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You can do eeeit!
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Discussion Starter #1
Well, today, December 17, 2003 marks a significant official anniversary within aviation.

On December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, at approximately 10 AM, the Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur test flew their Wright Flyer. With Orville at the controls, this aircraft flew a distance of 37 metres in a flight time of 12 seconds. This event marked the first official heavier than air aircraft flight.

The unofficial first powered flight, however, was actually conducted by a Kiwi – Richard Pearse at Waitohi, New Zealand, on March 31, 1903. His homebuilt aircraft flew a total distance of 150 yards.

A selection of aviation highlights to now - courtesy News & Record:

• 1906 -- Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian expatriate living in Paris, makes Europe's first powered flights in a biplane named 14-bis on Sept. 13.
• 1907 -- Paul Cornu makes the first flight in a helicopter, near Lisieux, France, Nov. 13.
• 1909 -- Louis Bleriot of France becomes the first person to fly across the English Channel.
• 1910 -- The first hydroplane is flown at Martigues, France, by Henri Fabre, March 28.
• 1910 -- A Curtiss biplane, piloted by Eugene Ely, takes off from a ship, the modified battleship U.S.S. Birmingham, at Hampton Roads, Va., for the first time, Nov. 14.
• 1911 -- Eugene Ely makes a landing on U.S.S. Pennsylvania and takes off again, Jan. 18.
• 1911 -- First use of the airplane in war during the Italo-Turkish war.
• 1914 -- The first year of World War I see the start of combat between airplanes.
• 1915 -- The first fighter with a fixed, forward-firing machine gun, Anthony Fokker's Eindecker Scout, goes into service. The gun was synchronized to fire through the whirling propeller and brought about a revolution in aerial combat.
• 1919 -- Lt. Com. Albert C. Read and a five-man crew in a U.S. Navy flying boat make the first airplane crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, traveling from New York to Lisbon, Portugal, via Newfoundland and the Azores, May 16-17.
• 1919 -- British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown make the first transAtlantic crossing in their Vickers Vimy bomber. The flight from Newfoundland to western Ireland took just over 16 hours, June 14-15.
• 1919 -- The World's first airline KLM is formed, QANTAS becomes the first airline in the Southern Hemisphere.
• 1923 -- Spaniard Juan de la Cierva builds the Autogiro, which takes off almost vertically on whirling blades and flies horizontally on wings using a conventional propeller -- an ancestor of the helicopter.
• 1923 -- The first refueling in flight takes place over San Diego, Calif., June 26.
• 1924 -- Two U.S. Army Douglas World Cruisers leave Seattle April 6 on the first round-the-world flight. They return on Sept. 28, after flying 26,345 miles.
• 1926 -- Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett make the first flight over the North Pole, May 2.
• 1927 -- Charles Lindbergh, a 25-year-old U.S. airmail pilot, makes the first first, nonstop, solo flight across the Atlantic. His flight from New York to Paris in the Spirit of St. Louis takes more than 33-1/2 hours and earns him $25,000, May 20-21.
• 1928 -- Australian Charles Kingsford-Smith and crew fly a Fokker F-VII across the Pacific, from San Francisco to Honolulu to Brisbane, Australia.
• 1928 -- The first rocket-propelled airplane flight is made in a canard-type glider at Wasserkuppe, Germany.
• 1929 -- Dirgible "Graf Zeppelin," commanded by Hugo Eckener, flies around the world with only three stops en route, Aug. 8-29.
• 1929 -- Lt. James Doolittle makes the first flight guided entirely by instruments in a Consolidated NY-2 biplane at Mitchel Field, N.Y., Sept. 24.
• 1930 -- Frank Whittle in England takes out the first patents on his jet engine.
between Germany and Brazil, Aug. 29.
• 1932 -- Amelia Earhart, the first woman passenger to fly the Atlantic, becomes the first woman to fly it alone, May 20-21.
• 1933 -- The first modern civil airliner, the Boeing 247, a twin-engined transport, is built.
• 1935 -- Amelia Earhart makes the first solo flight by a woman from Hawaii to California, Jan. 11-12.
• 1935 -- The most famous airliner in the world, the DC-3 (Douglas Commercial) transport, is built.
Lakehurst, N.J., May 6.
• 1938 -- The Supermarine Spitfire fighter, a low-wing, single-seat craft, goes into production in England and becomes one of World War II's most famous planes, playing a major role in the Battle of Britain.
