1940 Master Index 1942

1941 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

1941 Aviation Records

  • Speed: (Nazi Germany), 623.85-mph, Heini Dittmar, Messerschmitt “Me.163-A”, 10/2/1941.

  • Distance: (Italy), 8,038-miles, Tondi, Degasso, Vignoli, Savoia-Marchetti “S.M.75”, 8/1/1939.

  • Altitude: (Italy), 56,046-feet, Mario Pezzi, Caproni “161bis”, 10/22/1938.

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

  • Engine Power: (Nazi Germany), 1,650-lbs thrust, Walter HWK, “R11”.


  • 1941 (United States) — Jackie Cochran became the first woman to fly a bomber across the Atlantic Ocean.

January 1941
  • No data.

February 1941

  • February 8 (Germany/North Africa) — A fleet of Junkers Ju.52s is used to airlift German troops to North Africa.

  • February 10 (Tragino, Italy) — Britain uses paratroops for the first time in an attack on Tragino.

  • February 26 (Philippines) — Philippine Airlines was founded on February 26, 1941, making it Asia's oldest and first carrier, still to this day, operating under its current name.

March 1941

  • March 1 (New Zealand) — New Zealand's first fighter squadron, No. 485 Squadron RNZAF is formed.

  • March 11 (Washington, DC) — The Congress of the United States passes the Lend-Lease bill, paving the way for the provision of (amongst other equipment) 16,000 warplanes to the UK. Later Lend-Lease arrangements will supply other Allied nations.

April 1941

  • April 15 (China) — CAMCO signs an agreement with the Chinese government to equip and administer the American Volunteer Group in China.

  • April 16 (London, England) — London comes under intense bomber attack, with nearly 900 tonnes of high explosive dropped on the city.

May 1941

  • May 6 (United States) — Igor Sikorsky sets a world endurance record for helicopter flight of 1 hour 32 minutes, in a Sikorsky “VS-300”.

  • May 10 (Scotland) — Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland to try and negotiate an alliance with Britain against the Soviet Union.

  • May 20 (Crete) — The Luftwaffe's largest paratroop assault sees 22,750 troops landed in Crete in Operation “Merkur”. The heavy losses taken mean this will also be the Luftwaffe's last such operation for the war.

  • May 26 (North Atlantic) — Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm aircraft play a key role in finding and sinking the German battleship Bismarck.

  • May 29 (United States) — The USAAC forms Ferrying Command to fly newly manufactured aircraft across the Atlantic to Britain.

June 1941

  • June 8 to July 8 (Syria) — The British invade Syria — air combat between British and Vichy-French aircraft ensues.

  • June 20 (Washington, DC) — The USAAC is renamed the USAAF and placed under the command of General Henry Arnold.

  • June 22 (Soviet Union) — Germany invades the Soviet Union (“Operation Barbarossa”). 1,200 Soviet aircraft are destroyed on the first day alone.

July 1941

  • July 18 (Great Britain) — The first RAF aircraft equipped with radar.

  • July 28 (France) — The Vichy government agrees to build German aircraft in France.

  • July 31 (Philippines/California) — A chartered “DC-4” ferried 40 American servicemen to Oakland,California from Nielson Airport in Makati City (Manila) with stops in Guam, Wake Island, Johnston Atoll and Honolulu, Hawaii, making Asia's First airline, Philippine Airlines, the first Asian airline to cross the Pacific Ocean. December that year a scheduled service commenced.

August 1941

  • August 1 (Constanta, Romania) — The Soviet Union makes the first operational use of parasite fighters, attacking Constanta with modified Polikarpov “I-16's” carried into action by Tupolev “TB-3's”.

  • August 1 (Washington, DC) — The United States embargoes the sale of aviation fuel to Japan.

September 1941

  • September 23 (Soviet Union) — Hans-Ulrich Rudel single-handedly sinks a Soviet battleship, “Marat”, flying a Junkers “Ju.87”.

October 1941

  • October 1 (Hawaii) — Inter-Island Airways was renamed to Hawaiian Airlines.

  • October 2 (Germany) — Heini Dittmar sets a new airspeed record of 1,004 km/h (624 mph) in a Messerschmitt Me.163A. The record is unofficial because the flight (and the Me.163 program) is kept secret.

November 1941

  • November 12 (Mediterranean Sea) — Aircraft carrier “HMS Ark Royal” is sunk by a German submarine.

December 1941

  • December 7 (Pearl Harbor, Hawaii) — The Imperial Japanese Navy makes a devastatingly successful surprise attack on the U.S. Navy fleet at Pearl Harbor. Six aircraft carriers launched a total of nearly 400 warplanes which claimed five American battleships and ten other vessels, and damaged three other battleships.

  • December 8 (United States/Great Britain) — The United States and Britain declare war on Japan.

  • December 9 (China) — China declares war on Japan.

  • December 10 (Philippines) — Japanese invade the Philippines and also seize Guam.

  • December 11 (Burma) — Japanese invade Burma.

  • December 16 (Borneo) — Japanese invade British Borneo.

  • December 18 (Hong Kong) — Japanese invade Hong Kong.

  • December 18 (Aparri, Philippines) — Lt. Buzz Wagner becomes the first US ace of the war.

  • December 20 (Kunming, China) — American Volunteer Group “Flying Tigers” in first combat near Kunming, China.

  • December 22 (Luzon, Philippines) — Japanese invade Luzon in the Philippines.

  • December 22 (Mediterranean Sea) — A radar-equipped Fairey “Firefly” sinks a German submarine (U-451) at night, the first such victory.

  • December 23 (Wake Island) — Japanese take Wake Island.

  • December 25 (Christmas) (Hong Kong) — British surrender at Hong Kong.

  • December 27 (Manila, Philippines) — Japanese bomb Manila.

1941 First Flights

  • January (Germany) — First flight of the Junkers Ju.288.

  • January 9 (Great Britain) — First flight of the Avro “Lancaster” prototype (BT308) (at the time, an Avro “Manchester Mk.III”).

  • February 25 (Germany) — First flight of the Messerschmitt Me.321.

  • April 2 (Germany) — First flight of the Heinkel He.280.

  • May 14 (United States) — First flight of the Grumman XP-50.

  • May 14 (Japan) — First flight of the Nakajima J1N.

  • May 15 (Great Britain) — First flight of the Gloster E.28/39, first British jet.

  • August 1 (United States) — First flight of the Grumman TBF “Avenger”.

  • December 22 (Great Britain) — First flight of the Fairey “Firefly” prototype (Z1826).

1941 Aircraft Entering Service

  • February (United States) — The Bell P-39 “Airacobra” entered service with 31st Pursuit Group (39th, 40th, and 41st Pursuit Squadrons, USAAC).

  • November (Great Britain) — The de Havilland “Mosquito” entered service with No. 105 Squadron RAF.

  • December (Great Britain) — The Avro “Lancaster” entered service with No. 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron.

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, 1941 in aviation
  4. Shupek, John (photos and card images), The Skytamer Archive., Whittier, CA

Copyright © 1998-2018 (Our 20th Year) Skytamer Images, Whittier, California