World Aviation in 1931

6 January
The first formation flight across the South Atlantic, from Portuguese Guinea to Brazil, is made by ten Italian Savoia seaplanes led by General Balbo.

15 April
The world’s first airmail by rocket is flown near Osnabrück in Germany.

19 June
The Canadian opera singer Lissaint Beardmore uses a Professor glider (sailplane) to make the first cross-Channel glider flight from Lympne in Kent to St. Inglevert near Boulogne.

23 June – 1 July
Wiley Post and Harold Gatty fly round the world in a Lockheed aircraft, the ‘Winnie Mae’. 15,474 miles are completed in 8 days 15 hours 51 minutes.

23 July
Russell N. Boardman and John Boardman establish a distance record of 8,065 kilometres (5,011 miles) in a Wright J6.

18 September
Japan begins operations against China, which leads to the occupation of Manchuria by Japanese forces.

3-5 October
Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon make the first non-stop flight between Japan and the United States. They used a Bellanca aircraft.

Air France becomes the first European airline to recruit air hostesses.

3 December
The Soviet Zveno-1 parasitic fighter/bomber combination makes its first flight. The first combination consists of a TB1 heavy bomber with two I4 fighters attached to its wing.

Also this year…
The American Spud Manning makes the first spread-eagled skydiving descent from 15,000 feet.

A parachute assault is made by Soviet troops against Basmachi insurgents in Central Asia.