National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Aeronautics and Astronautics Chronology, 1925-1929

SOURCE: Eugene M. Emme, comp., Aeronautics and Astronautics: An American Chronology of Science and Technology in the Exploration of Space, 1915-1960 (Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1961), pp. 19-26.


January 24-25: Twenty-five aircraft carried scientists and other observers above clouds in Connecticut to view total eclipse of the sun, while airship Los Angeles carried Naval Observatory scientists over Block Island, R.I.

February 2: President Coolidge signed the Kelly bill authorizing contract air transport of mail.

February 18: "Standard Altimeter Calibration" worked out by Bureau of Standards, and approved by all intersted agencies, was approved by the NACA.

April 13: Henry Ford started an airfreight line between Detroit and Chicago, the first such commerical flights on a regular schedule.

April 15: Daily flights to an altitude of 10,000 feet to obtain weather data and to test upper-air-sounding equipment begun at NAS Anacostia. In the following February, the schedule was extended by the Navy to include weekends and holidays, with the altitude being increased to 15,000 feet.

April 27: First trial flight of new Wright Cyclone 450-hp air-cooled engine in DT-6 torpedo plane, at Muchio's Field, N.J.

During April: Oleo landing gear tested by Navy on NB-1 at Seattle.

May 20: Air Service Technical School at Rantoul, Ill., carried on radio conversations from planes in the air, reaching Chicago 115 miles distant.

June 12: Daniel Guggenheim donated $500,000 toward establishment of a School of Aeronautics at New York University.

June 25: Construction of full-scale propeller research wind tunnel at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory was initiated, which was completed in 1927.

During July: First radiobeacon, one developed at McCook Field, installed in airmail plane for the Department of Commerce.

---: Small car moving on ground controlled by radio from an airplane at 2,000 feet, by Air Service at Wright Field, Dayton.

August 1: Naval Air Detail, under Lt. Comdr. R. E. Byrd, began aerial exploration of 30,000-square-mile area near Etah, North Greenland, with three Loening amphibians, as part of the MacMillan expedition.

---: Curtiss Condor, first of new series of night bombers, made first flight at Garden City, Long Island.

September 3: Navy dirigible Shenandoah crashed near Ava, Ohio, killing 14 of 43 persons aboard.

September 12: Morrow Board was appointed by President Coolidge to recommend U.S. air policy.

October 7: Post Office Department awarded first five contracts under the Kelly Air Mail Act for the flying of mail to private contractors on a bid basis.

October 26: Lt. James H. Doolittle, U.S. Air Service, won Schneider Cup Race flying Curtiss-R3 C-2 seaplane Racer, and also broke speed record for seaplanes attaining 245.7 mph, at Baltimore, Md.

November 20: Night photographs using 50-pound magnesium flares taken from Army Martin bomber by Lt. George W. Goddard, over Rochester, N.Y.

November 30: The President's Aircraft Board, better known for its senior member as the Morrow Board, submitted its report to President Coolidge. Recommendations of the NACA to the Morrow Board were important in decisions leading to the passage of the Air Commerce Act of 1926 and the appropriation of funds for the long-range development of Army and Navy aviation. With its recommendations inaugurated, NACA thereafter followed a policy of avoiding entanglement in matters not related to research.

December 17: Col. William Mitchell found guilty by Army General Court-Martial, in session since October 28.

December 27: Daniel Guggenheim created the $2,500,000 Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics to speed development of civil aviation in the United States.

During 1925: School of Aviation Medicine began study on an objective aptitude test for flyers.

During 1925: Goeffrey de Havilland of Britain first produced two-seat biplane, the Moth, a small popular light airplane. War-surplus Curtis JN4D airplanes had earlier been popular in the United States, while Taylor Cub monoplane appeared in 1931.


January 1: Henry J. E. Reid appointed Engineer-in-Charge of NACA Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, a post held until July 1960, when he retired as Director of NASA's Langley Research Center.

