World Aviation in 1936

19 February
Brigadier General William ‘Billy’ Mitchell, the United States Army Air Corps’ advocate of air power, dies in the Doctor’s Hospital in New York.

The first flight test of a liquid-fuel rocket, developed by the German Wernher von Braun, ends in failure when the test Heinkel He112 explodes. The pilot Erich Warsitz is thrown clear.

4 March
The world’s largest rigid airship, the German Zeppelin Company’s LZ129 ‘Hindenburg’, makes its first flight.

7 March
Hitler renounces the 1925 Locano Treaty and German troops march unopposed into the Rhineland.

The German Research Institute for Rocket Flight is established.

15 April
German engineers H.J. Pabst von Ohain and Max Hahn, working for Heinkel, begin development work on a turbojet engine.

5 May
Mussolini announces the occupation of Addis Ababa and the end of the Abyssinian war – a war in which modern weapons, such as aircraft and poison gas were used against a primitive poorly equipped enemy.

13 May
Italy annexes Abyssinia.

6 June
The Socony-Vacuum Oil Company at Paulsboro in New Jersey begins production of 100 octane aviation fuel.

26 June
German Ewarld Rohlfs makes the first flight of the Focke Wulf Fw61 twin rotor helicopter. Although it lasts for only about 30 seconds, the flight establishes the aircraft as the world’s first completely successful helicopter.

18 July
Simultaneous revolts in seventeen military garrisons in Spain and Spanish Morocco mark the start of the Spanish Civil War.

20 July
Twenty Ju52/3m bomber transports arrive in Seville. In the following six weeks these aircraft undertake the world’s first large scale airlift, moving 7,350 Nationalist troops and artillery from Morocco to Spain.

26 July
The Imperial Japanese Army Air Force is established as a separate arm of Japanese defence forces.

7 August
Six Heinkel He51 fighters, plus pilots and ground crew, arrive in Spain. This is the first consignment of German assistance to the Nationalist forces of General Franco.

14 August
Frenchman G. Detre, flying a Potez 50, establishes a new world altitude record of 14,843 metres (48,698 feet).

13 October
The first I-15 fighters arrive at Cartagena in Spain. These are the first of 1,500 fighters sold to the Spanish Republican Forces by the Soviet Union.

4 November
The first operational flight of the Polikarpov I15 fighter occurs in Spain, and is flown by Soviet pilots.

15 November
The German Legion Condor, formed to counter the increasing numbers of Soviet aircraft on the Republican side, begins operations in Spain.

6 November
Intensive bombing attacks on Madrid fail to defeat the Republican defenders.

30 December
French woman Mademoiselle Marye Bastié flies from Dakar in Senegal to Natal in Brazil, in a time of 12 hour 5 minutes.