January 7, 2010
The early history of aviation wasn’t just a matter of flying faster and farther, but higher, too. On this day 100 years ago, French aviator Hubert Latham flew an airplane above a kilometer altitude for the first time, breaking his own record by nearly 2,000 feet. He took off in his Antoinette from Mourmelon in northeastern France with “excellent weather and a favorable wind” and flew 40 miles, according to the Associated Press, whose story ran in the Los Angeles Times under the headline, “Latham Flies Into Clouds.”
The New York Times reported:
[Latham] added that at no time did he feel the least uneasiness, and declared that he saw no reason why he should not soar to very much greater altitudes. Today’s flight, he thinks, has solved the problem of the feasibility of crossing high mountain chains like the Alps in aeroplanes. All that will be needed for that purpose, he is now convinced, is a powerful enough motor and a flying machine built in proportion.
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