The maiden flight of an aircraft is the first occasion on which an aircraft leaves the ground under its own power. The same term is also used for the first launch of rockets.
The first flight of a new aircraft type is always a historic occasion for the type and can be quite emotional for those involved. In the early days of aviation it could be dangerous, because the exact handling characteristics of the aircraft were generally unknown. The first flight of a new type is almost invariably flown by a highly experienced
A first flight is only one stage in the development of an aircraft type. Unless the type is a pure research aircraft (such as the
An incomplete list of first flights of notable aircraft types, organized by date, follows.