Flight in the Depression Timeline

1939-1940 Flight Timeline

The XB-24 quickly became a hit after it was first introduced.
The XB-24 quickly became a hit after it was first introduced.
Warren M. Bodie Collection

April 26, 1939 Fritz Wendel pilots a Messerschmitt Me 109R (209 VI) to set a world s­peed record of 469.22 miles per hour.

May 9, 1939 Dale White and Chauncey Spencer seek to include African Americans in air-training programs.

May 27, 1939 The Petlyakov Pe-2 bomber flies for the first time.

June 20, 1939 A Heinkel He 176 is the first aircraft to fly with a liquid-propellant rocket.

June 28, 1939 Boeing 314 Clippers begin transatlantic service.

July 6, 1939 The first scheduled airmail service takes place with a rotary-wing aircraft, a Kellett KD-1B, in Eastern Airlines markings, between Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey. The aircraft was flown by Captain John Miller.

July 7, 1939 Curtiss wins an order for 210 P-36As.

August 27, 1939 The Heinkel He 178, the world's first jet aircraft, flies for the first time.

September 1939 Igor Sikorsky flies the first successful helicopter.

September 1, 1939 Germany invades Poland; World War II begins.

December 29, 1939 The Consolidated XB-24 Liberator makes its first flight.

December 30, 1939 The Ilyushin Il-2 prototype flies for the first time.

January 13, 1940 The Yak 1 prototype makes its first flight.

February 24, 1940 The Hawker Typhoon prototype makes its first flight. It will become the premier British ground-attack airplane.

March 12, 1940 Finland surrenders to the Soviet Union.

March 21, 1940 Pan Am takes delivery of the first pressurized Boeing 307 Stratoliner.

March 26, 1940 Commercial airlines complete a full year without a fatal accident or serious injury.

March 30, 1940 The LAGG-1 fighter flies for the first time.

April 5, 1940 The MiG-1 prototype makes its first flight.

April 9, 1940 Germany begins its invasion of Scandinavia.

May 10, 1940 The German invasion of Belgium and Holland begins.

May 13, 1940 The Sikorsky VS-300 makes its first free flight.

May 28, 1940 Evacuation at Dunkirk, France, begins.

May 29, 1940 The Chance Vought XF4U-1 makes its first flight.

June 1940 Heini Dittmar test-flies a rocket-powered DFS-194.

June 8, 1940 The carrier HMS Glorious is sunk by the Scharnhorst, a German battleship.

June 10, 1940 Italy declares war on Great Britain and France.

June 15-25, 1940 France surrenders.

August 17, 1940 Pilot Officer William M. L. Fiske becomes the first American to die in the service of the RAF.

August 24-25, 1940 Germany bombs London.

August 28, 1940 The Caproni-Campini N.1, an Italian jet, flies for the first time.

September 7, 1940 Luftwaffe night attacks on England begin.

September 7, 1940 The Blohm und Voss Bv 222 Wiking six-engine flying boat makes its first flight.

October 8, 1940 Form­­ation of the Eagle Squadron with American pilots is announced.

October 26, 1940 The North American Mustang prototype makes its first flight.

November 11, 1940 The Italian Air Force makes its first and only attack on England.

­November 11, 1940 England scores a great victory at Taranto, Italy, with the Fairey Swordfish.