Year Keyword Event  and Description
1783 ta * Air T The Montgolfier brothers give the first public demonstration of an ascension balloon June 5 at Annonay, France. Joseph Michel Montgolfier, 43, and his brother Jacques Etienne, 38, have inflated their balloon with hot air and it makes a 10-minute ascent (see Jeffries, 1785; Charles, 1787).  
1853 ta * Air T The first manned heavier-than-air flying machine soars 500 yards across a valley carrying the terrified coachman of English engineer Sir George Cayley, 80, in a large glider. Cayley defined the problem of heavier-than-air flight in his 1809 paper “On Aerial Navigation” (see Wright brothers, 1903). 
1903 ta * Air T The Wright brothers make the first sustained manned flights in a controlled gasoline-powered aircraft. Dayton, Ohio, bicycle mechanics Wilbur Wright, 36, and Orville Wright, 32, have built their Flyer I with a chain-drive 12-horsepower motorcycle engine whose cast aluminum engine block gives it a high strength-to-weight ratio. Near Kill Devil Hill at Kitty Hawk, N.C., December 17, they achieve (on their fourth effort) a 59-second flight of 852 feet at a 15-foot altitude, but while a number of newsmen witness the event only three U.S. newspapers report it (see 1905). 
1905 ta * Air T The Wright brothers improve their flying machine of 1903 to the point where they can fly a full circle of 24.5 miles in 38 minutes, a feat they demonstrate at Dayton, Ohio. Their machine will be patented in May of next year, and they will give a series of exhibitions in the United States and Europe to popularize flying (see Wilbur, 1908; Orville, 1909). 
1908 ta * Air T Wilbur Wright completes a flying machine for the War Department, it crashes September 17, killing Lieut. Thomas A. Selfridge, who has flown as a passenger on the test flight, but Wright will repair the plane, it will pass U.S. Army tests in June of next year, and the Wright brothers will obtain the first government contract by producing a plane that can carry two men, fly for 60 minutes, and reach a speed of 40 miles per hour. 
1909 ta * Air T Orville Wright demonstrates the success of the Wright brothers’ airplane and wins assurance of its acceptance by the U.S. Army in July (see 1908). The brothers will establish the American Wright Co. to manufacture aircraft (see Curtiss-Wright, 1929). 
1912 ta * Air T Dutch aircraft designer Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker, 22, introduces the Fokker aeroplane, opens a factory at Johannesthal, Germany, and will build another next year at Schwerin (see 1916; 1922). 
1912 ta * Air T German-American engineer Grover Loening, 24, designs and builds the world’s first amphibious aircraft. He was graduated 2 years ago from Columbia University with the first U.S. master’s degree in aeronautics and his “aeroboat” brings him to the attention of Orville Wright, who will hire him next year as his assistant and manager of Wright Aircraft’s Dayton, Ohio, factory. 
1917 ta * Air T Chance Vought Co. is founded by U.S. aeronautical engineer and designer Chance Milton Vought, 27 (see United Aircraft, 1929). 
1919 ta * Lockheed T Scots-American aviation engineer Malcolm Lockheed (né Loughhead) sets up the Lockheed Hydraulic Brake Co. at Detroit. He will have little success until 1923, when Walter Chrysler buys Lockheed brakes for the first Chrysler motorcars.  
1919 ta * Air T The NC-4 flying boat designed by U.S. aeronautical engineer Jerome Clarke Hunsaker, 33, for Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor makes the first transatlantic crossing by a heavier-than-air machine, leaving Newfoundland May 16 and arriving at Lisbon May 27 with a five-man crew under U.S. Navy, Lieutenant Commander Albert C. Read (Curtiss has produced more than 4,000 JN-4 “Jenny” biplanes for training army and navy pilots in the war) (see 1911). 
1920 ta * Douglas T Douglas Aircraft is founded by former Glenn L. Martin aircraft designer Donald Douglas, 28, who has quit to start his own firm to produce the large, safe, relatively slow commercial plane that he has designed but which Martin has refused to produce (see 1924). 
1922 ta * Air T The first all-metal U.S. airplane is built by engineer William Bushnell Stout, 42, who will sell his commercial aircraft company to Ford Motor Company in 1925, start a passenger airline in 1926, and sell it to United Aircraft and Transport in 1929. 
1922 ta * Air T Dutch aircraft designer A. H. G. Fokker emigrates to America where he will establish the Fokker Aircraft Corp. of America at Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. (see 1912; 1916; Juan Trippe, 1927). 
