August 22 – A Pioneering Day In Aviation


A Lewis gun mounted to a bi-plane during the later stages of WWI.

On this date, August 22, several significant vents happened during the pioneer era of aviation – though I am easily breaking my own rule of not posting material after the conclusion of WWI, simply because the data is either cool or significant.

  • 1909: The first great aviation meeting in Bétheny, France, opens as 23 European airplanes make 87 flights during one week. The meeting will have a strong influence on the technical and military aspects of flight. Check out the video below – it’s all in French – but who cares – it’s got some GREAT film footage of the event’s people and aeroplanes.
  • 1914: An early attempt to get a Lewis gun into action in air-to-air combat fails when a Royal Flying Corps Farman armed with the heavy gun tries to intercept a German Albatros – but because of the weight of the gun, it takes his plane 30-minutes to climb a mere 305-meters (1,000-feet) in altitude… When the pilot landed and reported the disastrous results, the gun was removed from the plane and pilots were told to carry a rifle for future possible enemy encounters.
Lewis Gun

Lewis Gun

  • 1914: An Avro 504 (the most popular aircraft serving in WWI) on patrol over Belgium is shot down by German rifle fire becoming the very first British Royal Flying Corps aircraft to be taken down and destroyed in action.


Avro 504K biplane

Avro 504K biplane

  • 1918: Lieutenant Frigyes Hefty of the Austro-Hungarian Air Corps successfully parachutes from his burning fighter after a dogfight with Italian aircraft. He is the first person to survive a combat parachute jump.

Lieutenant Frigyes Hefty of the Austria-Hungary Air Corps.

  • 1965: Ellen Church, the first American airline stewardess, dies. She was born in 1904. I can only hope she had as good a service as she gave to her passengers.

Ellen Church, first American stewardess.


About mreman47

Andrew was born in London, UK, raised in Toronto, Canada, and cavorted in Ohtawara, Japan for three years. He is married, has a son and a cat. He has over 35,000 comic books and a plethora of pioneer aviation-related tobacco and sports cards and likes to build LEGO dioramas. He has written and been an editor for various industrial magazines, has scripted comic books, ghost-written blogs for business sectors galore, and hates writing in the 3rd person. He also hates having to write this crap that no one will ever read. He works on his Pioneers Of Aviation - a cool blog on early fliers - even though it takes him so much time to do. He also wants to do more writing - for money, though. Help him out so he can stop talking in the 3rd person.
This entry was posted in Firsts, Heavier-Than-Air, Parachute, People, Pilots, Weapons and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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