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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1823 – Birth of Félix du Temple de la Croix, a French naval officer and an inventor, who developed some of the first flying machines. Better known as Félix du Temple, he is credited with the first successful flight of a powered aircraft of any sort, a powered model plane, and is sometimes credited with the first manned powered flight in history onboard his Monoplane.

1941 – The first Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses go into combat, serving with the Royal Air Force on a daylight bombing raid from 30,000 feet against Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

1943 – U.S. Navy airship K-74 is shot down by a German submarine (U-134), the only airship lost to enemy fire during World War II.

1955 – First flight of the Folland Gnat (shown above), a small, swept-wing British subsonic jet trainer and light fighter.

1984 – Beverly Lynn Burns becomes the first female Boeing 747 airline captain, flying PEOPLExpress flight 604 from Newark, N.J. to Los Angeles. By the time she retired from Continental in 2008, she had captained Boeing models from the 727 to the 777 as well as the McDonnell Douglas DC-10.

2009 – Death of Henry William Allingham, British World War I pilot and engineer; he was the last surviving member of the Royal Naval Air Service and last surviving founding member of the Royal Air Force.

Updated: July 18, 2013 — 9:52 AM

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