On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1897 – Birth of Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp, German World War I and World War II flying ace; he is one of the few two-war aces in history.

1915 – The first combat search and rescue by aircraft in history is done by Royal Navy pilot Richard Bell Davies, who picks up his friend shot down behind enemy lines Bulgaria during a bombing mission; Davies is awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions.

1919 – Death of Franz Rudorfer, an Austro-Hungarian World War I flying ace; he became a volunteer in the Ukrainian Military Air Service and took part on the Polish-Ukrainian war before escaping with his Nieuport 23 to Czechoslovakia.

1942 – Operation Freshman, the first British airborne operation conducted using gliders, begins; its target is the Vemork Norsk Hydro chemical plant in Norway which produces heavy water for Nazi Germany. A pair of Handley Page Halifax aircraft depart from RAF Skitten in Scotland each towing a Horsa glider carrying sixteen Royal Engineers.

1960 – First flight of the Hawker P.1127 (shown above), a British experimental and development aircraft; it was the predecessor of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first vertical and-or short take-off and landing (VSTOL) jet fighter-bomber.

1996 – Space Shuttle Columbia is launched for what will become the longest Shuttle mission (STS-80) ever flown at more than 17 days.

Updated: November 19, 2013 — 12:31 PM
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