THIS DAY IN AVIATION

20 November 1953

Nov 20, 2017

20 November 1953: At Edwards Air Force Base, California, NACA’s High Speed Flight Station test pilot Albert Scott Crossfield rode behind the flight crew of the Boeing P2B-1S Superfortress as it carried the Douglas Aircraft Company D-558-II Skyrocket supersonic research rocketplane to its launch altitude. As the four-engine bomber climbed through 18,000 feet (5,486 meters), Crossfield headed back to…

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19–20 November 1945

Nov 20, 2017

Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress 44-84061, the Pacusan Dreamboat. (U.S. Air Force) 19–20 November 1945: A Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress, 44-84061, named Pacusan Dreamboat, piloted by Colonel Clarence Shortridge Irvine and Lieutenant Colonel G.R. Stanley, flew non-stop and unrefueled from Guam, the largest and southernmost island in the Mariana Islands of the Western Pacific, to Washington, D.C. The…

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20 November 1940

Nov 20, 2017

North American Aviation’s NA-73X fighter prototype, engine idling, with Vance Breese in the cockpit at Mines Field, Los Angeles, 26 October 1940. (North American Aviation Inc.) 20 November 1940: North American Aviation’s Chief Test Pilot, Paul Baird Balfour, made his first flight in the NA-73X, NX19998, prototype for a Royal Air Force fighter, the Mustang…

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19 November 1999, 22:30 UTC

Nov 19, 2017

An unidentified Shenzhou/Long March 2F launch from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Area. (CNSA) 19 November 1999, 22:30 UTC: The China National Space Administration ( 国家航天局 ) launched 神舟一號 (Shenzhou 1), an unmanned Project 921-1 spacecraft, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Area aboard a 长征二号F火箭, (Changzheng or “Divine Arrow”) two-stage rocket. Shenzhou 1 was placed into…

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19 November 1997, 19:46:00 UTC, T minus Zero

Nov 19, 2017

Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-87) lifts of from Launch Complex 39B, 19:46:00 UTC, 19 November 1997. (NASA) 19 November 1997, 19:46:00 UTC, T minus Zero: Space Shuttle Columbia (OV-102) lifted off from Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on mission STS-87. This was the 88th flight of the space shuttle program, and the 24th…

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19 November 1996, 19:55:47 UTC, T minus Zero

Nov 19, 2017

Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off from LC 39B, 2:55:47 p.m. EST, 19 November 1996. (NASA) 19 November 1996, 19:55:47 UTC, T minus Zero: Space Shuttle Columbia (OV-102) lifted off from Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on mission STS-80. The veteran flight crew was led by mission commander, Captain Kenneth…

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19 November 1969, 06:54:35 UTC

Nov 19, 2017

Apollo 12 lunar lander Intrepid above the Moon before beginning its descent to the surface, 19 November 1969. (Richard F. Gordon, Jr./NASA) 19 November 1969: The Apollo 12 lunar lander, LM-6, named Intrepid by the flight crew, landed at Oceanus Procellarum, The Moon, at 06:54:35 UTC. The lunar module touched down within approximately 600 feet…

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19 November 1952

Nov 19, 2017

Captain J. Slade Nash, U.S. Air Force, with the record setting North American Aviation F-86D Sabre. (U.S. Air Force) The Henry De la Vaulx Medal. 19 November 1952. Captain James Slade Nash, U.S. Air Force, a test pilot at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California, flew a North American Aviation F-86D-20-NA Sabre,…

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19 November 1916

Nov 19, 2017

Ruth Bancroft Law at the controls of a Curtiss Pusher, ca. 1915. (Lt. H.M. Benner/U.S. Air Force) 19 November 1916: Ruth Bancroft Law (Mrs. Charles Augustus Oliver) flew a Curtiss Pusher non-stop from Chicago, Illinois to Hornell, New York, a distance of 590 miles (949.5 kilometers). This exceeded the previous long distance flight record of…

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18 November 1978

Nov 18, 2017

The first Full Scale Development McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A-1-MC Hornet, Bu. No. 160775. (McDonnell Douglas Corporation) 18 November 1978: At Lambert Field, St, Louis, Missouri, McDonnell Douglas Corporation Chief Test Pilot John Edward (“Jack”) Krings, took the number one Full Scale Development (FSD) F/A-18A-1-MC Hornet, Bu. No. 160775, for its first flight. During the 50-minute test…

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18 November 1966

Nov 18, 2017

Major William J. Knight, U.S. Air Force, with the modified X-15A-2, 56-6671, at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Knight is wearing a David Clark Co. MC-2 full-pressure suit with an MA-3 helmet. (U.S. Air Force) 18 November 1966: On Flight 175 of the research program, Major William J. (“Pete”) Knight, U.S. Air Force, flew the…

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18 November 1955

Nov 18, 2017

Major Frank Kendall Everest, Jr., U.S. Air Force, with the Bell X-2 supersonic research rocketplane, on Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards AFB, California, 1955. (U.S. Air Force) 18 November 1955: Major Frank Kendall Everest, Jr., USAF, makes the first powered flight in the Bell X-2 research rocketplane, 46-674, at Edwards AFB, California. The rocketplane was…

