1890 – Birth of Edward “Eddie” Vernon Rickenbacker, American World War I fighter ace, race car driver and automotive designer, a government consultant in military matters and a pioneer in air transportation, particularly as the longtime head of Eastern Air Lines.
1908 – The first European flight of the Wright Brothers is made by Wilbur Wright in Le Mans, France; Griffith Brewer becomes the first Briton to fly as a passenger in an aeroplane.
1972 – The Grumman F-14A Tomcat, the first carrier-based variable-geometry wing aircraft in the U.S. Navy, enters service with Fighter Squadron 124 (VF-124), the “Gunfighters.”
1973 – First flight of the RFB/Grumman American Fanliner (shown above), an experimental German light plane propelled by a piston-engined ducted fan.
1979 – Death of Brian Edmund Baker, British World War I flying ace and longtime Royal Air Force commander.
2001 – In the Linate Airport disaster, Scandinavian Airlines Flight 686, a McDonnell Douglas MD-87, crashes into a Cessna business jet on takeoff from Milan, Italy; the airliner then swerves into a baggage handling building and catches fire. All 110 people on board Flight 686 die as well as all four in the Cessna. Four people on the ground also perish.