1931 in aviation
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1931:
|Years in aviation:||1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934|
|Centuries:||19th century · 20th century · 21st century|
|Decades:||1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s|
|Years:||1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934|
- Bert Hinkler flies a de Havilland Puss Moth from Canada to New York City, then non-stop 2,400 km (1,500 miles) to Jamaica, then on to British Guiana and Brazil. He then flies across the South Atlantic Ocean to West Africa in extremely bad weather, becoming the first person to fly across the South Atlantic solo and only the second person after Charles Lindbergh in 1927 to fly solo across the Atlantic. He completes his journey by flying from West Africa to London. For the flight, he receives the Segrave Trophy, the Johnston Memorial Prize, and the Britannia Trophy for the most meritorious flying performance of the year.
- Manufacturer Airspeed Ltd founded in York, England.
- Alexander Seversky founds the Seversky Aircraft Corporation.
- Watanabe Iron Works, the ancestor of the Kyūshū Airplane Company Ltd., begins to manufacture aircraft.
- First Bendix trophy race.
- The Imperial Japanese Navy decides to abolish its airship units and phase airships out of the fleet over the next few years.
- In New York City, the Empire State Building is completed, topped with a 200-foot (61-meter) mooring mast for airships. Plans to disembark airship passengers prove impractical, and the mast is never used except for a single three-minute contact by the United States Navy blimp J-4.
- U.S. Army Second Lieutenant William A. Cooke sets world gliding records for endurance and distance, flying an estimated 600 statute miles (966 km) in 21 hours 34 minutes 15 seconds at Wheeler Field, Territory of Hawaii.
- Summer 1931 – Transcontinental and Western Air moves its headquarters from New York City to Kansas City, Missouri.
- In the Soviet Union, construction of Leningrad′s Shosseynaya Airport (the future Pulkovo Airport) begins.
- January 6 – Italian General Italo Balbo leads the first formation flight across the South Atlantic. Twelve Savoia-Marchetti S.55s fly from Portuguese Guinea to Brazil.
- January 7 – Guy Menzies flies the first solo non-stop trans-Tasman flight (from Australia to New Zealand) in 11 hours and 45 minutes, crash-landing his Avro Sports Avian on New Zealand's west coast.
- January 8 – Piarco Airport, the future Piarco International Airport, opens in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
- January 9 – The Pratt-MacArthur agreement defines the United States Navy's naval air force as an element of the fleet that moves with the fleet and helps it carry out its missions. The agreement settles a lengthy controversy between the United States Army and the Navy over the role of naval aviation in overall national defense, as well as internal Navy debates over the role of naval air power.
- Flying from Oran in French Algeria, the French aviators Antoine Paillard and Louis Mailloux fly a 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) circuit for over 50 hours in the Bernard 80 GR in an attempt to set a new unrefueled nonstop closed-circuit world distance record. They cover 8,168 kilometers (5,076 miles) before higher-than-expected fuel consumption forces them to land only 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) short of the record.
- February 1 – Polish pilot Stanisław Skarżyński begins a 25,050-kilometer (1,556-mile) tour around Africa in a PZL Ł.2. He will complete it on May 5.
- February 12 – The Detroit News places an order for a Pitcairn PCA-2 autogiro with the Pitcairn Aircraft Company. It is the first commercial order for an autogiro in the United States.
- February 14 – The United States Congress authorizes a new award, the Air Mail Medal of Honor, which the President of the United States is to award to pilots who perform distinguished service in connection with U.S. Air Mail service. It will first be awarded in December 1933.
- February 21 – After a Pan American-Grace Airways (Panagra) Ford Trimotor lands at Rodríguez Ballón Airport at Arequipa, Peru, armed revolutionary soldiers surround it. They demand that it fly them to another destination, but the Trimotor′s pilot refuses. The standoff continues for 10 days until, on 2 March, the soldiers suddenly announce that their side won the revolution and let the pilot go in exchange for him giving one of them a ride to Lima.
- February 26 – Imperial Airways begins scheduled services between England and Africa using Armstrong Whitworth Argosys.
- February 6-March 1 – Flying the Blériot 110 over a closed circuit in French Algeria, the French aviator Maurice Rossi sets an unrefueled distance record of 8,822 kilometers (5,478 miles). The plane remains in the air for over 75 hours 23 minutes.
