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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1894 – Birth of Bernard Henri Barny de Romanet, French World War I fighter ace and successful sporting pilot.

1917 – First flight of the Junkers J.I (shown), a German low-level ground attack and observation aircraft; it is the first all-metal aircraft to enter mass production.

1941 – Final air battle of the French-Thai War. Royal Thai Air Force Martin B-10s of the 50th Bomber Squadron set out on a raid on Sisophon, escorted by 13 Curtiss Hawk 75Ns of the 60th Fighter Squadron. Japanese-mediated armistice goes into effect later in the day.

1951 – Death of Dominic Salvatore “Don” Gentile, U.S. World War II fighter ace and test pilot, killed in the crash of his Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star jet trainer.

1986 – The Space Shuttle Challenger breaks apart after liftoff; all seven astronauts, four of whom were U.S. military test pilots, aboard the spacecraft perish.

1999 – Pilots of a pair of U.S. Air Force McDonnell-Douglas F-15C Eagles manage to safely eject after a mid-air collision at 35,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico during combat training; they are rescued after 45 minutes in the water by a USAF Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low that was on an instrument checkout flight.

Updated: January 28, 2014 — 10:43 AM

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