1918 in aviation

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Years in aviation: 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921
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Years: 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921

This is a list of aviation-related events from 1918:

Events[edit]

January[edit]

  • Gunner-observer Captain John H. Hedley is thrown from the cockpit of his Bristol F2B Fighter without a parachute during a dogfight when his pilot, Captain Reginald "Jimmy" Makepeace, puts the plane into a steep dive. After he falls several hundred feet, Hedley and the aircraft come back together and he manages to grab the fighter's after fuselage and crawl back into hs cockpit unharmed.[7]
  • The British Army convenes an inquiry to look into the failure of the British offensive in the Battle of Cambrai in November–December 1917. The inquiry finds that the German use of massed aircraft for close air support of German ground troops subjected British ground troops to so much machine-gun fire that they felt helpless and became demoralized, allowing a successful German counterattack.[8]
  • January 3 – With its owner, Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe, concerned about declining support for the war effort by the British public and believing that news about the successes of living British pilots by name would create popular heroes and improve public morale, the British newspaper the Daily Mail publishes an editorial strongly criticizing the British Army's policy of not disclosing the names of successful Royal Flying Corps pilots unless they are killed, a policy instituted because of a belief by the British Army's leadership that such publicity would harm the esprit de corps of their fellow aviators. Other Btitish newspapers quickly take up the cause, prompting the British Army to begin identifying pilots by name. France and Germany had identified their pilots to the press since early in World War I.[9]
  • January 5 – A rapid series of explosions and quickly spreading fires at the Imperial German Navy airship base at Tondern destroys four hangars and five airships in five minutes, killing four civilian workers and 10 naval personnel and injuring 134 naval personnel.[10]
  • January 7 – After the British Army drops its policy of not disclosing the names of successful Royal Flying Corps pilots unless they are killed, the Daily Mail publishes "Our Wonderful Airmen – Their Names At Last," the first article in the British press identifying living RFC pilots by name. The article discusses the exploits of Captains Philip Fuller and James McCudden.[11]
  • January 9 – In a dogfight over Moorslede, Belgium, with three Royal Flying Corps aircraft – an RE.8 of No. 21 Squadron and two SE.5as of No. 60 Squadron – the Albatros D.Va of German ace Max Ritter von Müller is shot down in flames. Von Müller jumps to his death to escape the fire. Von Müller's 36 victories will make him the 15th-highest-scoring German ace and high-scoring Bavarian ace of World War I.[12]
  • January 12 – A decree issued by the Council of Peoples' Commissars of the Republic puts all Russian aircraft manufacturing companies under state control.[13]
  • January 25 – Second Lieutenant Carl Mather is killed in an aircraft collision at Ellington Field, Texas. The future Mather Air Force Base, later Sacramento Mather Airport, at Rancho Cordova, California, will be named for him.
  • January 28–29 (overnight) – The first German bombing raid against the United Kingdom since December 1917 takes place when 13 Gotha and two Riesenflugzeug bombers set out to bomb England. Six Gothas turn back due to poor visibility, but the other bombers attack targets in England, killing 67 people and injuring 166, including 14 killed and 14 injured in stampedes when "maroons" – warning rockets – warn them of an imminent attack while they queue for admission to air raid shelters; another 11 people are injured by falling shrapnel from British antiaircraft shells. Many of the casualties result from a single 300-kg (661-pound) bomb that hits the Odhams printing works in Long Acre, London, where people are sheltering. British aircraft fly over a hundred defensive sorties, and two Sopwith Camels of the Royal Flying Corps's No. 40 Squadron shoot down a Gotha, the first victory over a heavier-than-air bomber over the United Kingdom for British night fighters; their pilots, Second Lieutenants Charles C. Banks and George Hackwill will receive the Distinguished Flying Cross for the achievement.[14]
  • January 29–30 (overnight) – For the first time, German Riesenflugzeug bombers attack the United Kingdom without Gotha bombers accompanying them; the four bombers are from Riesenflugzeug Abteilung ("Giant Airplane Detachment") 501 (Rfa 501). One bomber turns back. The other three bomb England, inflicting only light damage and casualties. British aircraft fly 80 defensive sorties; five of them bring one of the German bombers under attack but succeed only in disabling one of its engines, and it returns safely to base.[15][16] Unfamiliar with the great size of the bombers, many of the British pilots underestimate their size and fire at them from too great a range.

February[edit]

