Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


World War 1: Aviation Comes of Age

University of Birmingham via FutureLearn

This course may be unavailable.


Investigate how the early days of aviation gripped the imagination of the general public, galvanised industry and excited far-sighted members of the military, with this free online course from the University of Birmingham’s Centre for War Studies.

Aviation evolved rapidly during WW1, with modern and more effective aircraft soon replacing the very basic machines that took to the skies in 1914.

We’ll look at the innovations that turned the aeroplane into a machine of war and how British factories developed to supply the Western Front with aircraft and ammunition. We’ll examine how the aeroplane became commercially viable, with passenger and mail routes starting to appear, and how the government tried - and failed - to regulate the aviation industry.

You’ll learn with Dr Peter Gray, a former commander of 101 Squadron and Director of Defence Studies for the RAF, who now teaches Birmingham’s MA in Air Power - one of several postgraduate courses the university offers in military history and World War 1 studies.

Produced in collaboration with the BBC and filmed at the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon, this course draws on an array of first-hand interviews and archive material.

You can find out more in Peter’s posts on our blog - one looking at the first flights of World War 1, the other commemorating the Battle of Britain.

This course is part of a series designed in partnership with the BBC to commemorate the war.

  • World War 1: Paris 1919 - A New World Order? (University of Glasgow)

  • World War 1: Changing Faces of Heroism (University of Leeds)

  • World War 1: Trauma and Memory (The Open University)

You may also be interested in:

  • World War 1: A History in 100 Stories (Monash University)

(Image © John Young. Photo credit: Royal Air Force Museum) (Black and white newsreel footage in the course trailer © British Pathé)

Taught by

Peter Gray


4.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

Start your review of World War 1: Aviation Comes of Age

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.