The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, invented the airplane. Dec. 17, 1903, marks the first time their invention flew at a steady speed with a man inside and with a successful landing.
The first time a mechanical plane took flight, it was piloted by Orville Wright at an altitude of 10 feet. The plane went about 120 feet before landing. Several more trials took place the same day, and the brothers continued to develop the technology for several years. It wasn't until World War I that the U.S. government began to use airplanes widely. The first aerial victory was recorded in 1915. Air travel for the general population also did not become popular until well into the 1950s.