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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1891 – Birth of James Robert Smith, Canadian World War I flying ace.

1914 – A civilian pilot, René Caudron, makes the first French shipboard takeoff in an airplane from a ramp constructed over the foredeck of the seaplane carrier Foudre, using a Caudron G.3 amphibian floatplane.

1937 – Lt. Col. Mario Pezzi of Italy’s Regia Aeronautica sets a world altitude record of 51,362 feet in a Caproni Ca.161.

1945 – Flying a Messerschmitt Bf 109, Luftwaffe fighter pilot Erich Hartmann (shown above)  scores his final aerial victory, shooting down a Soviet Yakovlev Yak-9 fighter over Brno, Slovakia. He is the highest-scoring ace in history, with 352 kills. He surrenders to Allied forces soon afterward.

1983 – Death of James Andrew Healy, American World War I flying ace and World War II officer. He has been technical advisor for the movie “Wings.”

1992 – Excavations begin at Devonport Naval Base, near Auckland, New Zealand, in a search – that later proves fruitless – of two Boeing seaplanes supposedly buried there in 1919, the first two aircraft built by that company.

Updated: May 8, 2013 — 11:40 AM

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