World Aviation in 1915

The first Russian aircraft designed for aerial combat, the Sikorsky S16 two-seat armed biplane, enters service.

6 January
The Friedrichshafen FF29a seaplane is successfully launched from the deck of a submarine by the German Navy during trials to extend the aircraft’s range.

7 January
The Italian Corpo Aeronautico Militare is formed.

19-20 January
Two German Navy Zeppelins, LZ24 (L3) and LZ27 (L4), make the first airship raid on Great Britain and a third, LZ31 (L6), returns early due to engine problems.

Bombs from L3 fall on Great Yarmouth, while L4 drops incendiaries and bombs on Sheringham, Thornham, Brancaster, Hunstanton, Heacham, Snettisham and King’s Lynn. Several civilians are killed and wounded.

The Russian Ilya Mourometz IMV series 4-engined bombers are equipped with machine-guns for use against ground targets.

3 February
Turkish forces attack the Suez Canal area but are repelled by British troops.

15 February
Russian Ilya Mouromets reconnaissance bombers attack targets along the Vistula river in Poland.

17 February
Zeppelin LZ34 (L3) is stranded and destroyed in a gale at Jutland.

20 February
Allan Loughhead is given permission to start an air service during the Panama-Pacific Exhibition at San Francisco, flying 600 passengers across the bay in 50 days.

3 March
The United States National Advisory Committee is established by Congress to investigate the problems of flight and solutions to them. The organisation is a forerunner to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

4 March
$300,000 funding is passed by the United States Congress for the development of army aviation in 1916.

5 March
Zeppelin LZ33 (L8) crashes near Ostend after being hit by gunfire over Nieuport during a mission to attack Britain.

7 March
Paris comes under attack from German Zeppelins.

14 March
Lincoln Beachey dies when the wings break off his monoplane while he attempts a power dive from 3,000 feet at the Panama-Pacific Exhibition in San Francisco.

20 March
The Belgian Aviation Militaire is formed.

27 March
Mancia, a kite balloon ship, sails for the Dardanelles, equipped with a kite balloon for use as an observation platform.

1 April
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.

9 April
The first meeting of the Australian Aero Club is held at the Café Francais in Melbourne.

11 April
The prototype German Zeppelin-Staaken VGO1 heavy bomber flies for the first time. This later becomes the Zeppelin-Staaken R1.

16 April
A United States Navy (USN) AB2 flying-boat piloted by Lieutenant P.N.L. Bellinger is catapult-launched from a barge.

19 April
After making a forced landing behind enemy lines Lieutenant Roland Garros is captured by the Germans and the details of the machine-gun deflector arrangement are studied by his captors.

30 April
German Navy Zeppelin L9, commanded by Kapitaltn Mathys, makes an attack on three British submarines, damaging the conning tower of one of them.

The first Canadian flying school, the Curtiss Aviation School, opens at Long Branch.

11 May
Continuous airship raids on England are ordered by the German High Command.

14 May
The United States Navy (USN) orders it’s first airship from the Connecticut Aircraft Company.

21 May
The Spad A2 biplane fighter undergoes it’s first flight tests in France.

26 May
Seventeen French Voisin biplanes of Groupe de Bombardment I conduct an attack on a strategic military target at Ludwigshafen in Germany.

Oberleutnant Kastner and Leutnant Georg Langhoff (observer) attack and shoot down a French Voisin in their Halberstadt C-type at Dournai in France. This is the first intentional attack by a German aeroplane on another armed aeroplane.

27 May
Four days after Italy declares war, an Austrian Lohner L1 flying-boat is captured by the Italians off the Italian coast.

31 May
German Zeppelin LZ38 makes the first bombing raid on London, dropping 3,000 pounds of bombs, killing seven civilians and injuring fourteen.

The German D-type reconnaissance biplane, produced by various firms, is introduced.

