1887 – Birth of John Arthur Macready, American test pilot and aviator; he became the only three-time recipient of the Mackay Trophy, receiving the prestigious award for three consecutive years.
1918 – Australian World War I fighter ace Francis Ryan “Frank” Smith shoots down four Fokker D.VIIs with his S.E.5a, his last victories of the war.
1931 – First flight of the Hawker Nimrod, a British carrier-based, biplane fighter.
1974 – Death of John Sharpe Griffith, American World War I flying ace who, postwar, flew for the White Army forces in Russia against communists, then returned to service in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II.
1997 – On the 50th anniversary of his historic flight past Mach 1, Charles Elwood “Chuck” Yeager flies a new “Glamorous Glennis,” a McDonnell Douglas F-15D Eagle (shown above), past Mach 1 with U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Troy Fontaine as co-pilot. The chase plane for the flight is a General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon piloted by Bob Hoover, a famous air-show pilot, and Yeager’s wingman for the first supersonic flight. This is Yeager’s last official flight with the USAF.
2012 – The first human to break the sound barrier parachuting to Earth from an helium balloon is Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner; during his nearly five-minute free fall, he sets records for altitude (24.261 miles), speed (833.900 mph or Mach 1.24) and distance (119,846 feet or more than 22 miles).