January 16: Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics formally established.

January 29: An American altitude record of 38,704 feet was set by Lt. J. A. Macready (USAS) in an XCO5-A Liberty 400 at Dayton, Ohio.

February 6: Pratt & Whitney produced first Wasp engine, a nine-cylinder radial air-cooled engine of about 400 hp at 1,800 rpm.

March 16: Robert H. Goddard launched the world's first liquid-fueled rocket at Auburn, Mass., which traveled 184 feet in 21/2 seconds. This event was the "Kitty Hawk" of rocketry.

March 23: Inventor of sodium-filled valves for internal combustion engines, S. D. Heron, granted exclusive license for manufacture to Rick Tool Co., later part of Eaton Manufacturing Co.

April 16: The Department of Agriculture purchased its first cotton-dusting plane.

During April: The NACA analysis of basic aeronautical legislation was accepted by Joint Senate-House conferees, leading to the Air Commerce Act of May 20, 1926. This freed NACA of responsibility for regulation of civil aviation and permitted it to concentrate upon the conduct of aeronautical research.

May 5: Robert H. Goddard communicated the results of his successful liquid-propellant rocket flight of March 16 to the Smithsonian Institution.

May 9: First flight over the North Pole, by Richard Byrd, navigator, and Floyd Bennett, pilot, in a Fokker Monoplane, from Spitsbergen.

May 12: Lincoln Ellsworth, American explorer, flew across the North Pole in the dirigible Norge, commanded by Roald Amundsen.

May 20: President Coolidge signed the Air Commerce Act, the first Federal legislation regulating civil aeronautics.

May 24: First annual inspection and conference for industrial and other governmental aeronautical persons held at NACA's Langley Laboratory. These annual events were of high importance in promoting aeronautical research in the United States.

June 6: Last elements of Navy Alaskan Aerial Survey Expedition departed Seattle for Alaska. Three Loening amphibians operating from tender U.S.S. Gannet made aerial mapping of Alaska throughout the summer and into September with the cooperation of the Department of the Interior.

June 25: Largest wind tunnel in the world (20-foot throat), the Propeller Research Tunnel, constructed at Langley.

July 1: Edward P. Warner, professor of aeronautics at MIT, nominated by President Coolidge to become Assistant Secretary of Navy in Charge of Aviation. Dr. Warner served on the NACA, 1929-46.

July 2: First known reforesting by airplane was carried out in Hawaii.

---: The Army Air Corps Act became law and the Air Service was redesignated the Air Corps. It also made provision for an Assistant Secretary of War for Air and for a 5-year Air Corps expansion program.

---: By act of Congress, the NACA was required to review aeronautical inventions and designs submitted to any branch of Government and submit reports to the Aeronautics Patents and Design Board.

July 28: Submarine S-1 surfaced and launched a Cox-Klemin XS-2 seaplane piloted by Lt. D. C. Allen. It later recovered airplane and submerged, thus carrying out first complete cycle in this series of feasibility experiments.

August 25: JN training plane with large parachute floated deadstick down to a rough landing and some damage, at San Diego Naval Air Station.

During August: Air Corps School of Aviation Medicine moved from Mitchel Field to Brooks Field, Tex., and was subsequently moved to Randolph Field in October 1931.

October 1: Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics made a grant to the University of Michigan for the completion of a wind tunnel and a Chair of Aeronautics.

November 13: Lt. C. F. Schilt (USMC) took second place in the Schneider Cup Race at Hampton Roads, Va., flying an R3C-2 with an average speed of 231 mph. This was last U.S. Navy participation in international racing competition.

December 10-11: Financed by the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics, a conference of representatives of MIT, New York University, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, and University of Washington was held at NACA to interchange ideas on educational methods, coordinating research work, and developing special courses in aeronautical education.

