THIS DAY IN AVIATION

20 August 1940

Aug 20, 2017

The Few. RAF fighter pilots run toward their Hawker Hurricanes. © IWM (HU 49253) 20 August 1940: During World War II, at the height of the Batle of Britain, Prime Minister Winston Churchill spoke to the House of Commons on the state of the war. As he talked about the role of the Royal Air Force in the defense…

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20 August 1919

Aug 20, 2017

The DELAG airship Bodensee, LZ 120, at Friederichshafen, October 1919. (Library of Congress) 20 August 1919: The first airship built after World War I, Bodensee, LZ 120, made its first flight at Friedrichshafen, Germany, with Captain Bernard Lau in comand. LZ 120 was built for Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft, DELAG, (German Airship Travel Corporation) especially to carry a small complement of…

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18 August 1943

Aug 18, 2017

The second Sikorsky XR-5, 43-28237 (c/n 34). (Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company) 18 August 1943: At Bridgeport, Connecticut, Sikorsky chief test pilot Charles Lester (“Les”) Morris made the first flight of the Vought-Sikorsky VS-327, c/n 33. Also known as the Sikorsky Model S-48, the U.S. Army Air Corps designated the helicopter XR-5 and assigned the…

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17 August 1942

Aug 17, 2017

A flight of Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress bombers forms up over England, 1942. “Yankee Doodle,” 41-9023, is just to the left of center. (U.S. Air Force) Brigadier General Ira C. Eaker (Margaret Bourke-White/LIFE) 17 August 1942: Mission No. 1. The United States VIII Bomber Command made its first heavy bomber attack on Nazi-occupied Europe when…

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17 August 1940

Aug 17, 2017

Pilot Officer William Meade Lindsley Fiske III, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 17 August 1940: Pilot Officer William Meade Lindsley Fiske III died at Royal West Sussex Hospital, Chichester, Sussex, England, as a result of injuries sustained in combat the previous day. Billy Fiske was the first American pilot to lose his life in combat…

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13 August 1913

Aug 13, 2017

Lieutenant Hubert Dunsterville Harvey-Kelly, DSO, Royal Flying Corps. 13 August 1914: Lieutenant Hubert Dunsterville Harvey-Kelly, No. 2 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, departed Dover at 6:25 a.m., 13 August 1914, enroute to Amiens, France. He flew a Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2.a, number 471. Landing near Amiens at 8:20 a.m., this was the first British airplane to…

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12 August 1908

Aug 12, 2017

Signal Corps Dirigible No. 1 at Fort Myer, Virginia, 1908 (U.S. Army) 12 August 1908: Test flights begin for Signal Corps Dirigible No. 1 at Fort Myers, Virginia, with Thomas Scott Baldwin as pilot and Glenn Hammond Curtiss as flight engineer. Brigadier General James Allen, Chief Signal Officer, 1906–1913. (U.S. Army) On 1 August 1907,…

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10–11 August 1938

Aug 11, 2017

The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 S-1 Condor, D-ACON, arrives at Floyd Bennett Field, New York, 11 August 1938. (Klassiker fer Luftfahrt) 10–11 August 1938: The first non-stop flight between Berlin and New York by a heavier-than-air aircraft was flown by a prototype four-engine airliner. Under the command of Deutsche Luft Hansa Kapitän Alfred Henke, Brandenburg, a…

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9 August 1896

Aug 9, 2017

Karl Wilhelm Otto Lilienthal. (NASM) 9 August 1896: Pioneering aviator Karl Wilhelm Otto Lilienthal was fatally injured when his glider stalled on his fourth flight of the day. Flying at the Rhinow Hills, near Stölln in what is now northern Germany, he had been gliding as far as 820 feet (250 meters). As he sailed off the slope, his glider suddenly…

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8 August 1957

Aug 8, 2017

Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-50/3 (Mikoyan Design Bureau via The Corner of the Sky) Nikolay Arkadevich Korovin 8 August 1957: At Ramenskoye Airfield, Moscow, Russia, senior test pilot Lieutenant Colonel Nikolay Arkadevich Korovin (Коровин Николай Аркадьевич) was scheduled to take an experimental prototype interceptor to an altitude of 20,000 meters (65,617 feet). The airplane was the Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-50/3 (also known…

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7 August 1971, 20:45:53 UTC, T plus 295:11:53.0

Aug 7, 2017

Apollo 15 descends to the Pacific Ocean with two functional parachutes. (NASA) 7 August 1971: At 6:45 a.m., local time, 287 nautical miles (531 kilometers) north of Honolulu, Hawaii, the Apollo 15 command module Endeavour “splashed down” after twelve days in space. On board were Colonel David Randolph Scott, Mission Commander; Major Alfred Merrill Worden,…

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7 August 1951

Aug 7, 2017

William Barton Bridgeman. (Boris Artzybasheff/TIME Magazine) 7 August 1951: Douglas Aircraft Company test pilot William Barton Bridgeman flew the rocket-powered U.S. Navy/NACA/Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket, Bu. No. 37974 (NACA 144), to a record speed of Mach 1.88 (1,245 miles per hour/2,034 kilometers per hour) at Muroc Dry Lake (later Edwards Air Force Base) in the high desert…

