Aviation in 1940
The Brazilian Air Force, originally founded in 1908 as the
Brazilian Army Balloon Corp, adopts its current title, Fôrça
The Southern Rhodesian government forms Southern Rhodesian
The United States War Department forms the United States Air
Defense Command to integrate defences against possible air
Finland capitulates to Soviet invaders in the Winter War.
United States Army Air Force (USAAC) contractors are
authorised to sell to anti-Axis governments modern types of
Army combat aircraft.
A United States report, reviewing the 1939 civil airline year
in the United States records that it was entirely free from
any air fatalities.
German forces overrun
and occupy Denmark.
The German invasion Norway includes the use of paratroop
assaults on Oslo and Stavanger.
The USS Wasp aircraft carrier is commissioned.
The German invasion of the Low Countries begins. There is
extensive use of paratroops and airborne Troops and Belgium's
Fort Eban Emael, considered impregnable, is quickly and
easily overcome by glider-borne assault troops. Luftwaffe
records show their losses for the first day are 304 gliders
destroyed and 51 damaged.
The Sikorsky VS300 single rotor helicopter, which uses a
small rotor at the tail to overcome main rotor torque, makes
its first free flight.
The Rotterdam business centre is bombed during surrender
discussions. The raid is an error, as all bomber groups were
recalled as soon as the negotiations began, but unfortunately
one group failed to receive the recall instructions. The
world is shocked by this bombing.
The first airliner with a pressurised cabin, the Boeing 307
Stratoliner, enters service with Transcontinental Airways on
the New York to Burbank in California route.
The experimental Italian Caproni-Campini N1 monoplane, which
is powered by a turbine driven by a piston engine, makes its
The United States transfers fifty First World War destroyers
to the United Kingdom in exchange for air and naval bases at
eight strategic points.
Germany, Italy and Japan conclude a pact, each pledging total
aid to the others.
German Air Force Gruppe Rowehl is instructed to begin high
altitude reconnaissance and mapping of western Russia.
The North American NA73 fighter prototype, better known as
the 'Mustang', makes its first flight.
Regia Aeronautica, Italy's air force, makes its one and only
major raid on the United Kingdom.
The German Henschel Hs293A radio-controlled bomb makes its