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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1918 – The Royal Air Force is born; it is formed from the army’s Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

1939 – First flight of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero (A6M3 Model 22 shown), a long-range fighter operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service.

1973 – Birth of Sergei Aleksandrovich Volkov, Russian Air Force pilot and cosmonaut; he is the first second-generation cosmonaut.

1976 – Piper’s 100,000th airplane, a PA31T Cheyenne II, is rolled out from the company’s Lock Haven, Pa., plant.

1977 – Death of John Herbert Hedley, British World War I flying ace.

2011 – Southwest Airlines Flight 812, a Boeing 737-300 with 123 people aboard, suffers an in-flight structural failure which opens a six-foot-long hole in its fuselage and triggers an explosive decompression and the deployment of oxygen masks. Only two people suffer minor injuries, and the airliner makes a successful emergency landing in Arizona. Southwest Airlines grounds all 80 of its 737-300s for inspection.

Updated: April 1, 2015 — 1:23 AM

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