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Jets and Rocket Flight Timeline

1958 Flight Timeline

The Fairey Delta 2 raised the world absolute speed record to 1,132 miles per hour -- the first time it had exceeded 1,000 miles per hour.
The Fairey Delta 2 raised the world absolute speed record to 1,132 miles per hour -- the first time it had exceeded 1,000 miles per hour.
Warren M. Bodie Collection

January 14-20, 1958 Qantas Airways flies the first scheduled round-the-world route using Lockheed's Super Constellations.

January 31, 1958 The first successful U.S. satellite, Explorer I, is launched from Cape Canaveral.


March 27, 1958 A Boeing KC-135 flies nonstop from California to New Zealand.

April 8, 1958 A USAF KC-135 flies nonstop from Tokyo to Azores, Portugal, a distance of 10,228 miles. Brigadier General W. E. Eubank piloted the aircraft, setting a world speed record of 13 hours, 45 minutes, and 46 seconds between Tokyo and Washington, D.C. (492.262 miles per hour).

April 9, 1958 A Canberra blows up at 56,000 feet, necessitating the highest ejection to date.

April 18, 1958 The Grumman F11F-1 Tiger, piloted by Lieutenant Commander George C. Watkins, sets a world altitude record of 76,932 feet.

May 2, 1958 Rene Carpentier flies the mixed-powerplant Trident to 78,452 feet.

May 7, 1958 The Lockheed F-104A reclaims the altitude record when Major Howard C. Johnson pilots it to 91,243 feet.

May 16, 1958 Captain Walter W. Irwin flies an F-104A at 1,403 miles per hour, setting a world speed record.

May 17, 1958 Four McDonnell F3H Demons and four Vought F8U Crusaders fly nonstop across the Atlantic.

May 22-23, 1958 Major E. N. LeFaivre, USMC, sets five time-to-climb altitude records in a Douglas F4D-1.

May 27, 1958 The McDonnell F4H-1 Phantom II makes its first flight with Robert Little as the pilot.

June 12, 1958 A KC-135 sets an unofficial coast-to-coast record of 3 hours, 42 minutes, 45 seconds.

July 3, 1958 A Boeing 707 commercial airliner sets a Los Angeles to Mexico City record: three hours, nine minutes.

July 26, 1958 Captain Ivan Kincheloe, a famous test pilot, is killed in the crash of a Lockheed F-104.

July 27, 1958 Commanders Malcom Ross and Morton Lewis set a balloon endurance record of 34 hours and 20 minutes.

August 1, 1958 Captain Marion Boling sets a record of 6,979 miles in a Beechcraft Bonanza, flying from Manila to Pendleton, Oregon.

August 7, 1958 A de Havilland Comet 4 sets a west-east transatlantic record, flying from New York to Hatfield, England, in 6 hours and 27 minutes.

August 10, 1958 Seven USAF F-101 Voodoos set a formation distance record of 5,953 miles, flying from Austin, Texas, to Brentwood, England.

August 19, 1958 The Lockheed Orion, an anti-submarine warfare plane, flies for the first time.

August 23, 1958 The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is created.

September 23, 1958 The Beijing No. 1, an aircraft designed in Chinese People's Republic, makes its first flight.

October 1, 1958 The National Advisory Council on Aeronautics (NACA) becomes the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA).

October 4, 1958 BOAC inaugurates transatlantic service with de Havilland Comet 4s.

October 26, 1958 Pan Am offers transatlantic service with Boeing 707s.

December 19, 1958 President Dwight Eisenhower broadcasts a message from Project SCORE satellite.

December 31, 1958 As the year draws to a close, tallies reveal that, for the first time, total passengers carried by air exceeds total passengers carried by sea in transatlantic service.