Timeline of military aviation

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  • 1794 - French Aerostatic Corps use a tethered balloon at the Battle of Fleurus as a vantage point.
  • 1849 - The Austrian ship Vulcano launches a manned hot air balloon to bomb Venice; this is the first aerial attack in history.[1]
  • 1861 - The Union Army Balloon Corps is established during the American Civil War.
  • 1878 - The British Army Balloon Equipment Store is established at Woolwich by the Royal Engineers.
  • 1885 - Balloons are deployed by the British Army to Bechuanaland and Suakin.
  • 1888 - The British Army School of Ballooning is established.
  • 1907 - The first military air organization, the Aeronautical Division of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, is formed 1 August
  • 1907 - British Colonel John Capper flies the military airship Nulli Secundus from Farnborough to Crystal Palace in London.[2]
  • 1909 - Heavier-than-air military aviation is born with the US Army's purchase of Signal Corps Aeroplane No. 1.
  • 1910 - The first experimental take-off of a heavier-than-air craft from the deck of a US Navy vessel, the cruiser USS Birmingham
  • 1910 - The Aviation Militaire of the French Army is formed 22 October.
  • 1911 - The Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers is formed, the first British heavier-than-air unit.
  • 1911 - Heavier-than-air aircraft are used in war for the first time during the Italo-Turkish War,[3] when Italian pilot Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti dropped four grenades from his Taube monoplane onto a Turkish camp at Ain Zara.[4]
  • 1912 - The Royal Flying Corps is formed. A few months later the Dominion of Australia also formed the Australian Flying Corps.
  • 1914 - The Royal Naval Air Service is formed by splitting airship squadrons away from the Royal Flying Corps.
  • 1914 - In August, Russian Staff-Captain Pyotr Nesterov becomes the first pilot to ram his plane into an enemy spotter aircraft.
  • 1914 - In October, a plane[who?] is shot down by another aircraft[who?] with a handgun over Rheims, France.
  • 1914 - The first conventional air-to-air kill occurs on October 5 when a French Voisin machine-guns a German Aviatik in World War I.[5]
  • 1918 - The Royal Air Force, the world's first independent air force is formed.
  • 1918 - The HMS Argus became "the world's first carrier capable of launching and landing naval aircraft".[6]
  • 1940 - The Battle of Britain, the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces, was fought.[7]
  • 1958 - The first ever air-to-air kill with a missile, when a Chinese Nationalist F86 kills a Chinese Communist MiG 15 during the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis[8]
  • 1980 - The only confirmed air-to-air helicopter battles occur during the Iran–Iraq War.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carriers: Airpower at Sea
  2. ^ Colonel Templer and the birth of aviation at Farnborough, RAeS, May 2007
  3. ^ U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission: Aviation at the Start of the First World War
  4. ^ Gerard J. De Groot (2005). The bomb: a life. Harvard University Press. pp. 2–. ISBN 978-0-674-01724-5. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  5. ^ Christopher Chant (29 October 2002). A century of triumph: the history of aviation. Simon and Schuster. pp. 68–. ISBN 978-0-7432-3479-5. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Geoffrey Till, "Adopting the Aircraft Carrier: The British, Japanese, and American Case Studies" in Murray, Williamson; Millet, Allan R, eds. (1996). Military Innovation in the Interwar Period. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 194. ISBN 0-521-63760-0. 
  7. ^ "92 Squadron - Geoffrey Wellum." Battle of Britain Memorial Flight via raf.mod.uk. Retrieved: 17 November 2010.
  8. ^ David R. Mets (December 2008). Airpower and Technology: Smart and Unmanned Weapons. ABC-CLIO. pp. 85–. ISBN 978-0-275-99314-6. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  9. ^ ACIG.org
  10. ^ Vectorsite.net