On This Day in Aviation History AUGUST 17 th

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1859 - 1st air mail in the U.S. is carried in the balloon "Jupiter" by John Wise.

1872 - Birth of Traian Vuia, Romanian inventor and aviation pioneer.

1874 - Birth of Raimund Nimführ, Austrian aviation pioneer

1890 - Birth of Stefan Bastyr, Polish aviator and military pilot, one of the pioneers of the Polish aviation. He is credited with the 1st military flight in the history of the Polish Air Force

1896 - Death of Roberto Adolfo (Robert Adolf) Chodasiewicz, Polish born argentinian military engineer and pioneering military aeronaut. -

1909 - 1st flight of the Grade II, german early aeroplane built by Hans Grade.

1910 - 1st flight with a passenger across the English Channel is made by John Bevins Moisant in a two-seater Bleriot . His passenger was his mechanic, Albert Fileux, and he also took his cat called Mademoiselle Fifi. -

1911 - Birth of Elinor Smith (born Elinor Regina Patricia Ward), pioneering American aviatrix,(known as "The Flying Flapper of Freeport"), 1st woman test pilot for both Fairchild and Bellanca (now AviaBellanca).She was the youngest licensed pilot in the world at 16.

1914 - Russian freighter Lethington captured by Japanese in 1905 is renamed Wakamiya and transformed as a seaplane carrier, becoming the 1st Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carrier.

1914 - Lewis Edward Goodier tests a bomb-dropping device designed by Lt. Riley Scott in a Martin Model T at the Signal Corps Aviation School at North Island, California.,_Jr.

1917 - Death of Phillip Andrew Johnston, Australian WWI flying ace, killed in action when his Sopwith Camel collided with another member of his flight.

1917 - Death of Harold Waddell Joslyn, Canadian WWI flying ace, killed in action in his Bristol F.2b.

1917 - New zealand WWI fighter ace Keith Rodney Park (Later WWII RAF Commander) with British flying ace (oberver/gunner) Arthur Rex Hurden Noss scored 4 Albatross D.III on a single mission with their Bristol F.2b. -

1918 - 1st flight of the Martin MB-1, American large biplane bomber, 1st purpose-built bomber produced by the United States.

1921 - Birth of Hampton Edward Boggs, American WWII and Korean war flying ace.

1926 - 1st flight of The Short Singapore I (S.5), British twin-engined biplane flying boat.

1927 - Arthur C. Goebel and navigator William V. Davis Jr. wins the Dole Air Race in their Travel Air 5000 'Woolaroc' in 26 hours, 17 minutes, 3,870 kilometers (2,400 mi) from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii. Of the 8 entrants, 2 reached Hawai, 3 crashed and 3 disappeared.

1929 - 1st flight of the Yakovlev AIR-3, Soviet 2-seat general aviation monoplane.

1929 - Birth of Francis Gary Powers, American pilot whose CIA U-2 spy plane was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission over Soviet Union airspace, causing the 1960 U-2 incident.

1933 - Birth of Eugene Francis "Gene" Kranz, USAF pilot, NASA Flight Director and manager.

1937 - Death of Rafael Magriña Vidal, Spanish Republican flying ace of the civil war, killed in combat by a Bf 109 whilst flying an I-16 near Santander.

1939 - 1st flight of the Douglas A-20/DB-7 Havoc, American light bomber and night fighter.

1940 - Death of William Meade Lindsley "Billy" Fiske III, 1928 and 1932 Olympic champion bobsled driver and one of the 1st American pilots killed in action in WWII, serving in the Royal Air Force. Died from severe burns after landing is Hurricane on fire the day before.

1941 - Death of Marie Gaston Fulerand Leon Vitalis, French WWI flying ace -

1942 - In a mission against the Rouen/Sotteville marshalling yard (1st all-US bombing raid), 2nd Lt Sam F Junkin becomes the 1st American pilot to down a German fighter

1943 - Launch of Operation Hydra : Royal Air Force attack on the Peenemünde Army Research Center, marking the beginning of Operation Crossbow, strategic bombing campaign against Nazi Germany's V-weapon programme.

