17 Sep 2013

This Week in Aviation History

September 17th, 1959: The North American X-15 rocket plane makes its first powered flight at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Test pilots included Neil Armstrong (pictured below).

September 18, 1928: The 1st flight of the Zeppelin LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin is made. It is the most successful rigid airship ever built, flown commercially on a regular basis from Europe to South America. It flies over a million miles and carries some 13,100 passengers before its demise in 1940.

September 18, 1947: The U.S. Air Force becomes an independent service within the unified U.S. armed forces. This change recognizes the fact that air power is to be the nation’s first line of defense.

September 18, 1948: The first flight of a delta-wing jet airplane is made with the Convair XF-92A. Test pilots throughout the program included Chuck Yeager.

1902: The Wright brothers make the first of nearly 1,000 glides on their modified No. 3 glider in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. It is this glider, made of spruce wood and cloth, which incorporates for the first time the flight controls of the modern airplane.

Pilot Neil Armstrong and the X-15