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On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1918 – Flying a Nieuport 28 fighter, the top-scoring American ace of World War I, Eddie Rickenbacker, scores his first victory when he downs a German Pfalz D.III fighter near Baussant, France.

1932 – Birth of Dmitri Alekseyevich Zayikin, Soviet fighter pilot, Cosmonaut, instructor and lead engineer at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center.

1959 – Death of Harold Blackburn, British aviation pioneer, aircraft designer and World War I pilot in Egypt; he also was the first pilot to carry newspapers for commercial sale by air and the first to pilot a scheduled airline service in Great Britain.

1972 – A McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom becomes the first aircraft to fly with a computer-integrated “fly by wire” control system.

1981 – First flight of the Myasishchev VM-T Atlant (shown), a variant of Myasishchev’s M-4 Molot bomber; the Atlant is a Soviet transport modified to carry rocket boosters and Buran space shuttles.

2013 – Virgin Galactic’s commercial spacecraft SpaceShipTwo makes its first powered flight; released by its jet-powered mothership White Knight Two after a 45-minute climb at an altitude of 48,000 feet over the Mojave Desert, SpaceShipTwo burns its engine for 16 seconds, climbing to 55,000 feet and reaching a speed of Mach 1.2 before gliding to a landing at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif., after 10 minutes of independent flight.


Updated: April 29, 2014 — 12:57 PM

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