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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1889 – Birth of Bartolomeo “Meo” Costantini, Italian World War I flying ace and post-war racing driver and manufacturer.

1932 – American aviation pioneer Ruth Nichols sets a new altitude record for a diesel-powered aircraft, 19,928 feet, in a modified Lockheed Vega.

1945 – Death of Otto “Bruno” Kittel, German World War II flying ace (shown above). On his 583rd combat mission, he was shot down and killed by the air gunner of a Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik. He had 267 aerial victories.

1955 – First flight of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21. Almost 12,000 would be built.

1980 – Japan Air Lines begins commercial operations with the highest-capacity airliner ever put into scheduled service at the time, conducting the inaugural flight of eight Boeing 747SRs. The aircraft has seating for 550 passengers, 45 in the upper deck.

1991 – U. S. Navy Grumman A-6E Intruders sink an Iraqi Navy Osa-class missile boat in Kuwait Bay, the last Iraqi naval loss of the Gulf War.

Updated: February 14, 2013 — 10:26 AM

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