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2019 Career Expo

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport’s Aviation & Transportation Career Expo gives students an opportunity to learn about careers, ask questions of industry experts and enjoy a hands-on experience in a variety of aviation and transportation fields.

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Transportation Milestones

1807 – First commercial steamboat

Robert Fulton, an American engineer and inventor, dreamed about creating a steamboat that would journey the Hudson River. On August 17, 1807, Fulton’s boat, the Clermont, was launched on a trial run from New York City to Albany and back.
  • The Clermont was 150-feet long and 13-feet wide, drawing 2-feet of water

1903 – First powered, controlled and sustained flight

Orville and Wilbur Wright of Dayton, Ohio, flying their “Wright Flyer” near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, achieve the first powered, heavier-than-air, controlled and sustained flight with a pilot on board.
  • Orville and Wilbur tossed a coin to determine which brother would make the first attempt. Wilbur won and climbed into the pilot’s position.
  • The first flight on Dec. 17 landed 120 feet from where it had taken off and lasted only 12 seconds
  • The Wright brothers took 4 flights that day at Kitty Hawk. Each flight lasted only a few seconds.

1908 – Henry Ford creates the first successful automobile assembly line

  • Henry Ford created the Model T vehicle in 1902 to be used by the everyday man at an affordable price
  • The assembly of the Model T was broken into 84 distinct steps and made from about 5,000 parts!
  • In 1903, Ford Motor Company produced only three cars a day and had up to three men working on each car
  • In 1913, Ford Motor Company was able to build a car in just 93 minutes, producing around 1 million vehicles a year (one every 24 seconds)

1922 – Bessie Coleman became the world’s first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license, breaking racial and gender barriers.

  • Bessie was unable to receive her pilot’s license in the United States, so she joined a flight school in France
  • She completed her training in just 7 months at the Caudron Brother’s School of Aviation

1927 – First solo, non-stop transatlantic flight

Charles A. Lindbergh, flying the “Spirit of St. Louis,” becomes the first aviator to make a solo, non-stop, transatlantic flight from New York to Paris.
  • Lindbergh began his aviation career as a daredevil, performing feats like walking on the wings of flying aircraft and parachute stunts
  • Charles landed safely at Le Bourget Field outside Paris, having traveled over 3,600 miles in roughly 33.5 hours
  • He was named “Lucky Lindy” after his transatlantic flight and received the Congressional Medal of Honor, among other awards and honors.

1932 – First woman flies solo across the Atlantic Ocean

Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, from Newfoundland to Wales aboard the tri-motor plane Friendship.
  • Earhart took her first flying lesson in 1921 and 6 months later bought her first plane, a bright yellow two-seater bi-plane nicknamed The Canary.
  • For her Atlantic solo flight, Amelia flew in a Lockheed Electra 10E that was modified to include a large fuel tank
  • On July 2, 1932, after completing nearly 2/3rds of her historic flight, Amelia vanished. Neither the plane nor Amelia was ever found.
  • On July 11, 2014 , the round-the-world flight was symbolically completed by a descendant, Amelia Rose Earhart, in tribute of her namesake

1933 – Wiley Post completed the first round-the-world solo flight

  • The flight lasted 7 days, 18 hours and 49-1/2 minutes, 15,596 miles all told
  • Post left New York and traveled to Berlin, Soviet Union, Alaska and Canada
  • The solo flight was Post’s second flight around the world

1940 – Igor Sikorsky invents the first modern helicopter

  • Demonstrated in Bridgeport, CT, the first modern helicopter, known as the VS-300, had a single three-blade rotor and was powered by a 75-horsepower engine
  • In 1941, Sikorsky created a world record by keeping the VS-300 in the air for 1 hour, 32 minutes

1970 – First wide-body jumbo jet

The Boeing 747 was created because airlines wanted a plane that would accommodate large crowds to reduce foot traffic at airports.
  • The Boeing 747 was nicknamed “Jumbo Jet,” or “Queen of the Skies.”
  • It could comfortably seat 400 passengers
  • In the 70s, many of the Boeing 747’s included spacious business and first class lounges in an upstairs compartment

2003 – First totally autonomous, computer-controlled model aircraft flight across the Atlantic

Autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now an established feature of modern warfare, carrying out pinpoint attacks under the control of a remote operator.
  • In the beginning of the 21st century, digital technology allowed subsonic military aviation to begin eliminating the pilot in favor of remotely operated or completely autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles

2008 – Maiden flight of the first Lockheed Martin F-35B

The F-35B Standard Take-off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) is a single-engine, fifth generation fighter aircraft designed and developed by Lockheed Martin. It is the first aircraft to combine stealth technology with STOVL capabilities and supersonic speeds.
  • The F-35B was created due to the demand of an aircraft that could replace current fighter jets and go supersonic speed, hover like a helicopter and have minimal radar signature
  • The maiden flight of the first F-35B prototype took place in June 2008, and in March 2010 accomplished its hover capability
  • The F-35B accomplished supersonic speeds in June 2010 and has a maximum speed of Mach 1.6 (1217 mph)

2011 – Delivery of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Responding to the overwhelming preference of airlines around the world, Boeing Commercial Airplanes launched the 787 Dreamliner, an all-new, superefficient airplane.
  • The 787-8 Dreamliner can carry 242 passengers up to 7,850 nautical miles (14,500 km) and has a cruising speed of Mach 0.85 (647 mph).
  • In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to midsize airplanes, the 787 family provides airlines with unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance. The airplane uses 20 percent percent less fuel than today's similarly sized airplanes.
  • Passengers also enjoy improvements on the 787 Dreamliner, from an interior environment with higher humidity to more comfort and convenience.

Aviation Pioneers

Charles Lindbergh  

Charles Lindbergh first became interested in flight after World War I and became a barnstorming pilot in the Midwest. In 1924 he enlisted in the Army Air Service and became a reserve officer in the Missouri National Guard. The next year he was hired as chief pilot for the Robertson Aircraft Corporation, which flew the air mail between St. Louis and Chicago.

Lindbergh’s historic solo transatlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927 changed the face of aviation and brought him international honors and acclaim. His subsequent air tours in the Spirit of the United States and Latin America, and his work as an advisor for Pan American Airways and Transcontinental Air Transport, helped establish U.S. transcontinental and intercontinental air route systems.

Bessie Coleman  

Coleman broke through the headwinds of racial prejudice as a barnstorming pilot at air shows in the 1920s. As a pilot, Bessie Coleman quickly established a benchmark for her race and gender in the 1920s. She toured the country as a barnstormer, performing aerobatics at air shows.

Her flying career, however, proved to be short-lived. She died in a plane crash in 1926, her untimely death coming just a year before Charles Lindbergh made his historic transatlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis. For the African American community, Bessie Coleman became an enduring symbol of how a talented and highly motivated person could seek out a career in aviation.

James Herman Banning  

Flying from Los Angeles to New York, Banning set a new record for black pilots and paved the way for other pioneering black aviation record setters. Long-distance flying offered a dramatic way for African American pilots to showcase their flying skills.

James Herman Banning emerged as one of the most talented barnstorming pilots. In 1932 Banning and Thomas C. Allen completed the first transcontinental flight by black airmen.Banning and other long-distance pilots used their flying exploits to promote airmindedness in the African American community. Each successful flight demonstrated the expanding skills of black pilots and promoted the idea that aviation should be open to all, regardless of race.

Amelia Earhart  

Born in Atchison, Kansas, in 1897, Amelia Earhart attended her first flying exhibition in 1918 while serving as a Red Cross nurse’s aide in Canada. She took her first flight in 1920 and declared, “As soon as we left the ground, I knew I myself had to fly.”

Earhart soloed in 1921 and the next year bought her first airplane. She wasted no time in setting a record, flying higher than any woman ever had before. Earhart would set many more records, including two in this red Lockheed Vega that made her famous around the world. No other female aviator has had Amelia Earhart’s instant worldwide fame. Committed to aviation, she promoted “airmindedness” at a time when most people were skeptical about airplanes as a form of transportation. Her confident personal and media presence reached millions in the 1920s and 1930s and still resonates today.