- The French aviator Marcel Goulette flies a Farman F.304 trimotor from Paris, France, to Tananarive, Madagascar, and back.
- March 9 – Flying a Farman F.302, French aviators Jean Réginensi and Marcel Lalouette set new distance and duration records over a closed circuit with a 2,000-kilogram (4,409-pound) payload, flying 2,678 kilometers (1,663 miles) in 17 hours.
- March 21
- Australia suffers its first airline disaster when the Australian National Airways Avro 618 Ten Southern Cloud disappears in bad weather over the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, Australia, with the loss of all eight people on board. The aircraft's wreckage will not be discovered until October 26, 1958.
- Zygmunt Puławski, one of Poland's leading aircraft designers, dies during the sixth flight of the PZL.12 flying boat prototype – which he designed and built – when the PZL.12 stalls after take-off due to a strong wind and crashes in Warsaw, Poland.
- March 26 – Ad Astra Aero and Balair merge to form Swissair.
- March 30–April 2 – Flying the Benard 80 GR, French aviators Jean Marmoz and Antoine Paillard set a new closed-circuit unrefueled flight distance record, covering 8,960 kilometers (5,569 miles) in a time of 52 hours 44 minutes. A loss of coolant finally brings the flight to an end, although during the last part of the flight the two men pump champagne, eau de Vittel, and coffee into the radiator to keep the engine cool.
- March 31 – A Transcontinental & Western Air Fokker F-10 crashes near Bazaar, Kansas, killing all eight on board, including American football coach Knute Rockne. The crash prompts the first grounding of an aircraft type, ordered by the United States Department of Commerce.
- April 8 – Flying a Pitcairn PCA-2 over Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, Amelia Earhart sets an autogiro altitude record, reaching 18,415 feet (5,613 meters).
- April 10 – C. W. A. Scott breaks the record for the fastest solo flight from England to Australia, making the flight between April 1 and April 10 in a time of 9 days 4 hours 11 minutes.
- April 14 – Honduras founds its National Aviation School. It is the forerunner of the Honduran Air Force.
- April 21 – Pitcairn-Cierva Autogiro Company pilot Jim Ray lands a Pitcairn PCA-2 autogiro on the White House lawn in Washington, D.C., for a ceremony in which U.S. President Herbert Hoover presents the Collier Trophy to autogiro manufacturer Harold Pitcairn. After the ceremony, Ray takes off again in the PCA-2.
- May 5 – Polish pilot Stanisław Skarżyński completes a 25,050-kilometer (1,556-mile) tour around Africa in a PZL Ł.2. He began the tour on February 1.
- May 14 – A de Havilland Gypsy Moth piloted by professional hunter Denys Finch Hatton and carrying his Kĩkũyũ servant Kamau takes off from the airfield at Voi, Kenya, circles the field twice, stalls, and crashes, killing both men.
- May 27 – Launching from Augsburg, Germany, Swiss professor Auguste Piccard and his assistant Paul Kipfer ascend to an altitude of 15,781 meters (51,774 feet) in a balloon, establishing a new world altitude record for human flight and gathering substantial data on the upper atmosphere and cosmic rays before landing on a glacier in Austria.
- May 28
- Walter E. Lees and Frederick Brossy set a new endurance record for a non-refueled flight, landing a Bellanca J2 Diesel aircraft at Jacksonville Beach, Florida, after remaining in the air continuously for 84 hours 32 minutes. The record will stand until July 1986.
- Flying the Pitcairn PCA-2 autogiro Missing Link, John M. Miller completes the first flight across the United States in a rotary-wing aircraft.
- June 5 – C. W. A. Scott breaks the record for the fastest solo flight from Australia to England, flying the 10,660 miles (17,160 km) from Wyndham, Australia to Lympne, England from May 26 to June 5, in 10 days 23 hours piloting a DH.60 Moth (Gipsy II).
- June 11 – The 40-passenger Handley Page H.P.42 four-engine biplane enters service with British airline Imperial Airways when G-AAGX Hannibal operates a Croydon Airport to Paris–Le Bourget flight, setting new standards of passenger service and comfort.
- June 23–July 1 – Wiley Post and Harold Gatty fly around the world in a Lockheed Vega, the Winnie Mae, covering 15,474 miles (24,918 km) in 8 days 15 hours 51 minutes – a new record.
- July 15 – The United States Army Corps's Air Corps Tactical School completes its relocation from Langley Field, Virginia, to Maxwell Field, Alabama.
