is sold.

January 1-7, 1929 Major Carl Spaatz, Captain Ira Eaker, First Lieutenant Harry Halverson, Second Lieutenant Elwood Quesada, and Staff Sergeant Roy Hooe conduct an endurance flight in the Fokker C-2A Question Mark, setting a world record of 150 hours, 40 minutes, and 15 seconds.

January 2, 1929 Bobbie Trout sets a female endurance record of 12 hours, 11 minutes in a Golden Eagle monoplane.

­January 30, 1929 Elinor Smith sets a new female endurance record in a Brunner-Winkle Bird, flying 13 hours, 16 minutes.


1929-1930 Flight Timeline

February 1929 Boeing, United Air Lines, Pratt & Whitney, and Standard Steel Propeller merge into United Aircraft and Transport Company.

February ­4-5, 1929 Frank Hawks and Oscar Grubb set a nonstop transcontinental record in a Lockheed Air Express: 18 hours and 22 minutes.


February 12, 1929 Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh get engaged.

March 9, 1929 Charles Lindbergh inaugurates airline flight to Mexico City.

March 16-17, 1929 Louise Thaden sets a female endurance record of 22 hours, 3 minutes, 12 seconds.

April 23-24, 1929 Elinor Smith establishes a female endurance record of 26 hours, 21 minutes in a Bellanca.

April 24-26, 1929 RAF pilots fly a Fairey Long-Range Monoplane nonstop from England to India--4,130 miles.

May 8, 1929 Lieutenant Apollo Soucek sets a world altitude record of 39,140 feet in a Wright Apache landplane.

May 28, 1929 Marvel Crosson sets a female altitude record of 24,000 feet.

June 4, 1929 Lieutenant Apollo Soucek sets a world altitude record (38,650 feet) for seaplanes in a float-equipped Wright Apache.

July 2-12, 1929 Loren Mendell and R. B. Reinhart set a new endurance record of 246 hours, 44 minutes in a Wright-powered Buhl biplane.

July 7, 1929 Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) sets up combined air-rail service, going coast-to-coast in 48 hours.

July 9, 1929 Roger Q. Williams and Lewis Yancey fly nonstop from the United States to Spain (3,400 miles) in a Bellanca.

July 10, 1929 The Spokane Sun God, a Buhl CA-6, completes a nonstop round-trip from Spokane, Washington, to New York in 115 hours, 45 minutes, with aerial fueling.

July 13-30, 1929 Dale Jackson and Forest O'Brien set a refueling duration record of 420 hours, 17 minutes in a Curtiss Robin.

July 25, 1929 The Dornier Do X makes its first flight.

August 1929 The Junkers 33 seaplane makes its first rocket-assisted takeoff.

September 24, 1929 Jimmy Doolittle demonstrates blind flying.

September 27-29, 1929 Dieudonné Costes and Maurice Bellonte fly from Paris to Manchuria, China, for a world distance record of 4,912 miles in Point d'Interrogation.

September 30, 1929 The Opel Sander Rak. 1, a glider powered by rockets, makes a 75-second flight.

November 22, 1929 Amelia Earhart sets a speed record for women: 184.17 miles per hour in a Lockheed Vega.

November 28-29, 1929 Richard Byrd and Bernt Balchen fly over the South Pole.

November 29, 1929 Curtiss completes the first Prestone-cooled pursuit aircraft.

January 25, 1930 American Airways (now American Airlines) is formed.

May 1, 1930 The prototype Polikarpov I-5 single-seater biplane flies.

May 5-24, 1930 Amy Johnson becomes the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.

May 6, 1930 The Boeing Monomail flies.

May 15, 1930 Ellen Church becomes the first flight attendant for Boeing Air Transport, on a Boeing 80A.

May 18, 1930 The Graf Zeppelin crosses the South Atlantic for the first time.

May 27, 1930 Roscoe Turner sets an east-west record of 18 hours, 43 minutes, 34 seconds in a Vega.

June 4, 1930 Lieutenant Apollo Soucek sets a world altitude record in a Wright Apache landplane at 43,155 feet.

­June 12, 1930 The last RAF biplane bomber, the Handley Page Heyford, flies for the first time.


1930-1931 Flight Timeline

The "Mystery Ship" set a speed record for women when it reached 196.1 miles per hour.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

June 20, 1930 Randolph Field, the "West Point of the Air," is dedicated.

July 2­1, 1­930 Forest O'Brien and Dale Jackson set a 64­7-hour, 28-minute endurance recor­d.


July 23, 1930 Pioneer aviator Glenn Curtiss dies.

July 25, 1930 Aircraft designer Chance Vought dies.

July 29, 1930 The British dirigible R-100 flies from England to Canada in 78 hours.

August 5, 1930 Pancho Barnes sets a women's speed record of 196.1 miles per hour in a Travel Air.

August 6, 1­930 Frank Hawks sets an east-west solo record in a Travel Air "Mystery Ship": 14 hours, 50 minutes, 43 seconds.

August 13, 1930 Frank Hawks sets a west-east solo record: 12 hours, 15 minutes, 3 seconds.

September 1, 1930 Speed Holman wins the first Thompson Trophy in a Laird "Solution" at 201.9 miles per hour.

September 1-3, 1930 Dieudonné Costes and Maurice Bellonte make the first east-west crossing from Paris to New York in 37 hours, 18 minutes.

October 1930 The Polish PZL P-7 fighter appears; the Polish Air Force becomes the first in the world with an all-metal monoplane fighter squadron.

October 5, 1930 The British dirigible R-101 crashes en route from England to India.

October 13, 1930 The prototype Junkers Ju 52, one of the most famous transports in history, flies.

October 19, 1930 Gottlob Espenlaub flies a glider powered by Sander rockets.

November 1930 The Handley Page H.P.42 airliner flies for the first time.

November 9, 1930 Roy Ammel flies a Lockheed Sirius from New York to Canal Zone, 2,700 miles in 24 hours, 35 minutes.

November 24, 1930 Ruth Nichols sets a new east-west female transcontinental record of 16 hours, 59 minutes.

November 25, 1930 The Fairey Hendon, the first British metal monoplane bomber, flies.

December 2, 1930 Ruth Nichols makes a west-east transcontinental flight in 13 hours, 22 minutes.

December 22, 1930 The Tupelov TB-3, a standard Soviet four-engine bomber, flies for the first time. It is the largest airplane in the world at the time.

December 30, 1930 Robert Goddard fires a liquid-fueled rocket to 2,000 feet at 500 miles per hour.

January 4, 1931 William Swan flies over New Jersey in a glider powered by ten small rockets.

January 4-9, 1931 Bobbie Trout and Edna Cooper set a female refueling duration record of 123 hours in a Curtiss Robin.

January 6, 1931 General Italo Balboa leads 12 Savoia-Marchetti S.55 flying boats in a formation flight across the South Atlantic.

January 7, 1931 Beryl Hart and Lieutenant Bill MacClaren are lost in a transatlantic attempt.

February 26-March 1, 1931 Lucien Bossoutrot and Maurice Rossi set a new closed-circuit record of 5,481 miles in a Blériot 110.

February 28, 1931 Imperial Airways begins service from England to Central Africa.

March 3, 1931 The Fairey Gordon makes its first flight.

March 6, 1931 Ruth Nichols sets a female altitude record of 28,743 feet in a Lockheed Vega.

March 25, 1931 The first production model of the Hawker Fury flies.

March 26, 1931 Swissair is formed. The airline will push the pace of European transport lines.

March 31, 1931 Knute Rockne is killed in the crash of a Fokker transport, sealing the fate of wooden transport aircraft in America.

­April 1931 The German counterpart to the DC-3, the Junkers Ju 52/3m, makes its first flight.


1931-1932 Flight Timeline

April 2, 1931 Leroy Grumman's new firm, an offshoot of his relationship with Grover Loening, gets a contract for the immortal Fifi, the FF-1 two-seat, retractable gear, biplane fighter. It's the start of a fighter dynasty.

April 8, 1931 Amelia Earhart establishes the autogiro altitude record of 18,415 feet in her Pitcairn autogiro.


April 13, 1931 Ruth Nichols sets a female speed record of 210.6 miles per hour in a Lockheed Vega.

April 13, 1931 The Boeing XB-901 (later known as the YB-9 "Death Angel") flies for the first time. It will ­ultimately lead to the Boeing B-17.

May 26, 1931 The Consolidated P2Y makes its first flight.

May 27, 1931 Professor Auguste Piccard and Paul Kipfer reach 51,775 feet in a balloon.

May 28, 1931 Lieutenant W. Lees and Fred Brossy fly 84 hours, 33 minutes, unrefueled, in a diesel-powered Bellanca.

May 31, 1931 The first drone plane is flown by radio control from another plane.

June 4, 1931 The Dornier Do X arrives in New York.

June 23-July 1, 1931 Wiley Post and Harold Gatty fly the Lockheed Vega Winnie Mae around the world in 8 days, 15 hours, 51 minutes.

July 1, 1931 United Air Lines is formed from Boeing Air Transport, National Air Transport, Pacific Air Transport, and Varney Air Lines.

July 24-31, 1931 The Graf Zeppelin carries 12 scientists on an Arctic flight.

July 28-30, 1931 Russ Boardman and Johnnie Polando fly their Bellanca from New York to Istanbul, setting a world record of 5,011 miles in 49 hours, 20 minutes.

July 28-August 6, 1931 Amy Johnson flies from England to Tokyo in nine days in a de Havilland Puss Moth.

August 11, 1931 A Polish PZL P-11 prototype flies.

September 3, 1931 Lowell Bayles wins the Thompson Trophy in a Gee Bee Z at 236.23 miles per hour.

September 4, 1931 Jimmy Doolittle sets a transcontinental record of 11 hours, 16 minutes to win the Bendix Race.

September 13, 1931 Flight Lieutenant John Boothman wins permanent possession of the Schneider Trophy for England in an uncontested event.

September 23, 1931 The Akron flies for the first time.

September 29, 1931 Flight Lieutenant George Stainforth flies a Supermarine S.6B at 407.5 miles per hour to establish a new world speed record. It's the first flight of more than 400 miles per hour.

October-December 7, 1931 Bert Hinkler, a famous Australian pilot, flies solo from New York to London in a de Havilland Puss Moth.

October 3-5, 1931 Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon, Jr., make the first nonstop flight from Japan to the United States in a Bellanca for a $25,000 prize. Their total time: 41 hours, 13 minutes.

October 24-25, 1931 Ruth Nichols sets a female distance record of 1,977.6 miles.

October 26, 1931 The de Havilland Tiger Moth flies for the first time.

October 27, 1931 The tiny Curtiss Sparrowhawk fighter hooks up with the Los Angeles in a trial for eventual use with the Akron.

October 27, 1931 The Akron is commissioned.

November 19, 1931 The Sikorsky S-40 amphibian enters service with Pan Am, with Charles Lindbergh making the first flight.

December 1, 1931 Lowell Bayles sets a world landplane speed record of 281.75 miles per hour in a Gee Bee Z.

December 19, 1931 Major General Benjamin Foulois becomes the Chief of Air Corps.

February 14, 1932 Ruth Nichols sets a world altitude record (19,928 feet) for diesel-powered aircraft in a Lockheed Vega. ­


1932-1933 Flight Timeline

The Granville brothers of Springfield, Massachusetts, had gone from obscurity to fame with the success of their original Gee Bee Model Z.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

March 23-26, 1932 The French continue long-distance record-breaking with a 6,587-mile closed-circuit flight. The aircraft, a Blériot 110 called Joseph Le Brix, is flown by Lucien Bossoutrot and Maurice Rossi.

March 24-28, 1932 Jimmy Mollison flies a Puss Moth from England to Capetown, South A­frica, in 4 days, 17 hours, 30 minutes.


April 19-28, 1932 C. W. A. Scott flies from England to Darwin, Australia, in a Gypsy Moth, in 8 days, 20 hours, and 47 minutes.

May 20-21, 1932 In a Lockheed Vega, Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

June 19, 1932 The Dewoitine D.500 makes its first flight.

June 30, 1932 The Los Angeles is decommissioned after more than 4,000 hours in the air.

July 21, 1932 Von Gronau and the crew of his Dornier Wal complete a round-the-world flight in 111 days--the first in a flying boat.

August 13, 1932 The Granville brothers' Gee Bee R-1 Super-Sportster makes its first flight.

August 14-21, 1932 Louise Thaden and Frances Marsalis establish a women's world endurance record of eight days, four hours, five minutes in a Curtiss Thrush.

August 18, 1932 Auguste Piccard sets a new balloon altitude record of 53,153 feet.

August 18-19, 1932 Jimmy Mollison makes the first east-west solo flight across the North Atlantic in 31 hours, 20 minutes.

August 25, 1932 Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to make a nonstop transcontinental flight.

August 29, 1932 Jimmy Haizlip wins the Bendix, setting a transcontinental record of 10 hours, 19 minutes in a Wedell-Williams racer.

September 3, 1932 Jimmy Doolittle ends his racing career, winning the Thompson Trophy at 252.6 miles per hour, then setting a world speed record for landplanes of 296.287 miles per hour.

September 5, 1932 Mae Haizlip flies a Wedell-Williams racer to set a women's speed record of 252.5 miles per hour.

September 7, 1932 Thomas Settle and Wilfred Bushnell set a balloon world-distance record of 963.12 miles.

September 16, 1932 Cyril Uwins flies a Vickers Vespa to set a world altitude record of 43,976 feet.

September 25, 1932 Lewis Yancey flies a Pitcairn PCA-2 to set an autogiro altitude record of 21,500 feet.

November 4, 1932 The Beech Model 17 Staggerwing makes its first flight.

November 14-18, 1932 Amy Johnson (now married to Jimmy Mollison) flies solo from England to South Africa, in a Puss Moth in 4 days, 6 hours, 54 minutes, to set a new record.

December 11-18, 1932 Amy Johnson makes a record-setting return journey from South Africa in seven days, seven hours, five minutes.

January 26, 1933 The Institute of Aeronautical Sciences is founded.

February 6-8, 1933 A Fairey Long-Range Monoplane sets a world distance record of 5,309.24 miles.

February 6-9, 1933 Jimmy Mollison flies from England to Brazil. He is the first to achieve solo flights across both the North and South Atlantic and the first to fly solo from England to South America.

February 8, 1933 The Boeing Model 247 transport, a development of the Monomail and the YB-9, makes its first flight.

April 4, 1933 The dirigible Akron crashes into the sea off the New Jersey coast. Seventy-three people die.

April 21, 1933 The Macon makes its first flight.

June 22, 1933 The Tupolev RD (Distance Record) aircraft makes its first flight.

­July 1933 Amelia Earhart breaks her own transcontinental record, making the flight in 17 hours, 17 minutes, 30 seconds.


1933 Flight Timeline

July 1, 1933 Because United Air Lines tied up rights to all Boeing 247 production, TWA asks Douglas aircraft to develop a competitive aircraft. Douglas's response, the DC-1, makes its first flight on this date.

July 1, 1­933 Roscoe Turner sets a westbound transcontinental record of 11 hours, 30 minutes, in a Wedell-Williams racer.


July 1-15, 1933 Italo Balbo brings 23 Savoia-Marchetti S.55 flying boats from Rome to Chicago, via New York. This is the first formation flight across the North Atlantic.

July 9-December 19, 1933 Charles and Anne Lindbergh make a 29,000-mile survey flight in their Lockheed Sirius.

July 15-17, 1933 Steponas Darius and Stasys Girenas fly from New York to Soldin, Germany, but are killed in a crash on arrival.

July 15-22, 1933 Wiley Post flies the Lockheed Vega Winnie Mae around the world solo in 7 days, 18 hours, 49 minutes. He had a new radio compass and new autopilot.

July 22-24, 1933 Jim and Amy Mollison become the first husband-wife team to fly east-west across the Atlantic.

August 5-7, 1933 Flying from New York to Syria, French pilots Maurice Rossi and Paul Codes set a world distance record of 5,657 miles.

September 1933 The famous Portuguese flyer General Francesco de Pinedo is killed in a Bellanca on takeoff from Floyd Bennett Field.

September 1933 Jimmy Wedell wins the Thompson Trophy in a Wedell-Williams Special, then sets a world speed record for landplanes of 305.33 miles per hour.

September 7-8, 1933 Six Consolidated P2Y-1 flying boats set a formation distance record, flying nonstop from Norfolk, Virginia, to Coco Solo, Canal Zone.

September 25, 1933 Roscoe Turner sets a west-east transcontinental record of 10 hours, 4 minutes, 55 seconds.

September 28, 1933 Gustave Lemoine sets a new world altitude record of 44,820 feet in a Potez 50.

October 4-11, 1933 Sir Charles Kingsford Smith flies from England to Australia solo in a Percival Gull in 7 days, 4 hours, 44 minutes.

October 12, 1933 The Macon flies from Lakehurst to Sunnyvale in 70 hours.

­December 31, 1933 A prototype of the Polikarpov I-16 makes its first flight; it will be the first monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear and an enclosed cockpit to go into squadron service.


Frequently Answered Questions

When was the dawn of aviation?
The dawn of aviation is typically considered to be the Wright brothers' first powered flight in 1903.