With this issue Air Progress introduces a
new series in the story of powered flight - the famous firsts which this magazine considers to be of
paramount importance. We start with Hubert Latham's flight in a gale, the first of its kind, in 1908.
Tame today, this was even more heroic than it seemed for his 50 horsepower Antoinette monoplane (prototype
model of Antionettes already illustrated in earlier numbers of Air Progress), had a well-deserved
reputation for breaking up in the air and killing the pilots. Latham was also first man to attain an
altitude of 5000 feet in an airplane, first to attempt the English Channel crossing (he tried twice
- ditched both times), and first to make a prolonged flight over and around a major city (Baltimore,
Maryland, 1910). One other pioneer pilot (and designer) portrayed here deserves a few remarks. Louis
Bleriot had another "first" to his credit - the first airplane crossing of the English Channel in 1909
- at that stage in the development of the airplane a performance comparable to Lindbergh's solo flight
over the Atlantic In 1927.
Air Progress Famous Firsts
By Douglas Rolfe
Bleriot's Cross-Channel airplane was a simplified version of his earlier cross-country model. First
air-to-air refueling flights recorded here, and the first glove-girdling flights, also mentioned, are
of paramount importance in the story of powered flight and definitely tie up with modern military air
strategy and its emphasis on total global air penetration.
First Flight in a Gale WindFirst Flight in a Gale Wind (right) - 1908 In a day when
but a handful of pilots had mastered the simple turn and few, if any, attempted flight except under
ideal weather conditions the famed French pioneer aviator, Hubert Lattiam, took off, flew for well over
an hour and landed safely in a wind which at times reached gale proportions.
World's First Airmail Flight (left) - 1909 Complete with special airmail stamp to
honor the event was made by Hans Grade from Bork, Germany with a plane of his own design and construction.
- Grade's plane had a further distinction - first German plane to fly!
First Official Cross-Country FlightFirst Official Cross-Country Flight (right) -
1906 Louis Bleriot made the world s first officially recorded cross-country flight when he flew from
Toury to Artenay (France), returning to the point of take-off. - Total distance, 18 miles, involved
First Transcontinental Glider Tow - 1930 Capt. Frank Hawks, noted U.S. pilot, was
towed in a Frankun Glider from San Diego, California, to Van Cortlandt Park N.Y. City covering the 2800
miles in an elapsed time of 8 days - flying time 36 hrs,47min.
First Non-Stop New York-Chicago Flight - 1919 Capt. E.F. white. U.S.A.A.S.flew an
Army D.H.4B 738 miles non-stop between the two cities at an average speed of 106 mph.
First Dawn-to-Dusk Coast-to-Coast Flight - 1924 Lt. Russell L. Maughan, U.S.A.AF.,
flew an Army Curtiss PW-8 from Mitchell Field L.I. to Crissy Field, San Francisco, - The 2,850 miles
covered during this historic flight were made in 18 hrs. 20 mins. (5 refueling stops added 3hrs. 25mins.)
First Recorded Normal Loop - 1913 Adolphe Pegoud, France, was first aviator ever
to loop an airplane and first to demonstrate sustained inverted flight and may thus be regarded as an
important figure in the development of aerobatics. - His 50 H. P. Bleriot monoplane was specially braced
for these flights.
First Air-to-Air Refueling - 1923 Was accomplished by the U.S. Army Air Service
at Rockwell Field San Diego Calif. The aircraft employed on this occasion were modified D.H. 4B biplanes
powered with 420 H.P. Liberty engines.- Success of this refueling project enabled one plane to remain
aloft 37 hours.
First Skywriting - 1922 Skywriting was first conceived in England by Major Jack
Savage in 1910 but first public demonstration was given by Capt. Cyril Turner R.A.F. in 1922. - Aircraft
employed were usually the S.E.5, fast-climbing World War I pursuit.
First Round-the-World Flight - 1924 After British, French, Italian, Argentine and
Portuguese aviators had failed in repeated attempts to complete a round the world flight a group of
U.S. Army aviators finally succeeded. Four aircraft (all modified Douglas torpedo bombers) participated
in this epochal flight and two completed it after flying over 28 different countries and covering some
28945 miles, elapsed time was 175 days, actual flying time 371 hrs. Below is same airplane with standard
Douglas Rolfe Drawings
May 1961 American Modeler
Progress: The Jet Engine, July 1951 Air Trails
Air Progress: The Bristol Story, November 1948 Air Trails
Progress: Down Memory Lane III, December 1954 Air Trails
- Auto Progress:
Memory Lane Collection No. 2, August 1954 Air Trails
Air Progress Famous Firsts, August 1954 Air Trails
Air Progress: Japanese Air Force World War II Fighters, December 1954 Air Trails
Air Progress: Lindbergh Era (1927-1929), July 1954 Air Trails
Air Progress: The Search for Speed, November 1950 Air Trails
Air Progress: Soviet Air Force Latter Day Types, March 1955 Air Trails
Posted April 26, 2014