- July 20 – The Boston and Maine Railroad and Maine Central Railroad found Boston-Maine Airways, the future Northeast Airlines. It flies from Boston, Massachusetts, to Bangor, Maine, via Portland, Maine, as a Pan American Airways contract carrier.
- July 22–September 1 – Sir Alan Cobham and crew make a 19,800 km (12,300 mi) return flight between England and the Belgian Congo in a Short Valletta.
- July 27 – The Air Line Pilots Association, International is founded at a meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
- July 28–31 – Russell Norton Boardman and John Louis Polando fly the Bellanca Special J-300 high-wing monoplane Cape Cod, registration NR761W, powered by a 300 hp (220 kW) Wright J-6 Whirlwind engine, nonstop from Floyd Bennett Field in New York City, to Istanbul, Turkey, in 49 hours 20 minutes, establishing a distance record of 5,011.8 miles (8,065.7 km). It is the first known non-stop flight to surpass either 5,000 miles or 8,000 kilometers.
- August 6 – Transcontinental and Western Air inaugurates the first air cargo service in the United States with a shipment of livestock from St. Louis, Missouri, to Newark, New Jersey.
- August 9 – After an engine separates from the American Airways Ford 5-AT-B Trimotor NC9662 shortly after takeoff from Cincinnati Municipal Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio, for a flight to Atlanta, Georgia, its pilot tries to return to the airport for an emergency landing. He misses the runway and then tries to land on the bank of the Little Miami River, but the aircraft strikes soft sand and noses over, killing all six people on board.
- August 29 – The German dirigible Graf Zeppelin pioneers the air route between Germany and Brazil.
- The Latécoère 380 flying boat sets six world seaplane records, including three speed-with-load-over-distance records and a closed-circuit distance-with-load record of 2,208 kilometers (1,372 miles).
- The Royal Air Force's first instrument flying course begins. Held at RAF Wittering, it employs six Avro 504Ns fitted with blind-flying hoods, turn indicators, and reduced dihedral to decrease inherent stability.
- September 7 – Herbert Clayton Wells loses his life during an air contests in Ottumwa. 
- September 7 – Lowell Bayles wins the 1931 Thompson Trophy in the Gee Bee Model Z racer at the National Air Races in Cleveland, Ohio, with a speed of 236.24 mph (380.42 km/hr).
- September 13 – The United Kingdom wins the Schneider Trophy outright by winning its third consecutive Schneider Trophy race. Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant John Boothman of the RAF High-Speed Flight completes the course at Calshot Spit in Supermarine S.6B serial S1595 at 547.297 km/h (340.1 mph). With the trophy retired, the Schneider Trophy races, begun in 1913, come to an end.
- September 23 – A Pitcairn XOP-1 autogyro conducts landing and take-off trials aboard the United States Navy aircraft carrier USS Langley (CV-1). It is the U.S. Navy's first experiment with a shipborne rotary-wing aircraft.
- September 29
- Following the Schneider Trophy success, Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant George Stainforth in Supermarine S.6B serial S1596 breaks the 400 mph air speed record barrier at 407.5 mph (655.67 km/h).
- American inventor Ed Link receives a patent for his "Combination Training Device for Student Aviators and Entertainment Apparatus." Better known as the Link Trainer, it allows pilots to train safely on the ground for "blind" instrument flying.
- October 1 – KLM begins a regular service between Amsterdam and Batavia by Fokker F.XII. At 13,744 km (8,540 mi) this is the longest regular air route in the world at the time.
- October 3 – Brazil reestablishes Brazilian Navy control over naval aviation, creating a naval aviation corps which takes over the control of naval aircraft from the general staff.
- October 3–5 – Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon make the first non-stop flight across the Pacific Ocean, from Samushiro Beach, Japan, to Wenatchee, Washington in 41 hours in Miss Veedol, a Bellanca J-300 Long Distance Special.
- October 17 – The first hook-on test of the U.S. Navy's parasite fighter program takes places, as the Curtiss XF9C-1 prototype successfully docks with the dirigible USS Los Angeles (ZR-3).
- October 27 – The Detroit Aircraft Corporation files for bankruptcy. Eventually, the Lockheed portion of the company is bought out of receivership.
- October 27–28 – As a test of the second Fairey Long-Range Monoplane in preparation for a later attempt at setting a new non-stop distance flight record it, Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Oswald R. Gayford and Flight Lieutenant D. L. G. Bett fly from RAF Cranwell in England to RAF Abu Sueir in Egypt, covering 2,857 miles (4,601 kilometers) nonstop in 31 hours.
- The first production R-6 rolls off the assembly line at the N22 factory in Moscow.
- Hillman's Airways is founded. It will begin charter services in December 1931 and scheduled services in April 1932.
- November 2 – United States Marine Corps squadrons VS-15M and VS-14M embark on USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Saratoga (CV-3), the first time Marine Corps squadrons are assigned to aircraft carriers.
- November 20 – The Government of the Philippines creates an office under its Department of Commerce and Communications to handle aviation matters in the Philippines, particularly the enforcement of rules and regulations governing commercial aviation and private flying.
- December 5 – Lowell Bayles, winner of the 1931 Thompson Trophy, dies when the Gee Bee Model Z racer he is piloting crashes during a speed run at Wayne County Airport in Detroit, Michigan.
- Hillman's Airways begins flight operations with a charter flight. It will begin scheduled services in April 1932.
- December 29 – As the French aviators Louis Mailloux and Jean Marmoz take off in the Bernard 81 GR Antoine Paillard to attempt to set a new unrefueled non-stop closed-circuit flight distance record, the airplane's propeller hits the ground and its undercarriage collapses. The two men escape the accident with only a few bruises, and the aircraft eventually is repaired.
- Aeronca C-1 Cadet
- ANF Les Mureaux 110A.2, prototype of ANF Les Mureaux 113R.2
- ANF Les Mureaux 112GR
- Arado Ar 65
- Arrow Active
- Avro 627 Mailplane
- Beriev MBR-2
- Fairchild 22
- Farman F.250
- Focke-Wulf A 38
- Latécoère 300
- Latécoère 440
- Nakajima Army Type 91 Fighter
- Pitcairn PAA-1
- Pitcairn PCA-2
- Westland-Hill Pterodactyl Mk. IV
- Mid-1931 – Grigorovich I-Z
- Autumn 1931 – Stinson Model R
- Couzinet 21
- Farman F.280
- PZL.12 flying boat prototype - designed and built by leading Polish aircraft designer Zygmunt Puławski, the PZL.12 stalls and crashes in Warsaw during its sixth flight a month later on 21 March just after take-off due to a strong wind, killing Zygmunt
- Westland PV-3
- ca. late February – Potez 40
- February 2 – Latécoère 350
- Curtiss XF9C-1, prototype of the Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk
- Latécoère 490
- March 3
- March 9 – Blériot 125 F-ALZD
- March 25 – Hawker Fury
- March 28 – Mitsubishi 2MR8
- Berliner-Joyce XOJ-1, prototype of the Berliner-Joyce OJ
- May 1 – Grigorovich TB-5
- May 22 – Berliner-Joyce XFJ-2
- Curtiss XA-8, prototype of the Curtiss A-8 Shrike
- Curtiss YP-20 Hawk
- Curtiss XP-22 Hawk, prototype of the P-6E Hawk
- Focke-Wulf Fw 47
- Cierva C.24
- Heinkel He 59
- Lockheed-Detroit XP-900, prototype of the Lockheed-Detroit YP-24
- September 29 – Marinens Flyvebaatfabrikk M.F.11
- Avro 643 Cadet
- October 2 – Junkers Ju 49
- October 3 – Latécoère 290
- October 26 – De Havilland Tiger Moth DH.82 prototype G-ABRC
- October 31 – Westland Wallace
- Aeronca C-3
- Dornier Do Y with the Royal Yugoslav Air Force
- Fairchild 100
- Levasseur R3b with French Naval Aviation aboard the aircraft carrier Béarn
- Nakajima Ki-6 with Japan Air Transport
- Polikarpov I-5 with the Soviet Air Force
- May 1 – Ford RR-4, a version of the Ford Trimotor, with the United States Marine Corps (transferred from the United States Navy).
- Australian Dictionary of Biography: Bert Hinkler
- Angelucci, Enzo, The American Fighter: The Definitive Guide to American Fighter Aircraft From 1917 to the Present, New York: Orion Books, 1987, ISBN 0-517-56588-9, p. 382.
- Francillon, René J., Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1979, ISBN 0-87021-313-X, p. 22.
