World War I Flight Timeline

The Navy established a flight training station in Pensacola, Florida. See more ­flight pictures.
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.


1916 Flight Timeline

The Sopwith Triplane was perhaps more famous for the planes that imitated it than it was in its own right.
The Sopwith Triplane was perhaps more famous for the planes that imitated it than it was in its own right.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

January 1916 The first aero squadron to serve outside the United States, 1st Company, 2nd Aero Squadron, sails from San Francisco to the Philippines.

Januar­y 12, 1916 German fighter aces Oswald Boelcke and Max Immelmann receive the Pour le Mérite (Blue Max) medal.


January 13, 1916 Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Company Incorporated is formed in Buffalo, New York.

January 21, 1916 The Navy begins experimenting with aircraft radio at Pensacola.

February 9, 1916 Captain A. D. Smith flies a Martin S (Hall Scott engine) to set a world hydroaeroplane record of 8 hours, 42 minutes.

February 12, 1916 The U.S. Post Office seeks bids for carrying the mail by air in Massachusetts and Alaska.

March 16, 1916 The 1st Aero Squadron, commanded by Captain B. D. Foulois, becomes the first U.S. tactical air unit in the field.

March 29, 1916 Lieutenant R. C. Saufley sets an American altitude record of 16,010 feet for hydroaeroplanes at Pensacola.

April 1916 The French use air-to-air rockets for the first time, firing Le Prieur rockets from a Nieuport fighter.

April 7, 1916 Captain B. D. Foulois and Lieutenant Dargue are fired on by Mexican troops at Chihauahua City.

April 20, 1916 American pilots form Escadrille Americaine to fight in France. The name is changed to Lafayette Escadrille in November after German protest (they did not want Americans to come into the war on the side of France).

May 18, 1916 Kiffin Rockwell scores the first victory for Escadrille Americaine.

May 22, 1916 Albert Ball scores his first two victories.

May 28, 1916 The Sopwith Triplane makes its first flight.

June 9, 1916 Lieutenant R. C. Saufley sets an endu­rance record of 8 hours, 51 minutes, then crashes to his death.

June 18, 1916 German ace Max Immelmann is killed.

June 18, 1916 H. Clyde Balsley of Escadrille Americaine is the first American to be shot down; he survives.

June 23, 1916 Victor Chapman of Escadrille Americaine is the first American killed.

June 29, 1916 The first Boeing aircraft, the Boeing B & W, flies.

August 1916 A prototype D.H.4 flies.

August 6, 1916 René Fonck gains his first victory; he will become the leading French ace of the war.

August 7, 1916 The Wright-Martin Aircraft Company is formed after the first of many mergers in the aviation industry.

September 1916 The French SPAD VII enters service.

September 2, 1916 The first plane-to-plane radio contact is established over North Island, California, when telegraph messages are exchanged between two aircraft two miles apart.

September 2, 1916 The first German Zeppelin is shot down over England.

September 5, 1916 Leefe Robinson is awarded the Victoria Cross for destroying a German dirigible.

September 12, 1916 Sperry Company and P. C. Hewitt demonstrate guided missile equipment.

September 17, 1916 Baron Manfred von Richthofen gains the first of his 80 victories.

September 23, 1916 Eleven Zeppelins raid England.

October 7, 1916 H. E. Honeywell wins the National Balloon Race with a flight from Muskogee, Oklahoma, to Cascade, Iowa--a distance of 866 kilometers.

October 12, 1916 Tony Jannus, the famous test pilot who piloted the first airliner, is killed demonstrating Benoist planes in Russia.

­October 28, 1916 Leading German ace Oswald Boelcke is killed in a midair collision with Erwin Böhme, a member of his own unit.


1916-1917 Flight Timeline

The Gotha G V had two 260-horsepower Mercedes engines and a top speed of 88 miles per hour.
The Gotha G V had two 260-horsepower Mercedes engines and a top speed of 88 miles per hour.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

Nov­ember 18, 1916 Seven JN-4s, originating in New York City, complete the first cross-country National Guard flight.

