10 Great Accomplishments in the History of Aviation

Without the development of modern aviation, we wouldn’t be able to visit long-distance family or jet-set off to Hawaii for a last-minute vacation. So in honor of National Aviation Day, our PHL parking members thought we would present to you 10 great accomplishments in the history of aviation.

1. The first internal combustion engine plane

In 1901, the first model airplane with an internal combustion engine incorporated into it made two flights of 150 feet and 350 feet. Its creator was Samuel Langley, a physics and astronomy teacher at the Allegheny Observatory in Pennsylvania.

2. The first manned flight

In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright successfully built an engine-powered airplane (named The Flyer) that could be flown by a person. Orville Wright flew the plane for 12 seconds in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

3. The first female pilot

In 1910, French-born Raymonde de Laroche became the first female in the world to receive a pilot’s license and went on to set two women’s altitude records in 1919.

4. The first commercial flight

The first commercial flight took place in 1914 between St. Petersburg, Florida and Tampa, Florida. Piloted by Tony Jannus and one paying passenger, the flight lasted 23 minutes.

5. The first flight around the world

In 1924, four planes piloted by Leigh Wade, Frederick Martin, Lowell Smith, and Erik Nelson set off from Seattle, Washington. After 354 hours and over 25,000 miles, two of the original planes landed back in Seattle. They traveled to Japan, Southeast Asia, India, Ireland, England, and many U.S. cities.

6. The first solo non-stop flight

In 1927, U.S. Air Mail pilot Charles Lindbergh won the Orteig Prize when he flew non-stop from New York to Paris by himself. Before his accomplishment, the flight had been attempted by six other well-known aviators (all of whom died).

7. The first jet engine

Sir Frank Whittle, a member of the British Royal Air Force, and German airplane designer Dr. Hans Von Ohain are both credited for having invented the first jet engine. While they both worked separately,¬†Whittle patented his jet engine in 1930 and Von Ohain patented his in 1936. Von Ohain’s was the first to fly, however, in 1939.

8. The first female transatlantic solo flight

In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She flew from Newfoundland, Canada to Derry, Northern Ireland and received a medal from Congress, the French Government, and U.S. President Herbert Hoover.

9. The first wide-body plane

The Boeing 747, also nicknamed the “Jumbo Jet” was the largest airliner in the skies for almost 40 years, until 2006 when the Airbus A380 was introduced. The 747 first flew in 1969 and could carry over 350 passengers.

10. The first solar-powered cross-continental flight

In 2013, the Swiss-developed solar-powered plane named the “Solar Impulse” flew from California to New York. The flight was piloted by Andre Borschberg and took two months to complete.