British Civil Aviation in 1911

26 April
The first flight tests of the Handley Page Type E two-seat monoplane are conducted by Henry Petre at Fairlop in Essex.

17 May
Messrs Keith Prowse & Company offer the public a chance to book joyrides at Hendon and Brooklands. Short flights were 2 guineas, while longer ones, for an extra guinea, consisted of three circuits of the aerodrome and finished with a glide descent.

Mr J.V. Martin was the first joyrider to specify a destination, when he was flown from Brooklands to Hendon in one of Grahame-White’s Farman aircraft.

4 July
Horatio Barber makes the first cargo flight by Aeronautical Syndicate Ltd when he flies a box of Osram lamps for the General Electric Company from Shoreham to Hove in his Valkyrie monoplane. He is paid £100.

22 July
The Daily Mail newspaper’s £10,000 five-day ‘Round Britain’ air race begins and is eventually won by Lieutenant de Vaisseau Conneau flying a Blériot XI monoplane.

2 August
The first British hydroplane, an Avro Type D fitted with aluminium floats, is taxied by Commander Oliver Schwann at Barrow-in-Furness. Schwann had yet to learn to fly.

18 August
The Royal Aircraft Factory FE2 biplane flies for the first time, piloted by Geoffrey de Havilland.

29 August
Hilda B. Hewlett becomes the first woman in the United Kingdom to obtain a pilot’s licence. Mrs Hewlett, the wife of best-selling novelist Maurice Hewlett, is issued with licence No.122, following a Royal Aero Club test at Brooklands in a Henry Farman biplane.

9 September
Briton Gustav Hamel carries the first official British airmail, flying a Blériot XI monoplane from Hendon to Windsor under the auspices of the Blériot and Grahame-White flying schools.

18 September
The Short S39 Triple Twin aircraft, flown by Francis McClean in Kent, becomes the first aeroplane to fly with three propellers.

23 September
Harry Grindell Matthews develops and uses the first airborne radio telephone. Called the ‘Aerophone’, it is used for ground to air communication with pilot B.C. Hucks who flies 700 feet above a racecourse at Ely in Cambridgeshire.

26 September
Britain’s first airmail service is suspended.

11 October
The first ‘safe’ aeroplane, the Short Tandem Twin or Gnome Sandwich, is flown for the first time. Either of its two engines could be switched off during flight.

27 December
The Royal Aircraft Factory BE1 two-seater is flown for the first time, by Geoffrey de Havilland at Farnbourgh.