World Aviation in 1958

The ‘Black Box’ flight recorder is developed by David Warren of the Aeronautical Research Laboratories in Melbourne.

14-20 January
A round the world airline service is inaugurated by Qantas, using a Lockheed Super Constellation ‘Southern Aurora’, eastbound from Sydney to London via the United States and another, the ‘Southern Zephyr’ westbound from Sydney to London via India and the Middle East.

1 February
Explorer I is launched, and becomes the first United States satellite to enter Earth orbit.

4 February
The keel of the world’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, is laid.

17 March
Vanguard I, the 2nd United States satellite to enter Earth’s orbit, is launched.

1 April
Economy class is introduced by carriers operating the North Atlantic routes.

7 May
Major H.C. Johnson, flying a Lockheed F104A Starfighter, sets the third new world altitude record in less than three weeks, attaining a height of 27,811 metres (91,243 feet).

12 May
The joint United States-Canada, North American Air Defence Command (NORAD), is formally established.

16 May
The first world speed record over 2,000kph is set by Captain W.W. Irvin of the United States Air Force (USAF), in a Lockheed F104A Starfighter attaining a speed of 2,259kph (1,403mph).

23 May
Frenchwoman Colette Duval sets a new world record by parachuting into the Atlantic without oxygen from an altitude of 40,700 feet.

24 May
The Bell X14 Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft makes its first transition from hovering to forward flight.

1 July
Royal Nepal Airlines is formed as a wholly government-owned airline, operating domestic services.

16 July
Ghana Airways inaugurates its first international operations.

23 July
It is announced that the Boeing Vertol VZ2A has made its first successful transition from vertical to horizontal flight and vice versa.

3 September
The Chilean airline Ladeco is formed.

1 October
The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is established.

11 October
The United States Air Force (USAF) makes a second attempt to put a research probe, Pioneer IB, in orbit around the moon.

12 December
The balloon ‘Small World’, commanded by A.B. Elloart, ascends from the Canary Isles in an attempt to traverse the South Atlantic. It lands in the sea on December 15 having travelled 2,800 kilometres (1,740 miles).