On This Day in Aviation History DECEMBER 23rd

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1847 - Birth of Louis-Marie-Joseph-Charles-Clément 'Charles' Renard, French military engineer and balloonist.

1891 - Birth of Herbert Ruska Gould, British WWI flying ace and Author, Killed in action in his D.H.4. - -

1893 - Birth of Arthur Roy Brown, Canadian WWI flying ace, officially credited with shooting down Manfred von Richthofen. -

1894 - Birth of Heinrich Seywald, German WWI flying ace.

1898 - Birth of Neil Ritz Smuts, South African WWI flying ace -

1905 - Birth of Paver Vladimirovich Tsybin, Russian research aircraft designer.

1905 - Birth of Armando François, Spanish war and WWII Italian flying ace

1910 - 1st naval aviator is Lt Theodore Ellyson of the US Navy when he is assigned to flight training with the Curtiss company.

1917 - Death of Clive Franklyn Collett, New Zealand WWI flying ace, 1st British or Commonwealth military pilot to use a parachute (in a test). While flying a captured Albatros over the Firth of Forth, he inexplicably dove into the ocean. -

1917 - Death of Ernst Hess, German WWI flying ace, Killed in his Fokker Dr.I by a French Nieuport. -

1917 - British WWI fighter ace James Thomas Byford "Mac" McCudden scores 4 victories on that single day with his SE5a

1921 - 1st flight of the SPAD S-50, Reengined Luxury version with passenger cabin enlarged to 6 seats of the small single engine biplane French airliner Bleriot-SPAD S.33. -

1923 - Death of Lawrence Burst Sperry, American aviation pioneer, noted for having invented the 1st autopilot, while crossing the channel in his own designed sport plane, the Sperry Messenger.

1924 - The Dewoitine D 8, French high-altitude highwing monoplane fighter prototype established 100-, 200- and 500-km closed-circuit records while being flown by Marcel Doret.

1925 - Birth of Henry Charles Gordon, USAF fighter pilot in the Korean and Vietnam wars, test pilot and astronaut in the X-20 Dyna-Soar program.

1927 - A Sikorsky S-36 amphibian plane takes off from Curtis Filed, NY to Harbor Grace, Newfoudland in order to prepare a transatlatic flight. The plane, known as 'the Dawn', disappeared and the remains of the crem were never found. Plane was flown by Lieutenant Oskar Omdal of the Norwegian Navy, with Frank Koehler, Brice Herbert Goldsborough and Frances Wilson Grayson for the 1st woman to cross. - -

1931 - 1st flight of the Bleriot-SPAD 91-7, French Single Seat biplane fighter prototype

1931 - 1st flight of the Bleriot-SPAD 91-9, French Single Seat biplane fighter prototype

1931 - 1st flight of the Gourdou-Leseurre GL-831 HY, French light shipboard reconnaissance floatplane of metal construction low-wing foldable monoplane with fabric covered wings and twin floats, Evolution of the GL-830 HY. -

1935 - Death of Robert Loraine, british successful Broadway and London stage actor, actor-manager and soldier who later enjoyed a side career as a pioneer aviator, believed to have been the 1st person to coin the phrase Joystick to describe aircraft stick controls.

1937 - French aviatrix Maryse Hilsz sets a Speed record between Paris and Saigon in less than 4 days.

1937 - Birth of Karol Joseph "Bo" Bobko, American engineer, USAF pilot and NASA astronaut.

1938 - 1st flight of The Blackburn B-25 Roc, British Fleet Air Arm two-seat fighter/dive Bomber aircraft, development of the Skua dive bomber using the same turret fighter concept as the Boulton Paul Defiant.

1939 - Death of Anton Herman Gerard "Anthony" Fokker, Dutch aviation pioneer and aircraft manufacturer.

1940 - Death of Eddie August Henry Schneider, American aviator, record setter and Spanish civil war pilot, in the crash of his Piper Cub after a mid air collision on approach for landing.

1941 - Brewster Buffalos of No.67 Squadron destroy six bombers and four fighters of the Japanese invasion force over the Burmese capital, Rangoon. The RAF loses 5 Buffalos.

1941 - 1st flight of the VL Myrsky, Finnish fighter aircraft.

1941 - 1st flight of the Bloch 800-P (SO-80), French twin engine low wing mail plane prototype. -

1941 - 1st flight of The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota, American military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner.

