This Federal Laboratory has played a pivotal role in creating our modern air traffic control system. Established as the National Aviation Facilities Experimental Center in 1958, the Technical Center’s research and engineering achievements, and its direct support to airports and FAA air traffic control facilities have led to the highest level of safety in air transportation.
Known as the birthplace of Naval Aviation, North Island was the site of the first successful seaplane flight and the first amphibious flight in the U.S., both made by Glenn Curtiss. The first Naval pilot, Lt. T.G. Ellyson, was trained here at the Curtiss Aviation Camp. A flight school established here by Ellyson trained the next Naval aviators as well as the Navy’s first aviation maintenance personnel. North Island was also the site of the first night flight, and the home of the first aircraft carrier, the USS Langley.
Farnborough's aeronautical history began in 1905 with the arrival of HM Balloon Factory in 1905, headed by Lt Col J.L.B. Templer. In 1908, the first powered aeroplane flight in Great Britain took place here, piloted by Samuel Cody. In 1912, Lord Trenchard established the first headquarters of the Royal Flying Corps and in 1918 the Royal Aircraft Establishment was founded.
On 4 June 1783, Joseph Michel and Jacques Etienne Montgolfier captured the imagination of the world with their first balloon flight at Cordeliers Square. There were no passengers, but the Regional Council and the whole town population saw the machine go up and stay aloft at 500 meters for ten minutes. The scientific world raced to make use of the Montgolfiers’ discovery, and all accomplishments made since then by aeronauts, aviators, and astronauts can be traced directly to this site.
This site, originally the home of the Eclipse-Pioneer Division of the Bendix Aviation Corporation, has produced navigational instruments and engine components since 1938. Providing instruments that flew with Lindbergh across the Atlantic, and Admiral Byrd in the cold of Antarctica; from guiding American pilots in times of peace and war, to putting men on the moon, the “Bendix Invisible Crew” has been a leader in innovation and technology in the world of aviation and space exploration.
The Purdue University Airport was the first collegiate owned airport in the United States. It hosted Amelia Earhart for her final adventure, was the training ground for test pilots such a Jimmy Johnson and Ivan Kincheloe, balloonist Malcolm Ross, and astronaut Neil Armstrong. Purdue University Airport and its people and programs pushed aviation’s evolution to new heights and helped expand the frontiers of flight. During WWII, hundreds of U.S. Army and Navy members were trained at the airport.
T.S.C. Lowe’s Observation Flight
On this site, which was the Dutch Flats Airport, Charles A. Lindbergh made the first flight of his Spirit of St. Louis airplane, constructed in 60 days by dedicated employees of Ryan Airlines, Inc. The 20-minute flight on 28 April 1927 was witnessed by those who built the aircraft. Lindbergh describes the flight:
On 15 November 1950, the SSFL conducted its first official test with a Rocketdyne-designed XLR43-NA-1 large liquid propellant rocket engine, which later became the Redstone engine. Encompassing 2558 acres, 18 large static test stands, 5 component test laboratories and an advanced test facility, the SSFL and its dedicated employees have provided significant contributions to U.S. rocketry and space programs for over 50 years.
Built in 1880 as the Piccatinny Powder Depot, this site was the major supplier of smokeless powder to the military for many years.