Aviation History


First Aus Hot Air Balloon Acent

Feb 1, 1858

William Dean made the first Australian hot air balloon acent in Melbourne.

First Use of Parachute in Aus

April 14, 1879

Henri L'Estange used an emergency parachute after balloon burst in flight over Melbourne.

Invention of Aircraft Rotary Engine


Lawreence Hargrave invents rotary aircraft engine, with cylinder and propellers attacthed to each other.

First Heavier Than Air Flight in Aus

Dec 5, 1909

George A. Taylor makes the first heavier than air flight in Australia.

Aus First Military Aircraft

July 2, 1912

The Commonwealth Government's Defence Department orders two BE-2a and two Deperdussin aircraft for military use.

First Aus Air Mail Sent

July 16, 1914

Australia's first air mail was sent with 1,785 letters left Melbourne and arrived 2.5 days later in Sydney on July 18. (actual flying time was 9 hours and 15 minutes)

First Aus Transcontinental Flight

Nov 16, 1919

A BE.2c flown by Capt. H. Wrigley & Sgt. A. Murphy arrived, having departed from Point Cook on Nov. 16th.

First Single Engine Flight Leaves Eng to Aus

Aug 2, 1920

The first single-engined aircraft flight from England to Australia leaves Hounslow, England.

Edison and Sydney Airport Opened


Royal Australian Air Force Formed.

Aug 31, 1921

The Australian Air Force was created on March 31, 1921, and Williams became Wing Commander. It became the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on Aug. 31, 1921.

Brisbane Airport Acquired by Government


Brisbane Airport at Eagle Farm was acquired by Government.

The Flying Doctor Service Founded

May 15, 1928

On May 15, the Flying Doctor Service came into being; its first pilot was A. Affleck, piloting for Dr. K.H. Vincent Welsh in a DH.50A fitted for two stretchers, operating from Cloncurry, Qld.

First Aus Air Navigation Radio


In 1936 the first air navigation radio station was set up 1.6 km south of Mascot Airport, Sydney.

First Jet Engine Plane Flown


First Flight of an Australian DAP Beaufort Bomber

august, 1941

In August, the first flight of an Australian-built DAP Beaufort bomber took place.

First Test Flight in the CA-15

March 4, 1946

CAC test pilot J. Schofields made the first test flight in the CA-15 at Fishermen's Bend, Vic. It was the fastest piston engined fighter to fly in Australia, at 721 km/hr

First Jet Engine Aircraft Flown in Aus

June, 1946

In June, the first jet-engined aircraft in Australia, a RAAF Meteor F.4, was flown by S/Ldr. D.R. Cuming at RAAF Laverton.

First RAF Jet Fighters Arrived.

May, 1947

The first RAF D.H. Vampire jet fighters arrived for evaluation, prior to manufacture in Australia.

RAFF's First Helicopter Test Flown

Oct 3, 1947

A Sikorsky S.51, the RAAF's first helicopter, was test flown at Laverton, Vic.

First Australian Built Jet

June 29, 1949

The RAAF's first Australian-built jet, the DHA Vampire F.30, was flight tested at Bankstown, NSW. On Sept. 26 the first DHA Vampire was delivered to the RAAF.

First Aus Sonic Boom

Aug 11, 1953

The first sonic booms were heard in Australia when Scott broke the sound barrier by diving the Sabre on August 11 and 14.

Adelaide Airport Opened

Oct 14, 1955

TAA began a weekly DC-4 Melbourne-Alice Springs-Darwin service. This year also saw the opening of Adelaide Airport, at this stage handling only domestic flights.

Black Box Invented


The idea of a crash and fire protected device to record both the voices and the instrument readings in the cockpit - later known as a black box - originated with a Dr. David Warren, a young scientist at ARL.

QEA's First Boeing 707-138

July 1, 1959

July 29 QEA's first Boeing 707-138 jet flight was made on the Sydney-San Francisco route.

Mandatory Black Box


Australia made fitting them to aircraft mandatory in 1961, becoming the first country to do so.

First Supersonic Transport Plane


Russian pilots test-flew the world's first supersonic transport plane, the Tu-144.

First Jumbo Jet Entered Service


The first jumbo jet, the Boeing 747, entered airline service.

Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport Goes International

May 3, 1970

The International Terminal at Kingsford Smith Airport, Sydney, was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth.

Affordable Aviation Safety Regulation


This was a decade of infamous jet air disasters around the globe (although not in Australia) that led to better understanding of the causal factors involved in such events. In Australia, 1988 saw establishment of a separate air safety regulator said to operate on economic principles and the operation of an independent air accident investigation bureau.

Cockpit Voice Recorders

May 9, 1984

The Minister for Aviation The Hon Kim Beazley MP introduced the Air Navigation Amendment Bill 1984, to give protection to aircraft crew-members from the use of cockpit voice recorders for purposes not related to safety

First Australian-built BAe Hawk

May 12, 2000

The first Australian-built BAe Hawk lead-in fighter flew at Williamtown on 12th May, 2000. 21 are being built in Australia, whilst 12 are under construction in England. It will fill the trainer role previously occupied by the ageing Macchi 326's (of which some air museums hope to acquire examples), and the Pilatus PC-9. At the end of 2000, roughly half the initial order had been delivered.


Length of Important Periods.

World War I

July 28, 1914 - November 11, 1918

World War I

World War II

September 3, 1939 - April 15, 1945

War delcared on Germany September 3rd 1939, Germany surrenders May 7th 1945 and finally Japan surrenders April 5th 1945.