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IHB > Shop > Books Listed by Topic > The Indiana Historian > Aviation in Indiana > Aviation in Indiana - Timeline Aviation in Indiana - Timeline

A timeline detailing the aviation accomplishments of Purdue University.

1232
Chinese use kites to send messages during war (Hellemans and Bunch, 81).

1380
Rockets are used for the first time in Europe in the Battle of Chioggia (Hellemans and Bunch, 87).

1480
Italian Leonardo da Vinci describes a workable parachute (Hellemans and Bunch, 97).

1492
Leonardo da Vinci draws his conception of a flying machine (Hellemans and Bunch, 99).

1500
Leonardo da Vinci designs the first helicopter, but it is never built (Hellemans and Bunch, 101).

1650
Cyrano de Bergerac, a French science fiction writer, comes up with seven ways to get to the moon, rockets being one of them (Hellemans and Bunch, 143).

1670
Francesco de Lana designs an airship using four copper spheres containing a near vacuum (Hellemans and Bunch, 157).

1783
Frenchman Louis-Sebastien Lenormand, influenced by accounts from China, is the first Westerner to use a parachute (Hellemans and Bunch, 233).

1783
June 5
In France, the Montgolfier brothers, Jacques Elienne and Joseph Michel, demonstrate the hot-air balloon (Hellemans and Bunch, 233).

1783
August 27
In France, physicist Jacques Alexandre Charles builds the first hydrogen balloon (Hellemans and Bunch, 233).

1783
Frenchmen Jean Francois Pilâtre de Rozier and Francois Laurent, Marquis d'Arlandes, are the first humans to fly using a hot-air balloon. They are airborne for 25 minutes (Hellemans and Bunch, 233).

1784
Vincent Lunardi is the first Englishman to ascend in a hydrogen balloon (Hellemans and Bunch, 235).

1785
The first casualties of flight are Pilâtre de Rosier and Romain as they try to cross the English Channel in a hot-air balloon (Hellemans and Bunch, 237).

1793
First successful parachute jump is made from a hot-air balloon by Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard (Hellemans and Bunch, 243).

1804
Englishman George Cayley develops an instrument to measure air resistance; begins building a series of gliders setting the basic principles of aerodynamics (Hellemans and Bunch, 255).

1858
First aerial photograph is taken from the balloon Nadir, over Paris, France (Hellemans and Bunch, 329).

1859
Professor John Wise completes first airmail delivery via balloon from Lafayette, Indiana.

1867
Wilbur Wright is born in a farm home near Millville, Indiana on April 16 (see p. 9).

1877
First glider to use bird-like arched wings is developed by German aeronautical engineer Otto Lilienthal (Hellemans and Bunch, 351).

1890
Clement Alder's Eole is the first full-size aircraft to leave the ground under its own power (Hellemans and Bunch, 371).

1894
B. F. S. Baden-Powell of Great Britain uses kites to lift human beings into the air (Hellemans and Bunch, 377).

1894
Lawrence D. Bell, founder of Bell Helicopter Corporation, is born in Mentone, Indiana (see p. 13).

1895
David Schwartz builds an airship with a rigid aluminum frame (Hellemans and Bunch, 387).

1895
Russian physicist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky proposes that liquid-fueled rockets can propel vehicles into space (Hellemans and Bunch, 387).

1896
U.S. astronomer Samuel Pierpont Langley tests his steam-driven flying machine, flying .75 mile before crashing (Hellemans and Bunch, 389).

1896
Octave Chanute-"The Father of Aviation"-conducts glider experiments over Indiana's sand dunes (see p. 4 of issue).

1896
August 10
Otto Lilienthal dies of injuries sustained in a glider crash in Germany (Hellemans and Bunch, 389).

1900
July 2
German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin constructs his first dirigible and flies successfully (Hellemans and Bunch, 397).

1901
G. Whitehead performs the first flight on a motor-driven airplane (Hellemans and Bunch, 399).

1901
Wilbur and Orville Wright of the U.S. fly their first glider (Hellemans and Bunch, 399).

1902
First practical airship, Le Jaune, is launched in France by the Lebaudy brothers (Hellemans and Bunch, 401).

1903
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky of the Soviet Union proposes that liquid oxygen be used for space travel (Hellemans and Bunch, 387, 403).

1904
First airplane factory is started in France by Gabriel Voisin, Ernest Archdeacon, and Louis Blériot (Hellemans and Bunch, 407).

