He’s Baaaack! Yep, yet another seven are gone. Soon there will be another month gone too. Where does this time go? I’ve spent quite a busy day on this thing today, so with your indulgence, let’s get down to some serious history, shall we?
5 April 1907
Louis Blériot makes a brief flight in his Type V monoplane.
The French Army forms a ‘Service Aéronautique’.
Two Japanese army officers, Captain Tokugawa and Humazo Hino, are sent to France and Germany respectively to learn to fly.
3 April 1912
American Calbriath P. Rodgers dies when he crashes into the Pacific during a Long Beach air show.
3 April 1913
The second competition for seaplanes is held in Monaco.
The Fokker M5k is developed and becomes the prototype for the famous Fokker EIII Eindecker fighter monoplane.
The battleship USS Mississippi and the cruiser USS Birmingham become the first aircraft carriers to be used in warfare. They operate off Vera Cruz with five United States Navy (USN) seaplanes making reconnaissance flights over Mexican lines. The seaplanes are lowered over the side and take-off and land on the water.
1 April 1915
Lieutenant Roland Garros shoots down a German Albatros two-seater with the Hotchkiss machine-gun fitted to his Morane-Saulnier Type L monoplane. Steel wedge deflectors allow the bullets to pass through the propeller arc without damaging the propeller.
The Japanese Naval Air Corps is established.
1 April 1916
Zeppelin LZ48 is brought down by anti-aircraft gunfire over England.
30 March 1917
German Schutte-Lanz airship SL9 (E2) is destroyed during a storm with the loss of all hands.
French aircraft manufacturer, Armand Deperdussin, is jailed for five years for embezzling 32,000,000 francs from his own company.
German fighter pilot Leutnant Werner Voss, one of Manfred von Richthofen’s closest rivals as an air ace during the 1916-17 period, with 48 victories to his credit, is awarded the Pour le Mérite.
5-6 April 1917
In the first ever planned night interception operation, German Leutnant Frankl of Jasta 4, flying an Albatros DIII, shoots down a BE2c of No.100 Squadron over Ouiery la Motte.
Fokker DVII biplane fighters become operational on the Western Front with Jagdegeschwader I. The DVII proves itself to be the best German fighter of the First World War.
1 April 1918
A pilot of Jasta 56 is the first to bale out in an emergency when his Albatros DVa is shot down over British lines. He was probably using a Heinecke cushion-type parachute, landed safely and was taken prisoner.
The Japanese Army Aviation Department is formed.
31 March 1921
The Australian Air Force is formed from the Air Corps.
The Colombian Army Air Arm is formed.
Following the signature of the German-Soviet Rapallo Treaty, preparations are made to establish a clandestine flight training and experimental center at Lipetsk. In the 9 years it is open, over 450 German military flying personnel are trained there.
1 April 1924
The Canadian Air Force is granted the ‘Royal’ prefix.
30 March 1928
Major Mario di Bernardi of the Italian Air Force establishes a new world speed record. Flying a Macchi M52bis, he achieves 512kph (318mph).
30 March 1933
Boeing Model 247, the first airliner with retractable undercarriage, enters service with United Air Lines.
1 April 1933
The Indian Air Force, Bharatiya Vayu Sena, is formed.
4 April 1933
United States Navy (USN) dirigible (steerable airship) USS Akron crashes into sea off New Jersey with 73 killed.
The German Research Institute for Rocket Flight is established.
1 April 1937
New Zealand Permanent Air Force adopts a new name , the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).
30 March 1939
Piloted by Flugkapitän Hans Dieterle, Heinkel He100V-8 establishes new world speed record of 746kph (463mph) at Oranienburg, Germany.
2 April 1939
The Spanish Civil War ends.
2 April 1942
The 10th United States Army Air Force (USAAF) makes its first combat operation when heavy bombers attack shipping in the Andaman Islands.
2-9 April 1942
Japanese carrier aircraft operate off the coast of Ceylon and India.
31 March 1945
The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan officially ends. 137,739 trainees have passed through, of which 54,098 are pilots. In addition, over 155,000 air crew members were trained in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. Over 14,000 British air crew members were trained in the United States.
1 April 1945
Japanese Ohka suicide aircraft score their first major successes, when they severely damage the battleship USS West Virginia and three other vessels. One of those other vessels is the British carrier HMS Indefatigable.