- Peattie, Mark R., Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power 1909-1941, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 2001, ISBN 1-55750-432-6, p. 16.
- Polmar, Norman, "Ships That Were Lighter Than Air," Naval History, June 2011, p. 19.
- Aviation Hawaii: 1930-1939 Chronology of Aviation in Hawaii
- TWA History Timeline Archived 2015-04-10 at the Wayback Machine
- Swanborough, Gordon, and Peter M. Bowers, United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911, Second Edition, London: Putnam, 1976, ISBN 0-370-10054-9, p. 2.
- Century of Flight: History of the Helicopter: Contributions of the Autogyro
- Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: Medal, Air Mail Medal of Honor
- Johnson, Frederick L., "Modest Mal," Aviation History, March 2012, p. 19.
- Aviation Safety Network Hijacking Description
- Historic Wings: Flight Stories, "New York to Syria Non-Stop," 5 August 2012.
- aviastar.org Bleriot 110, 1930
- ameliaearhart.com Achievements
- century-of-flight.net Century of Flight: History of the Helicopter: Contributions of the Autogyro
- "Set Flight Record Without Refueling; Lees And Brossy, 84:33 Hours In Air, Recapture World Mark From France," New York Times, May 29, 1931.
- Blakeslee, Sandra "Plane Ends a Record Nonstop Flight," The New York Times, July 16, 1986.
- Santiago, J. P., "The Early History of ALPA, the Air Line Pilots Association, and the First Airline Strike," avgeekery.com, February 2016.
- "'Cape Cod's' Success Climaxes 5 Years [of] Bellanca Records". The Sunday Morning Star, Wilmington, DE. 2 August 1931. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Airisms from the Four Winds - More Atlantic Flights". Flight. United Kingdom: flightglobal.com. July 31, 1931. p. 774. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- Aviation Safety Network: Accident Description
- Donald, David, ed., The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1997, ISBN 978-0-7607-0592-6, p. 77.
- The Lincoln Star from Lincoln, Nebraska · Page 5 https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/58114314/
- Layman, R.D., Before the Aircraft Carrier: The Development of Aviation Vessels 1849-1922, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989, ISBN 0-87021-210-9, p. 124.
- Price, Alfred (1977). Spitfire: a Documentary History. London: Macdonald and Jane’s. p. 12. ISBN 0-354-01077-8.
- Bauman, Richard, "Link to the Future," Aviation History, May 2014, p. 50.
- Scheina, Robert L., Latin America: A Naval History 1810–1987, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1987, ISBN 0-87021-295-8, p. 195.
- Heikell, Edward and Robert, One Chance for Glory, Amazon book,ISBN 1468006088, May 2012, P.61
- Angelucci, Enzo, The American Fighter: The Definitive Guide to American Fighter Aircraft From 1917 to the Present, New York: Orion Books, 1987, ISBN 0-517-56588-9, p. 145.
- O'Connor, Derek, "Going Long," Aviation History, March 2016, pp. 54–55.
- Donald, David, ed., The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1997, ISBN 0-7607-0592-5, p. 50.
- Angelucci, Enzo, The American Fighter: The Definitive Guide to American Fighter Aircraft From 1917 to the Present, New York: Orion Books, 1987, ISBN 0-517-56588-9, p. 146.
- Donald, David, ed., The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1997, ISBN 0-7607-0592-5, p. 48.
- Angelucci, Enzo, The American Fighter: The Definitive Guide to American Fighter Aircraft From 1917 to the Present, New York: Orion Books, 1987, p. 60.
- Donald, David, ed., The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1997, ISBN 0-7607-0592-5, p. 287.
- Angelucci, Enzo, The American Fighter: The Definitive Guide to American Fighter Aircraft From 1917 to the Present, New York: Orion Books, 1987, ISBN 0-517-56588-9, p. 144.
- Angelucci, Enzo, The American Fighter: The Definitive Guide to American Fighter Aircraft From 1917 to the Present, New York: Orion Books, 1987, ISBN 0-517-56588-9, p. 262.
- Angelucci, Enzo, The American Fighter: The Definitive Guide to American Fighter Aircraft From 1917 to the Present, New York: Orion Books, 1987, pp. 218, 219.
- Polmar, Norman, "Historic Aircraft: Biplane Fighters in Action," Naval History, June 2011, p. 16.
- Polar, Norman, "'There's a Ford in Your Future'," Naval History, December 2015, p. 15.