Chapman Freeborn blog

Chapman Freeborn

The History of Flight

In our new animated graphic ‘The History of Flight’ we’ve highlighted some of the most important milestones from the past 112 years of aviation.

From the Wright Brothers’ first twelve second flight over a North Carolinian beach, to the first ever jet-powered passenger aircraft, this animated short takes you on a journey through aviation history, from beginning to present.


Planes featured include:

Wright Flyer

A true relic in the history of aviation, the Wright Flyer was famously the first successful heavier-than-air powered aircraft. Whilst unstable and difficult to control, when the Wright Flyer made four flights on December 17, 1903, it paved the way for modern aircraft as we know them today.

Douglas DC-2

The DC-2 was a 14-seat, twin engine airliner. Launched in 1934, the all-metal airplane was one of the first to prove that passenger air travel could be comfortable, safe and reliable. It also led directly to the development of one of the most successful aircraft in history, the DC-3.

De Havilland Comet

The Comet was the world’s first production commercial jetliner. Debuting in 1952, the aircraft featured a pressurised fuselage which offered a quiet and comfortable passenger experience which was unparalleled in its era. The Comet was a bold step forward in aviation innovation that led directly to the development of many of the features we see in today’s airliners.

Learjet 23

Based on a Swiss fighter jet concept and released in 1964, the aircraft hailed the emergence of a completely new market for fast and efficient private jets. The Learjet 23 essentially used the same power plant as an air force F-5 supersonic jet, boasting staggering power and range for its era. The aircraft provided solid foundations for the private jet charter industries that exist to this day.

Boeing 747

First flown commercially in 1970, the 747 was the first wide body aircraft ever produced, holding the passenger capacity record for a remarkable 37 years. A hugely successful cargo and commercial passenger airliner, the 747 set the bar for wide-body aircraft that would follow.


Few could deny Concorde’s status as an engineering marvel and aviation icon. Entering service in 1976 and operating flights for 27 years, the Concorde is one of only two supersonic passenger airliners to have ever entered commercial service. Typically cruising at Mach 2.02 (1334mph) the aircraft could fly from New York to Paris in just under 3.5 hours, well under half the time it took subsonic aircraft. Although sadly retired in 2003, the Concorde represents what the future of air travel may hold, which is remarkable for an aircraft that first flew in 1969. Even today, the Concorde presents a rare opportunity to visit a museum and see the future.

Airbus A380-800

With a double deck, four engines and a wingspan of nearly 80 metres, the A380-800 is the world’s largest passenger airliner. The aircraft has 478 square metres of useable floor space, 40% more than the next largest airliner, the Boeing 747-8. Seating 853 passengers in all-economy configuration and capable of flying non-stop from Dallas to Sydney, the A380 has pushed the limits and set the standard for the future of long-haul air travel.