Rene Paul Fonck joins Escadrille C47 and flies Caudron GIV bombing and reconnaissance aircraft, eventually becoming the highest scoring Allied pilot of the First World War.

1 June
The United States Navy (USN) order their first airship, the A1 (DN1), from the Connnecticut Aircraft Company.

1 July
German Fokker E1 monoplane fighters, the first aeroplanes to be fitted with synchronised machine-guns, enabling them to be fired through the propeller arc, are introduced on the Eastern Front.

1 July
The Office of Naval Aeronautics is formed to oversee United States naval air operations.

1 July
A French Morane-Saulnier monoplane is destroyed by Leutnant Kurt Wintgens, flying a Fokker M5K with synchronised machine-gun equipment.

5 July
German Army airship Schutte-Lanz SL5 is wrecked after it is forced to land during a gale.

18 July
Katherine Stinson becomes the first woman to loop-the-loop while performing aerobatics at Chicago.

19 July
Georges Marie Ludovic Jules Guynemer scores his first victory while flying a Morane-Saulnier Parasol 2-seat monoplane, eventually he becomes the highest scoring French pilot in the First World War.

30 July
Leutnant Max Immelman flies a Fokker M8 in preparation for his first flight in an armed E1 fighter the next day.

1 August
Leutnant Max Immelman shoots down his first enemy aircraft in his Fokker E1 monoplane, equipped with a single synchronised LMG 08 machine gun.

6 August
German Naval Zeppelin LZ28 (L5) is hit by Russian ground fire and forced to land.

10 August
During a raid on England, German Naval Zeppelin LZ43 (L12) is damaged and is accidentally destroyed while being towed back to Ostend.

20 August
The first sustained bombing offensive is made against Austria-Hungary by Italian Caproni Ca2 3-engined biplanes.

25 August
62 French bombers make a mass bombing raid against blast furnaces in the Dillingen area of Germany.

3 September
German Zeppelin LZ40 (L10) is destroyed when struck by lightning off Neuwerk Island.

14 September
German pilot Ernst Udet loses part of the upper wing of his Aviatik B aeroplane during a bombing mission, but returns safely.

The ‘Fokker Sourge’ begins as large numbers of Allied aircraft are shot down by Fokker monoplane fighters fitted with synchronised machine-guns.

The Bulgarian Army Aviation Corps is reformed, after being disbanded following the Balkan War, 1912-1913.

1 October
German passenger airship LZ11 ‘Viktoria Luise’ is wrecked while docking.

13 October
The Wright airplane company is bought by Harry Payne Whitney, T. Frank Manville and William B. Thompson, with Orville Wright remaining as consultant.

6 November
The first aeroplane to be catapult-launched from an moving ship is a Curtiss AB2 flying-boat piloted by Lieutenant Commander Henry Mustin, launched from the battleship USS North Carolina at Pensacola Bay in Florida.

17 November
The German Zeppelin LZ52 (L18) accidentally burns at Tondem.

18 November
German Navy Schutte-Lanz airship SL6 (D1) explodes in the air, killing all of its crew.

1 December
The first United States Navy (USN) flying school is established at Pensacola in Florida.

11 December
German Navy Schutte-Lanz airship SL4 (C2) is wrecked in a storm while still in its shed.

12 December
The German Junkers J1 Blechesel ‘Tin Donkey’, the world’s first all-metal reconnaissance and close-support monoplane, flies for the first time at Dessau in Germany.

21 December
Claudius Dornier attempts to flight test the giant German Zeppelin-Lindau RsI hydroplane on Lake Constance in Germany, but it fails to reach enough speed to take-off.

Winter 1915-1916
The first Russian Fighter Aviation Detachments are formed.

Also this year…
The following air services are established:
• South African Aviation Corps
•Mexican Aviation Corps
•Norwegian Haerens Flyvapen (Army Air Force) and Marinens Flyveaesen (Naval Air Service)
•Romanian Flying Corps is reorganised as Corpul Aerian Roman