Aviation in Indiana - Timeline

A timeline detailing the aviation accomplishments of Purdue University.

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

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

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

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

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

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).

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

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

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

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

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).

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

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).

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

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).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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).

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

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).

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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).

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

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

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).

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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.

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.

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

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

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).

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

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

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

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.

First U.S. airborne class is scheduled by Purdue University.

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

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

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

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

Indiana aeromagnetic survey reveals possible oil and gas fields.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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).

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).

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).

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

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

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).

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

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

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

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).

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

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

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).

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).

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).

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).

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).

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

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).

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).

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

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

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

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).

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

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

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).

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

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).

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).

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

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

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).

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

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

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

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

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).

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

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)

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

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

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

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).

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

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).

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

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

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

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).

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).

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

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

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).

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

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

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).

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).

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).

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).

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).

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.

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

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).