On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1885 – Birth of Blanche Stuart Scott, also known as Betty Scott, possibly the first American woman aviator; she became an exhibition and test pilot.

1931 – Amelia Earhart climbs to a record altitude of 18,415 feet in a Pitcairn PCA2 autogyro at Willow Grove, Pa., near Philadelphia.

1943 – On his first mission, U.S. Marine Corps pilot James Elms Swett (shown) shoots down seven Japanese Aichi D3A “Val” dive bombers with his Grumman F4F Wildcat during the largest Japanese air attack since the attack on Pearl Harbor, targeting U. S. shipping in Ironbottom Sound off Guadalcanal and Tulagi.

1945 – First flight of the Rikugun Ki-93, a Japanese twin-engined fighter prototype armed with large-caliber cannon to serve in the anti-shipping or bomber-destroyer roles. Damaged on its maiden flight, it later will be destroyed by American bombs.

1954 – South African Airways Flight 201, a de Havilland Comet 1, breaks up in flight and crashes into the Mediterranean Sea; 21 people die.

1959 – Death of Mario de Bernardi, Italian World War I fighter pilot, seaplane air racer of the 1920s, and test pilot of early Italian experimental jets.


Updated: April 8, 2014 — 11:41 AM
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