1943 - Death of Kagemitsu Matsuo, Japanese WWII flying ace, killed in action in his Zero over Rabaul.

1943 - Death of Giulio Laureati, Italian WWI pilot and raid aviator.

1943 - Death of Wallace Alexander Smart, Scottish WWI flying ace

1945 - Death of Arthur Treloar "Art" Whealy, Canadian WWI fighter ace -

1953 - 1st flight (Unofficial..a Brief Hop) of The American Lockheed XFV (sometimes referred to as the Salmon), American experimental tailsitter prototype aircraft built to demonstrate the operation of a vertical takeoff and landing fighter for protecting convoys.

1964 - Death of Väinö Elias Bremer, Finnish biathlete and modern pentathlete and also an aviation pioneer.

1966 - 1st flight of The Dassault Mirage F1, French air-superiority fighter and attack aircraft, successor of the Mirage III. -

1971- Birth of Ewa Wisnierska Cieslewicz, German paraglider champion, who survived lightnings, pounding hails, minus 40-degree temperatures and oxygen deprivation after a storm system sucked her to an altitude higher than Mount Everest.

1971 - Death of Alessandro 'Sandrin' Cagno, Italian Aviation pioneer, Car and boat racing driver.

1972 - Death of Andrei Nikolayevich Tupolev, pioneering Soviet aircraft designer.

1972 - Braathen SAFE Flight 239 Fokker F-28 Fellowship 'Sverre Sigurdsson' crashed near the Asdøltjern Lake, 15 km (9 mi) from Oslo Airport, Fornebu whilst making a night time approach in Fog and low clouds, Killing 40 over 45.

1973 - The Hertfordshire Pedal Aeronauts (HPA) Toucan, British two-seat man-powered aircraft, 1st two-man man-powered aircraft to fly, makes a flight of 640 metres(2,100 feet)

1973 - 1st flight of The Aero Boero 260AG, Argentinian low-wing monoplane with a single seat and fixed tailwheel undercarriage agricultural aircraft.

1974 - 1st flight of The Rockwell (now part of Boeing) B-1 Lancer, American four-engine variable-sweep wing strategic bomber.

1978 - Alitalia Flight 4128 McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 crashed into the Tyrrhenian Sea about 3 km (1.9 mi) north of Palermo while on approach, Killing 108 over 129.

1979 - Turkish Airlines Fokker F28 Fellowship 1000 'Trabzon' flew into the side of a hill at 1,400 m (4,600 ft) near the village of Kuyumcuköy in Çubuk district of Ankara Province, 32 km (20 mi) north by north-east of Esenboga Airport, Ankara, Turkey on approach to landing after The crew had deviated from the localizer course while on an ILS approach experiencing severe turbulence, killing 41 over 45.

1980 - Death of Ralph Ambrose O'Neill, American WWI flying ace, commercial pilot. He helped to set the modern Mexican air force and sole Latin American representative for both Boeing and the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company.'Neill -

1982 - 1st flight of The Short C-23 Sherpa, British Twin-engined high wing small military transport aircraft.

1986 - The Rutan Model 76 Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, lands back at Edwards AFB, completing 1st fly around the world without stopping or refueling in 9 days 3 minutes and 44 seconds.The aircraft flew easterly 26,366 statute miles (42,432 km; the FAI accredited distance is 40,212 km)[1] at an average altitude of 11,000 feet (3,350 m).

1991 - 1st flight of The Kaman K-MAX (K-1200), American helicopter with intermeshing rotors (synchropter), optimized for external load operations, and is able to lift a payload of over 6,000 pounds, which is more than the helicopter's empty weight, 1st helicopter specifically designed, tested and certified for repetitive external lift operations such as logging, fire fighting, construction, reforestation and oil/mineral exploration.

1998 - 1st flight of The Sikorsky S-92, American four-bladed twin-engine medium-lift helicopter

2002 – A MQ-1 Predator is shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25, making it the 1st time in history that an aircraft and an unmanned drone had engaged in combat.

2005 - Azerbaijan Airlines Flight 217 Antonov An-140-100 crashed into the Caspian Sea after a night-time departure from Baku Airport as 3 independent gyroscopes were not providing stabilised heading and altitude performance information to the crew. All 23 on board were killed.

2010 - Death of Fred Hargesheimer, USAAF WWII pilot. Shot down over Papua New Guinea in June 1943. He became a philanthropist who helped out the village which had hidden him from the Japanese for many months.