On September 24, 1929, Lt James Doolittle guided a Consolidated N-Y-2 Biplane over Mitchell Field in New York in the first all-instrument flight. An excerpt from the article:
"There are two outstanding and truly significant dates in aerospace history: December 17, 1903, when the Wright brothers proved controlled flight was possible in a heavier-than-air machine, and July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon.
Another date between those two should be remembered for its significance to aerospace progress: September 24, 1929. That was the day Lt. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle made the first complete flight from takeoff to landing solely by the use of instruments and radio.
Up to that time, scheduled air travel had been stymied because of man’s own limitations—susceptibility to vertigo or a false sense of motion. Humans are unable to fly “blind” in the clouds for any length of time, although many tried, convinced that they were so gifted they could fly through any kind of weather “by the seat of their pants.” Their contempt for bad weather led to many deaths as aviation went through its gestation period.
The inability of pilots to fly in bad weather meant that the airplane would never be able to compete with ground transportation. Many thought the problems of blind flight would never be solved."