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7 August 1919

Aug 7, 2017

Captain Hoy’s JN-4 Canuck at Minoru Park, Richmond, B.C., prior to departing on his historic flight across the Canadian Rockies, 7 August 1919. (Unattributed) 7 August 1919: Captain Ernest Charles Hoy, DFC, a World War I fighter pilot credited with 13 aerial victories, became the first pilot to fly across the Canadian Rockies when he…

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6 August 1969

Aug 6, 2017

One of the two Mil Design Bureau V-12 heavy lift helicopter prototypes, 1971. (Groningen Airport-Eelde) 6 August 1969: The largest helicopter ever built, the four-engine, transverse tandem rotor Mil V-12, registration CCCP-21142, lifted a payload of 88,636 pounds (44,205 kilograms) to an altitude of 7,400 feet (2,255 meters). This weight record has never been broken…

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5 August 1950: Medal of Honor, Major Joseph Louis Sebille, United States Air Force

Aug 5, 2017

Major Louis Joseph Sebille, United States Air Force. Medal of Honor Major Louis J. Sebille Rank and Organization: Major, U.S. Air Force, 67th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 18th Fighter-Bomber Group, 5th Air Force. Place and Date: Near Hanchang, Korea, August 5, 1950. Entered Service At: Chicago, Ill. Born: November 21, 1915, Harbor Beach. Mich. Citation: The President of the United…

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4 August 1971

Aug 4, 2017

A prototype Agusta A109 Hirundo hovering in ground effect. (Agusta) 4 August 1971: At its Cascina Costa plant, near the Aeroporto di Milano-Malpensa, northwest of Milan, Italy, Agusta test pilot Ottorino Lancia made the first flight of the prototype Agusta A109 Hirundo, serial number 7101. Also on board was one of the helicopter’s designers, Paolo…

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1 August 1939

Aug 1, 2017

The flight crew of the FAI World Altitude Record-setting Boeing Y1B-17A. Left to right: Captain Pearl H. Robey, Captain Clarence S. Irvine and R. Swofford. (FAI) 1 August 1939: Captains Clarence S. Irvine and Pearl H. Robey, United States Army Air Corps, used the Boeing Y1B-17A Flying Fortress (Model 299F), serial number 37-369, to set…

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1 August 1911

Aug 1, 2017

Miss Harriet Quimby, 1911, (Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library) 1 August 1911: After 33 flight lessons over a four-month period at the Moisant Aviation School at Hempstead, Long Island, New York, Harriet N. Quimby took her flight test and became the first woman to receive a pilot’s license, Number 37, from the Aero Club of America. She was well-known throughout the United States…

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30 July 1983

Jul 30, 2017

Dago Red, Reno, 1988 (Wikimedia) 30 July 1983: Flying a modified World War II-era fighter, Frank Taylor set a  Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Speed Over a 15/25 Kilometer Straight Course¹ with an average speed of 832.12 kilometers per hour (517.056 miles per hour)—(0.686 Mach). The record flight took place at Mojave Airport…

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29 July 1957

Jul 29, 2017

Bendix Trophy winner Captain Kenneth D. Chandler, U.S. Air Force, in the cockpit of Convair F-102A-65-CO Delta Dagger 56-1196 (Jet Pilot Overseas) 29 July 1957: Captain Kenneth D. Chandler, 11th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, 343d Fighter Group (Air Defense), U.S. Air Force, won the Bendix Trophy Race, flying a Convair F-102A Delta Dagger from O’Hare International…

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29 July 1938, 04:11 GCT [Greenwich Civil Time]

Jul 29, 2017

Pan American Martin M-130 Flying boat, NX14714, 9 September 1935. (Lockheed Martin) 29 July 1938: At 12:08 p.m., local time, the Pan American Airways flying boat Hawaii Clipper lifted off from the waters of Apra Harbor on the west side of Guam, an island in the western Pacific Ocean. The Clipper was on a planned…

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26 July 1943

Jul 26, 2017

Second Lieutenant John Cary Morgan, United States Army Air Corps, is awarded the Medal of Honor by Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker, commanding 8th Air Force, 18 December 1943.. (U.S. Air Force) MEDAL OF HONOR MORGAN, JOHN C. (Air Mission) Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 326th Bomber Squadron, 92d Bomber Group. Place…

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23 July 1953

Jul 23, 2017

Major John H. Glenn, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps, in the cockpit of his North American Aviation F-86F Sabre, “MiG Mad Marine,” just after his second kill, 19 July 1953. (Times Recorder) 23 July 1953: Major John H. Glenn, Jr., United States Marine Corps, shot down his third and final MiG-15 fighter during the Korean War. Major Glenn…

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21 July 1961, 12:20:36 UTC, T minus Zero

Jul 21, 2017

Mercury-Redstone 4 (Liberty Bell 7) launch at Pad 5, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, 12 20 36 UTC, 21 July 1961. (NASA) 21 July 1961: At 7:20:36 a.m. Eastern Time (12:20:36 UTC), NASA Astronaut, Captain Virgil Ivan (“Gus”) Grissom, United States Air Force, was launched from Launch Complex 5, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida,…

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