The Bluffer's Briefing: Flight

Click to follow
First air disaster: Icarus (date unknown) crashed into the Aegean by flying too close to the sun, causing the wax on his wings to melt.

First successful flight: Daedalus (same date) flew from Crete to Sicily.

1670: The Italian physiologist Giovanni Borelli tries to fly with artificial wings.

1717: Emanuel Swedenborg publishes a rational design for a flying machine.

1783 (June): First unmanned flight by Montgolfier hot-air balloon.

1783 (September): A sheep, a cock, a duck become the first air passengers.

1783 (November): Francois de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes become first human passengers in a hot-air balloon.

1785: Francois de Rozier becomes the first balloon fatality.

1903: The first sustained, powered flight by Orville Wright. He flies 120ft at an altitude of about 10ft watched by brother Wilbur. They remain bachelors, explaining they could not afford to 'support a wife as well as an aeroplane'.

1909: The first air race, called 'The Gordon Bennett' is held in Rheims, France, and won by Glenn Curtiss.

1927: The first hot meals are served on a London-Paris flight.

1930: Miss Ellen Church of Iowa becomes the world's first air hostess on a United Airlines flight. Applicants for the job had to be registered nurses of 25 or less, weighing no more than 115lb and not taller than 5ft 4in.

1949: Discovery of the asteroid Icarus, so called because it passes closer to the sun than any other.