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- Sir Alan Cobham ; A Life of a Pioneering Aviator
- An Enduring Relationship : A History of Friendship between the Royal Air Force and the Royal Air Force of Oman
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- …And all this – because of you
- 5 men in a dinghy
- I thought YOU had the dinghy pack!
- Watch that prop…what prop?
- Dammit, chaps – who remembered to bring this thing anyway?
- Seconds Count
- Keep your aircraft to the tarmac
- Prevention of tyre and brake accident
- Danger – watch for tyre creep
- Lancaster I II III standard & Y types dinghy drill
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- Keep your transparent panels clean (turrets)
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- BABS Mk1C Still Air
- Not Quite Extinct!
- Battle of Britain Class Locomotive Plates
- Comet – The World’s First Jet Airliner
- The Art of Sergeant Elva Blacker
World Aviation in 1917
In Washington DC a report recommends that the United States Army and Navy build airships similar to Zeppelins.
Rittmeister Manfred von Richtofen, the most famous and most successful air ace of the First World War, is awarded the Pour le Mérite. Scoring 80 confirmed kills, Richthofen is finally shot down as he flies deep into British lines in pursuit of Wilfrid May in April 1918. His brother, Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, also receives the decoration in 1917.
Germany declares the beginning of unrestricted submarine warfare.
The German Friedrichshafen G.III bomber, capable of carrying 4,900 kilos (3,300 pounds) of bombs, becomes operational.
Zeppelin LZ82 (L36) is wrecked after a forced landing at Rehben-an-der-Aller.
German Leutnants Peter and Frohwein, in a DFW C.V aircraft, record the first night fighting victories when they shoot down two enemy bombers at Malzeville.
Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the father of the rigid airship, dies of pneumonia aged 78.
Revolution in Russia.
Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicates in favour of Grand Duke Michael.
Zeppelin LZ86 (L39) is brought down over Compiegne in France by anti-aircraft fire.
German Schütte-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.
In the first ever planned night interception operation, German Leutnant Frankl of Jasta 4, flying an Albatros D.III, shoots down a BE2c of No. 100 Squadron over Ouiery la Motte.
The United States declares war on Germany. The United States Army Signal Corps possesses 250 aircraft and the United States Marine Corps (USMC) has a further 54.
Cuba declares war on Germany.
Breguet 14s are introduced into service with French squadrons on the Western Front.
In Seattle, USA, William E. Boeing’s Pacific Aero Products Company becomes the Boeing Airplane Company.
Lieutenant Colonel William ‘Billy’ Mitchell becomes the first United States army officer to over fly the German lines.
Fast and well-armed Spad S.XIII single-seat fighters enter service with French squadrons on the Western Front.
The first Airmail stamps are issued by the Italian Post Office. 200,000 25c Express Letter stamps were overprinted ‘Esperimento Posta Aerea – Maggio 1917 – Torino-Roma-Roma-Torino’
The first night bombing raid on London by an aeroplane takes place.
Zeppelin LZ64 (L22) is shot down by a British flying boat with the loss of all hands.
German Leutnant Heinrich Gontermann is awarded the Pour le Mérite. Gontermann achieved eighteen victories against Allied balloons, once shooting down four in three minutes. He is killed in a crash while testing a new Fokker Dr.I.
The United States Government agrees to send an Army division to France.
Italian military air mail service is established between Turin and Rome.
French Premier Alexandre Ribot requests American aid in the shape of 5,000 pilots, 4,500 aircraft and 50,000 mechanics.
Twenty-one aircraft attack Folkestone and Shorncliffe in Kent, in the first large daylight raid by German Gotha bombers. The attack leaves 95 dead and 260 injured and one Gotha is destroyed and another damaged by fighters based in France.
After flying overnight from Chicago, the United States Navy’s B-1 dirigible (steerable airship) arrives at Akron, Ohio.
Austrian pilot Linienschiffleutnant G. Banfield, at the controls of a Pfalz A.II fighter, forces down an Italian seaplane, achieving the first Austro-Hungarian victory against enemy night bombers.
The first German Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI four-engined bomber becomes operational.
The Aviation Section of United States Army Signal Corps becomes the Airplane Division.
England is attacked by a force of 22 Gotha bombers at Sheerness in Kent.
The United States Army’s First Aeronautic Detachment arrives in France.
French fighter ace Georges Guynemer is awarded entry into the Legion d’Honneur.
Fourteen Gotha bombers execute the first large-scale daylight bombing raid on London, leaving 162 dead and 432 injured. These casualties represent nearly 20% of all those caused in Britain by aeroplanes between 1914 and 1918.
Hauptmann Ernst von Brandenburg, the leader of the mass Gotha raids, wins the Pour le Mérite.
Leutnant Karl Allmenroder, who honed his skills as a combat pilot under Manfred von Richthofen in Jasta 11, is awarded the Pour le Mérite. He scores 30 air combat victories during the First World War.
Zeppelin LZ92 (L43) is shot down by British aircraft over the North Sea.
93 civilian mechanics sail from the United States for England to study the British and French aviation industries.
Zeppelin LZ95 (L48) is shot down by British aircraft over Suffolk in England by British aircraft.
Zeppelin LZ28 (L40) is wrecked at Neuenwald in Germany.
