Printable Version
 
Flight City:  St. Louis Takes to the Air Missouri Historical Society

Silver trophy presented to Harry E. Honeywell for "Greatest Distance Achieved" in the balloon race held at Peoria, Illinois, in 1909

Silver trophy presented to Harry E. Honeywell for "Greatest Distance Achieved" in the balloon race held at Peoria, Illinois, in 1909
Gift of Harry E. Honeywell
#25824


Fly with Us through Decades of St. Louis History!
May 31, 1830
Dr. Claude George Brun filed a patent for a muscle-powered propelling device for balloons and boats in St. Louis County.

May 17, 1836
Richard Clayton ascended from a lot at Fourth and Market streets at 6:30 p.m., making the city’s first balloon ascension.

October 9, 1841
Miss Day, a fourteen-year-old St. Louis girl, became St. Louis’s first girl to ascend in a balloon. Mr. S. Hobart took her on a ten-mile trip.

July 1-2, 1859
John Wise established a world distance record, traveling 809 miles from St. Louis to New York in the Atlantic, a 65,000-cubic-foot helium balloon.

April 30, 1904
President Theodore Roosevelt initiated the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition of 1904 at 1:14:30 p.m. Eastern time by telegraph.

October 4-5, 1904

The International Aeronautical Congress was held in the Transportation Hall during the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition of 1904 for leading scientists to discuss aeronautical accomplishments and possibilities.

October 25, 1904

Captain Thomas Scott Baldwin’s airship demonstration at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition of 1904 was St. Louis’s first exposure to controlled flight. A. Roy Knabenshue operated the airship, maneuvering it in the shape of an “S.”

November 11, 1904

Paul Knabenshue, A. W. McQueen, and Will S. Forman ascended in a balloon at 3:15 p.m. and received the first wireless telegraph between the ground and the air in the United States. During their trip, the three men received 20 telegraph messages.

December 1, 1904

The Louisiana Purchase of 1904 concluded at midnight.

October 21-26, 1907

The James Gordon Bennett Cup International Balloon Race was held in St. Louis the first time that the race was held in America. The race was won by Germany’s Pommern, piloted by Oscar Erbsloeh and assisted by Helm Clayton. They traveled 867.4 miles to Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Spring 1908

Thomas Benoist opened the Aeronautic Supply Company, the first airplane part and accessory supplier in the country.

May 27, 1908

The Aero Club of St. Louis, founded by Lewis D. Dozier, was incorporated by the state of Missouri for a fifty-year charter.

July 16, 1909
Ada Miller, Mary Van Fertig, and Mrs. Honeywell ascended with Harry E. Honeywell to become the first women in St. Louis to lift off in a balloon.

October 3-9, 1909

St. Louis Centennial Week was held in St. Louis to celebrate the city’s 100th anniversary of its incorporation that occurred on November 9, 1809. Aerial events, such as balloon races, dirigible races, and airplane exhibitions, were part of the celebration’s highlights.

October 7, 1909

Glenn Curtiss demonstrated a fully controlled airplane flight to St. Louis crowds for the first time in 1909. It lasted only a few seconds, but crowds came to repeat performances throughout the week.

Broadside for Women's National Aviation Home Guard of North AmericaHalftone, 1917

Broadside for Women's National Aviation Home Guard of North America
Halftone, 1917
MHS Photographs and Prints
#26419

April 8, 1910
E. Percy Noel, secretary of the Aero Club of St. Louis, became the first resident of St. Louis to fly in an airplane.

September 10, 1910
Captain Thomas Scott Baldwin made St. Louis’s first extensive flight in an airplane with his plane, the Red Devil. In his flight, Captain Baldwin flew under the Eads Bridge and the McKinley Bridge, much to the delight of spectators.

September 18, 1910

Thomas W. Benoist became the first resident of St. Louis to fly an airplane.

October 8-18, 1910

St. Louis hosted the International Aeronautic Tournament, which included airplane tournaments, stunts, and races.

October 11, 1910

Arch Hoxsey took Theodore Roosevelt for an airplane ride, making Roosevelt the first president to ride in an airplane.

October 17, 1910

The James Gordon Bennett Cup International Balloon Race was held in St. Louis. The United States won, with Pilot Alan R. Hawley and assistant Augustus Post flying in the America II.

