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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1916 – French World War I ace Jean Navarre score his first kill, a German Aviatik north of Fismes, France. As one of the pioneer flying aces, he would be credited with twelve confirmed aerial victories.

1924 – The Royal Canadian Air Force is formed.

1935 – First flight of the North American T-6 Texan (shown above); more than 15,000 of these trainers are later built.

1954 – Last operational flight by a Royal Air Force Supermarine Spitfire, a photo-reconnaissance sortie in Malaya (now Malaysia).

1972 – BOAC and British European Airways are merged to create British Airways.

2001 – An American Lockheed EP-3E Aries II signals intelligence plane of the U.S. Navy collides with a Chinese Shenyang J-8IID fighter and is forced to make an emergency landing on China’s Hainan Island. The U.S. crew was detained for 10 days; the Chinese fighter pilot, Wang Wei, was reported missing and presumed dead. The Chinese refused to let the Orion be flown out, so it was dismantled and transported on chartered Antonov An-124-100 of Polyot.

Updated: April 1, 2013 — 11:23 AM

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