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World War I Flight Timeline

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.