1943 - 60 B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 8th Air Force are lost during The Schweinfurt–Regensburg mission.

1946 - 1st flight of the Ilyushin Il-18, Soviet four-engined airliner prototype.

1946 - 1st Sgt. Larry Lambert is the 1st US person to be ejected from an airplane by means of its emergency escape equipment.

1951 - Death of Antonio Riva,Italian pilot and WWI flying ace, executed in Beijing, China, by a firing squad along with a Japanese citizen, Ruichi Yamaguchi. They were convicted of being involved in a plot to assassinate Mao Zedong and other high-ranking Communist officials -

1951 - Colonel Fred Ascani breaks the world speed record at 635.686 mph at the National Air Races, winning the McKay trophy with a F-86F Sabre.

1952 - Birth of Thomas John Hennen, American astronaut.

1952 - Birth of Kathryn Ryan Cordell Thornton, American scientist and NASA astronaut

1953 - Birth of Robert Brent "Bob" Thirsk, Canadian engineer and physician, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut.

1956 - 1st flight of the Boeing C-135 Stratolifter, American transport aircraft derived from the prototype Boeing 367-80 jet airliner.

1958 - Birth of Sergei Konstantinovich Krikalev, Russian cosmonaut and mechanical engineer.

1958 - Launch of Pioneer 0 (also known as Thor-Able 1), American space probe designed to go into orbit around the Moon, 1st satellite in the Pioneer program and one of the 1st attempted launches beyond Earth orbit by any country, but the rocket failed shortly after launch.

1960 – American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers is sentenced in moscow to ten years imprisonment by the Soviet Union for espionage.

1961 - 1st flight of The Handley Page HP.115, British delta wing research aircraft built to test the low-speed handling characteristics to be expected from a supersonic airliner of slender configuration. It eventually emerged as the Concorde.

1970 - Venera 7 , Soviet spacecraft, is launched. It will later become the 1st spacecraft to successfully transmit data from the surface of another planet (Venus).

1974 - 1st flight of The Ryan YQM-98 R-Tern (also called Compass Cope R), American developmental reconnaissance drone that could take off and land from a runway like a manned aircraft, and operate at high altitudes for up to 24 hours to perform surveillance, communications relay, or atmospheric sampling.

1978 - Double Eagle II piloted by Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman, complete the 1st balloon Atlantic crossing, landing in Miserey near Paris, after 137 hours 6 minutes flight.

1984 - 1st flight of the Sukhoi Su-39 (or SU-25TM) , upgrade of Su-25 attack plane with improved navigation and attack systems, and better survivability.

1987 - 1st flight of the Sukhoi Su-33 (Flanker-D), Russian all-weather carrier-based air defence fighter, derivative of the Su-27 "Flanker" and initially known as the Su-27K.

1988 - A Pakistan Air Force Lockheed C-130B Hercules crashed shortly after takeoff from Bahawalpur Airport, Pakistan, killing all 30 on board in cluding president General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. -

1990 - Death of David Arthur Burchinal, American test pilot, WWII bomber pilot and high ranking officer

1996 - Launch of Soyuz TM-24, Russian space mission to MIR carrying the 1st French woman in space, Claudie André-Deshays.

1999 - 1st flight of The Kazan Ansat, Russian light, multipurpose helicopter.

2000 - Death of Robert Rowe Gilruth, American aviation and space pioneer.

2010 - Death of Alejandro "Álex" Maclean, Spanish TV film producer and aerobatics pilot, who competed in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship under the number 36. Maclean was nicknamed "The Flying Matador". His MXS R crashed into the ground, while performing a manoeuvre during a training exercise. -

2011 - 1st flight of The 1st turkish built TAI/AgustaWestland T-129, (AgustaWestland designation AW729) , Italian/Turkish attack helicopter.