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The American Experience
Aviation Milestones (1937-1989)
1937 January -- Howard Hughes, flying his own Hughes H-1, breaks the U.S. transcontinental speed record, flying from Los Angeles, California to Newark, New Jersey in 7 hours, 28 minutes, and 25 seconds. During the flight Hughes averaged a speed of 332 miles per hour.
1943 October -- Ann Baumgartener Carl of the Women Airforce Service Pilots flies a Bell XP-59A to become the first American woman to fly a jet airplane.
1947 1947October -- Air Force Major Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, flying the Bell X-1 "Glamorous Glennis," becomes the first pilot to fly faster than the speed of sound. The "Glamorous Glennis," named after Yeager's wife, reached a speed of 967 miles per hour, Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 70,140 feet. That was the fastest velocity and highest altitude reached by a manned aircraft up to that time.
1949 February -- The first round-the-world, nonstop flight begins on February 26 at Carswell Air Force base in Fort Worth, Texas. Captain James Gallagher, flying the B-50 Superfortress, ended his circumnavigation of the globe on March 2. The plane, carrying a crew of 14, averaged 249 miles per hour on the 23,452-mile trip. The Superfortress was refueled four times in the air by B-29 tanker planes.
1950 1950Spetember -- Colonel David Carl Schilling of Raleigh, North Carolina makes the first transatlantic, nonstop jet airplane flight. Flying a single-engine F-84E Republic Thunderjet, Schilling traveled a distance of 3,300 miles in 10 hours and 1 minute. The journey began in Manston, England and ended at an Air Force base at Limestone, Maine.
1953 June -- Major Horace C. Boren of Dallas, Texas becomes the first person to circle the globe via commercial airlines in less than 100 hours. Boren stopped at 19 airports during his 21,000-mile jaunt. He arrived at New York International Airport, Idlewild, New York on June 25, having completed his adventure in 99 hours and 16 minutes.
1929 November -- Richard Byrd, along with pilot Bernt Balchen, radio operator Harold June, and photographer Captain Ashley McKinley, makes the first flight over the South Pole. Byrd and company flew in a tri-motored monoplane called the Floyd Bennett, named for Byrd's co-pilot on his North Pole flight of 1926. Bennett had died the previous year.
1977 August -- Champion bicyclist and hang-gliding enthusiast Bryan Allen demonstrates sustained, maneuverable, human-powered flight while flying the "Gossamer Condor" for 7 minutes, 2.7 seconds in a closed course. The "Gossamer Condor" was designed by Dr. Paul MacCready and Dr. Peter Lissamen and was made of thin aluminum tubes, mylar plastic, and stainless steel wire. By making the flight, Allen collected the $95,000 Kremer Prize, established in 1959 by British industrialist Henry Kremer.
1979 December -- The first solar-powered long-distance airplane flight is recorded when the "Solar Challenge" flies for 22 minutes over a distance of six miles near Marana, Arizona. The 210-pound plane, constructed of aluminum and plastic, was piloted by Janice Brown.
1986 December -- The first round-the-world flight without refueling is made by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, flying on the Voyager, a front-and-rear propelled plane constructed mainly of plastic. Their 216-hour, 24,986-mile circumnavigation began and ended at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
1989 August -- Pilot Lyle Shelton, flying a modified Grumman F8F Bearcat called Rare Bear, achieves the fastest speed ever by a piston-engined aircraft. Shelton reached a speed of 528.33 miles per hour over a 10-mile course at Las Vegas, Nevada.

1903 - 1936 | 1937 - 1989



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