AIAA

The World's Forum for Aerospace Leadership

  • MY AIAA
  • Donate
  • Press Room
  • Renew
  • View Cart
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.

    • ARC
    • AIAA Foundation
    • Industry Guide

    The History of Flight from Around the World
    1800s


    1804


    • 1804 - Sir George Cayley builds and flies the world's first successful model glider.



    1809


    • 1809 - Marie Madeleine Sophie Blanchard, wife of balloonist Jean-Pierre Blanchard, was killed when her hydrogen balloon caught fire as she watched a fireworks display. She was the first woman to lose her life while flying.



    1840


    • March 23, 1840 - The first photograph is taken of the Moon.



    1845


    • April 2, 1845 - The first photograph is taken of the Sun.



    1850


    • July 17, 1850 - The first photograph is taken of a star (Vega).



    1852


    • September 24, 1852 - A steam engine powers the first airship flown by Henri Giffard.



    1865


    • 1868 - Matthew Boulton obtained a British patent on a design for ailerons as control surfaces.



    1868


    • July 4, 1880 - Mary H. Myers becomes the first American woman to pilot her own balloon.



    1880


    • July 4, 1880 - Mary H. Myers becomes the first American woman to pilot her own balloon.



    1884


    • 1884 - Horatio Phillips of England designed a wing with a curved airfoil shape.



    1890


    • October 9, 1890 - Clément Ader flew a steam-powered, bat-winged monoplane, which he named the Eole, a distance of 50 m (160 feet) near Paris. The steam engine was unsuitable for sustained and controlled flight, which required the gasoline engines.



    1892


    • December 1892 - The Wright brothers open their first bicycle shop.



    1896


    • May 6, 1896 - Samuel P. Langley, the third Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, succeeded in launching the first reasonably large, steam-powered model aircraft on flights of up to three quarters of a mile over the Potomac River.

    • August 8, 1896 - Otto Lilienthal dies when a gust of wind throws his glider out of control.



    1899


    • May 30, 1899 - Wilbur Wright writes the Smithsonian Institute and affirms his belief that human flight was possible.


    Back to Timeline >