1908
Orville Wright makes first airplane flight that lasts an hour (Hellemans and Bunch, 413).

1909
Louis Blériot is first human to fly across the English Channel, which takes 37 minutes (Hellemans and Bunch, 415).

1909
English aviator Henri Farman makes first airplane flight of 100 miles (Hellemans and Bunch, 415).

1910
American Eugene Ely is first person to take off in an airplane from the deck of a ship (Hellemans and Bunch, 417).

1910
World's first public airplane flight by a woman; Blanche Stuart Scott appears as a wing walker in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

1910
First licensed aviation meet in the U.S. at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

1912
Pioneering air mail "hops" begin in Connersville, Rushville, Evansville, and Rockport, Indiana.

1913
U.S. aeronautical engineer Igor Sikorsky builds and flies a multi-engine airplane (Hellemans and Bunch, 425).

1914
Robert H. Goddard, U.S. engineer, starts to experiment with rockets (Hellemans and Bunch, 427).

1915
Fokker aircraft are first airplanes equipped with machine guns that can fire between the blades of a moving propeller (Hellemans and Bunch, 429).

1918
U.S. air mail service begins between Washington, D.C. and New York City. Hoosier Bob Shank is one of the first pilots on this route.

1919
Robert H. Goddard of the U.S. suggests that a small vehicle can reach the moon by using rockets (Hellemans and Bunch, 435).

1920
Aerodynamics is an option for seniors in mechanical engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (Knoll, 345) (see pp. 6-7).

1921
Indiana's 113th observation squadron is organized, first National Guard air unit of any state.

1926
Robert H. Goddard launches first liquid-fuel propelled rocket which goes184 feet into the air, reaching a speed of 60 miles per hour (Hellemans and Bunch, 447).

1927
Charles A. Lindbergh of the U.S. makes first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic in 33.5 hours (Hellemans and Bunch, 449).

1927
Bob Shank and Harold Brooks open the first private airstrip in Marion County, the Hoosier Airport on the Indianapolis westside (Indianapolis Star, July 18, 1976).

1928
Curtiss Flying Service of Indiana is organized at the Mars Hill airport in Indianapolis by H. Weir Cook. Chief pilot of the women's division is Jean LaRene. Capital investment is $250,000.

1929
Robert H. Goddard launches first instrumented rocket, carrying a small camera, barometer, and thermometer (Hellemans and Bunch, 455).

1930
British engineer Frank Whittle patents the jet engine (Hellemans and Bunch, 457).

1930
Jennings County, Indiana is first county in U.S. to have a complete soil survey taken by airplane.

1930
First U.S. airline stewardess is Ellen Church Marshall of Terre Haute, Indiana.

1931
Weir Cook Municipal Airport opens in Indianapolis. Construction cost is $724,000, and the airport terminal building is completed for $125,000.

1932
Auguste Piccard of Switzerland becomes first human to enter the stratosphere in a balloon, reaching a height of 53,158 feet (Hellemans and Bunch, 461).

1936
German engineer Heinrich Focke develops first practical helicopter (Hellemans and Bunch, 473).

1936
Amelia Earhart brings her twin-engine Electra to Purdue University to be outfitted for her round-the-world flight (see p. 7).

1937
Willa B. Brown, previously a teacher in Gary, Indiana, receives her pilot's license. Also in 1937, she co-founds the National Airmen's Association of America to promote African-American aviation. With Cornelius R. Coffey, she starts the Coffey School of Aeronautics, which trains over 200 pilots, some of whom become part of the 99th Pursuit Squadron at Tuskegee Institute, also known as the "Tuskegee Airmen" (http://www.netsrq.com/~dbois/brown-wb.html) (see p. 12).

1937
Germany works on construction and testing of liquid-fueled rockets (Hellemans and Bunch, 475, 477).

1937
Frank Whittle of Great Britain builds first working jet engine (Hellemans and Bunch, 475).

1938
Germany succeeds in producing a rocket that travels 11 miles (Hellemans and Bunch, 477).

1939
Pan American institutes first regular commercial flights across the Atlantic Ocean (Hellemans and Bunch, 479).

1939
German engineer Pabst von Ohain's jet engine is first such engine actually to fly an airplane (Hellemans and Bunch, 481).

