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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1896 – Birth of Grigory Eduardovich Suk, Russian World War I flying ace.

1917 – Canadian World War I flying ace William Wendell Rogers shoots down a Gotha G bomber piloted by German Blue Max order of merit winner Hauptmann Rudolf Kleine, killing Kleine and his three crew members.

1937 – While anchored upstream from Nanking, the U.S.S. Panay and three Standard Oil tankers came under attack from Japanese naval aircraft; the Panay, a U.S. Navy gunboat, is sunk but the Japanese claim it was an accident.

1946 – First flight of the Westland Wyvern (S.Mk.4 shown), a British single-seat, carrier-based, multi-role strike aircraft; it is  powered by large and distinctive contra-rotating propellers.

1968 – Pan Am Flight 217, the Boeing 707 “Clipper Malay,” crashes into the sea and explodes on impact, killing all 51 on board; it is thought the pilots were disoriented by an optical illusion created by the lights of Caracas, Venezuela, on an upslope while approaching the city at night.

1994 – Death of Stuart Allen Roosa, U.S. Air Force pilot and NASA astronaut; he was one of only 24 people to travel to the Moon.

Updated: December 12, 2013 — 1:41 PM

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