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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1905 – Birth of Artem Ivanovich Mikoyan, Soviet aircraft designer who, in partnership with Mikhail Iosifovich Gurevich, founded the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau and the mind behind many MiG military planes.

1918 – The first American night patrol of World War I takes place when a Felixstowe F.2 A flying boat takes off from RAF Killinghome, England.

1950 – A U.S. Air Force Boeing B-29 Superfortress, carrying a Mark 4 nuclear bomb, suffers two runaway propellers and landing gear problems on takeoff at Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base, Fairfield, Calif. The crew attempts an emergency landing but crashes, causing a huge explosion that kills 19 aboard the plane and on the ground, including mission commander Brig. Gen. Robert F. Travis; the airfield is later renamed Travis Air Force Base in his honor. The USAF attributes the explosion to ten or twelve conventional 500-pound HE bombs aboard the B-29 and claims that the nuclear bomb’s fuel capsule was aboard a different aircraft, but admits the bomb casing contained depleted uranium used as ballast.

1971 – The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 wide-body, trijet enters service with American Airlines; AAL eventually becomes the largest operator of the type with a total fleet of 66.

1994 – Death of Clive Robertson “Killer” Caldwell (shown above), leading Australian World War II fighter ace, highest-scoring Curtiss P-40 Warhawk pilot from any air force and the highest-scoring Allied pilot in North Africa; Caldwell also served in the South West Pacific Theatre.

2010 – First flight of the AeroVironment Global Observer 1001, an American concept for a high-altitude, long endurance UAV to operate as a stratospheric geosynchronous satellite system with regional coverage.

Updated: August 5, 2013 — 11:56 AM

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