Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff
|Wright Brothers||Aviation was really born on the sand dunes at Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Dec. 17, 1903. On that day Orville Wright crawled between the wings of the plane he and his brother Wilbur had built, opened the throttle of their homemade 12-horsepower engine, and took to the air. He covered 120 feet in 12 seconds. In a fourth attempt that day, Wilbur stayed up 59 seconds and covered 852 feet. These were the first controlled, sustained flights in a power-driven airplane. |
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|Charles Lindbergh||Lindbergh made the world's first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic. Early on May 20, 1927, he took off in The Spirit of St. Louis, traveling 3,610 miles from Long Island, N.Y., to Paris, France. He landed 33½ hours later to a mob of 100,000 ecstatic Parisians. “Lucky Lindy” instantly became an international hero for his daring flight. |
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|Amelia Earhart||Amelia Earhart is the most celebrated female pilot in history. As America's “Lady of the Air,” she set many aviation records. Earhart became the first woman (and second person after Lindbergh) to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932, and the first person to fly alone across the Pacific, from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California, in 1935. In 1937, during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe, she disappeared somewhere in the South Pacific. Her fate remains a mystery. |
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|Chuck Yeager||On Oct. 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager, a famous World War II pilot, accomplished a mind-boggling feat—he became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. His successful attempt to break the sound barrier required enormous courage. No one knew whether the rocket-powered X-1 fighter plane-or its pilot-would survive. A best-selling book, The Right Stuff, and the film of the same title chronicled Yeager's extraordinary achievements. In 1953, he went on to set yet another world speed record of 1,650 mph. More on famous firsts in aviation.|