On This Day in Aviation History DECEMBER 19th

Jump to December => (01 - 02 - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06 - 07 - 08 - 09 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28 - 29 - 30 - 31)

1871 - Birth of Mervyn O'Gorman, Irish-born British electrical and aircraft engineer.'Gorman

1894 - Birth of Richard Vogt, German engineer and aircraft designer, well known as a designer of unique warplanes, including an asymmetrically-shaped reconnaissance aircraft and a nuclear-powered bomber, during and after WWII.

1894 - Birth of Frank "Pongo" Billinge, British WWI flying ace -

1897 - Birth of Albert Leslie Jones, Brtish WWI flying ace

1898 - Birth of Herbert Howell Beddow, Welsh WWI flying ace.

1898 - Birth of Roy Kirkwood McConnell, Canadian WWI flying ace and RCAF instructor during WWII. -

1910 - Yoshitoshi Tokugawa flew Japan's 1st successful powered aircraft flight (a Farman Biplane) at Yoyogi Parade Ground where Tokyo's Yoyogi Park is now located

1912 - Birth of Gerhard Schöpfel, German WWII flying ace. -

1915 - Canadian Malcolm McBean Bell-Irving, flying a Morane Scout of No. 1 Squadron, RFC, claimed the 1st Canadian victory by destroying an enemy aircraft.

1917 - Death of Richard Aveline Maybery, Welsh WWI fighter ace, killed in action in his S.E.5a, hit by anti-aircraft fire while following the burning Albatros D.V. he just shot down. -

1928 - 1st autogiro to fly in the USA: Harold Pitcairn flies a Cierva C.8W Autogiro (W for wright engined) he brought from spain.

1930 - Amelia Earhart becomes the 1st autogiro pilot to carry a passenger, flying a PCA-2 Pitcairn Autogyro and making several trips with various passengers until dark.

1933 - Charles Lindbergh and his wife lands back their Lockheed Sirius 'Tingmissartoq' in New York having travelled 30,000 miles and visited 4 continents and 21 countries.

1936 - French Maryse Bastié lands her Caudron C.635 'Jean Mermoz' in Dakar, coming from Paris for a transatlantic fight to Natal (Brazil).

1939 - 1st flight of the Levasseur PL 400, French 2 seat high wing monoplane, reconnaissance aircraft prototype.

1942 - 1st flight of The Piaggio P.119, Italian experimental fighter with a "buried" radial engine mounted mid-fuselage.

1942 - Birth of Dennis Edward "Denny" Fitch, Sr., American commercial airline pilot, best known for his critical actions as an off-duty McDonnell Douglas DC-10 training captain, using differential throttle adjustment to steer United Airlines Flight 232 airliner to an oblique crash-landing at Sioux Gateway Airport, in Sioux City, Iowa, resulting in the survival of 184 out of 296 on board.

1944 - Death of Toshio Sakagawa, Japanese WWII and Sino-Japanese War fighter ace, killed in the crash of a transport aircraft in which he was passenger.

1945 - 1st flight of The Morane-Saulnier MS.570, French low-wing cantilever monoplane with retractable tricycle undercarriage civil utility aircraft, derivative of the MS.560 aerobatics aircraft with a revised fuselage design that added a second seat side-by-side with the pilot's and a more powerful engine. -

1945 - 1st flight of The Grumman AF Guardian, American 1st purpose-built anti-submarine warfare (ASW) carrier-based aircraft to enter service with the US Navy, largest single-engine piston-powered carrier aircraft ever to see service.

1948 - Death of Georges Thenault, French military aviator, commander of the Lafayette Escadrille (the famed branch of the French air force in WWI composed of American volunteer pilots), Author and Assistant Military Attache for Aeronautics at the French Embassy, Washington DC.

1951 - Birth of Fred Weldon Leslie, American scientist and NASA astronaut.

1955 - Death of Keith Macpherson Smith KBE, Australian aviator, who, along with his brother, Ross Macpherson Smith and two other men, became the 1st people to fly from England to Australia.

1956 - 1st rocket-powered flight of the SNCASE SE-212 Durandal, French jet and rocket mixed-power fighter prototype.

1957 - Birth of Michael Edward Fossum, USAF test pilot and NASA astronaut

1970 - Test Pilots Kurt Cannon and Byron Graham, established 2 E-1 new class world speed records flying the Sikorsky S-67 Blackhawk (private-venture, prototype attack helicopter) at 355.48 km/h (221 mph) on 15 to 25 km (9.3 to 16 mi) course.

1971 - Ladislaw Bezak, a Czechoslovakian Airlines pilot and Aerobatic champion defects to the west with his family. Bezak, flying a small Zlin 226T aircraft, avoids Czech fighter patrols to land safely in Germany.

1972 - Apollo 17, 11th and final manned mission in the American Apollo space program, is back on earth.

1974 - Launch of Symphonie-A, 1st communication satellite built by France and Germany (and the 1st to use three-axis stabilization in geostationary orbit with a bipropellant propulsion system) to provide geostationary orbit injection and station-keeping during its operational lifetime.

1976 - Just minutes after the conclusion of an NFL playoff game with the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Memorial Stadium, Baltimore, A small private plane, a Piper Cherokee, buzzed the stadium, and then crashed into the upper deck overlooking the south end zone. Fortunately for the spectators in that area, the Steelers had won the game handily (40–14), and most of the fans had already exited the stadium by the time the game ended. There were no serious injuries, and the pilot was arrested for violating air safety regulations.

1978 - 1st flight of The Beriev A-50 "Mainstay", Soviet-built airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft based on the Ilyushin Il-76 transport

1980 - New York Air service begins operations, launching shuttle services between New York LaGuardia, Washington National, and Boston Logan airports.

1982 - Death of Frederick Emmons Terman, American academic, credited (together with William Shockley) with being the father of Silicon Valley. During World War II, Terman directed a staff of more than 850 at the Radio Research Laboratory at Harvard University. This organization was the source of Allied jammers to block enemy radar, tunable receivers to detect radar signals, and aluminum strips (“chaff”) to produce spurious reflections on enemy radar receivers. These countermeasures significantly reduced the effectiveness of radar-directed anti-aircraft fire.

1992 - Orestes Lorenzo Perez, A Cuban Air Force pilot who defected the year before to the US, returns to Cuba in a borrowed small, twin-engined 1961 Cessna 310, landing on a well known bridge along the coastal highway east of Havana in Northern Matanzas Province at an agreed time. His wife Victoria and their two sons, Reyneil, 11, and Alejandro, 6, are already waiting on his order delivered through a messenger earlier. Orestes Lorenzo Perez picks up his family and manages a successful safe return to Miami. - -

1997 – SilkAir Flight 185 Boeing 737-36N crashes into the Musi River, near Palembang in Indonesia, killing 104.

1999 - Launch of STS-103, Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission by Space Shuttle Discovery.

2002 - Death of Guy Pierre Bordelon, US Navy only ace And only Night fighter ace of the Korean War - -

2005 - Chalk's Ocean Airways Flight 101 Grumman G-73T Turbine Mallard crashed on take off and sank in Government Cut channel, a waterway which connects the Port of Miami with the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 20. The cause of the accident was a fatigue failure in the right wing initiated by a crack in a span-wise stringer close to the wing root. The crack had been detected but the repair was eventually to prove ineffective.

2006 - Launch of SAR-Lupe-1, Germany's 1st reconnaissance satellite system used for military purposes. SAR is an abbreviation for synthetic aperture radar and "Lupe" is German for magnifying glass. 1st of a serie of 5 satellites.