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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1894 – Birth of Phillip Bernard “Bruce” Prothero, Scottish World War I flying ace.

1919 – Royal Air Force Maj. A.S.C. MacLaren and Capt. Robert Halley arrive in Delhi, completing the first England-India flight, in a Handley Page V/1500.

1937 – First flight of the Beechcraft Model 18, or “Twin Beech” (military version, the Beech C-45H Expeditor, shown), an American 6-11 seat, twin-engine, low-wing, conventional-gear aircraft.

1943 – U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Joe Foss shoots down three Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zekes with his Grumman F4F Wildcat, bringing his victory total to 26; he becomes the first American to match Eddie Rickenbacker’s World War I score of 26. The achievement also makes him the second-highest-scoring Marine Corps ace in history and the highest-scoring one to score all of his victories while in Marine Corps service.

1970 – Death of William Thomas Piper Sr., American airplane manufacturer, and founder, eponym, and first president of Piper Aircraft Corp. Piper also served in the Spanish-American War and World War I.

1991 – The first hot-air balloon to cross the Pacific Ocean, the “Virgin Pacific Flyer,” takes off from Japan to Northern Canada crewed by Per Lindstrand and Richard Branson; flying in the trans-oceanic jet streams, it records the highest ground speed for a manned balloon at 245 mph.

Updated: January 15, 2014 — 9:35 AM

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