Jackie Cochran became the first woman to fly a bomber across the Atlantic Ocean.
February 8 - a fleet of Junkers Ju 52s is used to airlift German troops to North Africa.
February 10 - Britain uses paratroops for the first time in an attack on Tragino
February 26 - Philippine Airlines was founded on February 26, 1941, making it Asia's oldest and first carrier, still to this day, operating under its current name.
March 1 - New Zealand's first fighter squadron, No. 485 Squadron RNZAF is formed.
March 11 - the Congress of the United States passes the Lend-Lease bill, paving the way for the provision of (amongst other equipment) 16,000 warplanes to the UK. Later Lend-Lease arrangements will supply other Allied nations.
April 15 - CAMCO signs an agreement with the Chinese government to equip and administer the American Volunteer Group in China.
April 16 - London comes under intense bomber attack, with nearly 900 tonnes of high explosive dropped on the city.
May 6 - Igor Sikorsky sets a world endurance record for helicopter flight of 1 hour 32 minutes, in a Sikorsky VS-300
May 10 - Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland to try and negotiate an alliance with Britain against the Soviet Union
May 20 - the Luftwaffe's largest paratroop assault sees 22,750 troops landed in Crete in Operation Merkur. The heavy losses taken mean this will also be the Luftwaffe's last such operation for the war.
May 26 - Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm aircraft play a key role in finding and sinking the German battleship Bismarck.
May 29 - the USAAC forms Ferrying Command to fly newly manufactured aircraft across the Atlantic to Britain.
June 8 - July 8 - the British invade Syria - air combat between British and Vichy-French aircraft ensues
June 20 - the USAAC is renamed the USAAF and placed under the command of General Henry Arnold
June 22 - Germany invades the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). 1,200 Soviet aircraft are destroyed on the first day alone.
July 18 - the first RAF aircraft equipped with radar
July 28 - the Vichy government agrees to build German aircraft in France
July 31 - a chartered DC-4 ferried 40 American servicemen to Oakland,California from Nielson Airport in Makati City (Manila) with stops in Guam, Wake Island, Johnston Atoll and Honolulu, Hawaii, making Asia's First airline, Philippine Airlines, the first Asian airline to cross the Pacific Ocean. December that year a scheduled service commenced.
August 1 - the Soviet Union makes the first operational use of parasite fighters, attacking Constanţa with modified Polikarpov I-16s carried into action by Tupolev TB-3s.
August 1 - the United States embargoes the sale of aviation fuel to Japan.
September 23 - Hans-Ulrich Rudel single-handedly sinks a Soviet battleship (the Marat) flying a Junkers Ju 87
October 1 - Inter-Island Airways was renamed to Hawaiian Airlines.
October 2 - Heini Dittmar sets a new airspeed record of 1,004 km/h (624 mph) in a Messerschmitt Me 163A. The record is unofficial because the flight (and the Me 163 programme) is kept secret.
November 12 - aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal is sunk by a German submarine
December 7/8 - the Imperial Japanese Navy makes a devastatingly successful surprise attack on the U.S. Navy fleet at Pearl Harbor. Six aircraft carriers launched a total of nearly 400 warplanes which claimed five American battleships and ten other vessels, and damaged three other battleships. The following day, the U.S, declares war on Japan.
December 18 - Lt Buzz Wagner becomes the first US ace of the war.
December 20 - American Volunteer Group "Flying Tigers" in first combat near Kunming, China
December 22 - a radar-equipped Fairey Firefly sinks a German submarine (U-451) at night, the first such victory
Junkers Ju 288
January 9 - Avro Lancaster prototype BT308 (at the time, an Avro Manchester Mk III)
February 25 - Messerschmitt Me 321
April 2 - Heinkel He 280
May 14 - Grumman XP-50
May 15 - Gloster E.28/39, first British jet
August 1 - Grumman TBF Avenger
December 22 - Fairey Firefly prototype Z1826
P-39 Airacobra with 31st Pursuit Group (39th, 40th, and 41st Pursuit Squadrons, USAAC)
de Havilland Mosquito with No. 105 Squadron RAF
Avro Lancaster with No. 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron RAF