1939 Master Index 1941

1940 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

1940 Aviation Records

  • Speed: (Nazi Germany), 469.22-mph, Fritz Wendel, Messerschmitt “Me.209-V1”, 4/26/1949.

  • Distance: (Italy), 8,038-miles, Tondi, Degasso, Vignoli, Savoia-Marchetti “S.M.75”, 8/1/1949.

  • Altitude: (Italy), 56,046-feet, Mario Pezzi, Caproni “161bis”, 10/22/1948.

  • Weight: (Nazi Germany), 123,457-lbs, Dornier, “Do.X”.

  • Engine Power: (Nazi Germany) 1,200-lbs thrust, Pabst von Ohaim, Heinkel “HeS.3B”.

January 1940

  • January 6 (Finland) — During the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland, Finnish Lieutenant Jorma Sarvanto managed to shoot down six Soviet “Tupolev DB-3” bombers in one mission.

February 1940

  • No data.

March 1940

  • March 16 (Scotland) — The United Kingdom suffers its first civilian air-raid casualties of the war after a raid by KG 26 on Scapa Flow.

  • March 25 (United States) — The U.S. government grants permission to the country's aircraft manufacturers to sell advanced combat aircraft to nations fighting the Axis powers.

April 1940

  • April 9 (Denmark/Norway) — Germany invades Denmark and Norway, making extensive use of paratroops.

  • April 13 (Germany) — The British Royal Air Force (RAF) begins deploying sea mines around Germany's coastal waters.

  • April 24-28 (Norway) — Aircraft carrier “HMS Glorious” evacuates the Gloster Gladiators of No. 263 Squadron RAF from Norway.

May 1940

  • May 10 (Netherlands/Belgium/Luxembourg) — Germany invades the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Paratroops again play a key role.

  • May 13 (United States) — The Sikorsky “VS-300”, which made its first flight the previous year, makes its first untethered flight.

  • May 15-16 (Germany) — British bombers make their first attack on German land targets, in the Ruhr Valley.

June 1940

  • June 4 (UK/Portugal) — BOAC commences a twice-weekly service between the United Kingdom and Portugal, scheduled to connect with Pan Am flights from Lisbon to New York.

  • June 8 (Norway) — After a second expedition to Norway, HMS Glorious is sunk by German battlecruisers (or light battleships) Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.

  • June 10 (Italy) — Italy declares war on the United Kingdom and France. The Italian Royal Air Force (Regia Aeronautica), the Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina), the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), and the German Navy (Kriegsmarine) begin the “Siege of Malta”.

July 1940

  • July 10 (England) — The Battle of Britain commences with the first German attacks on British convoys in the English Channel.

August 1940

  • August 15 (England) — The heaviest fighting of the Battle of Britain occurs, with the loss of 46 British and 76 German aircraft.

  • August 25-26 (Berlin, Germany) — The Royal Air Force makes its first air raid on Berlin of the war.

  • August 31 (England) — Polish 303 Squadron, the most efficient allied unit of the Battle of Britain, enters action.

September 1940

  • September 7 (Germany) — Hermann Göring orders the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) to stop targeting British airfields and to attack the city of London instead.

  • September 7-8 (England) — The largest mass air combat in history takes place over Great Britain, with 1,200 British and German aircraft operating in an area of only 24 × 48 km (15 × 30 miles).

  • September 15 (London, England) — Germany makes its heaviest daylight raid on London.

  • September 30 (Great Britain) — The Battle of Britain is said to be over, with Hitler's planned invasion of the United Kingdom (“Operation Sealion”, or “Unternehmen Seelöwe”) postponed indefinitely.

October 1940

  • October 8 (England) — No. 71 Squadron RAF, “Eagle Squadron” is formed, comprising American volunteers.

  • October 8 (England) — Josef František, the Czech ace (17 victories) — The most efficient allied pilot of the Battle of Britain, died in an air crash.

November 1940

  • November 5 (Greece) — Four RAF squadrons are deployed to Greece to support the country against Italian attacks.

  • November 11 (Canada/Great Britain) — Regular ferry flights of U.S.-built warplanes commence across the Atlantic.

  • November 11-12 (Italy) — Fairey “Swordfish” from “HMS Illustrious” make a highly successful raid against ships of the Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina) at Taranto. The raid damaged the Italian battleship Conte di Cavour beyond repair, and extensively damaged two others, Littorio and Caio Duilio.

  • November 14-15 (England) — 437 aircraft of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) make a massed air raid on Coventry. 380 civilians were killed and some 800 were wounded.

December 1940

  • December 23 (New York City, New York) — Eddie August Schneider dies in crash when his plane is clipped by a navy bomber at Floyd Bennett Field.

  • December 29-30 (London, England) — The Luftwaffe makes a devastating attack on London, making extensive use of incendiary weapons.

1940 First Flights

  • 1940 (Yugoslavia) — First flight of the Ikarus “Aero 2”.

  • January 4 (England) — First flight of the Fairey “Fulmar” production aircraft (N1854).

  • January 13 (USSR) — First flight of the Yakovlev Ya-26, prototype of the Yakovlev Yak-1.

  • February 24 (England) — First flight of the Hawker “Typhoon” prototype (P5212).

  • March 20 (England) — First flight of the Armstrong Whitworth “Albemarle” prototype (P1361).

  • May 18 (Sweden) — First flight of the SAAB B17.

  • May 29 (United States) — First flight of the Vought XF4U-1 “Corsair”.

  • August 28 (Italy) — First flight of the Caproni-Campini “N.1”, thermojet-powered aircraft.

  • September 7 (Germany) — First flight of the Blohm & Voss “BV.222”.

  • September 14 (England) — First flight of the Miles “M.20”.

  • October 12 (USSR) — First flight of the Ilyushin TsKB-57, prototype of the Ilyushin Il-2.

  • October 18 (England) — First flight of the Airspeed “Fleet Shadower”.

  • October 26 (United States) — First flight of the North American NA-73X, prototype of the P-51 “Mustang”.

  • November 25 (England) — First flight of the de Havilland “Mosquito” prototype (W4050).

  • November 29 (Germany) — First flight of the Junkers “Ju.288”.

  • December 7 (England) — First flight of the Fairey “Barracuda” prototype (P1767).

  • December 18 (United States) — First flight of the Curtiss SB2C “Helldiver”.

1940 Aircraft Entering Service

  • February (Great Britain) — The Blackburn “Roc” entered service.

  • March (Great Britain) — The Fairey “Albacore” entered service with No. 826 Squadron FAA.

  • May (France) — The Dewoitine “D.520” entered service with French squadrons.

  • July (Great Britain) — The Fairey “Fulmar” entered service with No. 806 Squadron FAA.

  • July (Great Britain) — The Westland “Whirlwind” entered service with No. 263 Squadron RAF.

  • November (Great Britain) — The Avro “Manchester” entered service with No. 207 Squadron RAF.

  • November 23 (Great Britain) — The Handley Page “Halifax” entered service with No. 35 Squadron RAF.

Works Cited

  1. Gunston, Bill, et al. Chronicle of Aviation. Liberty, Missouri: JL Publishing Inc., 1992. 14-17
  2. Parrish, Wayne W. (Publisher). "United States Chronology". 1962 Aerospace Yearbook, Forty-Third Annual Edition. Washington, DC: American Aviation Publications, Inc., 1962, 446-469.
  3. Wikipedia, 1940 in aviation
  4. Shupek, John (photos and card images), The Skytamer Archive., Whittier, CA

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