Award of the Harmon Trophy begins. A set of three trophies is awarded annually to the world 's outstanding aviator, aviatrix (female aviator), and aeronaut (balloon or dirigible aviator or aviatrix) for the year, and a fourth trophy (the National Trophy) is awarded to the outstanding aviator for the year in each of the 21 member countries of the International League of Aviators.
Summer 1926 – A Lieutenant Jira of Czechoslovakia flies Avia B.9.11L-BONG 1,800 km (1,100 mi) from Prague to Paris and back at an average speed of 131.2 km/hr (81.5 mph), a notable achievement at the time for an aircraft of the B.9 's class.
April 30 – Bessie Coleman, the first licensed African-American female pilot, is killed along with mechanic William Wills, who was piloting the plane, after they crash as a result of a wrench that Wills accidentally left loose getting stuck in the control gears.
May 20 – The Air Commerce Act becomes law in the United States. It creates an Aeronautics Branch within the United States Department of Commerce, vesting that entity with regulatory powers to ensure civil air safety, including testing and licensing pilots, issuing certificates to guarantee the airworthiness of aircraft, making and enforcing safety rules, certifying aircraft, establishing airways, operating and maintaining aids to air navigation, and investigating accidents and incidents in aviation. It also directs that airways in the United States be charted for the first time, and assigns the responsibility to chart them to the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey.
October 28 – The French aviators Dieudonné Costes and J. Rignot break the world distance record, flying 5,396 km (3,351 miles) from Paris, France, to Jask, Persia, as a part of 19,625-km (12,187-mile) Paris-India-Paris flight.