Prompted by the entry of the United States into the war, the German Army Air Service unveils its Amerikaprogramm (America Programme), which provides for the creation of 40 new fighter squadrons and the expansion of aircraft manufacturing output from 1,000 to 2,000 aircraft per month.
Commercial airmail flights are instituted between Naples and Palermo in Italy.
Lieutenant Colonel William ‘Billy’ Mitchell replaces Major T.F. Dodd as Aviation Officer of the American Expeditionary Forces.
A large formation of Gotha and Friedrichshafen bombers attacks London, leaving 57 dead and many injured.
Major B.D. Foulois takes command of United States Army Signal Corps’ Airplane Division.
The United States Congress in Washington DC passes a bill earmarking $640 million for expenditure on military aviation.
German Jagdgeschwader I, comprising Jastas 4, 6, 10, and 11 is formed and led by Manfred von Richthofen, it soon acquires the nickname of the ‘Flying Circus’.
In Washington DC a naval aircraft factory is approved for Philadelphia.
A British Airco (de Havilland) DH4 bomber arrives in USA for evaluation and the first American manufactured DH4, powered by a Liberty engine, appears in February 1918.
The Third Battle of Ypres, better known as Passchendaele, begins. Approximately 850 Allied aircraft contend with some 600 German for control of the air over the battlefield.
The Australian naval air fleet is formed.
The first Allied bomber is shot down by German night fighter defences near Frankfurt in Main.
The last large-scale, daylight bombing raid on England by German Gothas leaves 78 casualties.
The United States 1st Aero Squadron, commanded by Major Ralph Royce, sails for France.
In France, an airmail service is instituted between Paris, Le Mans and St Nazaire.
Dutch Marine Luchtvaartdienst (Netherlands Naval Aviation Service) is established.
Zeppelin LZ66 (L23) is shot down near Jutland by a Sopwith Pup, flown from cruiser HMS Yarmouth by Flight Sub-Lieutenant B.A. Smart of the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).
The first two Fokker F.I (Dr.I) single-seat, triplane fighters are received by Manfred von Richthofen’s ‘Flying Circus’.
A German Fokker F.I (Dr.I), flown by fighter ace Leutnant Werner Voss, records the first combat victory for the type by shooting down a British aircraft.
The United States’ 1st Aero Squadron arrives in France.
Brigadier-General William L. Kenly is appointed the first Chief of Air Service of the American Expeditionary Force.
French fighter ace Capitaine Georges Guynemer is killed.
Russia is declared a Republic by the Provisional Government under Kerensky.
German Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI heavy bombers are used to attack Britain for the first time.
German fighter ace Leutnant Werner Voss is shot down and killed by Captain James McCudden of 56 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (RFC).
An explosion destroys Zeppelin LZ102 (L57) in its shed at Jüterbog near Berlin.
Zeppelin LZ 50 (L16) is dismantled after being wrecked in an accident.
Five Zeppelins are lost: Zeppelin LZ85 (L45) is forced down behind Allied lines and destroyed by the crew; LZ93 (L44) is shot down by anti-aircraft fire over St Clement in France; LZ96 (L49) is forced down in France and captured; LZ89 (L50) goes missing over the Mediterranean; LZ101 (L55) is wrecked during a forced landing in Germany.
The American 400-horsepower Liberty engine is tested on a Curtiss HS-1 seaplane.
A German Fokker Dr.I triplane, with Leutnant Heinrich Gontermann in the cockpit, breaks-up in flight. The type is grounded pending an investigation which reveals deficiencies in the construction of the fighter’s wings.
The storming of the Winter Palace in Moscow heralds seizure of power by the Bolsheviks in Russia .
Bolsheviks set up the Bureau of Commissars of Aviation and Aeronautics (BKAV).
United States Navy Tellier flying-boats based at Le Croisac in France commence operations.
The opening of the Battle of Cambrai. During the battle German Schutzstaffeln (escort squadrons) reconstituted as Schlachtstaffeln (battle squadrons) attack Allied positions.
Brigadier-General B.D. Foulois succeeds Brigadier-General William L. Kenly as Chief of Air Service of the American Expeditionary Force.
It is announced that from February 1918, the Lafayette Escadrille will become part of the American Expeditionary Force.
The United States declares war on Austria-Hungary.
Aviatrix Katherine Stinson flies from San Diego to San Francisco, thereby establishing a new American non-stop distance record of 975 kilometres (606 miles).
German Navy Oberleutnant Christiansen, flying a Brandenburg W12 seaplane, shoots down the British non-rigid airship C27.
Peace negotiations begin between Bolshevik Russia and the Central Powers at Brest-Litovsk.
Also this year…
The following air services are established:
- Hellenic Army Air Force
- Spanish Aeronautica Naval
- Turkish Army Air Service
- Portuguese Arma da Aeronautica and Aviacao Maritima
- Hellenic Naval Air Force
- Cuban Cuerpo de Aviacion
The Russian Ilya Mourometz bomber IM-Ye2 appears with heavy defensive armament, comprising one cannon and eight machine-guns.
An adapted biplane made by Mjr Chassaing of the French Army Medical Service becomes the first ambulance aircraft and is used for the evacuation of wounded from Loulin Lafaux.