November 20, 1916 Ruth Law sets a world record for female pilots by flying from Chicago to New York in 8 hours, 55 minutes, 35 seconds.


November 21, 1916 The Breguet 14 makes its first flight.

January 5, 1917 The Smithsonian Institution gives Robert Goddard a $5,000 grant for rocket work.

January 16, 1917 Baron Manfred von Richthofen is awarded the Pour le Mérite (Blue Max) medal.

January 19, 1917 The Gallaudet Aircraft Company (a direct ancestor of today's General Dynamics) is formed.

February 11-12, 1917 A German D.F.W. shoots down two enemy bombers in the first successful night fighting between aircraft.

February 13, 1917 The Aircraft Manufacturers Association is formed to permit cross-licensing of patents for the war effort.

March 6, 1917 The first Airco (de Havilland) D.H.4s arrive in France.

March 25, 1917 Billy Bishop gets his first victory (he will go on to become the leading surviving British ace with 72 victories).

April 1917 "Bloody April": 150 RFC aircraft are destroyed, primarily by Albatros D III fighters.

April 5, 1917 The potent Bristol F2B "Brisfit" fighter moves into combat on the western front with the RFC.

April 6, 1917 The United States declares war on Germany. Rated 14th of world air powers, the United States has only 83 pilots and 109 obsolete aeroplanes in service.

April 9, 1917 Dayton-Wright Aircraft Company is formed to manufacture Liberty-powered DH-4 biplanes.

April 12, 1917 The Breguet 14, a famous French bomber, arrives at the front.

May 1917 French squadrons begin to receive the SPAD XIII, a famous fighter.

May 6, 1917 Albert Ball, the top British ace of the time, scores his 44th victory; he is killed the next day.

May 18, 1917 The U.S. Navy experiments with self-sealing fuel tanks, using double-walled tanks with layers of felt, gum rubber, and Ivory-soap paste.

May 20, 1917 The Curtiss-designed "Large America" flying boat is the first airplane to sink a German submarine (U-36).

May 25, 1917 Twenty-one Gothas raid England in the first mass bombing; 95 people are killed.

June 1917 The first of the German "Giant" bombers, a Staaken R VI, is delivered.

June 13, 1917 Fourteen Gothas raid London, killing 162 civilians and injuring 432. The populace demands a home defense system.

July 1917 Sopwith Camel fighters, the most successful planes based on number of kills (1,294), go into action.

July 21, 1917 Congress ap-proves a gigantic $640 million for S.C. Aviation Service. This amount is eight times more than all U.S. aviation allocations since 1898.

July 26, 1917 The Rich­thofen Flying Circus, a group of elite pilots, forms.

August 2, 1917 Squadron Commander E. H. Dunning lands a Sopwith Pup on the deck of the HMS Furious, becoming the first pilot to land on a moving ship. He is killed five days later trying to repeat this effort.

August 11, 1917 Billy Bishop earns the Victoria Cross for his role in an attack on an enemy airfield.

August 21, 1917 The first two Fokker triplanes arrive at Baron Manfred von Richthofen's base.

August 21, 1917 The first Liberty engine is flown in a L.W.F. Model F plane.

August 30, 1917 German ace Werner Voss flies a Fokker Dr I triplane into combat for the first time, scoring three aerial victories.

­September 1917 A prototype of the Handley Page O/400--the best British bomber of the war--flies for the first time.


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.


1918-1920 Flight Timeline

The Martin Bomber was the first American-made bomber.
The Martin Bomber was the first American-made bomber.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

August ­17, 1918 The Martin GMB, the first American-made bomber, makes its first flight.

August 21, 1918 The Nieuport 29, one of most important fighters of the 1920s, flies for the first time.


September 12-15, 1918 The Battle of St. Mihiel marks the largest deployment of aircraft in a single operation to date. Billy Mitchell commands 1,480 aircraft (including those in the service of French, British, U.S., and Italian air forces).

