On January 9, 1793, French balloonist Jean-Pierre Blanchard ascended from Philadelphia, flew across the Delaware River and landed in Deptford, NJ. The Western Hemisphere's first flight took 45 minutes and covered 15 miles.

In 1830, Jersey City's Charles Durant became the first American balloonist to fly. Those inaugural flights were the beginning of New Jersey’s unparalleled aeronautical history. As this brief overview illustrates, the Garden State was a proving ground for historic flights and an industrial center providing the reliable equipment needed to conquer the skies.

1863 - Dr. Solomon Andrews constructed and flew the first dirigible balloon above Perth Amboy. He flew it like a sailing ship to Long Island.

1909 - Rahway's Boland brothers built and flew the state's first fixed-wing aircraft. They were also the first to fly in South America.

1912 - Oliver Simmons in a Wright Flyer carried the first official sack of mail across Raritan Bay - South Amboy to Perth Amboy.

1918 - Five New Jersey combat pilots became World War I flying aces.

1921 - The world's largest hangar and America's first dirigible, the U.S.S. Shenandoah, were built in Lakehurst.

1922 - The world's largest airplane, the Barling Bomber, was constructed at Teterboro Airport by the Wittemann brothers.

1923 - Wright aeronautical air-cooled Whirlwind engines, built in Princeton, powered many historic flights in the 1920's.

1925 - Hadley field in South Plainfield was established as the metropolitan New York's airmail hub.

1926 - a Teterboro-built Fokker trimotor powered by a Whirlwind engines was the first to fly over the North Pole with Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett at the controls.

1927 - Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic in the Spirit of St Louis powered by a Whirlwind. Two weeks later, Clarence Chamberlin in a Wright-Blanca built in Princeton, flew to Germany by a Whirlwind. A month later, Richard Byrd and a crew of three again used a three-engine to fly to France.

1928 - Newark Metropolitan Airport opens. During the 1930's, it became the busiest airport in the world.

1929 - At Newark, William Whitney Conrad is America's first air traffic controller.

1930 - Fokker build's world’s largest passenger plane- F-32 - at Teterboro Airport.

1932 - Amelia Earhart prepares for her solo transatlantic flight at Teterboro.

1933 - Teaneck established the first high school aviation course in the nation.

1933 - The Navy dirigible Akron crashes in Atlantic off Barnegat Light.

1936 - Glen Rock’s Chester Decker (19) becomes the National Soaring Champion. He won the title again in 1939.

1937 - German zeppelin Hindenburg explodes at Lakehurst Naval Air Station. Gill Rob Wilson founds

1941 - Civil Air Patrol in New Jersey.

1942-1945 - World War II: General Motor's Eastern Aircraft Division built 13,500 Grumman fighter planes at Linden and Trenton plants. The Curtiss-Wright Corp. built 281,164 engines and 146,468 electric propellers in plants in six north Jersey locations.

1945 - Ridgewood's Major Thomas McGuire became America’s second leading flying ACE with 38 enemy aircraft to his credit.

1945 - General Frederick Castle of Mountain Lakes, 1st Lt. Kenneth Walsh of Jersey City and McGuire were recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

1947 - Reaction Motors of Denville developed the rocket engine for the Bell X-1, the first aircraft to break the sound barrier.

In 1962, they built the rocket for the North American X-15, the first plane to fly in space.

1949 - Bill Odom flew a single-engine Beach Bonanza non-stop from Hawaii to Teterboro.

1953 - Charles Fletcher of Sussex invents and flies the world's first hovercraft.

1968 - Walter M. Schirra of Oradell becomes the only astronaut to fly in all three spacecraft, Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.

1969 - Montclair’s Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin was the first astronaut to land a vehicle on the moon.

1972 - The first STATE aviation hall of fame in the nation was founded in Teterboro Airport.

1973 - Malcolm Forbes of Far Hills made the first coast-to-coast flight in a hot air balloon.

1980 - Leo Loudenslager, a Sussex resident, won the World Aerobatic championship. Throughout his career he won seven National Aerobatic championships.

1984 - Astronaut Kathryn Sullivan, a Paterson native, was the first woman to walk in space.

1991 - During Desert Storm, Oradell's Major Marie Rossi was the first American woman to fly in combat.

1991 - Rick Trader of Elwood flew home-built Ultralight aircraft 15,000 miles from coast to coast and north to Alaska before returning to New Jersey.

1994 - In his home built Glassair monoplane, Kenneth Johnson of Ringos, with Larry Cioppi as co-pilot, flew around the world.



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