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Machine Gun Fired from an Airplane

DAYTON, Ohio -- .30-cal. Lewis machine gun on display in the Early Years Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- .30-cal. Lewis machine gun on display in the Early Years Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

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.


Mask Policy:
In accordance with the updated guidance released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Defense (DoD) and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will require all visitors to wear face masks indoors effective July 30, 2021 until further notice.

Visitors ages three and up will be required to wear masks while indoors at the museum. This policy applies to all visitors, staff and volunteers regardless of vaccination status. Visitors may wear their own masks or a free paper mask will be provided. Cloth masks will also be available for purchase in the Museum Store.
Additional information available here.

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