World Aviation in 1916

The German Air Service’s Kampfgeschwader I is equipped with Gotha IV bombers.

Details of the Scarff-Dibovski machine-gun synchronisation mechanism are sent from Russia to the United Kingdom. This design forms the basis for the synchronisation system later fitted successfully to the Sopwith 1½ Strutter and other allied fighter aircraft.

12 January
German fighter aces Max Immelman and Oswald Boelcke become the first two pilots to receive Germany’s highest award for bravery, the Pour le Mérite. By the summer of the same year, Immelmann had been killed and Boelcke is Germany’s leading ace.

2 February
Zeppelin LZ54 (L19) is shot down by British aircraft over the North Sea.

6 February
German fighter ace Max Immelman takes to the air in a Fokker EIV fitted with three synchronised machine guns.

6 February
German airline Deutsche Luft Reederei flies the first service (for freight only) between Berlin and Weimar.

19 February
Austrian physicist Ernst Mach, remembered for his research into aerodynamics and the speed of sound, dies aged 77.

21 February
Zeppelin LZ47 is attacked and destroyed during a raid.

The Japanese Naval Air Corps is established.

1 April
Zeppelin LZ48 is brought down by anti-aircraft gunfire over England.

20 April
Escadrille Americaine, a squadron in the French Air Force composed of American volunteers, is formed and the unit is later renamed Lafayette Escadrille on 6 December.

1 May
The German Schutte-Lanz airship crashes near Gotland.

4 May
Zeppelin LZ32 is shot down and destroyed by British naval gunfire.

10 May
The French Air Force places an order for 268 Spad VII fighters.

18 May
Lieutenant Kiffin Rockwell of the Escadrille Americaine, becomes the first American pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft.

18 June
Oberleutnant Max Immelman ,’The Eagle of Lille’, is killed in combat with 2nd Lieutenant G.R. McCubbin of No.25 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

18 June
H.Clyde Balsley of the Lafayette Escadrille, becomes the first American pilot to be shot down, but although wounded, he survives the engagement.

23 June
Victor Emmanuel Chapman of the Lafayette Escadrille, becomes the first American pilot to be killed in action.

1 July
The Russian Aviation Experimental Bureau (RIB) is established at the Moscow Higher Technical School.

15 July
Pacific Aero Products is founded by William E. Boeing.

2-3 August
The German airship Schutte-Lanz SL11 is shot down over London, losing the entire crew.

6 August
French fighter pilot Rene Paul Fonck claims his first victory by forcing down a German Rumpler biplane.

17 August
The Wright Martin Aircraft Corporation is formed in the USA after a merger of the Wright and Glenn Martin companies.

26 August
The Brazilian Naval Aviation School is established.

29 August
The United States Naval Flying Corps is established.

The French Spad VII fighter is introduced on the Western Front. Eventually operated by the air forces of eleven nations, the Spad is a major factor in the winning of air superiority for the allies.

2 September
Two aircraft transmit and receive radio signals over a distance of over 2 miles at San Diego in California.

2 September
German Schutte-Lanz airship SL11 is destroyed to the north of London by a BE2c flown by Lieutenant W. Leefe-Robinson. Leefe-Robinson wins a Victoria Cross for the feat, while attacking airship crews suffer serious demoralisation.

12 September
A Hewitt-Sperry radio-controlled flying bomb is tested in America. Powered by a 29kW (10 horse-power) engine it carries a payload of 140 kilos (308 pounds) of explosives up to 80 kilometres (50 miles).

15 September
Austrian Lohner flying-boat sinks the French submarine Foucault.

16 September
Zeppelins LZ31 (L6) and LZ36 (L9) are destroyed by fire in their shed at Fuhlsbuttel.

17 September
The German Albatros DI fighter enters service on the Western Front.

17 September
Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen, flying an Albatros DII, is credited with his first combat victory, a British Royal Aircraft Factory FE2b of No.11 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

24 September
A German LVG biplane becomes the first victim of a Sopwith Pup fighter.

26 September
Hauptmann Rudolf Berthold, one of Germany’s highest-rated fighter pilots during the First World War One, receives the Pour le Mérite. He achieves 44 air victories before being injured in 1918, when his Fokker DVII collides with an enemy aircraft and crashes into a house.

2 October
Zeppelin LZ72 (L31) is shot down over Potter’s Bar, killing Heinrich Mathy, Germany’s foremost airship captain.

14 October
A forced landing wrecks Zeppelin LZ39.

28 October
German ace, Hauptmann Oswald Boelcke is killed when his Albatros fighter collides with another, flown by his comrade, Leutnant Boehme.

November – February 1918
The German cruiser ‘Wolf’ carries a Friedrichshafen 33e floatplane named ‘Wolfschen’ (Wolf Cub) on operations in the Indian and Pacific Ocean.

German Leutnants Falk and Schultheis, flying a Rumpler biplane, drop bombs on Cairo railway station in support of Turkish forces.

3 November
Victor Carlstrom completes the first flight from Chicago to New York in a Curtiss R. biplane. Carrying airmail, the flight lasts 8 hours 28 minutes and en route, Carlstrom sets United States records for non-stop distance (452 miles) and speed (134 mph) flying.

20 November
The Uruguayan Escuela Militar de Aeoronautica is founded.

27 November
Zeppelin LZ78 (L34) is shot down off Hartlepool in England.

28 November
Zeppelin LZ61 (L21) is shot down off Lowestoft in England by defending fighter aircraft.

28 November
Bombs are dropped near Victoria Station by an LVG CII aircraft, piloted by Deck Offizier R. Brandt.

4 December
The United States National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics recommends that the Post Office establish airmail routes.

20 December
The United States Army Balloon School is founded.

28 December
Zeppelins LZ53 (L17) and LZ69 (L24) are destroyed in a fire at their shed at Tondem. In a separate incident Schutte-Lanz SL12 (E5) is also wrecked.

29 December
In Russia, Zeppelin LZ84 (L38) makes a forced landing.