On Dec. 17, 1903, at 10:30 a.m., Orville and Wilbur Wright capped four years of relentless research and design efforts with a 120-foot, 12-second flight at Kill Devil Hill, a town five miles down the road from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. – the first powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine.
– The first person to fly as a passenger was Leon Delagrange, who rode with French pilot Henri Farman from a meadow outside of Paris in 1908. Charles Furnas became the first American airplane passenger when he flew with Orville Wright at Kitty Hawk later that year.
– The first autonomous flight by a hydroplane was made by the French engineer Henri Fabre on March 28, 1910. Also a floatplane, its name was Le Canard (‘the duck’), and took off from the water to fly 1,650 feet on its first flight.
– An unofficial airmail flight was conducted by Fred Wiseman, who carried three letters between Petaluma and Santa Rosa, California, on February 17, 1911.
– The first airmail officialy approved by the U.S. post office department began on September 23,1911, and the pilot Earle Ovington would carry the mail on his lefs and tossed the bag overboard when he reached his destination.
– In 1911, the first transcontinental flight across the U.S. was completed by Calbraith P. Rodgers.
– In 1919, the first nonstop transcontinental flight was made by John William Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown on June 14 to June 15.
– DELAG, Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft was the world’s first airline. It was founded on November 16, 1909 with government assistance, and operated airships manufactured by The Zeppelin Corporation.
– The first scheduled air service began in Florida on Jan. 1, 1914. Glenn Curtiss had designed a plane that could take off and land on water and thus could be built larger than any plane to date, because it did not need the heavy undercarriage required for landing on hard ground.
– Thomas Benoist, an auto parts maker, decided to build such a flying boat, or seaplane, to initiate air service across Tampa Bay called the St. Petersburg-Tampa Air Boat Line. His first passenger was ex-St. Petersburg Mayor A.C. Pheil, who made the 18-mile trip in 23 minutes, a considerable improvement over the two-hour trip by boat. The single-plane service accommodated one passenger at a time, and the company charged a one-way fare of $5. After operating two flights a day for four months, the company folded with the end of the winter tourist season