On This Day in Aviation History DECEMBER 21st

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1873 - Birth of Bertram Dickson, pioneer Scottish airman and 1st British serviceman to qualify as a pilot, One of the two 1st pilots (René Thomas) involved in a mid-air collision.

1881 - Birth of Jules Charles Toussaint Védrines, french aviator.

1887 - Birth of Marie Charles Maurice Lecoq De Kerland, French WWI flying ace -

1893 - Birth of John Joseph "Jack" Malone, Canadian WWI flying ace -

1895 - Birth of Melville Wells Waddington, Canadian WWI flying ace -

1895 - Birth of Donald Hudson, American WWI flying ace, South American aviation pioneer, 1st to overfly the Andes Mountains, Instructor for the Bolivian Air Force and record setter. -

1898 - Birth of John Conrade Bateman, British WWI flying ace

1899 - Birth of James Donald Innes Hardman, British WWI flying ace, WWII high ranking officer and Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) of the Royal Australian Air Force post WWII. -

1899 - Birth of Ivan Couper Sanderson, British WWI flying ace

1904 - Birth of Franco Mazzotti Biancinelli Faglia, Italian racing driver and raid aviator.

1904 - Birth of Francis Thomas Bacon, English engineer who developed the first practical hydrogen–oxygen fuel cell.

1910 - Hélène Dutrieu wins the Femina cup with a non-stop flight of 167 kilometers in 2 hours 35 minutes, 1st winner of this cup. -

1914 - 1st bombing raid of WWI on the Western Front is performed by a Farman MF.11 'Shorthorn' of the Royal Naval Air Service, attacking German artillery positions around Ostend, Belgium. -

1914 - 1st time United Kingdom is bombed by air, A Friedrichshafen FF29 floatplane of the German Navy's See Flieger Abteilung 1 (Seaplane Unit No.1) dropped two bombs on Dover Harbour, both of which fell into the sea

1915 - Claudius Dornier attempts to flight test the giant German Zeppelin-Lindau RsI hydroplane on Lake Constance in Germany, but it fails to reach enough speed to take-off.

1921 - Birth of William Reid, Scottish WWII bomber pilot.

1923 - French dirigible Dixmude (formerly the German LZ 114) exploded over the Mediterranean Sea en route from Cuers-Pierrefeu to Algeria after being struck by lightning. All 52 crew members on board perished.

1926 - Herbert Arthur "Bert" Dargue takes off for leading the U.S. Army Pan American Flight, a public relations goodwill mission to promote U.S. aviation in South America, Flying five Loening OA-1A seaplanes.

1928 - Death of Henri Guyot, French helicopter pioneer and early aircraft designer.

1929 - 1st flight of the S.P.C.A. 40T (SPCA VII), French three engine high-wing monoplane of conventional layout with a thick-sectioned, cantilever wing mail plane prototype which could be adaptated to seat five passengers. -

1930 - 1st flight of the Blériot Bl-137 M0, French 4 seat twin engine high wing monoplane bomber prototype issued from the Bl-127/2 -

1930 - French André Paul Vercuyse set an Airspeed record over a 100Km circuit C.Bis Class, 4th categorie seaplane of 122.781 km/h with the Peyret-Mauboussin PMH X Bis

1931 - Death of Orlando Clive "Bridget" Bridgeman, British WWI flying ace -

1932 - The Vickers Vincent (three-seat general-purpose version of the Vildebeest) left for a tour of the RAF in the Middle East and East Africa , visiting every airbase in the area.

1935 - French Genin and Robert land their Caudron C.635 'Simoun' named 'Gody Radio' completing a flight from Le Bourget, France to Antananarivo (Madagascar) in 57 hours 36 minutes (8665 Km) .

1936 - 1st flight of The Junkers Ju 88, WWII German Luftwaffe twin-engine, multi-role aircraft.It was used successfully as a bomber, dive bomber, night fighter, torpedo bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, heavy fighter, and even as a flying bomb during the closing stages of conflict.