Willa Brown  

Willa Brown was the first African American woman to earn a pilot license (1938) and a commercial license (1939). Brown was also the first African American woman to become an officer in the Illinois Civil Air Patrol (CAP).

Pioneer aviator Willa Brown played a prominent role in Coffey’s Chicago flying club, offering a role model for young African American women. The success of the Coffey aviation students led to the eventual admission of blacks into the Army Air Forces through the War Training Service Program (WTS), providing a pool of instructors and trainees at Tuskegee Army Air Field.

Lt. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle  

Jimmy Doolittle was one of the great aviation pioneers of the 1920s and 1930s. As an air racer, he was the only winner of the Schneider, Bendix, and Thompson Trophy competitions, considered by many the most important races of the era. As a test pilot with a doctoral degree in aeronautical engineering, he was at the forefront of new technology.

By the end of the 1930s, Doolittle was a household name. After America entered World War II, he planned and led the first attack on Japan, the famous “Doolittle Raid,” on April 18, 1942, for which he received the Medal of Honor.

Benjamin O. Davis Jr.  

Davis led the Tuskegee airmen during World War II in air combat over North Africa and Italy and long-range bomber escort missions over Nazi Germany.

The story of the Tuskegee Airmen is linked directly to the life and career of Benjamin O. Davis Jr. The son of an Army general and a 1936 graduate of West Point, Davis was a member of the first class of five cadets to earn their wings at Tuskegee. He was selected to lead the new 99th Pursuit Squadron, the Army Air Corps’ first all-black air unit.

After the war, Davis continued his military career in the newly independent and integrated U.S. Air Force. He achieved the rank of lieutenant general and played a key leadership role during the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Auguste Piccard  

Swiss physicist Auguste Piccard conceived and designed a sealed, pressurized gondola that could safely carry him into the upper atmosphere to conduct scientific studies. In 1932 Piccard and assistant Max Cosyns ascended in the gondola to 52,500 feet. Their flight attracted wide attention and inspired other researchers to plan high-altitude flights.

“We had to be careful not to release too much gas, otherwise we would have descended like a stone.”  – Auguste Piccard

William J. Powell Jr.  

Powell dreamed of African Americans finding their rightful place in the air age as pilots and mechanics, a vision he called “Black Wings.” Leading a small group of black air enthusiasts in Los Angeles during the 1920s, he established the Bessie Coleman Flying Club and sponsored the first all-black air show.

Powell also called for the full participation of African Americans in aviation as pilots, mechanics, and business leaders. To achieve this end, he wrote his visionary book, Black Wings, produced a documentary film, and worked tirelessly to mobilize African American youth for aviation.

Federal Aviation Administration


The Sky Is the Limit for Students!

STEM AVSED Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? Are you still figuring it out?

If you love science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), then consider a career in aviation or aerospace! FAA’s STEM Aviation and Space Education (AVSED) program offers lots of ways for you to explore this exciting world through STEM-based activities.

What Will You Be?

The sky really is the limit when it comes to working in aviation. Here are a few career opportunities that are available through FAA and other aviation and aerospace organizations:
  • Air Traffic Control Specialist – promote airplane safety by directing the movement of air traffic
  • Electrician – install, maintain, and repair aircraft electrical systems
  • Engineer – design and develop aircraft and related aviation/aerospace technologies
  • Flight Attendant – travel the world and ensure the safety and comfort of airplane passengers
  • Ground Crew Member – support many aspects of the aircraft while it’s on the runway
  • Mechanic – inspect, diagnose and repair aircraft
  • Pilot – fly aircraft and passengers around the world
  • Safety Inspector – develop and administer aircraft safety standards
  • Sales and Service Representative – assist airline passengers with flight travel details
  • Technical Operations Specialist – manage various technical aspects of aircraft operations

Get Started

Check out our current STEM AVSED programs and find a good match:

Elementary (Grades K-4)
Middle School (Grades 5-8)
High School (Grades 9-12)
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