On This Day in Aviation History DECEMBER 8th

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1882 - Birth of Paul Albert Pierre Tarascon, French WWI flying ace, known as "l'as à la jambe de bois" (the ace with the wooden leg) after having lost his right foot in a crash. -

1885 - Birth of René Simon, Early french aviator.

1892 - Birth of Herbert John Louis 'Bert' Hinkler, pioneer Australian aviator (dubbed "Australian Lone Eagle") and inventor. 1st to fly solo from England to Australia, 1st to fly solo across the Southern Atlantic Ocean.

1893 - Birth of Stanley Asa Puffer, Canadian WWI flying ace who served with the RCAF in WWII. -

1894 - Birth of Leonard Horatio Slatter, South african WWI flying ace and senior RAF commander during WWII. -

1894 - Birth of Frank O'Driscoll "Monk" Hunter, American WWI flying ace, advocate of fighter aircraft strategy and tactics. In WWII he served as commanding general of the VIII Fighter Command and, later, the 1st Air Force.'Driscoll_Hunter -

1897 - Birth of John Bonnicher Crompton, Canadian WWI flying ace

1898 - Birth of Harold Byrn "Steve" Hudson, canadian WWI flying ace wjo scored a record 5 victories over observation balloons in a single day -

1903 - A second attempt to launch Langley's 'Aerodrome', once again piloted by Charles M. Manly, fails when the rear wing fouls the launcher and the 'Aerodrome' falls into the river. With this accident, official American support for the project is withdrawn.

1916 - Birth of Pavol Zelenak, Slovak WWII flying ace who served on the Eastern front with the Axis Forces.

1922 - Birth of Marius Eriksen, Norwegian skier, WWII fighter ace, model and actor.,_Jr. -

1922 - Birth of John B. McKay, WWII pilot, American civilian research/test pilot and aeronautical engineer who made 30 flights in the X-15.

1927 - Birth of Vladimir Aleksandrovich Shatalov, Soviet Air force pilot and Cosmonaut.

1931 - Vittorio Suster, flying a Caproni Ca.100 Limousine, wins a race against racing driver Tazio Nuvolari driving an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 at an average speed of 164,237 Km/h on a five lap race of 17 Km.

1932 - 1st flight of the SPCA 90, French high-wing cantilever 3 engined transport monoplane prototype. -

1933 - Death of Karl Jatho, German Aviation pioneer and inventor.

1938 - Launch of the German Aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin, only aircraft carrier launched by Germany during WWII, thus she was never fully completed.

1940 - New York City experiences its 1st blackout and anti-aircraft exercise, around the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

1941 - Death of Raven Freiherr von Barnekow, German WWI flying ace who served in WWII. -

1941 - Birth of Randall Harold ('Randy' or 'Duke') Cunningham, only Navy flying ace from the Vietnam War.

1945 - 1st flight of The Bell 47, American two-bladed, single engine, light helicopter, 1st helicopter certified for civilian use.

1956 - Death of James Crawford "Jimmie" Angel, American aviator after whom Angel Falls in Venezuela, the tallest waterfall in the world, is named.

1962 - 1st flight of the Bell 206 (YOH-4A), American two-bladed, single-engine prototype helicopter which will lead to the Model 206 family.

1963 – Pan Am Flight 214 Boeing 707-121 is struck by positive lightning and crashes near Elkton, Maryland, United States, killing all 81 people on board.

1964 - A United Lines Caravelle makes the 1st landing in the USA completely controlled by computer (automatic touchdown).

1967 - Death of Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr. , USAF officer and 1st African-American astronaut, killed in the crash of an F-104 Starfighter at Edwards Air Force Base, California. He was flying backseat on the mission as the instructor pilot for a flight test trainee learning the steep-descent glide technique. The pilot flying made such an approach but flared too late. The airplane struck the ground hard, the main gear failed, and the airplane caught fire. The front seat pilot of the aircraft successfully ejected upon ground impact and survived the accident, but with major injuries. By the time Lawrence ejected, the airplane had rolled onto one side and his ejection seat, with Lawrence still in it, struck the ground, killing him instantly.,_Jr.

1969 - Olympic Airways Flight 954 Douglas DC-6 on approach to Athens in poor weather crashed at 2000 ft into Mt. Parnes near Keratea, Greece, killing all 90

1972 - Pakistan International Airlines Flight 631 Fokker F-27 Friendship struck a hill in a rain storm near the town of Maidan, Pakistan, broke up into 3 parts and the wings and engine caught fire killing all 26

1972 – United Airlines Flight 553 Boeing 737-222 crashes after aborting its landing attempt at Chicago Midway International Airport, killing 45.

1974 - Soyuz 13, Soviet manned test flight, is back on earth.

1976 - Death of Waldo Dean Waterman, American inventor and aviation pioneer which contributions to aviation were the 1st tailless monoplane (the precursor to the flying wing), the 1st aircraft with modern tricycle landing gear and the 1st successful low cost and simple to fly flying car.

1980 - 1st flight of the Robin R-3140E, French economic 4 seat single-engined light tourer aircraft, part of the 3000 family -

1983 - STS-9 mission with space shuttle Columbia is back on earth.

1984 - Death of Vladimir Nikolayevich Chelomey (Celomej), Soviet mechanics scientist, rocket engineer who created the 1st Soviet pulsating air jet engine.

1987 - Peruvian Navy Fokker F27-400M chartered by Peruvian football club Alianza Lima plunged into the Pacific Ocean six miles short of its destination, off the Ventanilla District of the city of Callao.

1988 - A USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II in a low-altitude flight exercise crashed into the upper floor of an apartment complex in Remscheid, West Germany killing the pilot and 5 on ground. 50 people on ground were seriously injured.

1990 - Death of Forrest S. Petersen, US Navy Aviator and test pilot.

1993 - Death of Ioan Galea, Romanian WWII flying ace -

2004 - Death of Nicolas Roland Payen, French aircraft manufacturer recognized as the inventor of the 1st delta wing plane that flew and designed the smallest jet delta wing in the world.

2006 - 1st flight of The X-53 Active Aeroelastic Wing (AAW), American prototype based on a McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet to test a technology that integrates wing aerodynamics, controls, and structure to harness and control wing aeroelastic twist at high speeds and dynamic pressures. By using multiple leading and trailing edge controls like "aerodynamic tabs", subtle amounts of aeroelastic twist can be controlled to provide large amounts of wing control power, while minimizing maneuver air loads at high wing strain conditions or aerodynamic drag at low wing strain conditions.

2008 - A USMC F/A-18D Hornet crashed in a residential suburb of San Diego, California, after the pilot ejected, killing 4 on ground. A USMC investigation concluded that poor maintenance caused the engine malfunction. Errors by the pilot and USMC personnel on the ground led to the aircraft crash.

2010 - Launch of the SpaceX Dragon, 1st privately held company successfully launch, orbit and recover of a spacecraft.

2010 - IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency experimental spacecraft, 1st spacecraft to successfully demonstrate solar-sail technology in interplanetary space, passed by Venus at about 80,800 km distance.

2010 - Death of Walter Haeussermann, German-American aerospace engineer and member of the "von Braun rocket group".