• 1939 -- The world's first turbojet aircraft, the Heinkel He-178, flies in Germany on Aug 27. But the Nazi high command shows little interest in its value for military purposes.
• 1940 -- The first pressurized airliner, the Boeing 307-B, permits passengers to fly more comfortably at greater speeds for longer distances.
• 1941 -- In a classic use of airpower, the Japanese attack U.S. bases at Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, Dec. 7.
• 1942 -- Igor Sikorsky, living in the U.S., successfully flies the first modern helicopter, the VS-300, capable of vertical and hovering flight.
• 1942 -- The first operational military jet, the Messerschmitt 262 fighter, is tested in Germany, but it is not put into service until two years later.
• 1942 -- The first American jet, the Bell XP-59A, makes its first flight at Muroc, Calif., Oct 1.
• 1942 -- The Battles of Coral Sea and Midway prove to be a turning point in the war in the Pacific, as U.S. carrier-based planes shatter the Japanese fleet and establish the superiority of the aircraft carrier as a tactical naval weapon.
• 1944 -- German V-1 flying bombs and V-2 rockets bombard London.
• 1945 -- U.S. plane drops the first atom bomb on Hiroshima and helps bring the war to an end, Aug. 6.
• 1947 -- Test pilot Chuck Yeager, flying the Bell X-1, becomes the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound, 670 mph, Oct. 14.
• 1950 -- The Korean War marks the first jet combat between Russian-built Mig-15s and American Sabre F-86s.
• 1952 -- The British De Havilland Comet, the world's first jet transport, enters service.
• 1953 -- U.S. pilot A. Scott Crossfield flies faster than twice the speed of sound in a Douglas Skyrocket.
• 1954 -- The Boeing 707, the first U.S. jet transport, is tested.
• 1954 -- The Convair XFY-1, the first airplane to take off and land vertically, is tested.
• 1957 -- Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1, the first man-made earth satellite. That same year, Sputnik 2 carries a dog, Laika, the first space traveler.
• 1957 -- Three B-52 Stratofortresses make the first, nonstop jet flight around the world, a distance of 24,325 miles in 45 hours and 20 minutes, Jan. 16-18. Three in-flight refuelings were required.
• 1958 -- U.S. launches its first satellites, Explorer 1 and Vanguard 1.
• 1959 -- The North American X-15 is built for hypersonic flight and sets world records for speed, 4,104, and altitude, 67 miles.
• 1959 -- A Soviet probe hits the moon.
• 1961 -- Yuri A. Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut, becomes the first person in space, April 12.
• 1961 -- Astronaut Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space.
• 1962 -- John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth, Feb. 20.
• 1962 -- North American rocket research plane X-15 penetrates outer space, July 17.
• 1965 -- A Soviet cosmonaut becomes the first man to walk in space.
• 1968 -- Astronauts Frank Borman, William A. Anders and James A. Lovell Jr. become the first men to orbit the moon, Dec. 24-25.
• 1969 -- Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on the moon. Fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin joins him moments later, July 20.
• 1970 -- The first jumbo jet, the Boeing 747, enters airline service.
• 1973 -- Astronauts conduct experiments in Skylab 1, the first manned U.S. space laboratory.
• 1976 -- The Concorde, a supersonic transport plane built by Britain and France, begins passenger service.
• 1981 -- U.S. astronauts John W. Young and Robert L. Crippin make the first space shuttle flight, April 12.
• 1981 -- Paul MacCready's "Solar Challenger" is the first solar-powered aircraft to cross the English Channel, July 7.
• 1986 -- U.S. pilots Burt Rugan, Dick Rugan and Jeana Yeagar become the first fliers to circle the globe nonstop, without refueling. Their flight aboard the ultra-light "Voyager" began and ended in California.
• 1992 -- French pilots Claude Delorme and Jean Boye fly an Air France Concorde around the world in a record 32 hours 49 minutes 3 seconds.
• 1995 -- The Boeing 777 airliner, the world's largest twin-engine jet, begins passenger service.
• 1999 -- Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones, aboard the Breitling Orbiter 3, become the first balloonists to circle the globe, March 1-20.
• 1999 -- Eileen Collins becomes the first woman to command a U.S. space flight, as she leads a mission of the space shuttle Columbia, July 23.
• 2002 -- Adventurer Steve Fosset completes solo round the world balloon flight.

