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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1912 – Birth of John “Johnny” Milne Checketts, New Zealand World War II fighter ace; he also becomes responsible for introducing the de Havilland Vampire to form the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s first jet squadron.

1939 – First flight of the Douglas DC-5, the least known of the famous DC airliner series; the 16-22 seat, twin-propeller aircraft is intended for shorter routes than the DC-3 or DC-4.

1945 – Twenty-five German Junkers Ju 88s (A model shown) attack Convoy RA 64 with torpedoes as it steams from the Kola Inlet to the River Clyde. Grumman F4F Wildcats from the British aircraft carriers HMS Campania and HMS Nairana shoot down at least three of them.

1977 – Death of Cristoffel Johannes “Boetie” Venter, South African World War I fighter ace, director-general of the South African Air Force during World War II and, later, managing director of South African Airways.

1998 – TWA retires the last of its Boeing 747s; the twin-engine widebody Boeing 767 becomes the airline’s main intercontinental aircraft.

2009 – Aerolift Flight 1015, an Antonov AN-12, crashes shortly after take-off from Luxor International Airport, Egypt, killing all five crew. The aircraft is destroyed.

Updated: February 20, 2015 — 11:05 AM

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