Important dates in Atlantic City area’s aviation history:
June 28, 1910: Construction begins on an “aero-dome” 300 feet long by 75 feet wide near the Atlantic City Inlet for use in the upcoming Aero Meet.
July 4-12, 1910: Atlantic City hosts an eight-day Aero Meet, in which pilots from across the country test the limits of their airplanes. Records are set for altitude, air speed and distance flown over the ocean. The air show attracts more than 100,000 spectators.
Oct. 15, 1910: The first recorded attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a dirigible, the America, made by Arctic explorer Walter Wellman from the Absecon Inlet. Mechanical failures caused the crew to bail out of the dirigible after flying 1,008 miles out to sea. They were rescued by a passing steamer.
June 8, 1911: Glenn Curtiss, one of the heroes of the 1910 Aero Meet, receives the first Atlantic City airplane license for passenger flights. Throughout the 1910s and ‘20s, sightseeing planes and passenger services thrived in Atlantic City, with routes to New York, Philadelphia and other cities along the East Coast.
July 2, 1912: Melvin Vanaman, Wellman’s chief mechanic, flew the dirigible Akron from Absecon Inlet in another attempt at trans-Atlantic flight. An explosion over the inlet destroyed the dirigible and killed all on board.
May 2, 1919: The Pan-American Aeronautical Congress meets at Steel Pier, kicking off a month of aerobatic contests based out of the newly-completed Atlantic City Airport.
May 10, 1919: The Atlantic City Airport, later re-named Bader Field, is opened. It’s the first airfield in the country to use the word “airport.”
July 8, 1922: Atlantic City purchases Bader Field from its original private owners.
Oct. 19-21, 1927: Charles Lindbergh flies the Spirit of St. Louis into Bader Field five months after crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
1928: Ida Mae Hampton becomes the first female pilot to be licensed and to fly solo from Bader Field.
May 27, 1931: 672 U.S. army planes, bombers and observation planes flew over Atlantic City, demonstrating aerial combat maneuvers and aerobatics.
June 4, 1931: Stunt pilot William Swann flies the first rocket glider in aviation history at Steel Pier.
Apr. 4, 1933: The U.S.S. Akron, one of the largest dirigibles ever built at 785 feet, crashes off Barnegat Inlet. Wreckage from the crash, which killed 73 people, is recovered up and down the Jersey Shore.
July 17, 1933: Albert Forsythe and C. Alfred Anderson become the first African Americans to fly across the country, taking off from Bader Field to Los Angeles.
1942: Harry “Knock” Nordheim establishes the Atlantic City Aerial Service, a banner towing operation, out of Bader Field. He also runs the airport for the city for the next 22 years.
Apr. 24, 1943: Naval Air Station Atlantic City dedicated in Egg Harbor Township. It would be used as a Navy training ground during World War II and a research and development facility through the mid-1950s.
1946: Atlantic City leases its new municipal airport in Egg Harbor Township to Eastern Air Lines, the first civilian airline to base scheduled flights from the airport. Commercial flights continued sporadically for the next five decades, although Bader Field was still the dominant airport.
July 1, 1958: The National Aviation Facilities Experimental Center (NAFEC) takes over operations from NASAC. The facility, run by what would become the Federal Aviation Administration, was used to test safety measures for the burgeoning commercial aviation industry.
Aug. 17-21, 1977: “Transfair” is held at NAFEC, highlighting a variety of aircraft and aviation technologies for the general public. More than 100,000 spectators attend.
May 1986: A Cessna 414 attempting to take off from Bader Field crashes in the Chelsea Heights neighborhood, killing a passenger and an off-duty Atlantic City police officer. The incident renews calls to divert air traffic to the airport in Egg Harbor Township.
Sept. 15, 1990: Atlantic Community College Foundation sponsors a weekend air show at the Atlantic City International Airport that draws about 55,000 spectators.
June 28, 1991: The state Senate approves bill that creates the South Jersey Transportation Authority, a pseudo-governmental entity that takes over the Atlantic City International Airport from the city.
Aug. 27, 2003: For the first time since 1910, Atlantic City hosts an airshow. More than 200,000 spectators attend.
Sept. 30, 2006: Bader Field permanently closes after nearly 87 years of service.
Compiled by Staff Writer Wallace McKelvey.