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Above, the Red Baron (red plane) is shown closing on the Sopwith Camel of Canadian Lt. Wilfred May, unaware that Capt. Roy Brown has slid into position behind him.


World War I, 1914-1918

World War I had a tremendous effect upon the development of aviation, creating an entirely new military arm, one only dimly foreseen in the past, but immediately important. Huge industries sprang up to produce the aircraft, engines, and compo­nents required for the new and extremely expensive service. Because the stalemated war in the trenches was so horrible, the war in the air was given a sense of chivalry and honor by the press and public.

Each new aircraft was carefully examined and the men who won five victories to become aces were regarded as popular heroes.

Below are links to some of the classic airplanes that these brave soldiers flew:

Curtiss JN-4

Nicknamed "the Jenny," this classic airplane was originally mass-produced for the American effort in World War I but was also used as a crop duster, a stunt plane, and an entertainment aircraft after the war. Learn more here.

Nieuport 17

Learn about this extremely influential classic airplane, also known as "Bebe." Copies of the Nieuport 17 were eventually produced at other companies around the world -- some with fatal results.

Gotha G.V

Because of the Gothas' weight and balance problems, more of these German fighter planes were lost due to pilot mishap and accidents than enemy fighters. Learn about this long-range heavy bomber.

Albatros D. Va

Even though the German Albatros was handsome and well built, it didn't prove successful in the German air effort during World War I. Read about this classic fighter plane.

Sopwith Camel F.1

The most famous of all fighter planes, the British Camel brought down more enemies than any other Allied plane during World War I. Find out how this classic airplane was also lethal to its own pilots.

Fokker Dr I Triplane

In an effort to remedy the problems of the Albatros, the Germans built the Fokker Dr I Triplane, which showed promise until a flawed wing design caused a series of fatal crashes.


This classic airplane's name is an acronym for Societe pour Aaviation et ses Derives, which was a firm under the control of Louis Bleriot. Get more details here.

De Havilland DH-4

When the U.S. entered World War I, the Air Service decided to produce the British D. H.4s with American Liberty engines. Learn about this classic airplane's role in World War I.

The years between World War I and World War II were known as the Golden Age of Flight. Discover the aircraft built across the globe on the next page.

To learn more about airplanes, see: