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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1908 – Death of Thomas Etholen Selfridge, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and the first person to die in a crash of a powered airplane, while Orville Wright, who suffers severe injuries but later recovers, was demonstrating the Flyer at Fort Myer, Va.

1916 – Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the “Red Baron,” scores his first victory; in an Albatros D.II, he downs a Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2b over Cambrai, France.

1935 – First flight of the Junkers Ju 87 “Stuka,” a German ground-attack aircraft (shown above).

1947 – The U.S. Army Air Forces are separated from the U.S. Army and become an independent armed service known as the U.S. Air Force.

1956 – A Lockheed U-2A belonging to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, crashes during climb-out from Wiesbaden Air Base, Germany, when it stalls at 35,000 feet; pilot Howard Carey is killed. The cause of accident is never satisfactorily determined.

1961 – Birth of Pamela Anne Melroy, U.S. Air Force test pilot and NASA astronaut.

Updated: September 17, 2013 — 10:22 AM

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