September 18, 1918 Major Rudolph Schroeder sets a world altitude record of 28,890 feet at McCook Field.

September 25, 1918 Eddie Rickenbacker earns the Medal of Honor for success in combat.

September 26, 1918 Leading French ace, Captain René Fonck, shoots down six German planes in one day, including four Fokker D VIIs.

September 28, 1918 Renegade Frank Luke is killed after shooting down 3 balloons to bring his total score to 21. As the second-ranking American ace, he receives a posthumous Medal of Honor.

October 2, 1918 The Kettering Bug, an early guided missile, makes its first flight.

October 24, 1918 The Fokker D VIII arrives at the front.

October 27, 1918 Major William Barker engages in an epic dogfight with 15 Fokker D VIIs. He scores three victories before he is shot down and wounded; he is awarded the Victoria Cross.

November 6-7, 1918 Robert Goddard demonstrates rockets before the military.

November 11, 1918 The armistice ends World War I.

December 4-22, 1918 Four JN-4s fly coast-to-coast.

1919 Many military aircraft are modified for civil use as transports, mail planes, and personal craft.

1919 The first Lawson airliner is designed.

February 5, 1919 The first sustained airline service starts with Deutsche Luft-Reederei between Berlin and Weimar, Germany.

March 1919 International air service opens between Vienna and Padua, Italy.

March 22, 1919 The first regular international passenger service begins between Paris and Brussels by Lignes Aeriennes Farman.

May 26, 1919 Robert H. Goddard's report on "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes" is published by the Smithsonian Institution.

May 31, 1919 A Curtiss NC-4 completes the first transatlantic crossing.

June 14-15, 1919 John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown make the first nonstop transatlantic flight in a Vickers Vimy.

July 2-13, 1919 The British Army R-34 airship makes a transatlantic round-trip flight.

October 24, 1919 Aeromarine opens an airline between Key West, Florida, and Cuba with three flying boats.

December 10, 1919 Ross and Keith Smith fly a Vickers Vimy from England to Australia.

1920 Zeppelin-Staaken's 18-passenger, 4-engine all-metal airliner is ready to test.

January 1920 Raymond Orteig offers a $25,000 prize to the first pilot who can make a nonstop flight from New York to Paris.

February 7, 1920 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe sets a world speed record of 171 miles per hour in a Nieuport 29.

February 27, 1920 Major R. W. Schroeder sets an altitude record of 33,113 feet in a Liberty-powered LePere.

May 1, 1920 The U.S. Navy begins experimental work with all-metal structures.

May 26, 1920 The Boeing G.A.-X twin-engine attack triplane is tested.

­May 31, 1920 Italian pilots Arturo Ferrarin and Guido Masiero fly from Rome to Tokyo in SVA.9 biplanes.


1920-1921 Flight Timeline

This carefully posed photo is truly history in the making, for it shows the building of the very first Douglas aircraft.
This carefully posed photo is truly history in the making, for it shows the building of the very first Douglas aircraft.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

June 4, 1920 The U.S. Army Air Service is created with 1,516 officers and 16,00­0 men authorized.

June 8, 1920 Lieutenant John E. Wilson makes a record parachute jump of 19,801 feet.


June 21, 1920 The Navy arranges to have J. V. Martin retractable gear installed on a Vought VE-7 airplane.

July 15-August 24, 1920 Four Air Service aircraft fly from New York to Nome, Alaska, and back.

August 2, 1920 Famous stunt pilot Omer Locklear is killed in a night flight in Los Angeles.

August 15, 1920 Laura Bromwell breaks the world loop-the-loop record for women with 87 consecutive loops.

September 8, 1920 A transcontinental mail route from New York to Chicago to San Francisco via plane/train is completed.

September 18, 1920 Rudolph Schroeder sets a record of 34,508 feet in a LePere.

September 30, 1920 Forty-seven Army Air Service aircraft crews report 832 forest fires.

October 1920 Donald W. Douglas organizes the David-Douglas Company to build the Cloudster.

