Local Aviation History

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  • The first manned balloon flight in St. Louis occurred in 1836.
  • A dirigible made the first controlled flight in St. Louis at the 1904 World's Fair.
  • Glenn Curtiss made the first St. Louis airplane flight in 1909.
  • The first parachute jump from an airplane took place over Jefferson Barracks in 1912.
  • The world's first commercial airliner (Benoist Flying Boat) was produced in St. Louis in 1913 and flight tested at Creve Coeur Lake.
  • Scott Air Force Base has been an active military air base since it was developed in 1917.
  • Established in 1920, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is one of the oldest major airports in the U.S.
  • In the late 1920s Lambert-St. Louis International Airport became the first airport to have the first air-traffic control system.
  • The first major aviation school in the U.S. was Parks Air College (now Parks College of St. Louis University), established in 1927.
  • Over 3000 military planes were made in St. Louis during World War II.
  • In 1946, McDonnell's FH-1 "Phantom" was the first jet powered airplane to take off and land on an aircraft carrier.
  • America's first astronauts orbited Earth in St. Louis-made Mercury and Gemini spacecraft.
  • St. Louis was the headquarters of the X Prize Foundation which provided the organization leading to the sub-orbital flights of SpaceShipOne.