aviation

James Sadler – the First English Aeronaut

James Sadler – the First English Aeronaut

On February 27, 1753, English chemist, pastry chef, and aviation pioneer James Sadler was born. He is best known for being the first English aeronaut, whose first successful ascent was on 4 Oct 1784, in a hot-air balloon, from Christ Church Meadow, Oxford. James Sadler was the second known person in England to achieve an ascent in a balloon after Tuscan Vincent Lunardi, who premiered on 15 September 1784. Sadler however, probably…
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Hugo Junkers and the all-metal monoplane

Hugo Junkers and the all-metal monoplane

On February 3, 1859, German engineer and aircraft designer Hugo Junkers was born. Junkers is generally credited with pioneering the design of all-metal airplanes and flying wings. As founder of the Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke AG, he was one of the mainstays of the German aircraft industry in the years between World War I and World War II. Amongst the highlight of his career were the Junkers J 1 of 1915, the…
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Lawrence Hargrave and the Box Kite

Lawrence Hargrave and the Box Kite

On January 29, 1850, Australian engineer, explorer, astronomer, inventor and aeronautical pioneer Lawrence Hargrave was born. Hargrave “flew” on 12 Nov 1894, by attaching himself to a huge kite construction connected to the ground by piano wire. Due to their abilities to carry heavy payloads, steady flight, and capacity for high altitude flight, these kites have had many industrial and military uses. Early Years Hargrave was born in Greenwich, England, the second son…
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Twice the Speed of Sound – The Record Flight of Scott Crossfield

Twice the Speed of Sound – The Record Flight of Scott Crossfield

On November 20, 1953, Albert Scott Crossfield became the first person to fly at twice the speed of sound as he piloted the Douglass D-588-ii Skyrocket to a speed of 2,078 km/h, Mach 2.005. Albert Scott Crossfield – Youth and Education Albert Scott Crossfield was born on October 2, 1921 in California and grew up in California and Washington. During the Second World War he served in the US Navy as a flight…
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The X-43A and the Scramjet Technology

The X-43A and the Scramjet Technology

On November 16, 2004, the unmanned experimental hypersonic aircraft NASA X-43A set a new speed record of 10,617 km/h or Mach 9.65. With this flight the X-43A became the fastest free flying air-breathing aircraft in the world. The X-43A was propelled by a so-called scramjet, is a variant of a ramjet airbreathing jet engine in which combustion takes place in supersonic airflow. NASA’s Hyper-X program, involving the American space agency and contractors such as…
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Jacques Charles and the Hydrogen Balloon

Jacques Charles and the Hydrogen Balloon

On November 12, 1746, French inventor, scientist, mathematician, and balloonist Jacques Alexandre César Charles was born. Charles and the Robert brothers launched the world‘s first (unmanned) hydrogen-filled balloon in August 1783. In December 1783, Charles and his co-pilot Nicolas-Louis Robert ascended to a height of about 500 metres in a manned balloon. Their pioneering use of hydrogen for lift led to this type of balloon being named a Charlière (as opposed to a…
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The Dornier Do X – the World’s Largest Seaplane

The Dornier Do X – the World’s Largest Seaplane

On November 5, 1930, the Dornier Do X, the largest, heaviest, and most powerful flying boat in the world took off for a demonstration test flight to the Netherlands, England, France, Spain, and Portugal. After a delay due to technical problems, the Do X continued her journey to Cape Verde and Brazil to finally reach New York on August 27, 1931. The Flugschiff (flying ship) Dornier Do X was launched for its…
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Gaetano Crocco – Italian Aerospace Pioneer

Gaetano Crocco – Italian Aerospace Pioneer

On October 26, 1877, Italian aviation pioneer Gaetano Arturo Crocco was born. He was the founder of the Italian Rocket Society, and went on to become Italy’s leading space scientist. As head of the School of Aeronautics of the University of Rome, he performed research on flight mechanics, structural design, and high altitude flight in addition to his work in rocket propulsion. Gaetano Crocco was born in Naples in 1877 and served the Italian…
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Samuel Cody and the First Flight in England

Samuel Cody and the First Flight in England

On October 16, 1908, Wild West showman and early pioneer of manned flight Samuel Cody succeeded with the first officially recorded powered flight in England with a length of 420 metres. Samuel Cody was born Samuel Franklin Cowdery in 1867 in Davenport, Iowa and attended school until he was probably 12. Not much is known about the early life of Cody, but he later told that he lived the life of a…
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Reaching the edge of outer space – the X-15 Rocket Plane

Reaching the edge of outer space – the X-15 Rocket Plane

On October 3, 1967, the X-15 rocket plane achieved a world record speed of Mach 6.7, which is 7,274 km/h (4,520 mph or over a mile per second) with U.S. Air Force pilot Pete Knight. As by today, this record still holds for the highest speed ever reached by a manned, powered aircraft. Among the notable pilots of the X-15 was also Neil Armstrong, later a NASA astronaut and first man to set…
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