1923 ta * PanAm T Pan American World Airways has its beginnings in a New York City plane taxi service started by local bond salesman Juan Terry Trippe, 24, who quits his job and joins his friend John Hambleton in buying nine flying boats the U.S. Navy was about to scrap (see 1925). 
1925 ta * PanAm T Colonial Air Transport starts carrying mail between New York and Boston. The company has been created by a merger of Boston’s Colonial Airways with Eastern Air Transport, a line organized by Juan Trippe and John Hambleton with backing from Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and William H. Vanderbilt (see 1923; Cuba, 1927). 
1926 ta * UAL T Scheduled U.S. airline service begins April 6. A Varney Air Lines two-seat Laird Swallow biplane piloted by Leon D. Cuddeback, 28, flies 244 miles on a contract mail route from Pasco, Wash., to Boise, Idaho, and proceeds to Elko, Nev., with 200 pounds of mail. 
1926 ta * Air T The Air Commerce Act passed by Congress encourages the growth of commercial aviation by awarding mail contracts. 
1926 ta * Air T Charles Augustus Lindbergh, 24, takes off from St. Louis April 15 on the first regularly scheduled mail flight between St. Louis and Chicago. Lindbergh is chief pilot for Robertson Aircraft, whose owners Frank and William Robertson have three DH-4 biplanes (see 1927; American Airways, 1930). 
1926 ta * Air T Northwest Airlines has its beginnings in the Northwest Airways Co. that begins service between Chicago and St. Paul. 
1926 ta * TWA T Trans World Airlines has its beginnings in the Western Air Express Co. (see 1930). 
1927 ta * PanAm T Juan Trippe founds Pan American Airways and obtains exclusive rights from Cuban president Gerardo Machado y Morales to land at Havana; he begins mail service between Key West, Fla., and Havana with Fokker F-7 single-engine monoplanes (see 1925; 1929). 
1928 ta * Lockheed T Lockheed Aircraft designer John Northrop quits the small Burbank, Calif., company to start his own firm. Gerard Vultee, 27, who succeeds Northrop as chief engineer, will redesign the Lockheed Vega for speed and design the Sirius for Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne (see 1927; Lockheed, 1932; American Airlines, 1930). 
1929 ta * UTC T United Aircraft & Transport is created by U.S. aeronautical engineer and designer Chance Vought, now 39, who merges his 12-year-old Chance Vought aircraft manufacturing firm with Pratt & Whitney Aircraft and Boeing Airplane. 
1929 ta * Curtiss-Wright T Curtiss-Wright Corp. is created by a merger of American Wright Co. with Curtiss Aircraft (see 1909; 1910; General Motors, 1933). 
1929 ta * Air T Delta Air Lines begins passenger service June 17 under the name Delta Air Service with three six-passenger Travelaire monoplanes powered by 300-horsepower Wright “Whirlwind” engines flying at 90 miles per hour between Dallas and Jackson, Miss., via Shreveport and Monroe, La. Delta was organized late last year under the leadership of former agricultural extension service county agent C. E. Woolman, 39, who pioneered in using airplanes to dust cotton crops with arsenate of lead and calcium arsenate in order to protect them from boll weevil damage. 
1929 ta * Air T Grumman Aircraft has its beginnings in a Baldwin, Long Island, aircraft repair shop opened by Leroy Grumman and Leon “Jake” Swirlbul. William T. Schwendler, 24, is chief engineer. 
1929 ta * Air T Lufthansa is organized as the German national airline, giving Berlin’s 6-year-old Tempelhof Airport new importance. By 1936 it will be Europe’s busiest air-travel center. 
1929 ta * PanAm T Pan American Airways starts daily flights between Miami and San Juan, Miami and Nassau, and San Juan and Havana (see 1927; 1935).  
1929 ta * PanAm T Pan American consultant Charles A. Lindbergh opens a route through Central America to the Panama Canal Zone. Pan Am acquires Cia Mexicana de Aviacion, wins a mail contract to Mexico City, and by year’s end Pan Am has routes totaling 12,000 miles, up from 251 at the end of last year (see 1930). 
1929 ta * Curtiss-Wright T The first mobile home trailer, devised by aviation pioneer Glenn H. Curtiss, is displayed in New York showrooms by Hudson Motor Car (see 1922).  
1930 ta * AA T American Airlines has its beginnings in American Airways founded by Auburn motorcar boss Errett Cord who merges Robertson Aircraft with other small firms (see Lindbergh, 1926). Needing 20 single-engine, 12-place planes for a Midwest shuttle service, Cord starts a company to produce the planes, he places his brother-in-law Donald Smith in charge, and Smith hires Gerard Vultee from Lockheed and sets him up in a small hangar at Grand Central Airport, Los Angeles (see 1934; Vultee, 1928). 