1939
Igor Sikorsky constructs first helicopter designed for mass production (Hellemans and Bunch, 481).

1940
"The Indiana Plan" for training airplane mechanics for national defense is implemented at the State Fair Grounds in Indianapolis, training up to 1,000 mechanics every 6 months.

1941
Over 1,500 Works Projects Administration workers begin improving 6 state airports, with $2,500,000 in federal awards and 441 student flyers in 17 Indiana colleges. Federal contracts with Indiana industry for aviation products total $4,000,000,000.

1941
Herold Marting of Indianapolis is first Hoosier on active duty in World War II with an American Eagle Squadron in Great Britain.

1943
Freeman Field, Seymour, Indiana is named for Captain Richard S. Freeman from Winamac, Indiana (see p. 12).

1943
On December 7, Republic Aviation's Indiana Division in Evansville delivers its 1000th P-47 Thunderbolt (Republic Aviation Corporation Annual Report, 1943, p. 3) (see p. 11).

1944
Germany begins to use jet-propelled bombs controlled by an autopilot mechanism against the United Kingdom (Hellemans and Bunch, 487).

1945
Indiana General Assembly creates Aeronautics Commission of Indiana, with a full-time director and 5 commissioners appointed by the governor.

1946
World's first radar-equipped control tower for civilian flying is installed at Weir Cook Municipal Airport in Indianapolis.

1947
Allison-powered P-80-R Lockheed airplane is the world's fastest at 623 mph. Allison produces over 90 percent of all production-type jet engines in the U.S.

1947
First U.S. airborn class is scheduled by Purdue University.

1947
Major F. M. Cassell, Jr. of Indianapolis flies a Sikorsky B-5A to new world's altitude record for helicopters, 18,850 feet.

1947
First airplane flies at supersonic speed in the U.S. (Hellemans and Bunch, 501).

1948
Indiana's first independent air passenger line, Roscoe Turner Aeronautical Corporation, Indianapolis, is granted flights on two routes.

1948
First U.S. marked air route for private flying is a part of the Transcontinental Skyway I (or Wrightway) from Indianapolis to Dayton, Ohio.

1948
Indiana aeromagnetic survey reveals possible oil and gas fields.

1949
Indiana State Police purchases its first airplane (see p. 8).

1950
Dr. Abe Silverstein, native of Terre Haute, is chief of space-travel plans for NASA.

1954
Indiana's Early Bird pilot, Roderick M. Wright, flies in a jet plane (Air Training, September 1954, p.14) (see p. 10).

1955
Allison T-56 turbine propelled engines power Lockheed's C-130 Hercules-first turboprop aircraft to roll from an American production line.

1956
Indiana aerial applicators spray 1 out of every 185 acres in the state.

1957
October 4
Soviet Union launches the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I; later Sputnik II is launched carrying a dog (Hellemans and Bunch, 526).

1958
January 31
Explorer I, first U.S. satellite, weighing 30.8 pounds, is launched (Carruth, 581).

1958
First automatic computer to be placed in operation by the Civil Aeronautics Administration begins service at Weir Cook Municipal Airport in Indianapolis (Indianapolis News, September 9, 1958).

1959
Trans World Airlines and Delta Airlines announce non-stop jet service between Indianapolis and New York City and Indianapolis and Miami, Florida, respectively, to begin within a year (Indianapolis Star, December 31, 1959).

1959
Soviet Union, trying to reach the moon, launches Lunik I, which misses but goes into orbit around the sun; Lunik II crashes onto the moon's surface, becoming first manmade object to reach the surface of the moon; Lunik III passes the moon, but its camera gives first view of the far side of the moon (Hellemans and Bunch, 532).

1960
Indiana University Medical Center works with collaborators to plan emergency use of helicopters for ambulances throughout the state (Indianapolis Star, December 19, 1960).

1961
April 12
Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin is first human being to orbit Earth (Hellemans and Bunch, 534).

1961
May 5
Alan B. Shepard, Jr. is first U. S. astronaut in space, making a suborbital flight in Mercury 3 capsule Freedom 7 (Hellemans and Bunch, 534, 536).

1961
July 21
Astronaut Virgil I. Grissom is second American in space making a suborbital flight in Liberty Bell 7 capsule (Hellemans and Bunch, 536).

1961
Soviet cosmonaut G. Titov orbits Earth 17 times in 25.6 hours (Hellemans and Bunch, 536).

1962
Soviet Union launches first attempted Mars probe, but contact with the probe is lost (Hellemans and Bunch, 538).

1962
U.S. space probe Mariner 2 is first object made by humans to voyage to another planet, reaching the vicinity of Venus (Hellemans and Bunch, 538).

