January 10 – Northwest Airlines Flight 2, a Lockheed L14H Super Electra, crashes near Bozeman, Montana, United States, killing all ten on board; the machine with which the manufacturer measured component vibration is found to be inaccurate, causing the aircraft to be more prone to flutter than thought.
January 11 – Pan American World Airways Flight 1, a Sikorsky S-42 flying boat named the Samoan Clipper, explodes over Pago Pago, American Samoa; all 7 on board die.
March 1 – The 1938 Yosemite TWA crash: A Douglas DC-2 disappears on a flight from San Francisco to Winslow, Arizona, United States; the aircraft is found three months later on a mountain in Yosemite National Park; all 9 on board died.
July 28 – Pan American World Airways Flight 229, a Martin M-130 flying boat named the Hawaii Clipper, disappears in the Pacific ocean westbound from Guam to Manila with 6 passengers and 9 crew.
October 25 – Kyeema, an Australian National Airways Douglas DC-2 crashes in heavy fog into Mount Dandenong in Victoria, Australia, killing all 18 people on board.
November 4 – In the 1938 Jersey Airport disaster, a Jersey Airways de Havilland DH.86 crashes on takeoff from Jersey Airport due to pilot error; all 13 passengers and crew die as well as one person on the ground.