An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

100th Anniversary Logo with the 100 in large letters and the museum logo
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.
FREE Admission & Parking

Machine Gun Fired from an Airplane

During the 1912 flying season at College Park, additional volunteers were accepted for flight instruction, more airplanes were purchased, and new experiments were conducted. One of the most notable tests was the first firing of a machine gun from an airplane by Capt. Chandler on June 7, 1912. He scored five hits on a 6-foot-by-7-foot cheesecloth target from an altitude of 250 feet. The next day he fired on a 6-foot-by-54-foot cloth target from an altitude of 550 feet and obtained 14 hits from 44 bullets fired, for a remarkable 32 percent score.

The General Staff of the U.S. Army was unimpressed, however, and one staff officer made it clear that "airplanes were suitable only for reconnaissance and that thoughts of air battles were purely the product of the young fliers' fertile imaginations."

Click here to return to the Early Years Gallery.