World War I Flight Timeline

The Navy established a flight training station in Pensacola, Florida. See more ­flight pictures.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

1914 The Chinese Army Air Arm is formed.

January 1914 The Naval Aeronautical Center is established at NAS Pensacola,­ Florida.


Flight Timeline

January 1914 The Il'ya Muromets bomber is flown for the first time.

January 1, 1914 Tony Jannus flies a Benoist flying boat between Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida, to inaugurate the first regularly scheduled passenger airline.

February 23, 1914 A prototype of the Bristol Scout flies.

April 1914 The Fokker M.5, a prototype of the Eindecker, appears.

April 25, 1914 Navy Lieutenant P.N.L. Bellinger makes the first U.S. combat flight off Vera Cruz, Mexico, to scout for sea mines.

May 6, 1914 Navy Lieutenant P.N.L Bellinger's aeroplane is hit by rifle fire. This is the first recorded U.S. aerial combat damage.

July 7, 1914 Robert Goddard secures a patent for his two-stage solid fuel rocket.

August 1, 1914 Germany declares war on Russia. In subsequent days, it becomes a true world war, with Allies versus the Central Powers.

August 22, 1914 The British RFC takes a reconnaissance of German lines.

August 26, 1914 Russian staff Captain Peter Nesterov rams an Austrian plane; both pilots are killed.

August 27, 1914 The first RFC squadrons arrive in France.

August 30, 1914 German Army Lieutenant Ferdinand von Hiddessen bombs Paris from his Taube; a woman is killed.

October 5, 1914 Corporal Louis Quénault and Sergeant Joseph Frantz of the French Air Force shoot down a German Aviatik. It's the first victory in aerial combat.

November 21, 1914 Three Avro 504s bomb Zeppelin sheds at Friedrichshafen, Germany.

December 21, 1914 A German airplane drops bombs on Dover; it's the first attack on England.

December 25, 1914 Seven British hydroaeroplanes are launched from Royal Navy carriers. They succeed in bombing German facilities in Cuxhaven.

January 19, 1915 The first Zeppelin raids begin in England.

It is difficult to imagine the tremendous grip the dirigible had on the public, especially in Germany.
It is difficult to imagine the tremendous grip the dirigible had on the public, especially in Germany.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

February 17, 1915 HMS Ark Royal, the first ship converted to aircraft duty, launches a seaplane to reconnoiter Turks at Gallipoli, Turkey.

March 3, 1915 The United States forms the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which will become the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958.

April 1, 1915 Roland Garros uses a machine gun fired through a propeller (unsynchronized) to shoot down a German plane.

May 31, 1915 The first Zeppelin raid on London kills seven civilians.

June 1, 1915 The prototype de Havilland D.H.2 makes its first flight.

June 5, 1915 Flight Sub-Lieutenant R.A.J. Warneford is awarded the Victoria Cross for dropping a bomb on an LZ 37. He is killed 12 days later.

July 1915 Fokker E 1 monoplanes ("E" standing for eindecker, or monoplane) arrive at the front, the first to have a synchronized gun firing through the propeller.

July 15, 1915 Lieutenant Kurt Wintgens scores a victory with an Eindecker fitted with a synchronized gun.

July 25, 1915 Captain Lanoe Hawker of the RFC earns the first Victoria Cross for air-to-air combat.

Fall 1915 The "Fokker Scourge" begins as Fokker Eindeckers reign supreme on the western front.

December 12, 1915 Hugo Junkers' J 1 "Tin Donkey," the first all-metal monoplane, makes its inaugural flight in Germany.

­January 1916 Kampfgeschwader Nr. 1, the German elite bombing unit, receives Gotha IV bombers.