During 1926: Dr. Louis H. Bauer, former Commandant of the School of Aviation Medicine (1919-25), established a medical section in the Bureau of Air Commerce, Department of Commerce.

---: Lt. Col. D. A. Myers at the School of Aviation Medicine developed basic physiological principles necessary to the development and use of blind-flying instruments, work done in conjunction with research by Lt. Col. W. A. Ocker. This study was regarded as one of the greatest contributions of medicine to the technical advancement of aviation.


During February: Army Air Corps completed aerial photographic survey of east and west coasts of Florida (1,284 square miles) for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.

March 9: Capt. H. C. Gray (AAC) ascended to 28,910 feet in a free balloon for an American altitude record. (World record held by Suring and Berson of Germany who ascended to 35,433 feet on June 30, 1901.)

April 4: Regular commercial airline passenger service initiated by Colonial Air Transport between New York and Boston.

April 21: Dr. Joseph S. Ames was elected Chairman of the NACA, to replace Dr. Charles Walcott, one of the original 12 members, who died in February.

May 4: Record balloon flight by Capt. H. C. Gray (AAC) reached 42,470 feet over Scott Field, Ill., but he was forced to bail out successfully so that record was not official.

May 20-21: The first solo nonstop transatlantic flight, New York to Paris, was completed by Charles A. Lindbergh. This was a major milestone in awakening the Nation to the full potentialities of aviation.

May 25: Lt. James H. Doolittle (AAC) flew the first successful outside loop.

June 4: Daniel Guggenheim School of Aeronautics officially opened at New York University. Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics also made gifts to MIT, University of Michigan, Stanford University, and the California Institute of Technology in this time period.

June 4-5: Clarence D. Chamberlain and Charles A. Levine flew nonstop from New York to Eisleben, Germany, in Bellanca monoplane Columbia.

June 5: Society for Space Travel (Verein fuer Raumschiffahrt), known as "VfR," formed in Breslau, Germany.

June 8: Astronautics Committee of the Société Astronomique Française established in France.

June 22: John F. Victory, the first employee of NACA in 1915, who had served as Assitant Secretary since 1917, was appointed Secretary of the NACA.

June 29-30: Cdr. Richard Byrd, Bertram B. Acosta, Noville, and B. Balchen flew Fokker monoplane America from New York to a crash landing in the sea off the French coast.

July 25: A world airplane altitude record of 38,484 feet was established by Lt. C. C. Champion (USN) in a Wright Apache P&W 425.

August 1: Fire damaged interior of variable-density wind tunnel at Langley Laboratory, which when reconstructed was used in conjunction with jet-type wind tunnel produced airflow in 12-inch chamber in excess of 800 mph.

October 12: Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, was formally dedicated.

November 4: Capt. H. C. Gray (AAC) ascended to 42,470 feet, the identical altitude of his May flight, but he did not survive the flight and thereby failed again to achieve official world record.

November 6: Lt. "Al" Williams (USN) flew Kirkham racing plane powered with 1,250-hp 24-cylinder Packard engine at unofficial speed of 322.6 mph.

November 16: U.S.S. Saratoga (CV-3) was placed in commission by the Navy.

December 14: U.S.S. Lexington (CV-2) was placed in commission.

During 1927: Air Corps sponsored development of Allison "X" type engine of 24 cylinders expected to develop 1,400 hp; while Navy flight tested radial air-cooled Wright R-1750, and used Pratt & Whitney Wasp in a number of service aircraft.

---: Coordination between NACA and British Aeronautical Research Committee included exchange of views at joint meetings and a program of comparative research for standardization of wind tunnel data.

---: Operation of Materiel Division wind tunnels at McCook Field handicapped by move to the new Wright Field. During the year, the new full-scale Propeller-Research Tunnel at Langley Laboratory became operational, while the Bureau of Standards tested 24 airfoil sections at various speeds up to 1.08 times the speed of sound.

---: Superchargers passed from experimental development stage to active service use on radial air-cooled engines, while both Roots-type and centrifugal-type superchargers were being tested on water-cooled engines.

---: Appearance of Lockheed Vega set pace for general-purpose aircraft, a high cantilever wing and wooden stressed-skin fuselage which permitted large interior structure for passengers as well as reducing weight and drag.


February 3: At Wright Field, Lt. H. A. Sutton began a series of tests to study the spinning characteristics of planes, for which he was awarded the Mackay Trophy.

February 28: Navy issued contract for XPY-1 flying boat to Consolidated Aircraft, the first large monoplane flying boat procured and the initial configuration which evolved into the PBY Catalina.

March 10: $900,000 authorized for completion of the Wright Field Experimental Laboratory.

March 28: Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics called conference of representatives of Army, Navy, Weather Bureau, Bureau of Standards, NACA, and Commerce Department to study cause and prevention of ice formation on aircraft.

April 11: First manned rocket automobile tested by Fritz von Opel, Max Valier, and others, at Berlin, Germany.

April 12-13: German pilots Köchl and Huenefeld, and J. Fitzmaurice made first westbound transatlantic airplane flight in Junkers Bremen.

May 5: Lt. C. C. Champion flew a Wright Apache equipped with P&W Wasp engine and NACA supercharger to new world altitude record for seaplanes of 33,455 feet.

May 15: NACA held third annual Engineering Research Conference at Langley Field, Va.

May 22: First patent on sodium-filled valves for combustion engines issued to S. D. Heron, engineer of the Materiel Division at Wright Field.

During May: Aeronautics Branch of Department of Commerce created Board to determine original causes of aircraft accidents.

June 11: Friedrich Stamer made first manned rocket-powered flight in a tailless glider from the Wasserkuppe in the Rhön Mountains of Germany. Takeoff was made by elastic launching rope assisted by 44-pound thrust rocket, another rocket was fired while airborne, and a flight of about 1 mile was achieved. This flight was a part of experimentation directed by A. Lippisch.

June 16: Successful tests were made of superchargers designed to give sea level pressure at 30,000 feet and a new liquid-oxygen system for high-altitude flying, at Wright Field. Lt. William H. Bleakly in XCO-5 made flight to 36,509 feet and remained there 18 minutes.

During September: The NACA undertook coordination of research programs in universities to promote the study of aeronautics and meteorology.

September 19: First diesel engine to power heavier-than-air aircraft, manufactured by Packard Motor Car Co., was flight tested at Utica, Mich.

September 23: Lt. James H. Doolittle accompanied by Capt. A. Stevens made altitude flight of 37,200 feet to obtain aerial photograph covering 33 square miles.

October 4-5: First Aeronautical Safety Conference held in New York under auspices of the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics.

October 10: Capts. St. Clair Streett and A. W. Stevens (USA) flew to 37,854 feet, less than 1,000 feet short of the official world record for single-occupant flight.

During October: At the request of the Air Coordination Committee, NACA prepared a report on "Aircraft Accident Analysis" for use by the War, Navy, and Commerce Departments.

---: Air Corps developed 84-foot-in-diameter parachute of sufficient strength to support weight of an airplane and its passengers.

December 17: International pilgrimage made to Kitty Hawk, N.C., to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first airplane flight.

December 19: First autogiro flight in the United States was made by Haold F. Pitcairn, Willow Grove, Pa.

During December: Air Medical Association formed at International Aeronautics Conference.

During 1928: NACA developed cowling for radial air-cooled engines which increased speed of Curtis AT-5A airplane from 118 to 137 mph with no increase in engine horsepower, Fred E. Weick and associates contributing to this development.

---: NACA's Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory demonstrated high lift by boundary-layer control by means of pressure or suction slots in an airfoil in the atmospheric wind tunnel.

---: First refrigerated wind tunnel for research on prevention of icing of wings and propellers placed in operation at Langley Laboratory.

