Aviation began in the 18th century with the development of the hot air balloon, an apparatus capable of atmospheric displacement through buoyancy. Some of the most significant advancements in aviation technology came with the controlled gliding flying of Otto Lilienthal in 1896; then a large step in significance came with the construction of the first powered airplane by the Wright brothers in the early 1900s. Since that time, aviation has been technologically revolutionized by the introduction of the jet which permitted a major form of transport throughout the world. (Full article...)
Image 2Concorde, G-BOAB, in storage at London Heathrow Airport following the end of all Concorde flying. This aircraft flew for 22,296 hours between its first flight in 1976 and final flight in 2000. (from History of aviation)
Image 6"Map of Air Routes and Landing Places in Great Britain, as temporarily arranged by the Air Ministry for civilian flying", published in 1919, showing Hounslow, near London, as the hub (from History of aviation)
Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle (1 June 1907 – 9 August 1996) was a Royal Air Forceofficer and was one of the inventors of jet propulsion. By the end of the war, Whittle's efforts resulted in engines that would lead the world in performance through the end of the decade.
Born in Earlsdon, Coventry, England on June 1, 1907, Whittle left Leamington College in 1923 to join the Royal Air Force (RAF). Through his early days as an Aircraft apprentice he maintained his interest in the Model Aircraft Society where he built replicas, the quality of which attracted the eye of his commanding officer, who was so impressed that he recommended Whittle for the Officer Training College at Cranwell in Lincolnshire in 1926, a rarity for a "commoner" in what was still a very class-based military structure. A requirement of the course was that each student had to produce a thesis for graduation. Whittle decided to write his thesis on future developments in aircraft design, in which he described what is today referred to as a motorjet.
Whittle and Hans von Ohain met after the war and initially Whittle was angry with him as he felt Ohain had stolen his ideas. Ohain eventually convinced him that his work was independent and after that point the two became good friends.
The DC-3 was engineered by a team led by chief engineer Arthur E. Raymond and first flew on December 17, 1935 (the 32nd. anniversary of the Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk). The plane was the result of a marathon phone call from American AirlinesCEOC.R. Smith demanding improvements in the design of the DC-2. The amenities of the DC-3 (including sleeping berths on early models and an in-flight kitchen) popularized air travel in the United States. With just one refuelling stop, transcontinental flights across America became possible. Before the DC-3, such a trip would entail short hops in commuter aircraft during the day coupled with train travel overnight.
During World War II, many civilian DC-3s were drafted for the war effort and thousands of military versions of the DC-3 were built under the designations C-47, C-53, R4D, and Dakota. The armed forces of many countries used the DC-3 and its military variants for the transport of troops, cargo and wounded. Over 10,000 aircraft were produced (some as licensed copies in Japan as Showa L2D, and in the USSR as the Lisunov Li-2).
2009 – A Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) NAMC YS-11 a twin-engined turboprop transport crashed while landing at JMSDF Ozuki Air Field in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. The landing in light rain, the aircraft suffered an overshoot of the runway and crashed through the airfield perimeter fence, crossing a service road and plunged nose-first into a rice field. The 11 JMSDF crew members of the aircraft were uninjured and the NAMC YS-11 aircraft suffered bent propellers.
2000 – A U.S. Navy Beechcraft T-34C Turbo-Mentor of VT-10 crashes in a hayfield in Baldwin County near Silverhill, Alabama, killing both crew. Navy flight instructor, Lt. James S. McComber, 31, of Apple Valley, Minnesota, and his student pilot, Air Force 2nd Lt. Alex Velkov, 23, of Mountain View, California, an Air Force navigator, were flying out of NAS Whiting Field when the afternoon accident occurred. "The plane looked like it was in trouble," said witness Danny Brand, who was questioned by investigators. "(The plane) began rolling to the right, tried to fire up the engine and then corkscrewed straight down to the ground."
1981 – During a Navair weapons release test over the Chesapeake Bay, a McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18A-3-MC Hornet, BuNo 160782, c/n 8, out of NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, drops a vertical ejector bomb rack with an inert Mk. 82 bomb from the port wing, which shears off the outer starboard wing of Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk camera chase plane, BuNo 156896, c/n 13989, which catches fire as it begins an uncontrolled spin. Two crew successfully eject before the Skyhawk impacts in the bay, the whole sequence caught on film from a second chase aircraft. Video of this accident is widely available on the web.
1980 – Jaromir Wagner was the first to fly the Atlantic standing on wing.
1977 – Japan Airlines Flight 472, a Douglas DC-8, is hijacked after taking off from Mumbai, India by Japanese Red Army (JRA) terrorists, who force the plane to land in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where they demand US$6,000,000 and the release of nine imprisoned JRA members being held in Japan; the Japanese government complies and all of the hostages are eventually released.
1971 – A USN Lockheed P-3 Orion, on patrol over the Sea of Japan, is fired on by a Soviet Sverdlov class cruiser in international waters. The P-3 was checking a group of Soviet Navy ships cruising off the shore of Japan when crew members reported seeing tracer rounds fired well ahead of the Orion. Immediately following the incident, authorities recalled the P-3 to its base at MCAS Iwakuni, and all surveillance craft were pulled back five miles.
1954 – Fourth of 13 North American X-10s, GM-19310, c/n 4, on Navaho X-10 flight number 10, a structural test flight, successfully makes extreme manoeuvres at Mach 1.84. However automated landing system attempts to make landing flare 6 m below the runway level at Edwards AFB, California. Vehicle impacts at high speed and is destroyed. However the flight sets a speed record for a turbojet-powered aircraft.
1952 – Nos. 416, 421 and 430 Squadrons flew in stages from Canada to their new base at Grostenquin, Germany, where they formed No. 2 Fighter Wing.
1921 – Piloting the same United States Army Air Service Packard-Le Peré LUSAC-11 fighter that set a world altitude record on February 27, 1920, Lieutenant John A. Macready sets a new world altitude record of 10,518 m (34,508 feet). Macready receives the Mackay Trophy for the flight.
1920 – American pilot Howard Rinehart, flying a Dayton-Wright R. B Racer, becomes the first person to fly an airplane fitted with retractable landing gear.
1912 – Wright Model B, U.S. Army Signal Corps serial number 4, crashes at College Park Airport, Maryland killing two crew, Lieutenant L.C. Rockwell and Corporal Frank S. Scott. On 20 July 1917, the Signal Corps Aviation School is named Rockwell Field in honor of 2nd Lt. Lewis C. Rockwell, killed in this crash, and Scott Field, Illinois is named for the first enlisted personnel killed in an aviation crash. Scott Air Force Base remains the only U.S. Air Force base named for an enlisted man.