4 April 1947
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is established with headquarters at Montreal in Canada.
1 April 1948
Railway passenger traffic between Berlin and West Germany is cancelled by Soviet military authorities.
30 March 1949
A Bill in the USA authorizes the establishment of a permanent radar defense network.
4 April 1949
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is established, following the signature of twelve nations at Washington DC. It becomes effective on 24 August 1949.
1-2 April 1951
United States Air Force (USAF) Boeing Superfortresses bomb bridges and carrier-borne aircraft attack enemy communications in North Korea.
3 April 1951
United States Air Force (USAF) Superfortresses bomb Pyongyang and three Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15s are shot down by North American F-86 Sabres.
1 April 1952
All United States Air Force (USAF) combat aircraft are ready or almost already to carry atomic weapons.
1 April 1955
The first domestic service from Hamburg is flown by Lufthansa, the re-established German airline.
4 April 1955
The Vickers Viscount is introduced onto Trans-Canada’s Toronoto-New York route.
1 April 1958
Economy class is introduced by carriers operating the North Atlantic routes.
1 April 1960
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launches Tiros 1 (Television and Infa Red Observation Satellite). It carries two TV cameras, which transmit some 22,000 cloud cover pictures. The satellite continues to transmit for 78 days before its batteries are exhausted.
30 March 1961
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) test pilot Joe Walker reaches a height of 51,695 meters (169,600 feet) in the North American X-15A research aircraft.
5 April 1963
A ‘hot line’ is established for immediate communication between the United States and the Soviet Union during periods of East-West tension.
1 April 1975
The Republic of Singapore Air Force is formed.
1 April 1976
Piper’s 100,000th airplane, a PA31T Cheyenne II is rolled out from the company’s Lock Haven plant.
5 April 1976
Movie Mogul, oil magnate and air pioneer Howard Hughes dies from a stroke. Starting out as an amateur racing pilot, he became an aircraft manufacturer, culminating in the huge eight-engined flying boat ‘Spruce Goose’, as well becoming Director of TWA airlines.
31 March 1977
The 10,000th Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft is rolled out of the company’s plant, 31 years after the prototype’s first flight in December 1945.
4 April 1978
Pan American World Airways (Pan-Am) place an order for Lockheed L-1011 TriStars worth $500 million.
3 April 1981
Juan Trippe, the founder of Pan American World Airways (Pan-Am) and air travel pioneer, dies aged 81.
31 March 1982
The first SEPECAT Jaguar, built by Hindustan Aeronautics for the Indian Air Force, makes its first flight.
2 April 1982
Argentina invades the Falkland Islands.
3 April 1982
The first production Airbus A310 makes a successful first flight.
31 March 1987
The French Armee de l’Air begins testing a Mirage III with verbal command recognition software. The system will allow the pilot to control the aircraft using spoken commands.
31 March 1993
The two Australian Government-controlled airlines, Qantas and Australian Airlines, are merged. They will continue under the Qantas name.
30 March 1999
The 1,000th McDonnell Douglas AH-64 Apache helicopter is delivered. The Apache has been in service with the United States Army for 15 years.
4 April 2000
United States Department of Defense gives approval for $3.1 billion of Engineering and Manufacturing Development work on the RAH66 Comanche attack helicopter. The helicopter is due to enter service with the United States Army in 2006.
1 April 2001
United States Navy EP3E Aries III electronic and signals intelligence reconnaissance aircraft collides with a J811 Finback of the Peoples Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF) 70 miles from the Island of Hainan. The Aries III aircraft makes an emergency landing at Lingshui airfield on Hainan, but the Chinese pilot is killed when his fighter aircraft crashes. A major international incident occurs as China accuses America of invading national air space and causing the crash of the fighter. America demands its aircraft and crew back.
After a satisfactory resolution between China and America, the aircrew are repatriated to America on 11 April, and arrangements for the removal of the Aries III aircraft are made.
3 April 2001
Greece defers the purchase of up to 90 Eurofighter aircraft to pay for 2004 Olympic games.
31 March 2002
Swiss International Air Lines begins operations, taking over many routes from bankrupt Swissair.
4 April 2004
Alaska Airlines discontinues service between San Francisco and Tucson.