1,079 Posts
Interesting facts
I notice some lowlights have not made the list, but thats understandable.
All in all an amazing 100 years

Mr. Embargo
3,745 Posts
Paying tribute to the friendship between Henry Ford and the Wright brothers, Edsel B. Ford II will walk the ground of the Wright Brothers National Memorial tomorrow. Ford is celebrating 100 years of shared history, as the only authentic reproduction of the Wrights’ 1903 Flyer re-enacts the Wright Brothers’ first flight.

"My great-grandfather would have loved to see this day," said Ford, great-grandson of Henry Ford and a member of Ford’s Board of Directors. "I’m here for him, to mark innovations and shared spirit of determination championed by my great-grandfather and the Wrights 100 years ago."

Henry Ford noted 1903’s significance for transportation innovation in a telegram to the Wrights:

"The year nineteen hundred and three has special significance for both of us. It heralded man’s conquest of the air and made the name of Wilbur and Orville Wright immortal. It also marked what we feel was a step forward in land transportation, the founding of the Ford Motor Company. I wish to add my greetings and best wishes to the many other you will receive today…"

Three descendants re-create Wright Flyer ground crew

Edsel B. Ford II will join Amanda Wright Lane, great-grandniece of the Wright brothers, and Erik Lindbergh, grandson of legendary pilot Charles Lindbergh, in re-creating the ground crew that supported the Wrights’ first flight. The three descendants of aviation pioneers will help position the reproduction 1903 Flyer for flight. Henry Ford and the Wright brothers were friends and kindred spirits in their passion for innovation, as documented in their frequent correspondence. Lindbergh was Ford Motor Company’s chief pilot in 1927 and took Henry Ford on his first airplane ride.

Ford Motor Company will take ownership of the Flyer and donate it to the Henry Ford Museum in early 2004, bringing to fruition Henry Ford’s dream of displaying the original plane. Ford has supported the building of the 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction with technical analysis, engineering advice, information technology and machine shop tools.

Henry Ford put the world on wheels … and wings

As one of the premier innovators of his generation, Henry Ford not only put the nation on wheels, but helped put the world on wings through his efforts to develop aircraft to serve the public. He then built public confidence in their safety, reliability and necessity and laid the foundation for the world’s modern system of commercial aviation.

Ford is credited with building the first modern airport and concrete runway, advancing radio beacon navigation and popularizing all-metal aircraft with the Ford Tri-Motor. In the 1920s, Henry Ford applied his automotive assembly-line production method to aircraft – making Ford Motor Company the world’s largest manufacturer of aircraft. For his pioneering efforts, Henry Ford was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1984 and recognized as an aviation pioneer by the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission in December 2002. A full timeline of Henry Ford’s contributions to aviation and photographs are available at Ford’s media site,

Ford Motor Company team helps uncover elusive secrets of the Wright brothers

Ford Motor Company played a key role in ensuring the authenticity of the reproduction 1903 Flyer, including consulting on engineering issues and giving specialized equipment to The Wright Experience to craft parts for the plane. Using the same sophisticated testing facilities it uses to develop automobiles, Ford analyzed historic materials and tested an authentic reproduction of the engine the Wright brothers used to make their first flight on Dec. 17, 1903.

A team of a dozen Ford Motor Company engineers, technicians and supervisors worked with the engine builders to test and analyze their authentic reproduction of the Wrights’ 1903 engine. Tests on the engine were performed at Ford’s sophisticated Dynamometer Laboratory in Dearborn, Mich. – the first time anyone saw the historic engine in full operation. At the same time, the testing revealed fascinating details about the Wrights’ historic achievement. More details on the engine testing can be found at

Earlier in the process, Ford tested materials from the Wrights’ 1903 test engine and original Flyer to determine their physical and chemical characteristics. These results helped ensure the authenticity of the materials used in the reproduction 1903 Wright Flyer.

In addition, Ford Motor Company Information Technology, in collaboration with its supplier partners Documentum, Oracle and Hewlett-Packard, developed a searchable, computerized database that enables The Wright Experience to retrieve historical documents as it creates the 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction and other Wright aircraft.

Limited 2003 Lincoln Aviator Kitty Hawk Edition honors spirit of Wright brothers

Lincoln created an all-new package for the Aviator SUV to honor the historic first flight of the Wright brothers. The limited 2003 Lincoln Aviator Kitty Hawk Edition is the official vehicle of Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) Countdown to Kitty Hawk presented by Ford Motor Company.

"This is an SUV for those with a flair for traveling in style and a desire for an effortless ride like the wind – all aspects that are in the heart of every pilot and give Aviator its name," said Jan Valentic, vice president, Global Marketing, Ford Motor Company.

Ford and Discovery Channel team up for documentary

The Discovery Channel will air a documentary with exclusive footage of the Dec. 17 re-enactment, including Ford Motor Company’s crucial role, titled "Return to Kitty Hawk: One Hundred Years of Flight." Scheduled broadcast times are Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. EST, repeating at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. and Dec. 21 at 11 a.m.

Ford and Discovery Channel School produce multimedia kits for middle schools

Ford Motor Company partnered with Discovery Channel School to publish a hands-on, standards-based multimedia kit entitled "The Science of Flight, The Spirit of Innovation." The kit was distributed in early October to every middle and junior high school in the United States. Materials in the kit are also available to download from

About EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk presented by Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is the presenting sponsor of EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk, a yearlong series of events honoring the innovation and determination of the Wright brothers; it culminates in the re-enactment of the Wrights’ first flight on Dec. 17. The celebration is supported by Microsoft Flight Simulator, Eclipse Aviation and Northrop Grumman.

I am The Brain
3,073 Posts
Didn't know about the link between the Wright's and our Henry. Thanks for the read guys.
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