1937 - 1st aircraft manufactured by De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd, a D.H. 82A Tiger Moth, is test flown at Downsview Ontario by PC Garratt.

1940 - 1st 'intruder' sorties (offensive night patrols over enemy territory intended to destroy hostile aircraft and dislocate the enemy's flying training organisation) are mounted by Bristol Blenheims of No.23 Squadron.

1941 - The Luftwaffe begin a renewed air offensive against Malta. Heavy raids are mounted on the airfield at Luqa on 26 and 29 February, during the course of which 21 Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft are destroyed on the ground.

1941 - 1st submarine to be destroyed by an aircraft at night: A Fairey Swordfish Mk. I, flying with 812 Naval Air Squadron from RNAS North Front, Gibraltar, sinks German submarine U-451 by depth charges in the Atlantic ocean.

1941 - British escort carrier HMS Audacity (D10) escorting Convoy HG 76 is torpedoed and sunk by German Submarine U-751 west of Cape Finistere. -

1943 - Death of Shogo Takeuchi, Japanese WWII fighter ace, killed from wounds after the crash of his Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien. On return to Hansa Bay, Papua New Guinea, his engine cut on short final and smashed into trees.

1945 - 1st flight with the intended turboprop engine of the Consolidated Vultee XP-81, American single seat, long range escort fighter prototype that combined use of both a turbojet and a turboprop engines, 1st flight by an American turboprop-powered aircraft. -

1945 - Birth of Millie Elizabeth Hughes-Fulford, American medical investigator, molecular biologist and NASA astronaut.

1946 - 1st flight of the S.F.C.A. Lignel 44, French Double monoplane twin seat light prototype aircraft.

1951 - The Ambrosini SAI.7, Pre WWII Italian racing aircraft (developped post-WWII as a trainer) flown by Leonardo Bonzi, Set 2 new airspeed records in one flight, over 100 km and 1000 km, at 367.36 km/h and 358.63 km/h respectively.

1952 - French aviarix Jacqueline Auriol sets a speed record of 855,92 km/h with a french built De havilland Vampire FB.51 'Mistral'.

1953 - 1st flight of the S.N.C.A.N. NC-856H, French ungainly high-wing, strut-braced monoplane with a fully enclosed cabin light aircraft prototype, modified seaplane version of the NC.856A.

1954 - The Convair YF-102A Delta Dagger, revised prototype of the american interceptor, demonstrates a speed of Mach 1.22 and a ceiling of 53,000 ft (16,154 m), which was sufficient for the Air Force to allow production of the F-102.

1955 - 1st flight on rocket power of the Sud-Ouest SO 9050 Trident II, mixed power French prototype interceptor aircraft. -

1955 - 1st flight of The Edgar Percival E.P.9, British light utility aircraft

1955 - Death of Lumsden Cummings, Canadian WWI flying ace.

1963 - 1st flight of The Hawker Siddeley 748MF (Andover C1), British twin engined turboprop military transport aircraft, evolution of the HS 748 (civilian) and of the HS 780 Andover. Modified with a upswept rear-fuselage and rear loading ramp, more powerful Dart Mk 301s engines and a unique kneeling landing-gear.

1964 - 1st flight of The General Dynamics F-111 "Aardvark", American medium-range interdictor and tactical strike aircraft. It pioneered several technologies for production aircraft, including variable-sweep wings, afterburning turbofan engines, and automated terrain-following radar for low-level, high-speed flight.

1965 - New York Airways commences helicopter services with Boeing Vertol 107 between the roof of the Pan Am building and John F. Kennedy International Airport

1966 - Launch of Luna 13 (Lunik 13), Soviet unmanned space mission to the moon.

1966 - 1st flight of The Martin X-23A PRIME (Precision Reentry Including Maneuvering reEntry), USAF small lifting body re-entry test vehicle to study the effects of maneuvering during re-entry of Earth's atmosphere, including cross-range maneuvers up to 710 statute miles (1143 km) off of the ballistic track.

