The first flight of the Avro Lancaster.
The Brazilian Air Force is created by the amalgamation of the Brazilian Army and Brazilian Navy air arms.
Ground breaking for NACA (now NASA) Lewis Research Center
Britain uses paratroopers for the first time in an attack on Tragino, Italy.
Asia’s oldest airline, Philippine Airlines, is founded.
Eastern Air Lines Flight 21 crashed near Atlanta, almost killing Eddie Rickenbacker, who was traveling on airline business. His recovery in the hospital received broad press coverage; during his initial recovery several news reports claimed that he had died.
A record for heaviest payload for a commercial aircraft is set by a Lockheed Super constellation flying for Flying Tiger Lines from Newark, New Jersey to Burbank, California.
Philippine Airlines begins service with a Beechcraft Model 18 NPC-54 with flights from Manila to Baguio.
Igor I. Sikorsky impressively demonstrates the capabilities of his VS-300 helicopter by hovering virtually motionless over Stratford (Connecticut) Airport for one hour, five minutes. Powered by a large, 90-hp engine, it sets a new helicopter record. Read more...
Igor Sikorsky pilots the Sikorsky VS-300 helicopter in Stratford, Connecticut, on a flight of 1 hour, 32 minutes, 26 seconds, a world endurance record for a helicopter.
The first flight of the P-47 Thunderbolt. In its 25 years of service, more than 15, 600 were built by Republic Aviation in Farmingdale, NY.
National Airport (today Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport) opens.
Germany invades the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). 1,200 Soviet aircraft are destroyed on the first day alone.
The first RAF aircraft equipped with radar
The United States embargoes the sale of aviation fuel to Japan.
First flight of the Grumman TBF Avenger.
The Grumman Martlet fighter makes it first carrier deployment aboard Royal Navy aircraft carriers on convoy protection duties. It is the first combat use of any variant of the F4F Wildcat.
Ground-breaking for the construction of the Pentagon, which was attacked exactly 60 years later in a terrorist attack involving a crashed hijacked airliner in 2001.
Hans-Ulrich Rudel single-handedly sinks the Soviet battleship Marat flying a Junkers Ju 87 dive bomber.
Inter-Island Airways was renamed Hawaiian Airlines.
German pilot Heini Dittmar sets an airspeed record of 1,004 km/h (624 mph) flying a Messerschmitt Me 163A. Due to the secret nature of the program, however, the record is unofficial.
The Imperial Japanese Navy makes a devastatingly successful surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and other U.S. military facilities on Oahu, Hawaii. Six aircraft carriers launch 353 warplanes in two waves. They sink five American battleships and ten other vessels, damage three other battleships, and destroy 188 U.S. aircraft, killing 2,402 and wounding 1,282. The Japanese lose 29 aircraft, five midget submarines, and 65 killed.
An SBD Dauntless dive bomber from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) piloted by Lieutenant Clarence E. Dickinson sinks the Japanese submarine I-70 northeast of Oahu. I-70 is the first Japanese submarine ever sunk by enemy forces.