World Aviation in 1913

20 January
Bernetta Miller is temporarily blinded by oil when she attempts to establish a new women’s altitude record in New York.

24 January
Swiss pilot Oscar Bider reaches 11,483 feet when he flies over the Pyrennes in his Blériot monoplane.

24 January
Charles Nieuport, his mechanic Guyot and the pilot are killed at Etamples in France, when their wing-warping device fails.

The Spanish air arm is renamed as the Servico de Aeronautica Militar Espanola.

3 February
The Gothaer Waggonfabrik (Gotha railway wagon factory) open an aeroplane division.

11 February
The Chilean air service, Escuela de Aeronatica Militar, is formed.

27 February
Slavorosov, Caproni’s chief test pilot, flies from Milan to Rome on a tour arranged by the La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

The twin-engined Bolshoi Bal’tisky (The Great Baltic) or Grand RBVZ, produced by Igor Sikorsky, takes it’s first flight.

China orders it’s first military aircraft, 12 Caudrons, from France.

5 March
The 1st Aero Squadron of the United States Army is formed.

3 April
The second competition for seaplanes is held in Monaco.

16 April
The Belgian Compagnie des Aviateurs (Aviator’s Company), an independent air force, is formed from the former Balloon Company.

16 April
The first Schneider Trophy (Jacques Schneider Air Racing Trophy for Hydro-Aeroplanes) race is held at the Monaco seaplane meeting. Maurice Prevost wins the contest over twenty-eight 10 kilometre circuits in a Deperdussin, flying at 73kph (45mph).

27 April
The first passenger flight in Central America is piloted by Bob Fowler. En Route in the floatplane Raymond Duhem makes the first aerial film of Central America.

10 May
Didier Masson drops bombs from an aeroplane on Mexican gunships in Guaymas Bay.

13 May
The Russky Vitiaz is the first aeroplane fitted with a lavatory. The aircraft was a passenger transport, designed by Igor Sikorski and test flown on this date. It has not been possible to confirm if the lavatory was a water closet although some references identify it as such. This 4-engined precursor to the heavy bomber was piloted by Igor Sikorsky at St Petersburg and had a wingspan of 28 metres (92 feet).

17 May
Domingo Rosillo flies from Key West in Florida to Havana in Cuba, in a Morane-Saulnier monoplane.

28 May
The full-size ‘Aerodrome’, designed by Samuel Pierpont Langley, is flown after modifications during reconstruction.

10 June
The longest flight between sunrise and sunset wins Marcel Brindejonc des Moulinais the Pommeroy cup. He flies 900 miles from Paris to Warsaw.

21 June
American Miss Georgia ‘Tiny’ Broadwick is the first woman to descend from an aeroplane by parachute when Glenn L Martin flies her up to 2,000 feet above Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

1 July
The Dutch Luchtvaartafdeling is formed.

2 August
The Sikorsky Le Grand (Russky Vityaz) makes a flight of 1 hour 54 minutes with 8 passengers on board.

6 August
Johnny Bryant becomes the first pilot to be killed in Canada when his floatplane disintegrates in flight at Victoria.

10 August
An automatic stabiliser is demonstrated by Lawrence Sperry and Lieutenant Berringer in a Curtiss F flying boat. It is based on the ship’s gyroscope which Sperry’s father, Elmer Sperry, invented.

20 August
The first loop is performed by Lieutenant Nesterov of the Imperial Russian Army while flying a Nieuport Type IV monoplane over Kiev.

9 September
The first German Navy airship, Zeppelin LZ14 (L1), crashes into the North Sea off Heligoland, killing most of the 20 crew.

21 September
The first sustained upside-down flight is made by Adolphe Pegoud in his Blériot monoplane.

23 September
Roland Garros makes the first flight across the Mediterranean in his Morane-Saulnier monoplane, from Saint-Raphael to Bizerte in Tunisia, a distance of 453 miles.

29 September
A Deperdussin monoplane piloted by Maurice Prevost flies at 203kph (126mph) to win the Gordon Bennett cup at Reims in France. This is the last speed record before the outbreak of the First World War.

A recommendation is made by the United States Navy (USN) Secretary’s Aeronautic Board that an aeronautics centre should be established, assigning a ship for sea aviation training and assigning one aeroplane for every major combat ship.

13 October
A Seguin and Farman (of France) establish a new distance record by flying 1,021 kilometres (634 miles). This is the last distance record before the First World War.

15 October
The first official airmail flight in France is made by Lieutenant Ronin, carrying a 22-pound sack of letters to Pauillac in a Morane-Saulnier.

17 October
Zeppelin LZ18 (L2) burns while in the air at Johannistal. All of the 28 crew members die.

27 October
Eugene Gilbert flies a closed-circuit course in a Derperdussin monoplane at St-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, at 95mph to win the Deutsch de la Meuthe cup.

The world’s first aerial combat takes place in Mexico when 2 American mercenary pilots, Dean Ivan Lamb, flying for Panco Villa, and Philip Rader, flying for President Huerta, exchange pistol shots in mid-air, neither is hit.

Lincoln Beachey demonstrates loops and upside-down flying in a Curtiss biplane at Los Angeles.

4 November
French engineer Constantin patents a vented wing. The blade placed before the leading edge of the wing improves airflow.

28 December
The first flight at an altitude of over 20,000 feet is made by Georges Legagneux, flying at 6,120 metres (20,079 feet) in his Nieuport Type IIN at St Raphael in France.

29 December
The first flight from France to Egypt is completed after a month by Frenchman Jules Vedrines in a Blériot monoplane.

Also this year…
The following air services are established:

  • The Serbian Military Air Service
  • Australian Flying Corps

The world’s first gyroscopic automatic stabiliser is demonstrated in a Curtiss F flying-boat by Americans Lawrence Sperry and Lieutenant Bellinger.

German engineer Schneider patents his original synchronisation mechanism for a fixed machine-gun installation on an aeroplane.

In Germany, the Oberursel engine works acquires a license to build French Gnome rotary aero engines.

The Dux 1 biplane becomes the first armed, Russian-built aircraft.