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World War I Flight Timeline

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.