  • February 2 – The Imperial German Army's air service, the Luftstreitkräfte, forms its second and third Jagdgeschwader (fighter wings), bringing together four Jagdstaffeln (fighter squadrons) – Jagstaffeln ("Jastas") 12, 13, 15, and 19 – to form Jagdgeschwader II, with Adolf Ritter von Tutschek as its first commanding officer, and four other JagdstaffelnJasta 2 "Boelcke" and Jastas 26, 27, and 36 – to form Jagdgeschwader III, with Bruno Loerzer as its first commanding officer.
  • February 5 – Second Lieutenant Stephen W. Thompson achieves the first aerial victory by the U.S. military.
  • February 8
    • The Lafayette Escadrille, the American volunteer squadron serving in the French Army, is transferred to the United States Army and redesignated the 103rd Aero Squadron.
    • The United States replaces the national insignia for its military aircraft adopted in 1917 (USAAC Roundel 1919-1941.svg) with a roundel with an outer red ring, then a blue ring, and a white center US Army Air Roundel.svg. The Allies had requested the change out of a fear that the star in the 1917 U.S. marking could be mistaken for a German cross. The roundel will remain in use until the United States reverts to its former markings in August 1919.[17]
  • February 16–17 (overnight) – Four Riesenflugzeug bombers of the German Luftstreitkräfte's Riesenflugzeug Abteilung ("Giant Airplane Detachment") 501 (Rfa 501) raid England. One of them carries a single 1,000-kg (2,205-lb) bomb which it aims at London Victoria station, but it lands half a mile (0.8 km) away on the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.[18]
  • February 17–18 (overnight) – A single German Riesenflugzeug bomber attacks England. It hits St. Pancras station in London, killing 21 people and injuring 32.[19]
  • February 20 – The German high command issues a memorandum governing the employment of German ground-attack squadrons in the upcoming spring offensive on the Western Front, Operation Michael. It lays out the role of the squadrons as "flying ahead of and carrying the infantry along with them, keeping down the fire of the enemy's infantry and barrage batteries," adding that the appearance of ground-attack aircraft over the battlefield "affords visible proof to heavily engaged troops that the Higher Command is in close touch with the front, and is employing every means to support the fighting troops." It also directs the squadrons to "dislocate traffic and inflict appreciable loss on reinforcements hastening up to the battlefield."[20]

March[edit]

April[edit]

May[edit]

June[edit]

  • From the basis of VIII Brigade, the Royal Air Force forms the Independent Force, tasked to mount a strategic bombing campaign against Germany "independently" of the ground and sea campaigns the Allies have been waging since 1914.[45]
  • The United States Marine Corps consolidates its aviation forces at the Marine Flying Field at Miami, to form the First Marine Aviation Force. Composed of four squadrons, the force will deploy to France for combat.[46]
  • Early June – The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Vectis conducts towing trials with the NS-class blimp N.S.3 to see if an airship which runs out of fuel or suffers a mechanical breakdown can be towed at speed by a ship at sea. Vectis reaches nearly 20 knots with N.S.3 in tow during successful initial trials, but N.S.3 touches down on the sea on the final run.[47]
  • June 1
  • June 4 – The first flight of the first all-metal stressed-skin fighter, the Dornier-Zeppelin D.I, takes place.[50]
  • June 5 – Douglas Campbell, the first American to become an ace while flying for an American-trained unit, scores his sixth and final victory. Badly wounded during the flight, he sees no further combat.
  • June 19 – Italy's highest-scoring ace, Maggiore (Major) Francesco Baracca, is killed by Austro-Hungarian ground fire. He had claimed 34 victories.
  • June 20 – Led by Captain Fiorello LaGuardia, 18 United States Army Air Service cadets undergoing training by the Royal Italian Army's Military Aviation Corps become the first American aviators to arrive on the Italian Front for bombing operations against Austria-Hungary. Assigned to various squadrons of the Royal Italian Army Military Aviation Corps' 4th and 14th Bombardment Groups, the take part in an Italian bombing raid against the Austro-Hungarian railway center at Falze de Piave the same day. Shot down and taken prisoner by Austria-Hungary, Lieutenant Clarence Young becomes the first of three American aircrew casualties suffered while flying with the Italians during World War I.[43]
  • June 24
  • June 26 – Attached to the Royal Air Force's No. 65 Squadron, United States Army Air Service ace First Lieutenant Field Eugene Kindley scores the first of his 12 victories, shooting down the Pfalz D.III of Jagdstaffel 5 commanding officer Leutnant Wilhelm Lehmann over Albert, France.
  • June 29: Flight Lieutenant William John Cox, 20-year old Canadian serving with the RAF Naval Unit, dies in an air crash at Easthampnett, Sussex, England, when the engine of his aircraft stalls. He received his commission a week earlier and was due shortly to leave for France. His body was shipped back to Toronto and buried at Mt. Pleasant cemetery, August 14, 1918.[51]

July[edit]

August[edit]

September[edit]

October[edit]

November[edit]

December[edit]

First flights[edit]

January[edit]

February[edit]

March[edit]

April[edit]

May[edit]

June[edit]

July[edit]

August[edit]

September[edit]

October[edit]

November[edit]

December[edit]

Entered service[edit]

January[edit]

February[edit]

April[edit]

June[edit]

August[edit]

October[edit]

November[edit]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ Francillon, René J., Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1979, ISBN 0-87021-313-X, p. 21.
  5. ^ Peattie, Mark R., Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power 1909-1941, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 2001, ISBN 1-55750-432-6, p. 16.
  6. ^ David, Donald, ed., The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, New York: Barnes & Nobles Books, 1997, ISBN 0-7607-0592-5, p. 185.
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  8. ^ Blumberg, Arnold, "The First Ground-Pounders," Aviation History, November 2014, p. 42.
  9. ^ Mortimer, Gavin, "Aces Without Faces," Aviation History, March 2016, pp. 39-40.
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  13. ^ Hardesty, Von, Red Phoenix: The Rise of Soviet Air Power 1941-1945, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982, ISBN 0-87474-510-1, p. 41.
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  15. ^ Cole, Christopher and Cheesman, E. F., The Air Defence of Great Britain 1914–1918, London: Putnam, 1984, ISBN 0-370-30538-8, pp. 390-393.
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  99. ^ Angelucci, Enzo, The American Fighter: The Definitive Guide to American Fighter Aircraft From 1917 to the Present, New York: Orion Books, 1987, p. 195, claims that this flight was in "mid-August 1918."
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  101. ^ Guttman, Robert, "The Navy′s Flying Cannon," Aviation History, May 2017, pp. 16, 17.
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