November 1, 1920 Regular U.S. international passenger service begins between Key West, Florida, and Havana, Cuba, with Aeromarine-West Indies Airways.

November 1, 1920 The Sperry Messenger is tested.

November 4, 1920 The U.S. Navy continues a series of bombing tests against the obsolete battleship USS Indiana.

November 24, 1920 The prototype Dornier Delphin (Dolphin), antecedent of the famous Wal (Whale), flies.

November 25, 1920 Lieutenant Corliss C. Moseley wins the first Pulitzer Trophy in a Verville VCP-R Racer at 156.5 miles per hour.

December 14, 1920 The first fatal accident in scheduled air service occurs when a Handley Page O/400 crashes at Cricklewood, England.

1921 George de Bothezat, a Russian-born engineer working for the U.S. Air Service, builds a large, complex helicopter that is moderately successful.

1921 The Soviets establish a laboratory for research on solid-propellant rockets.

1921 Soviets begin initial airline service with a demilitarized Il'ya Muromets-type aircraft.

January 10, 1921 A "W" style, 700-horsepower, 18-cylinder engine is tested at McCook Field.

January 26, 1921 The U.S. Post Office reports daily flights over 3,460 miles of routes.

February 18, 1921 C. C. Eversole makes a freestyle parachute escape from a U.S. DH-4.

February 22-23, 1921 Jack Frye and others complete the first coast-to-coast airmail flight in 33 hours, 20 minutes.

February 24, 1921 Lieutenant William D. Coney completes a solo transcontinental flight from Rockwell Field, San Diego, to Jacksonville, Florida, in 22 hours, 27 minutes. On March 25, 1921, he is mortally injured in a crash on the return flight.

February 24, 1921 The Douglas Cloudster, the first in a long line of Douglas aircraft, flies.

March 23, 1921 Lieutenant Arthur Hamilton makes a 23,700-foot parachute drop at Chanute Field, Illinois.

April 14, 1921 KLM introduces the Fokker F III five-passenger airliner. This begins a period of Fokker airline dominance.

May 1921 The McCook Field-designed, Boeing-built G.A.-X flies for the first time. The armored, twin-engine triplane attack bomber, with eight machine guns and a cannon, is a failure.

­June 9, 1921 The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) authorizes the construction of a wind tunnel at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory.


1921-1922 Flight Timeline

The world's first mid-air refueling.
The world's first mid-air refueling.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

July 12-21, 1921 Brigadier General Billy Mitchell's Martin MB-2 bombers sink the battles­hip Ostfriesland in a demonstration attack.

July 29, 1921 Brigadier General Billy Mitchell leads 17 bombers in an exhibition "raid" on New York City.


August 1, 1921 Preliminary tests begin on what will become the Norden bombsight.

August 4, 1921 Lieutenant John Macready, USAS, flies the first crop duster, using a Curtiss JN-4D conversion.

August 11, 1921 Simulated deck landing tests begin in anticipation of the first U.S. aircraft carrier, the USS Langley, becoming operational.

August 24, 1921 An American-owned British dirigible R-38 breaks up in the air; 42 people die.

September 23, 1921 The United States Air Service continues bomb tests, sinking the USS Alabama.

September 28, 1921 John Macready sets a world altitude record of 34,509 feet in a LePere LUSAC-11.

October 15, 1921 Compania Espanola de Trafico Aeroeo, predecessor of Iberia airlines, begins operations.

November 5, 1921 Bert Acosta wins the Pulitzer Trophy race in a Curtiss Racer at 176.7 miles per hour.

November 12, 1921 The first air-to-air refueling: Wesley May steps from the wing of a Lincoln Standard to the wing of a Curtiss Canuck with a five-gallon can of fuel strapped to his back.

November 15, 1921 The airship ROMA flies for the first time at Langley Field, Virginia.

December 1, 1921 Helium is used for the first time in an airship, the nonrigid Navy C-7.

December 29, 1921 A world endurance record of 26 hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds is set in a Junkers-Larson BMW (Junkers 13).

