On This Day in Aviation History
On This Day in Aviation History: August 18th
1871, French aviation pioneer Alphonse Pénaud achieves the first flight of an inherently stable airplane when his Planophore, a model aircraft powered by rubber bands turning a propeller, is flown 131 feet in 11 seconds before the Société de Navigation Aérienne in Paris. The Wright brothers would later cite toys they played with as children based on Pénaud’s designs as a major source of inspiration for their own aeronautical experiments.
1911, The British F.E.2 biplane makes its first flight from Farnborough, England piloted by its designer, Geoffrey de Havilland.
1930, famed German aviator Captain Wolfgang von Gronau and crew make the first east to west crossing of the Atlantic from Germany to New York.
1932, the first solo westbound crossing of the Atlantic by an airplane is successfully completed by Jim Mollison. He flew from Dublin to Pennfield, New Brunswick, Canada.
1960, a C-119 Flying Boxcar captures a data capsule jettisoned from the Discoverer 14 spy satellite in mid-air.
1989, a Qantas Boeing 747, Spirit of Australia sets a record for nonstop flight of a four-engined aircraft, flying from London to Sydney in 20 hours.