On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1914 – Frank A. Kappeler, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, was born in San Francisco. He was the navigator aboard one of the North American B-25 Mitchells used by the Doolittle Raiders to bomb Tokyo, Japan in 1942.

1918 – The U.K. forms its air ministry, appointing Lord Rothermere as secretary of state for air, and Major-General Sir Hugh Trenchard as chief of the air staff.

1953 – Royal Air Force takes delivery of its first supersonic jet, the North American Aviation F-86 Sabre.

1959 – U.S.S.R. launches Luna 1, which would become the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon and to orbit the Sun.

1965 – U.K. Secretary of Defence Denis Healey decides the nation ought not to build military aircraft anymore, and instead should order U.S.-built F-4 Phantoms and C-130 Hercules.

1967 – The National Supersonic Transport program, formed by U.S. President John F. Kennedy for the purpose of subsidizing the design of a Concorde-fighting supersonic airliner, awards a contract to Boeing for its 2707 SST design. Despite 115 orders from 25 different airlines, the program would lose its funding in 1971, forcing Boeing to lay off 60,000 workers.

1989 – Tupolev’s Tu-204, the Soviet Union’s first airliner fitted with a fly-by-wire control system, makes its maiden flight.

2004 – British Airways cancels several flights flights from London Heathrow Airport to Washington, D.C., and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, due to security fears.

Updated: January 2, 2013 — 1:36 PM
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