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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1911 – The first British seaplane to leave the water, and the first seaplane to take off from British waters, is an Avro Type D piloted by Royal Navy Commander Oliver Schwann. He lifts off from Cavendish Dock, Barrow-in-Furness, England, briefly, but falls back into the water and damages the Avro.

1923 – Birth of Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr., American naval aviator, test pilot, flag officer and NASA astronaut; he would become the second person, and the first American, in space.

1952 – Off northeastern Korea, three U. S. Navy Grumman F9F-5 Panthers from the carrier U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34) engage seven Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15s almost certainly flown by Soviet pilots; a pair of  MiGs are shot down while all three Panthers survive the engagement.

1978 – Death of Alexandre Albert Roger Bretillon, French World War I flying ace.

1978 – Firs flight of the McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet (shown above), a Royal Canadian Air Force fighter known as the CF-188; it is based on the American McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet.

1985 – The first Space Shuttle, Enterprise, is flown to Washington Dulles International Airport atop a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and transferred from NASA to the Smithsonian Institution for eventual museum display.

Updated: November 18, 2013 — 9:42 AM

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