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18 November 1930

Nov 18, 2017

Boeing XP-9 prototype A.C. 28-386, photographed 14 August 1930. (San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives) 18 November 1930: The prototype Boeing XP-9, Air Corps serial number A.C. 28-346, a single-seat, single-engine monoplane pursuit, made its first flight at Wright Field, Ohio. This was Boeing’s first semi-monocoque aircraft, built of a sheet dural skin over…

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14–17 November 1965

Nov 17, 2017

Flying Tiger Line’s Boeing 707-349C N322F. (Flying Tiger Line Pilots Association) 14–17 November 1965: Captains Fred Lester Austin, Jr., and Harrison Finch, two retired Trans World Airlines pilots, took off from Honolulu on a 26,230-mile (42,213 kilometer), 57 hour, 27 minute flight around the world—from Pole to Pole! The pair leased a brand new Boeing…

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17 November 1954

Nov 17, 2017

Fairey Aviation Co., Ltd., Delta 2 WG774. (Wikipedia) Lieutenant-Commander Lionel Peter Twiss, OBE, DSC and Bar. (The Telegraph) 17 November 1954: Lionel Peter Twiss, Chief Test Pilot for Fairey Aviation Company Ltd., was flying the company’s experimental supersonic airplane, the Fairey Delta 2, WG774, from the aircraft test center at RAF Boscombe Down. This was…

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17 November 1934

Nov 17, 2017

Captain Frederick Cyrus Nelson, U.S. Army Air Corps, 2 February 1935. 17 November 1934: More than 50,000 spectators were present at Selfridge Field to see Captain Fred C. Nelson, U.S. Army Air Corps, win the Mitchell Trophy Race. Captain Nelson flew his Boeing P-26A over an 89-mile (143.2 kilometer) course at an average speed of…

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17 November 1926

Nov 17, 2017

Major Mario de Bernardi with his record-setting Macchi M.39, 1926. (FAI) Colonel Mario de Bernardi, Regia Aeronautica 17 November 1926: At Hampton Roads, Virginia, Major Mario de Bernardi, Regia Aeronautica, broke his own record, set just four days earlier, when he flew the Aeronautica Macchi M.39, number MM.76, to a new Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for…

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16 November 2004

Nov 16, 2017

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress 52-008, Balls 8, escorted by two NASA F-18 chase planes, performs a farewell flyover during its final flight, 16 November 2004. (NASA) 16 November 2004: Balls 8, the Boeing NB-52B “mothership” at Edwards Air Force Base, performs a farewell flyover during its final flight. 52-008 was both the oldest airplane in the…

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16 November 1973

Nov 16, 2017

Skylab 4 (SA-208) lift off from Launch Complex 39B, 14:01:23 UTC, 16 November 1973. (NASA) 16 November 1973: Skylab 4 lifted off from Launch Complex 39B, Kennedy Space Center, at 14:01:23 UTC. Aboard the Apollo Command and Service Module were NASA astronauts Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Paul Carr, U.S. Marine Corps, Mission Commander;  Lieutenant Colonel William Reid Pogue,…

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16 November 1970

Nov 16, 2017

Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, N1011. (Lockheed Martin) 16 November 1970: At the Lockheed California Company Plant 10, just north of Palmdale in the high desert of Southern California, test pilot Henry Baird (“Hank”) Dees, co-pilot Ralph C. Cokely (formerly a Boeing 747 test pilot), with flight test engineers Glenn E. Fisher and Rod Bray, took the…

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16 November 1920

Nov 16, 2017

Queensland and Northern Territories Aerial Services, Ltd., first airplane, an Avro 504K, G-AUBG. (Qantas) 16 November 1920: Queensland and Northern Territories Aerial Services, Ltd., today known as Qantas, is one of the oldest airlines in the world. It was founded at Winton, Queensland, Australia, on 16 November 1920 as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services…

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15 November 1988

Nov 15, 2017

Space shuttle Buran is launched at Baikonur Cosmodrome, 0300 UTC, 15 November 1988. 15 November 1988: At 0300 UTC, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics launched the space shuttle Buran from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. This was an unmanned flight, with all the systems preprogrammed. The launch vehicle was an Energiya rocket. The Energiya was powered…

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15 November 1967

Nov 15, 2017

Major Michael J. Adams, United States Air Force, with an X-15 hypersonic research rocketplane on Rogers Dry Lake, 22 March 1967. (NASA) 15 November 1967: Major Michael J. Adams, U.S. Air Force, was killed in the crash of the number three North American Aviation X-15 hypersonic research rocketplane, 56-6672. Flight 191 of the X-15 program…

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14 November 1974

Nov 14, 2017

McDonnell Douglas F-15A-8-MC Eagle 73-0090 at Luke Air Force Base. The two aircraft in this photograph are painted “Air Superiority Blue” (F.S. 35450). (U.S. Air Force) 14 November 1974: The very first operational McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle air superiority fighters were delivered to the 555th Tactical Training Squadron, 58th Tactical Training Fighter Wing at Luke…

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