On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1881 – Birth of Arthur Laibel “Al” Welsh (born Welcher), a Russian-born Jewish-American aviator who became the first flight instructor for the Wright brothers.

1914 – The first true bomber, the French Voisin III, is used in combat for the first time in an attack on German airship hangars at Metz-Frascaty, Germany.

1937 – Beginning of air-to-air combat of the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II in general when six Imperial Japanese Mitsubishi G3M bombers are shot down by Nationalist Chinese Air Force Boeing P-26 Peashooters while raiding Chinese air bases; it is known today as Chinese Air Force Day.

1954 – Death of Dr. Hugo Eckener, manager of the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin during the inter-war years, and commander of the famous “Graf Zeppelin” for most of its record-setting flights, including the first airship flight around the world, making him the most successful airship commander in history.

1974 – First flight of the Panavia Tornado, a twin-engine, variable-sweep wing combat jet (shown above).

2012 – An unmanned experimental U.S. Air Force Boeing X-51A Waverider hypersonic aircraft launched from above the Point Mugu Naval Air Test Range in California goes out of control and crashes into the Pacific Ocean 15 seconds into its flight and before igniting its scramjet engine. The crash leaves only one surviving Waverider out of the four constructed.

Updated: August 14, 2013 — 10:26 AM
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