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World War I Flight Timeline


1917-1918 Flight Timeline
The Fokker D VII was considered by many historians to be the best fighter of World War I.
The Fokker D VII was considered by many historians to be the best fighter of World War I.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

Septe­mber 11, 1917 French ace Georges Guynemer is shot down and killed.

September 17, 1917 Zeppelin-Staaken R planes, capable of carrying one-ton bombs, raid England.

September 23, 1917 Werner Voss is killed in a heroic, epic dogfight with the British No. 56 Squadron.

October 11, 1917 The RFC forms the 41st Wing, dedicated to strategic bombing.

October 29, 1917 The first American-made DH-4 flies with the #4 Liberty engine.

November 7, 1917 The Russian revolution begins.

November 18, 1917 The U.S. Navy begins combat operations with Tellier flying boats in France.

November 20, 1917 The Battle of Cambrai takes place. Low-level attacks on both sides set a future pattern for air-to-ground warfare.

November 21, 1917 The U.S. Navy demonstrates a radio-controlled flying bomb.

November 27, 1917 Benny Foulois takes over as the Chief of Air Service, American Expeditionary Force (AEF)

December 1917 Katherine Stinson sets an American cross-country duration record with a flight of nine hours and ten minutes, from San Diego to San Francisco.

January 1918 The Fokker D VII wins a fighter competition in Berlin.

January 19, 1918 The U.S. School of Aviation Medicine is founded.

January 23, 1918 The first U.S. Army balloon ascends in France.

February 1918 The first U.S. squadrons form in France.

February 16, 1918 A plant opens at Romorantin, France, to assemble American planes.

February 18, 1918 The 95th Aero Squadron, the first "all-American" unit, arrives in France.

March 21, 1918 A gigantic German offensive begins.

April 1918 Fokker D VIIs, the best fighters of the war, become operational.

April 1, 1918 Britain establishes the Royal Air Force (RAF) out of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).

April 12, 1918 Zeppelins raid England. It is the last raid of the war to cause casualties.

April 13, 1918 An Argentine pilot, in a Morane-Saulnier Parasol, is the first to cross the Andes Mountains.

April 14, 1918 Lieutenants Douglas Campbell and Alan Winslow score the first U.S. air victories when they shoot down Pfalz and Albatros aircraft over their airdrome.

April 21, 1918 Baron Manfred von Richthofen is shot down and killed.

May 11, 1918 The first American-built DH-4 arrives in France.

May 15, 1918 The Packard LePere fighter flies.

May 15, 1918 The Army establishes airmail service between New York and Washington, D.C.

May 29, 1918 General John Pershing makes nonflyer Mason Patrick the Chief of Air Service, AEF.

June 5, 1918 Hugh Trenchard heads the "Independent Air Force" to attack the German homeland.

June 12, 1918 The first AEF bomber squadron, the 96th Aero Squadron, forms. Members fly French aircraft.

June 19, 1918 Francesco Baracca, the leading Italian ace with 34 victories, is killed.

July 9, 1918 Major James McCudden, one of Britain's top aces, is killed when his aircraft crashes on takeoff.

July 26, 1918 One-eyed pilot Mick Mannock, a British ace with 73 victories, is shot down in flames.

August 1918 Fokker D VII fighters score 565 kills in one month.

August 2, 1918 The first combat flight of an American DH-4 is a fiasco.