November 17-24, 1910

The Aero Club of St. Louis hosted the first-ever National Aero Show.

Winter 1910-1911

Thomas W. Benoist established Benoist Flying School, St. Louis’s first flying school.

September 1911

Albert Bond Lambert became the first St. Louisan to acquire an airplane pilot’s license.

October 1-8, 1911

The Aero Club of St. Louis hosted an air meet at Fairground Park as part of the festivities of Festival Week.

October 4, 1911

Walter Brookins piloted the first airmail flight in St. Louis. He took off from Kinloch Park and landed in Fairgrounds Park, where the mail was taken to the downtown post office for delivery.

October 8, 1911

St. Louisans saw their first seaplane in flight, when Hugh Robinson demonstrated his hydroplane at the closing festivities of Festival Week.

October 14-21, 1911

The Aero Club of St. Louis hosted an aviation tournament at Kinloch Park.

October 17, 1911

Bernays Johnson held the first pilot/passenger conversation with Howard Gill over an
aerophone.

October 18, 1911

Master Gabriel became the first midget to fly in a plane.

March 1, 1912
Captain Albert Berry became the first person to parachute from an airplane. In a Benoist “pusher” biplane, pilot Tony Jannus and Albert Berry took off from Kinloch Field around 2:30 in the afternoon and flew 17 miles to Jefferson Barracks, located in St. Louis. Once there, Berry leaped from the plane from an altitude of 1,500 feet and landed safely.

November 6, 1912-December 16, 1912

Tony Jannus piloted a hydroplane along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers from Omaha, Nebraska, to New Orleans, Louisiana. He traveled 1,973 miles, for a world record.

January 1, 1912-April 27, 1912

The St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, which utilized Benoist’s Benoist Type XIV flying boat, operated as the United States’ first scheduled passenger airline.

July 11, 1914

St. Louis hosted its first National Balloon Race. The Goodyear, piloted by R. A. D. Preston, won the race.

April 1917

The Missouri Aeronautical Society was established in St. Louis to train balloon pilots for war.

June 5, 1917

The Missouri Aeronautical Society Balloon School was the first training school in the nation to be officially recognized by the War Department as a training school for the United States Army Aeronautical Corps.

September 26, 1919
The Missouri Aeronautical Society conducted the first Army-Navy Balloon Race at Meramec Park. St. Louisan Captain E. P. Phillips of the Army won the race, traveling 491.8 miles to Door Peninsula, Michigan.

October 1, 1919

St. Louis hosted the National Balloon Race. The Goodyear, piloted by Ralph Upson and Ward T. Van Orman, won the race.

Centennial Air Races postcard advertisement, 1909

Centennial Air Races postcard advertisement, 1909
Reproduction
MHS Photographs and Prints
#26365

June 18, 1920
The Missouri Aeronautical Society obtained a 160-acre tract of land in Bridgeton for a new St. Louis airfield, which was called the St. Louis Flying Field.

July 7, 1920

The United States contracted with the City of St. Louis to use Forest Park as a landing space for the United States Aerial Mail Service.

January 1921

The Flying Club of St. Louis was established.

June 30, 1921

The Chicago/St. Louis U.S. Air Mail route was canceled.

October 1-2, 1923

St. Louis hosted the National Aero Congress, the National Aeronautic Association’s convention.

October 4, 1923

Katherine Perkins dedicated the Bridgeton airfield as Lambert-St. Louis Flying Field.

October 4-6, 1923

St. Louis hosted the International Air Races.

October 7, 1925

Robertson Air Lines secured one of five airmail contracts from the federal government.

October 15, 1926

Robertson Aircraft Corporation began its airmail service, with Charles Lindbergh piloting the first plane from Maywood Field, Chicago, to Lambert Field, St. Louis.

May 20-21, 1927

Charles A. Lindbergh became the first person to make a solo nonstop transatlantic flight, from New York to Paris in the Spirit of St. Louis.

November 4, 1927
Captain Hawthorne Gray beat the record altitude mark in his balloon, albeit at the cost of his life. The record was held by an airplane pilot at 38,704 feet, but Gray marked 40,000 feet in his log. Soon thereafter, a quick change in air pressure knocked him unconscious, and he suffocated.

December 31, 1927

St. Louis became the new headquarters of the B. F. Mahoney Aircraft Corporation, formerly Ryan Airlines. Ryan Airlines built the Spirit of St. Louis for Charles A. Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight.

April 30, 1928

The Spirit of St. Louis flew its last flight, departing from Lambert Field and arriving in Washington, D.C., where it was subsequently donated to the Smithsonian Institution.

September 28, 1929

The James Gordon Bennett Cup International Balloon Race was held in St. Louis. The United States won the race with the Goodyear VIII, piloted by Ward T. Van Orman and Alan MacCracken.

July 13-30, 1929

Powered by a six-cylinder Challenger engine, the St. Louis Robin, piloted by Forest O’Brine and Dale Jackson, broke a world endurance record by flying in continuous circles over St. Louis between July 13 and July 30, 1929. The craft team was resupplied 77 times with gasoline and necessities by a second plane flown by R. V. Chaffee and C. Ray Wassall.

Shell Petroleum Corporation advertisement featuring Jimmy Doolittle, inside official program of International Aircraft Exposition, February 15-23, 1930

Shell Petroleum Corporation advertisement featuring Jimmy Doolittle, inside official program of International Aircraft Exposition, February 15-23, 1930
Reproduction
Courtesy of Carl Wheeler
#26388

February 15-23, 1930
The International Aircraft Exposition was held in the St. Louis Arena.

May 3, 1930

Laura Ingalls became the first licensed woman pilot in St. Louis.

July 12, 1930

Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd dedicated the St. Louis Flying Field as the Lambert-St. Louis Municipal Airport.

March 4-10, 1932

The Lost Squadron ran for one-week at the RKO St. Louis Theatre.

July 13, 1932

Myrtle Lambert dedicated the cornerstone of Lambert-St. Louis Municipal Airport’s terminal building.

July 20, 1935

The First Annual Airport Ball and Stage Show was held at Lambert Field.

May 29-31, 1937

St. Louis hosted the St. Louis Air Races and International Aerobatic Competition in commemoration of Charles A. Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight.

May 29, 1937

Louise Thaden set the women’s 100-kilometer speed mark of 197.9 miles per hour at the St. Louis Air Races and International Aerobatic Competition.

August 1, 1943
An “all St. Louis-built glider” crashed, killing all ten on board, including civic leaders and the president of Robertson Aircraft Corporation.

1950

Ozark Air Lines began operation in St. Louis.

March 10, 1956

Mayor Raymond R. Tucker dedicated Lambert-St. Louis Municipal Airport’s new terminal building, designed by Hellmuth, Yamasaki, and Leinweber.

May 17, 1959

The Lambert Field headquarters of the 110th Observation Squadron, 35th Division Aviation, Missouri National Guard, was dedicated as the Robertson Air National Guard Base.

Steve Fossett's flight suit

Steve Fossett's flight suit
Gift of Marathon Racing, Inc.
#26794
February 28, 1966
Eliot M. See Jr. and Charles A. Bassett II, the original Gemini 9 prime crew, were killed when their T-38 trainer jet crashed on approach to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The jet clipped McDonnell Building 101, where the spacecraft was being assembled, and injured 14 people on the ground.

1973

Nikki Caplan organized the first Great Forest Park Balloon Race in 1973. Nine hot air balloons competed in a hare and hounds race.

October 6-8, 1982

Nikki Caplan and co-pilot C. Jane Buckles established the women’s world distance record for gas balloons in the AA-6 through AA-15 class. They traveled 843.59 miles between Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Duncombe, Iowa, in the City of St. Louis, a 35,000-cubic-foot helium balloon.

June 19, 2002-July 3, 2002

Steve Fossett circumnavigated the globe in 13 days, 8 hours, 33 minutes (14 days, 19 hours, 50 minutes to landing) and 20,626.48 statute miles by himself in the balloon Spirit of Freedom.

October 4, 2004

The Tier One project, using the experimental space plane SpaceShipOne, won the X PRIZE. The X PRIZE space competition, announced in 1996, was meant to spur new thinking about low-cost space flight. The X PRIZE Foundation, based in St. Louis and inspired by the example of Charles Lindbergh, offered a $10 million prize for the first nongovernmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks.

All content © 1999-2007 Missouri Historical Society. Text or graphics may not be copied, rewritten or distributed in any manner whatsoever unless specifically noted and may not be reused, reprinted or reposted without written permission. No photography allowed in exhibition.