1962
February 20
John H. Glenn, Jr. is first American to orbit Earth in Mercury 6 capsule Friendship 7 (Hellemans and Bunch, 538).

1962
June 24
M. Scott Carpenter of the U. S. completes three orbits of Earth in Mercury space capsule Aurora 7 (Hellemans and Bunch, 538).

1962
Purdue graduate Neil Armstrong and Frank Borman, Gary, Indiana, are named to nine-member group to be first men on the moon (Indianapolis News, September 17, 1962).

1963
May 15
L. Gordon Cooper of the U.S. completes 22 orbits of Earth in 34-hour flight in Mercury capsule Faith 7 (Hellemans and Bunch, 542).

1963
June 16
Valentina Tereshkova-Nikolayeva of the Soviet Union is first woman in space, making 48 orbits of Earth in 78 hours (Hellemans and Bunch, 542).

1965
March 23
Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young are America's first two-man space crew orbiting the Earth 3 times in a Gemini spacecraft (Hellemans and Bunch, 548).

1965
June 3
James A. McDivitt and Edward H. White of the U. S. orbit the Earth 62 times in Gemini spacecraft (Hellemans and Bunch, 548).

1965
July 15
Mariner IV reaches the neighborhood of Mars, passing within 7,500 miles of the planet (Hellemans and Bunch, 548).

1965
August 21
L. Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad, Jr. of the U.S. begin 190-hour, 120-orbit mission to demonstrate the feasibility of a lunar mission (Hellemans and Bunch, 550).

1965
December 4
Frank Borman and James A. Lovell, Jr. of the U.S. are launched for a 13-day mission in a Gemini 7 capsule; they perform first space rendezvous with Walter M. Schirra and Thomas P. Stafford, who are launched on December 15 in Gemini 6 (Hellemans and Bunch, 550).

1966
August
Soviet space probe Luna XI goes into orbit around the moon (Hellemans and Bunch, 554).

1966
U.S. spacecraft Lunar Orbiter I sends back dramatic photographs of the moon's surface (Hellemans and Bunch, 554).

1966
Soviet space probe Luna XIII lands on the moon and returns photographs and soil data (Hellemans and Bunch, 554).

1967
January 27
Launch pad fire during Apollo tests at Cape Kennedy, Florida, kills astronauts Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee. An investigation concludes that a faulty electrical wire is the probable cause (Carruth, 645).

1967
April 19
U.S. space probe Surveyor III soft lands on the moon (Hellemans and Bunch, 558).

1967
September 10
U.S. space probe Surveyor V soft lands on the moon's Sea of Tranquility (Hellemans and Bunch, 558).

1968
December 21-27
Frank Borman, James A. Lovell Jr., and William A. Anders orbit the moon 10 times in first manned Saturn V flight (Carruth, 661).

1968
December 31
First supersonic airliner, the Soviet Tupolev TU-144, is demonstrated (Hellemans and Bunch, 561).

1969
July 20
American astronaut Neil Armstrong is first human being to stand on the moon; Buzz Aldrin is right behind him (Hellemans and Bunch, 564).

1969
TWA jet flight to California carrying Hoosiers among its passengers is highjacked after Indianapolis stop. After landing in Havana, Cuba, the plane and passengers return safely to Miami, Florida (Indianapolis Star, August 1, 1969).

1970
More than 50 Indiana crop dusters help Hoosier farmers fight European corn borer (Indianapolis News, July 11, 1978).

1970
First of the "jumbo jets," the Boeing 747, goes into service across the Atlantic Ocean (Hellemans and Bunch, 565).

1971
During the U.S. Apollo 14 lunar mission, crew members Alan B. Shepard, Jr. and Edgar D. Mitchell collect 98 pounds of moon rocks (Hellemans and Bunch, 566).

1971
David R. Scott and James B. Irwin of the U.S. drive the Lunar Rover on the moon's surface (Hellemans and Bunch, 568).

1971
November 13
U.S. Mariner 9 spacecraft is the first human-built object to orbit another planet by orbiting Mars (Hellemans and Bunch, 568).

1972
Soviet spacecraft Venera 8 soft lands on Venus (Hellemans and Bunch, 570).

1972
U.S. space probe Pioneer 10 is launched, first human-created object to leave the solar system (Hellemans and Bunch, 570).

