January 20 – Italian troops take the Ethiopian town of Negele Boran without firing a shot. Its inhabitants have all fled after Italian aircraft drop 40 tons (36,288 kg) of bombs on the town during the Battle of Genale Doria.
February 15 – Italian aircraft based at nearby Mek'ele, Ethiopia, maintain at least 12 aircraft over the battlefied all day during the Battle of Amba Aradam against Ethiopian troops. It is a forerunner of the World War II "cab rank" technique of keeping airborne aircraft continually on call over a battlefield to bomb enemy positions when needed.
February 16–19 – On February 16, MarshalPietro Badoglio orders Italian ground forces not to pursue Ethiopian forces after they begin to retreat from Amba Aradam and assigns the task of exploitation of Italy's victory to the Italian Royal Air Force (Regia Aeronautica), a novel task for an air force. Italian aircraft drop 40 tons (36,288 kg) of bombs on retreating Ethiopian forces over the last four days of the battle with devastating effect, and on February 19 a strafing aircraft mortally wounds the Ethiopian military leader Ras Mulugeta Yeggazu, who dies eight days later.
The German Luftwaffe staff holds a war game which finds that German air rearmament thus far has been inadequate and that the Luftwaffe is inferior to the French Air Force.
April 4 – Italian aircraft drop mustard gas and 73 tons (66.2 tonnes/metric tons) of high-explosive bombs on a force of 20,000 Ethiopian troops retreating across the plain of Lake Ashangi, killing thousands.
June 3 – GeneralleutnantWalther Wever, the first chief-of-staff of the restored German Luftwaffe and the main proponent for the new force to have the aircraft to perform strategic bombing, dies along with his flight engineer when the Heinkel He 70 he is piloting crashes on takeoff at Dresden, Germany from its gust locks remaining in place. Ironically, the very same day, the German RLM proposes the Bomber A specification and aircraft design competition, which leads directly to the beginnings of the He 177 German heavy bomber project over a year later.
June 27 – The Luftwaffe's chief of procurement Ernst Udet – the second-ranking German ace of World War I and a famous stunt pilot – takes the prototype of the Heinkel He 118dive bomber up for a test flight, but mismanages propeller pitch settings during a dive, causing the plane to crash. Udet parachutes to safety, but the He 118 is destroyed.
July 20 – One of the four leaders of the Nationalist uprising in Spain, GeneralJosé Sanjurjo y Sacanell, dies in the crash on takeoff at Estoril, Portugal, of a light plane piloted by Juan Antonio Ansaldo while attempting to fly to Spain. He had insisted on overloading the plane with baggage so as to have the proper clothes to wear and on flying with Ansaldo instead of in a larger plane in order to make the flight with a "daring aviator." Ansaldo survives.
July 29 – Germany and Italy become the first countries to provide aircraft for service in the Spanish Civil War, when 10 German Junkers Ju 52 transports land in Spanish Morocco for service with the Nationalist faction and nine Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 bombers arrive in Spain for Nationalist service; three other SM.81s crash during the flight to Spain.
July 29-August 5 – Ten, later increased to twenty, German Junkers Ju 52s ferry 1,500 Spanish Nationalist troops from Spanish Morocco to Spain in the world's first major military airlift.
August 6 – German Junkers Ju 52 transports begin a schedule of airlifting 500 Nationalist troops a day from Spanish Morocco to Spain. Nationalist leader Francisco Franco himself makes the flight on August 6.
August 9 – Six aircraft support a Republican seizure of Ibiza.
August 10 – A Nationalist ground column under ColonelJuan Yagüe y Blanco captures Mérida, Spain, after advancing 200 miles (322 km) in less than a week. Nine German Junkers Ju 52s and eight Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.81s have given the column local air superiority, while a civilian aeroclub from Seville has provided aerial reconnaissance and in one instance forced Republican militiamen to abandon their positions by dropping melons on them.
August 16 – Seaplanes from Barcelona support a Republican landing on Majorca. In reaction, three Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 bombers, three Italian Fiat CR.32 fighters, and various Spanish Nationalist aircraft are sent to be based on the island. The presence of the CR.32s precludes any further Republican air attacks on Majorca.
August 23 – Nationalist aircraft bomb the airport at Getafe, Spain.
September 3 – Nationalist aircraft on Majorca support a Nationalist counteroffensive against Republican invaders, demoralizing them and sparking a precipitous Republican retreat from the island, which will become an important Nationalist base for the remainder of the Spanish Civil War.
September 30 – The German airlift of Spanish Nationalist troops from Spanish Morocco to Spain ends after 677 flights carrying 12,000 men in August and September. The airlift will be one of the most decisive factors in the eventual Nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War.
October 1 – C. W. A. Scott and Giles Guthrie win the Schlesinger Race from England to Johannesburg, South Africa, flying Vega Gull G-AEKE landing at Rand Airport on 1 October 1936. The aircraft had left Portsmouth 52 hours 56 minutes 48 seconds earlier. Out of the original 14 entries to the race Scott and Guthrie were the only ones to finish, winning the 10,000 pounds prize money.
October 28 – Tupolev TB-3-4AM-34FRN with A. B. Yumashev of the Soviet Union at the controls sets a payload-to-altitude record of 5,000 kg (11,023 lb) to 8,980 meters (29,462 feet).
October 29 – Soviet aircraft appear in combat for the first time in Spanish Civil War as Alcantarilla-based Tupolev SB-2 bombers with Soviet pilots and Spanish bombardiers and gunners bomb Seville in support of Republican forces. On the same day, Nationalist forces begin a heavy bombing campaign against Madrid.
November 3 – New Soviet Polikarpov I-15 and I-16 fighters fly their first missions of the Spanish Civil War, supporting Republican forces. Their superior performance will allow the Republican side to gain air superiority over Nationalist forces.
November 4 – Soviet fighters see combat for the first time in the Spanish Civil War, dispersing a squadron of Italian Fiat CR.32 fighters escorting German Junkers Ju 52s over Madrid.
November 15–17 – The German Condor Legion sees its first action of the Spanish Civil War, supporting Nationalist forces fighting to take Madrid.
November 19–22 – Curious to see the reaction of a civilian population to an attempt to systematically destroy its city by bombing, officers of the German Condor Legion supporting Francisco Franco's desire to bomb Madrid into surrendering oversee a bombing campaign by German Junker Ju 52s and Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.81s that kills 150 people in the city. It is the heaviest bombing ever carried out against a city up to that time.
December 31 – The Five-Power Treaty (often referred to as the Washington Naval Treaty) of 1922 expires, lifting all international restrictions on the make-up of the French, Italian, Japanese, British Royal, and United States navies, including the size of their aircraft carrier fleets and the characteristics of their individual aircraft carriers.
^Crosby, Francis, The Complete Guide to Fighters & Bombers of the World: An Illustrated History of the World's Greatest Military Aircraft, From the Pioneering Days of Air Fighting in World War I Through the Jet Fighters and Stealth Bombers of the Present Day, London: Hermes House, 2006, ISBN 9781846810008, p. 267.
^Hinchcliffe, Peter, The Other Battle: Luftwaffe Night Aces Versus Bomber Command, Edison, New Jersey: Castle Books, 2001, ISBN 0-7858-1418-3, p. 44.
^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. 48.