World Aviation in 1919

2 January
Major General C.T. Menoher is appointed the United States Director of Air Service

8 January
The German Air Ministry restores civil flying.

A military airmail service is started in Switzerland by the Militär-Flugwesen, flying Haefeli DH3s between Zurich and Berne. Passenger services follow later.

18 January
A peace conference assembles in Paris.

5 February
German airline Deutsche Luft-Reederei begins the first sustained daily passenger airline service, flying modified ex-military AEG and DFW biplanes between Berlin and Weimar in Germany.

8 February
The first airline passengers to be carried from Paris to London are flown by a Farman F60 Goliath from Toussus-le-Noble to Kenley.

Italian Caproni aeroplanes are used to inaugurate a regular international air service between Padova and Vienna.

1 March
German airline Deutsche Luft-Reederei extends its air network to Hamburg.

3 March
William Boeing and Edward Hubbard use the Boeing Model CL4S to carry out the first United States international air mail service, between Seattle in America and Victoria in Canada.

10 March
The Australian Government announces a prize of £10,000 for the first flight from Great Britain to Australia by Australians, which must be completed within 720 consecutive hours by the end of the year.

Brigadier General William ‘Billy’ Mitchell becomes the United States Director of Military Aeronautics.

22 March
The first regular international passenger service is opened between Paris and Brussels by Lignes Aériennes Farman. The weekly service uses Farman F60 Goliath biplanes and the flying time is 2 hours 50 minutes. The fare is 365 francs.

24 March
Airplane designer Igor Sikorsky, who fled to France after the Russian Revolution, sails for the United States. The French Government did not take up the offer of his services.

The Japanese Army Aviation Department is formed.

6 April
Customs examination of airline passengers begins at Brussels.

13 April
Lieutenant Roget arrives in Rome after a 9 hour 40 minute flight from Paris.

18 April
Compagnie des Messageries Aériennes (CMA) inaugurates a mail and cargo service between Paris and Lille. The service is daily using ex-military Breguet 14’s. Brussels and London are added to the growing network in August.

19 April
The first recorded free fall parachute jump takes place at McCook field in Dayton, Ohio. Leslie Leroy Irvin jumps from an aeroplane before deploying his parachute.

Two Italian ex-military SCA M-class semi-rigid airships are used to inaugurate a passenger and mail service between Rome and Naples.

17 May
The United States War Department orders the use of the national star insignia on all United States military aircraft.

22 May
French born hotelier Raymond Orteig offers a prize of $25,000 for the first non-stop flight, in either direction, between Paris and New York.

8-31 May
Three United States Navy (USN) flying boats set out from Rockaway in New York, in an attempt to make the first air crossing of the Atlantic, under the leadership of Commander John H. Towers.

Two aircraft fail in their attempt and alight near the Azores. The third, commanded by Lieutenant Commander A.C. Read, completes the first transatlantic crossing by air, landing at Plymouth in Devon on the 31 May. The Journey is completed in stages, with stops in Massachusetts, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, the Azores, Portugal and Spain, in a total flying time of 57 hours 16 minutes.

15 May
The United States Post office inaugurates the first section of a transcontinental airmail service between Chicago and Cleveland.

The German airline Lloyd Luftverkehr Sablatnig is founded as a domestic operator.

1 June
A permanent forest fire patrol, equipped with Curtiss Jenny aircraft is established at Rockwell Field, near San Diego.

14 June
The French Nieuport-Delage 29 Biplane fighter attains an altitude of more than 9,100 metres (29,850 feet) and is ordered into production. Eventually 25 squadrons fly the type, while a large number of aircraft serve in Belgium, Italy and Japan.

12 June
Baroness Raymonde de Laroche breaks the women’s altitude record by flying to a height of 16,896 feet.

23 June
Seven German Navy Zeppelins are scuttled by their crews at Nordholz to prevent them being handed over to the Allies as part of the Versailles Peace Treaty.

25 June
The world’s first purpose-built all metal commercial aircraft flies as the German Junkers F13. 322 are eventually built.

