1905 – First flight of the Wright Flyer III, the first fully controllable and practical version of the original Flyer.
1921 – Birth of Lionel Peter Twiss, a British pilot who held the world air speed record as the first man to fly faster than 1,000 mph.
1954 – A Cathay Pacific Douglas DC-4, enroute from Bangkok to Hong Kong, is shot down by People’s Liberation Army Air Force fighters in the South China Sea near Hainan Island. Ten people died, leaving eight survivors. After the incident, the airline received an apology and compensation from China. It was apparently mistaken for a Nationalist plane.
1973 – Eddie Rickenbacker, famed World War I fighter pilot (shown above), dies at 82.
1983 – Air Canada Flight 143, a Boeing 767, runs out of fuel above Manitoba because of a miscalculation; the crew successfully glides the aircraft to a safe landing at a former Air Force base at Gimli, Manitoba; the aircraft becomes known as the “Gimli Glider.”
2010 – The Qinetiq Zephyr, a lightweight, solar-powered unmanned air vehicle designed for use in observation and communications relay, sets an endurance record of 336 hours and 22 minutes.