1973
First U.S. Skylab mission is launched May 25 and lasts 28 days; the second Skylab is launched July 29 and lasts 59 days; the third Skylab is launched November 16 and lasts 84 days (Hellemans and Bunch, 572).

1974
Soviet space probe lands on Mars (Hellemans and Bunch, 574).

1976
July 20
U.S. Viking I Lander lands on Mars, first spacecraft to soft land on a planet other than Earth (Hellemans and Bunch, 578)

1976
French-English Concorde is the first supersonic airliner to operate a regularly scheduled passenger service (Hellemans and Bunch, 579).

1977
U.S. Space probes Voyager 1 and 2 are launched on a journey to Jupiter and the outer planets (Hellemans and Bunch, 580).

1979
Gossamer Albatross is first human-powered aircraft to cross the English Channel (Hellemans and Bunch, 583).

1980
May 12
First nonstop transcontinental balloon flight is completed by American Maxie Anderson and his son Kris. Aboard the Kitty Hawk, they travel 3,100 miles from California to Quebec in four days (Carruth, 747).

1980
November 12
U.S. Voyager I flies by Saturn (Hellemans and Bunch, 586).

1981
April 12
First flight of the U.S. Columbia begins; its landing April 14 at Edwards Air Force Base, California is the first wheels-down landing by any spacecraft (Carruth, 753).

1983
April 4
The U. S. space shuttle Challenger starts its maiden voyage (Carruth, 765).

1985
Indianapolis helicopter pilots set 15 world records in a commercial helicopter with an Allison engine (Indianapolis Star, April 16, 1985).

1986
U.S. Department of Commerce grants Foreign Trade Zone status to Michiana Regional Airport at South Bend.

1986
January 28
U.S. space shuttle Challenger explodes 74 seconds after liftoff at Cape Canaveral, Florida, killing all seven astronauts aboard, including Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire schoolteacher and the first private citizen chosen for a space shuttle flight (Carruth, 787).

1986
December 14
Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager of the U.S. pilot the airplane Voyager around the world in 9 days without refueling (Hellemans and Bunch, 599).

1987
Soviet cosmonaut Yuri V. Romanenko returns to Earth from Mir station after 326 days in space, a new record (Hellemans and Bunch, 602).

1988
Scientists traveling in an airplane at 41,000 feet directly observe the atmosphere of Pluto (Hellemans and Bunch, 604).

1989
May 4
U.S. unmanned spacecraft Magellan is launched by space shuttle Atlantis to begin a voyage to Venus. It reaches Venus orbit on August 10, 1990 (Carruth, 819).

1990
April 25
Hubble Space Telescope is launched by U.S. space shuttle Discovery (Carruth, 827).

1991
January 8
Pan American World Airways files for bankruptcy. January 18, Eastern Airlines, already in bankruptcy, shuts down its operations (Carruth, 837).

1992
May 13
Two firsts in space activity are registered by American astronauts from the shuttle Endeavor, traveling 230 miles above the Earth. Three astronauts walk in space at the same time and use only their gloved hands to wrestle a damaged satellite inside the shuttle for repairs (Carruth, 849).

1992
July 9
U.S. space shuttle Columbia ends the longest space shuttle flight, after circling Earth 221 times and traveling 5,760,000 miles in 2 weeks of orbit (Carruth, 851).

1992
In November, South Shore rail service begins at Michiana Regional Airport making it the only U.S. airport with air, intercity rail, and interstate bus service in one location (St. Joseph County Airport Authority Press Release, March 19, 1998).

1994
October 31
American Eagle Flight 4184 crashes into a soybean field south of Roselawn, Indiana, killing 64 passengers and 4 crew members (Indianapolis News, November 1, 1994).

1995
Air traffic control for Indiana consists of a network of 12 air traffic control towers and 9 radar-equipped facilities (Indiana State Aviation System Plan, 1995, p. 15).

1997
July 6
U.S. Mars Pathfinder's Sojourner Rover rolls onto the surface of Mars and sends pictures and sensor data back to Earth until September 27 when all communication is lost.

1997
September 28
Marks the official start of Indianapolis native David A. Wolf's 119 days aboard Russian space station Mir .

1998
January 16
NASA names 77-year old former astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. to the crew of space shuttle Discovery, due to launch in October 1998 (NASA Press release, January 16, 1998).