1930 ta * PanAm T Pan Am begins flying to South America (see 1929; 1935). 
1930 ta * UAL T The first airline stewardess begins work in mid-May for United Airlines. Boeing agent Steve Stimpson at San Francisco has suggested that commercial aircraft carry “young women as couriers,” United has hired Ellen Church and told the registered nurse and  pilot to hire seven other nurses—all aged 25, all single, all with pleasant personalities, none taller than five feet four or heavier than 115 pounds—and they serve cold meals and beverages, pass out candy and chewing gum, and comfort airsick passengers. Women cabin attendants will serve to help allay public fears of flying. 
1930 ta * TWA T TWA (Transcontinental and Western Air) is created by a merger and receives a government mail contract (see 1926; Hughes, 1939). 
1930 ta * UAL T United Airlines is created by a merger of Boeing Transport with National Air Transport. United uses Ford trimotor planes to cut flying time from New York to San Francisco to 28 hours. 
1932 ta * Lockheed T Aircraft designer Lloyd Carl Stearman, 33, becomes president of a revived Lockheed Co. after it is acquired in bankruptcy for $40,000 by new investors (see Northrop, Vultee, 1928).  Stearman worked in partnership with Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech in 1924 to produce the Travel Air, a pioneer civilian production plane, and after being nearly wiped out in 1929 merged his company at Wichita with United Aircraft, which produces his training planes.  
1933 ta * Douglas T The DC-1 introduced by Douglas Aircraft can carry 12 passengers at 150 miles per hour. TWA has suggested construction of the Douglas Commercial aircraft and orders 25 (see 1924; 1930; DC-3, 1936). 
1934 ta * Air T Continental Air Lines has its beginnings in the Southwest division of Varney Air Transport founded by former Varney president and former United Airlines director Louis H. Mueller, 38, who flies mail between El Paso and Pueblo, Calif. Continental will become a major domestic passenger carrier. 
1935 ta * PanAm T The first official transpacific air mail flight leaves San Francisco November 22, and the China Clipper flying boat of Juan Trippe’s Pan American Airways arrives November 29 at Manila after flying 8,210 miles with stops at Honolulu, Midway, Wake, and Guam (see 1930). The new San Francisco-Manila route gives Pan Am a total of 40,000 miles versus 24,000 for Air France, 23,600 for Lufthansa, 21,000 for British Imperial, 11,700 for KLM, 10,500 for Soviet Russia’s Aeroflot. 
1936 ta * AA T The American Airlines Mercury flight to Los Angeles leaves Newark Airport in late October carrying 12 passengers who occupy sleeper berths plus two motion picture celebrities who pay a premium over the standard $150 fare to occupy the private Sky Room compartment of the Douglas Sleeper Transport version of the new DC-3. The flight departs at 5:10 in the afternoon for Memphis, Dallas, Phoenix, and Glendale, Calif., where it lands at 9:10 the following morning, just 20 minutes after estimated time of arrival. 
1936 ta * Douglas T The DC-3 introduced by Douglas Aircraft is a powerful two-engine, 21-passenger aircraft built at the urging of C. R. Smith of American Airlines. The Model T of commercial aviation will prove that commercial aircraft can be profitable if flown fully loaded and will make Douglas the leader in commercial aircraft. Douglas will sell more than 800 within 2 years and produce more than 10,000 military versions (Britons will call them Dakotas, the U.S. Navy R-4Ds, the Air Transport Command C-47s) (see 1933; 1938). 
1938 ta * Douglas T Douglas Aircraft has sales of $28.4 million as its DC-3 gains popularity. It solicits orders for a new four-engine DC-4, but Boeing goes into production with a four-engine 307 that challenges Douglas for leadership in commercial aircraft (see B-17, 1935; TWA, 1940). 
1938 ta * EAL T Eastern Airlines is created out of North American Aviation’s Eastern Air Transport by World War flying ace E. V. “Eddie” Rickenbacker who buys into North American with backing from Standard Oil heir Laurence Rockefeller, 28 (see North American, 1933). Now 48, Rickenbacker has worked in the auto industry and for several aircraft and airline companies; he will make Eastern a major carrier, and he will obtain routes up and down the East Coast and to Mexico and the Caribbean. 
1939 ta * TWA T Howard Hughes buys control of Transcontinental and Western Airlines (TWA) from the Wall Street banking house Lehman Brothers (see 1931; 1938). Hughes will develop TWA into Trans World Airways and control it until 1966, by which time he will have expanded his patrimony into a fortune of $1.5 billion and made TWA a transatlantic competitor of Pan Am. 