---: First of nine volumes of an encyclopedia on interplanetary travel by Prof. Nikolai A. Rynin published in the Soviet Union, the final volume of which appeared in 1932.


January 1-7: An unofficial endurance record for refueled airplane flight was set by Maj. Carl Spaatz, Capt. Ira C. Eaker, and Lt. Elwood Quesada in the Question Mark, Fokker C2-3 Wright 220, over Los Angeles Airport, with flying time of 150 hours 40 minutes 15 seconds.

January 23-27: Modern aircraft carriers Lexington and Saratoga participated in fleet exercises for the first time.

February 4-5: Capt. Frank Hawks and O. E. Grubb established new nonstop transcontinental West-East record of 18 hours 22 minutes, in a single-engine Lockheed Air Express, the first practical application of NACA cowling for radial air-cooled engines.

February 23: Successful development of special goggles, heated gloves, and a device for warming oxgyen before use announced by Wright Field.

March 2: Membership of the NACA increased from 12 to 15 members by act of Congress.

May 8: Lt. A. Soucek (USN) established world's altitude record of 39,140 feet, flying the Wright Apache over Anacostia, D.C.

June 21: NACA special subcommittee held initial meeting at Langley on aeronautical research in universities.

June 27-29: Capt. Frank Hawks broke transcontinental speed records from East to West and West to East flying the Lockheed Air Express.

July 17: A liquid-fueled, 11-foot rocket, fired by Robert Goddard at Auburn, Mass., carried a small camera, thermometer, and a barometer which were recovered intact after the flight. Much "moon rocket" publicity made of this flight.

August 8-29: Round-the-world flight of the German rigid airship Graf Zeppelin.

August 23-October 31: Russian plane, Land of the Soviets, flown on good-will tour of the United States from Moscow to Seattle, thence to New York, having covered 13,300 miles in 142 flying-hours.

During August: Use of a battery of solid-propellant rockets on Junkers-33 seaplane, the first recorded jet-assisted take-off of an airplane, made in tests near Dessau, Germany.

September 22: Second Alaska Aerial Survey completed by Navy, mapping 13,000 square miles in southeastern Alaska.

September 24: Lt. James H. Doolittle made the first public all-blind flight at Mitchel Field, Long Island, accompanied by a check pilot.

September 30: Opel Sander Rak. 1, a glider powered with 16 rockets of 50 pounds of thrust each, made successful flight of 75 seconds, covering almost 2 miles near Frankfort-am-Main, Germany, Von Opel as pilot.

October 7: Aero Medical Association of the United States founded by Louis H. Bauer, and the first issue of the Journal of Aviation Medicine was published in March 1930.

October 15: Premier of German movie film, Frau im Mond (The Girl in the Moon) directed by Fritz Lange, which assisted popular awareness of rocket potentials in Germany.

October 21: German Dornier DO-X flying boat carried 169 passengers in hour flight over Lake Constance, Switzerland, the largest number of individuals ever carried in a single aircraft.

November 28-29: First flight over South Pole, by Comdr. Richard E. Byrd, in a Ford trimotor piloted by Bernt Balchen, from Little America.

November 29: First pursuit aircraft powered with high-temperature, liquid-cooling system designed by the Materiel Division, was completed by Curtiss and flown to Wright Field for flight testing.

December 12: Langley Medals were presented to Adm. Richard E. Byrd for his flights over both poles and posthumously to Charles M. Manly for his pioneer development of airplane engines.

December 31: Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics ended its activities.

During 1929: J. Jongbloed experimentally recognized the occurrence of a disease like the bends, or caisson disease, at pressures of less than 1 atmosphere.

---: U.S. Bureau of Standards developed the radio-echo altimeter.

---: NACA Annual Report indicated that aerodynamic efficiency may be increased by applying the principle of boundary-layer control to the wings and possibly other parts of an airplane.

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Last Updated: January 27, 2005