January 16, 1922 The Navy issues parachutes for use in heavier-than-air craft.

February 7, 1922 The Lawrance J-1 radial engine completes a 50-hour test. This will lead to a revolution in engines.

March 13-June 16, 1922 Portuguese pilots fly from Lisbon to Brazil in Fairey III aircraft.

March 20, 1922 The U.S. Navy commissions its first aircraft carrier, the USS Langley.

March 23, 1922 A NACA report shows that the jet engine would consume four times more fuel than a piston engine at 250 miles per hour but would be more efficient at altitude.

April 1922 Germany and the Soviet Union set up a secret training and manufacturing base in the Soviet Union for Germany's use.

April 7, 1922 The first midair collision between passenger airliners takes place in France when a D.H.18 and a Farman- Goliath collide. All of the crew members are killed, along with seven passengers.

April 25, 1922 Eddie Stinson completes a successful test of the Stout ST-1, the Navy's first all-metal airplane.

May 1922 The Breguet 19 bomber prototype flies; it will become the most widely used military aircraft between the wars.

June 10, 1922 Guglielmo Marconi states that radar could be used in fog or thick weather to identify passing ships.

June 12, 1922 Captain A. W. Stephens (later a famous balloonist) makes a parachute jump from a supercharged Martin MB-2 at 24,206 feet.

June 16, 1922 Henry Berliner demonstrates a helicopter at College Park, Maryland; on July 16, it hovers at 12 feet.

August 12, 1922 Henry Biard pilots a Supermarine Sea Lion to win the Schneider Cup at 145.7 miles per hour.

­September 4, 1922 The Curtiss R-6 is flown for the first time at Curtiss Field, New York.


1922-1923 Flight Timeline

Jimmy Doolittle made the first coast-to-coast flight in less than 24 hours.
Jimmy Doolittle made the first coast-to-coast flight in less than 24 hours.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

September 4, 1922 Jimmy Doolittle flies a de Havilland DH-4B from Florida to California i­n 21 hours, 19 minutes.

September 14, 1922 The L.W.F. Owl, the largest plane yet built for air service, makes its first flight.


September 20, 1922 Joseph Sadi-Lecointe, in a Nieuport-Delange 29, is the first to set a world air speed record exceeding 200 miles per hour. He averages 212.01 miles per hour.

September 27, 1922 Radar is demonstrated at the Naval Aircraft Radio Lab.

September 27, 1922 The Navy has its first mass torpedo practice against live targets by Torpedo One; 8 hits out of 17 launches.

October 6, 1922 Oakley Kelly and John Macready make a duration flight of 35 hours, 18 minutes, 30 seconds in a Fokker T-2.

October 14, 1922 Curtiss R-6 racers finish first and second in the Pulitzer Trophy race.

October 17, 1922 Lieutenant V. C. Griffin makes the first takeoff from an American aircraft carrier, the USS Langley, in a Vought VE-7.

October 18, 1922 Brigadier General Billy Mitchell sets the world air speed record at 222.97 miles per hour in a Curtiss R-6.

October 20, 1922 Harold R. Harris makes the first emergency parachute jump, leaping from a Loening M-8 after a collision with a Fokker monoplane.

October 23, 1922 The American Propeller Company demonstrates a reversible pitch propeller.

October 26, 1922 Lieutenant Godfrey DeChevalier makes the first landing on the USS Langley in an Aeromarine 39-B.

November 2, 1922 Qantas starts scheduled service.

November 6, 1922 The prototype Dornier J Wal makes its first flight. It will become one of the most important flying boats of the era.

November 11, 1922 Etienne Oehmichen sets a record in his helicopter for straight-line, flying 1,181 feet; on November 17, he flies 1,722 feet.

December 18, 1922 Colonel Thurman Bane flies a de Bothezat helicopter for 1 minute, 42 seconds at McCook Field.

December 27, 1922 Japan commissions its first aircraft carrier, Hosho. It is one of only a few Japanese ships to survive World War II.