1939 ta * UTC T The first American-made helicopter is flown by Igor Sikorsky, now 50, who has been in the United States since 1919 and has made the craft for United Aircraft at Bridgeport, Conn. (see 1913; 1929). 
1939 ta * Air T The first commercial transatlantic passenger air service begins June 28 as 22 passengers and 12 crew members take off from Port Washington, N.Y., for Marseilles via the Azores and Lisbon aboard the Pan American Airways Yankee Clipper, a Boeing aircraft powered by four 1,550-horsepower Wright Cyclone engines (see 1935). Pan Am has been providing air service to the Caribbean, South America, and the Pacific but Anglo-American disputes over airport landing rights have delayed the start of transatlantic service. The plane has separate passenger cabins, a dining salon, ladies’ dressing room, recreation lounge, sleeping berths, and a bridal suite, the flight takes 26.5 hours, and the one-way fare is $375. 
1940 ta * TWA T The first commercial flight using pressurized cabins takes off July 8 as a Transcontinental & Western Air Boeing 307-B Stratoliner goes into service between La Guardia Airport and Burbank, Calif., with a stop at Kansas City. The plane carries 33 passengers by day and 25 at night (24 of the seats are in compartments convertible into 16 sleeping berths), and flying time is 14 hours going west, 11 hours, 55 minutes going east. 
1940 ta * Air T The P-51 Mustang fighter plane designed and produced in 127 days by North American Aviation’s “Dutch” Kindelberger and John Leland Atwood, 35, is powered by the same 1,000-horsepower Rolls-Royce engine that powers the Spitfire, which is winning the Battle of Britain (see 1934).  
1946 ta * Air T IATA (International Air Transport Association) is founded. The trade association has 63 member airlines within a year
1946 ta * PanAm T Pan American Airways inaugurates the great circle route to Tokyo. 
1946 ta * Douglas T The DC-6 introduced by Douglas Aircraft can carry 70 passengers at 300 miles per hour with cargo, mail, and luggage
1952 ta * Air T Jet aircraft passenger service is inaugurated by a British De Havilland Comet which jets from London to Johannesburg,
1956 ta * Air T Boeing and Douglas battle for leadership in the commercial jet aircraft industry (see 1953). American Airlines, Air
1958 ta * PanAm T Pan Am and BOAC inaugurate transatlantic jet service in October (see London-Johannesburg, 1952). By the end of next
1958 ta * Boeing T The Boeing 707 goes into service to challenge the British-built Comet for leadership in the aircraft industry. The first
1958 ta * Boeing T The first domestic U.S. 707 flight takes off December 10. National Airlines has rented two of the big Boeing jets from
1962 ta * Air T The Lear jet, introduced by aviation pioneer William P. Lear, will be the leading make of private jet aircraft within 5
1966 ta * PanAm T Pan Am orders 25 Boeing 747 jumbo jets, setting a lead that other carriers will have to follow. Depending on seat
1967 ta * Douglas T McDonnell-Douglas Corp. is created April 28 in a takeover of Douglas Aircraft by the 39-year-old McDonnell Aircraft
1968 ta * PanAm T Pan Am and Aeroflot begin direct service between New York and the Soviet Union July 15. Aeroflot uses the four-jet
1969 ta * Air T The Concorde supersonic jet makes its first flight March 2 from Toulouse and its first supersonic flight Oct 1
1970 ta * Boeing T Boeing 747 jumbo jets go into transatlantic service for Pan Am beginning January 21 (see 1966). 
1971 ta * Air T The U.S. Senate votes 51 to 46 to stop all further federal funding of SST (supersonic transport) development.
1974 ta * Air T The Airbus A300B assembled at Toulouse, France, begins to challenge Boeing for the world jet aircraft market. Airbus
1976 ta * PanAm T Pan Am begins nonstop New York-Tokyo service via Boeing 747 April 26. 
1978 ta * Air T The Airline Deregulation Act signed by President Carter October 24 provides for a phasing out of federal regulation of
1980 ta * PanAm T Pan Am acquires 50-year-old National Airlines, gaining its first domestic routes. 
1982 ta * Boeing T The Boeing 767 makes its commercial debut September 8 on a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Denver. The plane
1986 ta * EAL T Texas Air acquires Eastern Airlines for $676 million February 24 and becomes the largest U.S. airline. It acquires People
1991 ta * EAL T Eastern Airlines ceases operations January 18 after 62 years of operation following a 22-month strike by machinists. PanAN ends in December.