London's Hangar 6 will be closed 21 September while we update this exhibition.

World Aviation in 1909

23 January
The Blériot Type XI makes its first flight.

May
The first aerial navigational chart is published. It is a 5-colour chart showing routes out of Paris by Cartes Guides Campbell.

20 May
A Frenchman, Paul Tissandier, makes the first officially recognised world speed record for an aeroplane in a Wright biplane, achieving 54kph (34mph)

12 June
The Blériot Type XII becomes the first aeroplane to carry two passengers (Santos-Dumont and Fournier) at Issy-les-Moulineaux in France.

20 June
Zeppelin LZ3 is delivered to the German Army.

25 July
A Frenchman, Louis Blériot, becomes the first man to fly across the English Channel by aeroplane. Flying his Blériot Type XI he takes off from Les Baraques near Calais at 0441hrs and lands at Northfall Meadow next to Dover Castle 36½ minutes later. Blériot wins the Daily Mail £1,000 prize.

2 August
The United States Government buys its first aeroplane, a Wright Model A, for $30,000. This includes a bonus of $5,000 because the aeroplane exceeds the official specification.

22 August
The first international air meeting takes place at Reims in France. 23 aircraft and their pilots compete for cash prizes in speed, distance and duration competitions.

27 August
Henry Farman makes the first aeroplane flight of more than 100 miles, covering 180 kilometres (111 miles) in a closed circuit during the Reims meeting.

7 September
Eugène Lefebvre crashes his Wright Model A at Port Aviation Juvisy and is killed, becoming the first pilot of a powered aeroplane to die while flying.

16 October
Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin forms Delag (Die Deutsche Luftschiffahrt Aktiengesellschaft), the world’s first commercial airline company. Between 1910 and 1913 the company will carry 34,000 passengers.

22 October
Mademoiselle Elise Deroche, better known under her self awarded title ‘la Baronne de Laroche’, makes her first solo flight. She learnt to fly at Châlons in a Voisin biplane.

26 October
2nd Lieutenant Frederic E. Humphreys of the United States Army becomes the first pilot officer to fly solo, at College Park in Maryland, with a flight lasting 3 minutes in a Wright biplane.

27 October
Mrs Ralph H. van Deman becomes the first American woman passenger in an aeroplane when she is taken aloft by Wilbur Wright.

November
The first flight of the Etrich Taube monoplane. This bird-like Austrian-designed aircraft is produced in a number of versions and many become early military aircraft in Austria and Germany.

5 December
Florence Taylor became the world’s first woman glider (sailplane) pilot when she flew her husband’s home-built aircraft at Narrabeen Beach in New South Wales, Australia.