1968 - Launch of Apollo 8, (Frank F. Borman II, James A. Lovell Jr. and William A. Anders) 2nd manned mission in the American Apollo space program, 1st human spaceflight to leave Earth orbit, 1st to be captured by and escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body and 1st crewed voyage to return to Earth from another celestial body—Earth's Moon.

1969 - Death of Francis Warrington 'Razor' Gillet, WWI American flying ace -

1970 - 1st flight of The Grumman F-14 Tomcat, American supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft developped for the US Navy.

1975 - Death of Jean Bertin, French aeronautical engineer

1976 - Imperial Iranian Air Force C-130H crashed during approach in bad weather to Shiraz, Iran, Killing all 9. -

1978 - Venera 12, USSR unmanned space mission, lands on Venus.

1979 - 1st flight of The NASA AD-1 (Ames Dryden -1), American oblique-wing concept demonstrator. It successfully demonstrated that an aircraft wing could be pivoted obliquely from zero to 60 degrees during flight.

1982 - The last V-bomber squadron of Britain's RAF, Squadron N°44, is disbanded at Waddington, Lincolnshire. Active since 1917 and 1982, it served for most of its history as a heavy bomber squadron.

1982 - 1st flight of the Dassault Mirage IIING, French supersonic fighter prototype, conversion of a Mirage IIIR. -

1984 - Launch of Vega 2, Soviet unmanned spacecraft to Venus.

1985 - 1st flight of the IAR 99 "Soim" (Hawk), Romanian advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft capable of performing close air support and reconnaissance missions.

1986 - Death of Willy Omer Francois Jean Coppens, Belgium's leading fighter ace and the champion "balloon buster" of WWI. -

1987 - Launch of Soyuz TM-4, soviet space mission to dock with the space station Mir.

1988 - Soyuz TM-6, Soviet space mission to MIR, is back on earth.

1988 - 1st flight of The Antonov An-225 Mriya (NATO reporting name: 'Cossack'), Soviet strategic airlift cargo aircraft, designed to airlift the Energia rocket's boosters and the Buran space shuttle

1988 - Pan Am flight 103 Boeing 747–121 flying from London to New York City, and carrying many passengers back home for Christmas, explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 258 persons. Libyan terrorists are blamed for the tragedy.

1990 - Death of Clarence Leonard "Kelly" Johnson, American aircraft engineer and aeronautical innovator, member of the Lockheed Skunk Works. While at Lockheed, Johnson designed the P-38 Lightning fighter, made Fowler flaps work on the Model 14 Super Electra, and played a major role in converting the type into the Royal Air Force's Lockheed Hudson on short notice in 1938. He worked on the development of the Constellation for Howard Hughes' TWA airline.

1992 - Martinair Flight 495 McDonnell Douglas DC-10 crash-landed in severe weather conditions onto runway 28 at Faro Airport, Portugal. 54 passengers and 2 crew members died and 106 of the other occupants were badly injured.

1993 - 1st flight of the Cessna Citation X, American long-range medium business jet aircraft.

1994 - Air Algérie/Phoenix Flight 702P 'Oasis' Boeing 737-2D6C crashed on approach in bad weather to Coventry Airport, England, killing all 5.

1999 - Cubana de Aviación Flight 1216 McDonnell Douglas DC-10 overran the runway at Guatemala City's La Aurora International, crashing into 10 houses, killing 16 over 314 on board and 2 on ground.

2002 - 1st flight of the The Lockheed C-5M SuperGalaxy American large military transport aircraft, Modernized version of the C5-Galaxy.

2007 - 1st flight of The OMA SUD Skycar, Italian twin-engined five-seat piston-engined pusher configuration monoplane prototype.

2009 - Air Comet, Spanish airline, cease operations.

2009 – Northwest Airlines Flight 253 Airbus A330-323E was almost bombed by Al Qaida but the bomber was later apprehended. It is also known as the Christmas Day bombing attempt.

2011 - Launch of Soyuz TMA-03M, Russian spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS).