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Jets and Rocket Flight Timeline

1957 Flight Timeline

The Douglas DC-7C was at the peak of piston-engine airliner development, with intercontinental range and cruising speeds of 360 miles per hour.
The Douglas DC-7C was at the peak of piston-engine airliner development, with intercontinental range and cruising speeds of 360 miles per hour.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

January 6, 1957 BOAC begins transatlantic use of the Douglas DC-7C.

January 18, 1957 Three Boeing B-52s make the first nonstop round-the-world flight by jet aircraft in 45 hours, 20 minutes at an average speed of 534 miles per hour.


January 20, 1957 The first Boeing KC-135 tankers go into operation at Castle Air Force Base.

February 19, 1957 The Bell X-14 VTOL makes its first flight.

March 4-15, 1957 The Navy nonrigid airship ZPB-2 completes a nonstop transatlantic crossing and sets a new world endurance record for unrefueled flight: 264 hours and 14 minutes.

March 11, 1957 The Boeing 707 sets a transcontinental speed record for passenger flight: Seattle to Washington, D.C., in 3 hours, 48 minutes, with 42 passengers and a crew of 10.

March 21, 1957 The A3D-1 Skywarrior, piloted by Commander Dale Cox, Jr., breaks two transcontinental speed records. The first is from Los Angeles to New York and back in 9 hours, 31 minutes, 35 seconds. The second is for an east to west flight in 5 hours and 12 minutes.

March 27, 1957 The McDonnell F-101B Voodoo makes its first flight.

May 16, 1957 The Saunders-Roe SR.53 rocket/jet-powered interceptor makes its first flight.

May 16, 1957 The Boeing Bomarc interceptor is ordered into production.

June 6, 1957 Two U.S. Navy Skywarriors fly from the USS Bon Homme Richard to the USS Saratoga in the first carrier-to-carrier nonstop transcontinental flight.

July 16, 1957 Future astronaut and senator John Glenn breaks the transcontinental speed record in a Vought F8U-1P Crusader by flying 3 hours, 22 minutes, 50.05 seconds, at an average speed of 723.517 miles per hour.

July 16, 1957 Two Douglas A3D Skywarriors make a record flight from Moffet Field in California to Honolulu in 4 hours, 45 minutes.

July 19, 1957 An F-89J fires an air-to-air Genie rocket, with nuclear warhead, over Yucca Flats, Nevada.

August 1957 The R.7, the first Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile, is launched.

August 12, 1957 A Douglas F3D-1 Skynight makes an automatic landing on board the USS Antietam.

August 18, 1957 Paul Bikle establishes a glider speed record of 55.02 miles per hour over a 300-kilometer triangular course.

August 19-20, 1957 Major David G. Simons sets a balloon altitude record of 101,516 feet.

August 28, 1957 A Canberra sets a jet aircraft altitude record of 70,308 feet.

August 30, 1957 The USAF accepts the first Douglas C-133 turboprop transport.

October 4, 1957 The Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the first artificial satellite.

October 25, 1957 The Short S.C.1 makes its first free-flight vertical takeoff.

November 3, 1957 The Soviets launch Sputnik 2 carrying the dog Laika.

November 6, 1957 The prototype of the Fairey Rotodyne is flown. It's a combination fixed/rotary wing VTOL 48-passenger liner.

November 11, 1957 General Curtis E. LeMay flies a Boeing KC-135A nonstop from Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts, to Buenos Aires. He flies 6,350 miles in 13 hours, 2 minutes, to set a world record for nonstop, nonrefueled jet flight.

December 6, 1957 The Lockheed Electra II turboprop airliner makes its first flight.

December 12, 1957 Major Adrian D. McDonnell, in a F-101A Voodoo, sets a world speed record of 1,207.34 miles per hour.

December 17, 1957 The Atlas ICBM is successfully fired for the first time.

December 20, 1957 The first production example of the Boeing 707 makes its debut.

December 23, 1957 North American Aviation wins the contract for the XB-70 bomber.

December 28, 1957 J. E. Woman, in a Cessna YH-41, reaches 30,335 feet to set a world helicopter record.