January 5, 1923 Cloud seeding is accomplished over McCook Field.

January 9, 1923 Juan de la Cierva makes an officially observed flight in a C-4 autogiro.

February 7, 1923 Lieutenant Russell Meredith wins the Distinguished Flying Cross by flying a doctor to a dying man on Meredith Island, across frozen Lake Michigan.

February 21, 1923 The de Bothezat helicopter achieves sustained flight for 2 minutes and 45 seconds at an altitude of 15 feet.

March 5, 1923 Igor Sikorsky starts his firm, Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation, in the United States.

March 5, 1923 An auxiliary jettisonable gas tank is fitted to a Thomas-Morse MB-3A fighter. This extends the aircraft's range to 400 miles.

March 29, 1923 Lieutenant Lester Maitland sets a speed record of 239.92 miles per hour in a Curtiss R-6.

March 29, 1923 Lieutenants Harold R. Harris and Ralph Lockwood set a world speed record for 1,000 kilometers at 127.24 miles per hour in a specially modified DH-4L.

April 17, 1923 Lieutenant Harold R. Harris sets two speed records in a DH-4L: 114.35 miles per hour (1,500 kilometers) and 114.22 miles per hour (2,000 kilometers).

­April 17, 1923 USN Lieutenant Rutledge Irvine sets a world altitude record with a 1,000-kilogram load: 11,609 feet in a Douglas DT over McCook Field.


1923 Flight Timeline

The Curtiss PW-8 featured wing surface radiators. Unfortunately, they were a maintenance nightmare and impractical in combat.
The Curtiss PW-8 featured wing surface radiators. Unfortunately, they were a maintenance nightmare and impractical in combat.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

May 2-3, 1923 U.S. Army Lieutenants Oakley Kelly and John Macready make the first nonstop coast-to-coast flight in 26 hours, 50 minutes in the Fokker T-2.

May 14, 1923 A prototype Cu­rtiss PW-8 fighter is received by the USAS, the beginning of a long line of Curtiss biplane fighters.


May 26, 1923 Lieutenant H. G. Crocker completes a nonstop, transcontinental, south to north flight in a DH-4B, flying from Houston, Texas, to Gordon, Ontario, in 11 hours, 55 minutes.

June 6-7, 1923 The Navy sets 15 records for Class C seaplanes.

June 20, 1923 The all-metal Gallaudet CO-1 flies for the first time.

June 26, 1923 Lieutenants Lowell H. Smith and John P. Richter achieve the world's first complete midair hose refueling.

August 21, 1923 Navigation beacon lights between Chicago and Cheyenne are completed.

August 22, 1923 The giant Barling Bomber makes its first flight.

September 4, 1923 The Navy dirigible USS Shenandoah makes its first flight.

September 5, 1923 Air Service planes sink the decommissioned USS Virginia and New Jersey.

September 28, 1923 Lieutenant David Rittenhouse wins the Schneider Trophy for the United States in a Navy Curtiss CR-3 racer at 181 miles per hour.

October 1-6, 1923 The National Air races take place in St. Louis.

October 6, 1923 The Navy's Lieutenant Alford Williams wins the Pulitzer Trophy in a Curtiss R2C-1 racer at 243.68 miles per hour.

October 10, 1923 The Shenandoah, the first dirigible to use helium, is christened.

The USS Shenandoah saw the derigible as a sensible means of reconnaissance.
The USS Shenandoah saw the derigible as a sensible means of reconnaissance.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

November 1, 1923 Robert Goddard's first small liquid-fuel rocket is tested.

November 4, 1923 USN Lieutenant Alford Williams sets a world speed record of 266.6 miles per hour in a Curtiss R2C-1.

November 6, 1923 USN Lieutenant Alford Williams sets a time-to-climb record: 5,000 feet in one minute in a Curtiss R2C-1.

December 13, 1923 Lawrence Sperry crashes his Messenger in the English Channel. The plane is recovered, but Sperry's body is never found. ­