Timeline of aviation – 20th century

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1901

  • July 31 - German meteorologists Berson and Süring climb to 10,800 m in a free balloon.

August

October

November–December

  • The Wright brothers optimize their No. 3 Glider wing design with the help of wind tunnel measurements.

1902

January

  • January 17 - Gustave Whitehead purports to fly a motorized airplane with a boat-shaped hull on a supposed 11 km (6.8 mi) flight over Long Island Sound and states he landed safely in the water close to the starting point. The No.22, if it existed, is said to have had wheels and could land on water as well as on the ground. It reportedly was rebuilt from his Whitehead Aeroplane No. 21 of the previous year. No.21 had a 20 hp motor, No.22 had a 40 hp motor. There is only Whitehead's written statement that No.22 existed.

February

March

April

1903

February

  • February 16 Traian Vuia presented to the Académie des Sciences of Paris the possibility of flying with a heavier-than-air mechanical machine and his procedure for taking off, but it was rejected for being an utopia, adding the comments: The problem of flight with a machine which weighs more than air can not be solved and it is only a dream.

March

  • March 31 - Richard Pearse is reputed to have made a powered flight in a heavier-than-air craft, a monoplane of his own construction, that crash lands on a hedge. This date is computed from circumstantial evidence of eyewitnesses as the flight was not well documented at the time. The machine made a flight claimed to be around 150 feet (45 m) on his farm at Upper Waitohi, near Timaru in south Canterbury, New Zealand.

May

  • May 11 - Richard Pearse is claimed to have made a flight of around 1,000 yards (900 m), landing in the semi-dry bed of the Opihi River.

August

  • August 18 - Karl Jatho makes a flight with his motored aircraft in front of four people. [1]. His craft flies up to 200 feet (60 m) a few feet above the ground in a powered heavier-than-air craft.

October

  • October 7 – Samuel Langley conducts the first tests of his full-sized man-carrying version of his earlier model aerodromes. The pilot Charles Manly nearly drowned when the machine slid off its launch apparatus atop a houseboat and fell into the Potomac River.

November

December

  • December 8 - second attempt by Charles Manly to fly Langley's repaired full-sized aerodrome. As with the October 7 attempt the machine failed to fly tripping on its launch gear and somersaulting into the Potomac River nearly killing Manly. A surviving photograph captures the machine upended on its side as it falls off the houseboat. Langley himself was absent at this attempt but the machine's failure to fly ended his government(aka U.S. Army) funded attempts at building a successful full sized man-carrying flying machine.
  • December 17 - The Wright Brothers make four flights in their Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina following years of research and development. Orville Wright takes off first and flies 120 ft (37 m)in 12 seconds. This is frequently considered the first controlled, powered heavier-than-air flight and is the first such flight photographed. On the fourth effort, which is considered by some to be the first true controlled, powered heavier-than-air flight, Wilbur flies 852 ft (260 m) in 59 seconds.

1904

  • The Wrights apply for patents for their flying machine in Germany and France.

April

May

June

August

September

November

  • November 9 - Wilbur Wright flies the Wright Flyer II a distance of 3 miles near Dayton, Ohio, the first flight of longer than five minutes.

1905

March

  • March 16–20 - Daniel Maloney is launched by balloon in a tandem-wing glider designed by John Montgomery and makes three successful flights at Aptos, CA, the highest launch being at 3,000 feet with an 18-minute descent to a predetermined landing location.

April

June

July

  • July 14 - Orville Wright has a serious crash with Wright Flyer III, upon which the Wright Brothers radically alter the aircraft. The pivot point of the front rudder is mainly the culprit for the Flyer's insistent pitching.
  • July 18 - Daniel Maloney makes a launch in a tandem-wing glider designed by John Montgomery at Santa Clara, California. However, a balloon cable damages the glider and upon release Maloney and the aircraft fell uncontrolled to the ground, leading to Maloney's death.

September

  • September - The Wright Brothers resume flight experiments with the re-designed Flyer III with performance of the airplane immediately in the positive. Smooth controlled flights lasting over 20 minutes now occur.

October

November

December

References

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