Post-World War II Flight Timeline

The Lockheed XP-80 was the first operational jet fighter. See more flight pictures.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

January 8,­ 1944 The Lockheed XP-80 makes its first flight. ­

Flight Pictures

February 23, 1944 The German Wasserfall surface-to-air missile is fired for the first time.


March 6, 1944 The first USAAF attack on Berlin takes place with 660 heavy bombers; 69 bombers and 11 escort fighters are lost.

March 10, 1944 The Blohm und Voss Bv 238 prototype debuts.

May 28-June 4, 1944 U.S. Navy airships K-123 and K-130 make the first nonrigid airship Atlantic crossing.

June 13, 1944 The first German V-1s are launched from France.

July 5, 1944 The Northrop MX-324, a rocket-powered plane, is flown for the first time by Harry Crosby.

July 28, 1944 The de Havilland Hornet, the fastest twin-engine fighter yet, makes its first flight.

August 4, 1944 A Gloster Meteor "tips" over a V-1 in the first jet success of the Allies.

August 4, 1944 The first Aphrodite mission is flown.

August 13, 1944 The USAAF uses GB-4 TV-guided bombs against E-boat pens on the European coast.

September 7, 1944 The first V-2 rocket is launched against England.

September 8-9, 1944 V-2 operations begin against Paris and England.

September 10, 1944 The Fairchild XC-82 makes its first flight.

October 23, 1944 The Japanese introduce Kamikaze attacks in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

November 12, 1944 Germany's Tirpitz is sunk by the RAF.

November 15, 1944 The Boeing XC-97 prototype flies for the first time.

November 24, 1944 The first major Boeing B-29 raid on Japan takes place.

December 6, 1944 The Heinkel He 162 Volksjaeger makes its first flight.

December 17, 1944 Major Richard Bong scores his final victory, number 40.

December 22, 1944 The uncrewed Bachem Natter vertical-launch rocket interceptor is launched for the first time.

January 1, 1945 Operation Bodenplatte takes place. It is the last major attack by the Luftwaffe.

January 3-4, 1945 RAF Mosquitos bomb Berlin, adding to the city's tension and despair.

January 20, 1945 Robert T. Jones formulates his swept-back wing theory.

January 24, 1945 Germany launches the A-9, a winged Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) designed for use against New York.

January 26, 1945 The McDonnell XFD-1 makes its first flight.

February 1, 1945 The Bachem Natter is tested with a pilot. The aircraft crashes, and the pilot is killed.

February 3, 1945 One thousand bombers of the Eighth AF attack Berlin.

February 7, 1945 The Consolidated-Vultee XP-81 composite-power fighter makes its first flight.

February 13-15, 1945 The attack on Dresden takes place.

February 21, 1945 The Hawker Sea Fury debuts.

February 22, 1945 Allies launch Operation Clarion with several thousand bombers and fighters.

February 23, 1945 The Luftwaffe sinks its last ship of the war, the Henry Bacon.

March 3, 1945 V-1 attacks continue from Holland against England.

March 9-10, 1945 Boeing B-29 fire-raids take place against Tokyo.

­March 14, 1945 The RAF drops a Grand Slam (22,000-pound) bomb on a key viaduct in Germany.