28 June
The Versailles Peace Treaty is signed. Under the treaty, Germany is forbidden from having an air force or producing military aircraft.

Compagnie des Transports Aéronautiques du Sud-Ouest is formed as a charter operator flying to points around the Bay of Biscay.

14 July
An Italian Fiat BR light bomber makes the first non-stop flight between Rome and Paris.

18 July
Self-styled Baroness Raymonde de Laroche, the first French women to get her flying license, is killed in a flying accident in northern France.

21 July
Anthony Fokker founds the Dutch aircraft company of the same name at Schiphol near Amsterdam.

7-8 August
Captain Earnest Hoy, flying a Curtiss JN4 Jenny, makes the first aeroplane flight across the Canadian Rocky Mountains, from Vancouver to Calgary, in 12 hours 34 minutes.

24 August
Delag airship Bodensee makes the first of its regular flights from Friedrichshafen to Berlin.

28 August
The International Air Traffic Association (IATA) is established at the Hague.

1 September
French aircraft manufacturers Forges et Ateliers de Construction Latécoère begin a regular airline service to Casablanca. The airline becomes known as Lignes Aériennes Latécoère.

19 September
Compagnie des Messageries Aériennes (CMA) begins its Paris to London passenger service with Breguet 14s.

29 September
The Polskie Wojska Lotnicze (Polish Air Force) is formed.

1 October
The Australian Aircraft and Engineering Company is established to manufacture and sell Avro aircraft under license.

7 October
KLM, or Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij voor Nederland an Kolojien (Royal Dutch Airlines) is formed.

8-31 October
The first Army Air Service Transcontinental Reliability and Endurance Test is held in the USA. Seven airmen die in what amounted to an air race between New York, San Francisco and back. The test is won on 18 October by Lieutenant Belvin W. Maynard.

13 October
The League of Nations sets up the Paris Convention to regulate international flying and system of aircraft registration based on a 5-letter call sign is established.

17 October
The Omando de Aviación Naval Argentina is formed.

1 November
The United States airline West Indies Airways begins services between Key West, Florida and Havana. It later merges with Aeromarine Airways to form Aeromarine West Indies Airways.

11 November
An airline service between Berlin and Königsberg (Now Kaliningrad) is started by Albatros Werke.

12 November – 10 December
Australian brothers Captain Ross and Lieutenant Keith Smith set off from Hounslow, near London, in a Vickers Vimy bomber in an attempt to be the first men to fly from England to Australia. They successfully land in Darwin on 10 December, having flown a distance of 18,170 kilometres (11,290 miles).

16 November – 12 December
Captain H.N. Wrigley and Lieutenant A.W. Murphy become the first men to fly across Australia when they fly a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2e from Melbourne to join Ross and Keith Smith. They land at Darwin on 12 December after a flying time of 46 hours.

24 November
Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe, the great French promoter and sponsor of early aviation efforts, dies aged 73 in Ecquivilly.

1 December
Delag’s airship service between Friedrichshafen and Berlin is suspended on the orders of the Allied Control Commission after more than 100 flights, carrying 2,400 passengers.

5 December
A Colombian airline, Aerovias Nacoinales de Colombia SA (Avianca) is formed. By 1982 it will have achieved the longest continuous record of scheduled services.

Also this year…
The following air services are formed in this year:

  • Canadian Naval Air Service
  • Uruguayan Aéronautica Militar
  • Royal Siamese Aeronautical Service is formed from the Royal Siamese Flying Corps
  • Chinese Army Air Arm becomes the Chinese Aviation Service
  • Swiss Militär-Flugwesen
  • Chilean Naval Aviation service
  • An air unit of the Guatamalan army
  • Peruvian Army Aviation Service
  • Romanian Divisia l-a Aeriana

Argentinean Marquis de Pescara begins constructing helicopters with cyclic pitch Control.

Deutschösterrichische Fliegertruppe (German-Austrian Flying Troop) is disbanded by the Allied Control Commission.