On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1889 – Birth of Adolphe Célestin Pégoud, a French aviator who became the first fighter ace, the first pilot to make a parachute jump from an airplane and one of the first to fly a loop in a Blériot model XI.

1921 – The U.S. Army and Navy begin trials in Chesapeake Bay to test the effectiveness of aircraft in attacking ships. The captured German destroyer German destroyer G-102, light cruiser Frankfurt and battleship Ostfriesland will all be successfully sunk by aerial bombing.

1952 – A Swedish Douglas DC-3 Skytrain, flying over the Baltic Sea carrying out signals intelligence gathering operations for the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment, is shot down by a Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15bis fighter; eight are lost. It is the beginning of the Catalina affair, named after a Swedish Consolidated PBY Catalina rescue plane that was also downed days later looking for the DC-3 crew.

1971 – A U.S. Air Force Boeing EC-135N of the 4950th Test Wing, Space and Missile Systems Organization (SAMSO), en route from Pago Pago, American Samoa, to Hickam AFB, Hawaii, disappears near Palmyra Island after monitoring the French Encelade atmospheric nuclear test on June 12. Twelve military personnel and twelve civilians are lost and only small bits of wreckage are found.

1993 – Death of Donald Kent “Deke” Slayton (shown above), an American World War II bomber pilot, U.S. Air Force test pilot and one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts.

2011 – The “Liberty Belle,” a restored Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, makes a forced landing in a field near Oswego, Ill., after taking off from Aurora Municipal Airport in Sugar Grove, Ill; the plane is destroyed.

Updated: June 13, 2013 — 11:11 AM
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