On This Day in Aviation History DECEMBER 25th

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1875 - Birth of Baron Pierre de Caters, Belgian adventurer, aviator, Aircraft designer, car and motorboat racer, 1st Belgian to fly an aircraft and 1st Belgian to receive a pilot license from the Belgian air club

1878 - Birth of William Starling Burgess, American yacht designer, aviation pioneer, Aircraft designer and naval architect.

1879 - Birth of Ignaz "Igo" Etrich, Austrian flight pioneer, pilot and fixed-wing aircraft developer.

1889 - Birth of Noel Hugues Anne Louis de Rochefort, French WWI flying ace. -

1892 - Birth of Henry "Duke" Meintjes, South African WWI flying ace -

1893 - Birth of Ernest John Elton, British WWI fighter ace -

1894 - Birth of Isaac Machlin Laddon, American aeronautical engineer and designer.

1894 - Birth of Robert Opie Lindsay, American WWI flying ace and USAAC WWII officer, founding member of the Civil Aeronautics Administration (forerunner to the Federal Aviation Administration) -

1898 - Birth of Harry Noel Cornforth Robinson, British WWI flying ace who remained in the RAF after the war, and was one of the fliers posted to maintain control in Iraq. -

1901 - Birth of Stefano Cagna, Italian raid aviator and WWII bomber pilot.

1908 - Birth of Toshio Kuroiwa, Japanese 2nd Sino-Japanese War fighter ace, too old to continue with combat duty he became a civilian transport pilot during WWII. -

1909 - 1st flight of the Dufaux tractor biplane, early swiss aircraft.

1913 - Swiss Oskar Bider achieved a new record of 4 hours and 20 minutes without a stopover in the air from Paris to Bern.

1914 - HMS Empress, HMS Engadine and HMS Riviera launch a seaplane attack on the Zeppelin sheds at Cuxhaven. Fog prevents the aircraft from reaching their target, and only 3 of the 9 aircraft find their way back to their mother ships.

1914 - 1st enemy aircraft is intercepted over the UK. During an attempted attack on the London dock area, a Friedrichshafen FF29 floatplane of See Flieger Abteilung 1 (Seaplane Unit No.1) was intercepted over Erith by a Royal Flying Corps Vickers FB5 Gunbus based at Joyce Green. Although damaged, the FF29 succeeded in returning to base.

1916 - Birth of Friedrich-Karl "Tutti" Müller, German WWII fighter ace. -

1919 - Death of Andrew Edward McKeever, Canadian WWI two-seater flying ace, -

1927 - Death of Frances Wilson Grayson, American aviatrix who died flying to Newfoundland in her Sikorsky S-36 named 'Dawn' just prior to her trip to cross the Atlantic Ocean. In the fatalities were also Oskar Omda, Norwegian Navy pilot, and Brice Herbert Goldsborough, American aviation instrument designer. - -

1929 - Packages of gifts are dropped from a plane to lighthouse keepers and their families along the New England coast by William Wincapaw. Today, the nonprofit Friends of Flying Santa continues the flights primarily as a way of expressing gratitude for the work performed by the Coast Guard. -

1930 - Richard Halliburton hired pilot Moye Stephens and a modified Stearman C-3B named 'Flying carpet' for a 18 months circumnavigation around the globe flight(33,660 miles /54,100 km) and visiting 34 countries). -

1934 – French pilot Raymond Delmotte sets a new world speed record for landplanes of 314.33 miles per hour (505.87 km/h), flying a Caudron 460. -

1940 – 2 British Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Grumman Martlets of 804 Naval Air Squadron shoot down a German Junkers Ju 88 off Scapa Flow, 1st aerial victory in Europe by an American-made aircraft in history and the 1st by any variant of the Grumman F4 F Wildcat. -

1941 - In the 2nd air attack on Rangoon, the Royal Air Force (RAF) disperses the attacking force, destroying 18bombers and 6 fighters before they reach the capital. Pilots of No.67 Squadron claim to have destroyed a further 12 aircraft over Rangoon itself.

1943 - Birth of Ravish Malhotra, indian Air Force test pilot and high ranking officer, trained as cosmonaut as backup for Rakesh Sharma on the Soyuz T-11 mission which launched the 1st Indian citizen into space.

1944 - Death of Yutaka Morioka, Japanese WWII flying ace, killed in action. -

1944 - Death of George Preddy, American WWII fighter ace, top P-51 Mustang ace of WWII and 6th on the list of all-time highest scoring American aces, in the crash of his P-51, probably hit by a friendly AA battery shot as he was chasing a FW-190 at tree-top height. -

1946 - Black Christmas : 3 airlines crash trying to land in bad weather near shangai, killing 72 people. (Douglas C-47 and Curtiss C-46 of China National and Central Air Transport)

1954 - BOAC Boeing 377 Stratocruiser 10-28 crashed on approach to Prestwick, Following a heavy landing, the plane ran onto the runway, became airborne and crashed.

1958 - 1st flight of The Sukhoi Su-11 'Fishpot-C', Soviet delta wing, swept tailplanes and cigar-shaped fuselage with a circular nose intake jet interceptor aircraft.

1959 - Birth of Michael Philip Anderson, USAF pilot and Nasa Astronaut.

1968 – Apollo 8 performs the very 1st successful Trans Earth Injection (TEI) maneouver, sending the crew and spacecraft on a trajectory back to Earth from Lunar orbit.

1969 - Death of William Louis Max Herisson, French WWI fighter ace. -

1970 - 1st flight of The Xian Y-7, Chinese turboprop-powered transport aircraft issued from the Antonov An-24 series.

1973 - Death of Gabriel Voisin , French aviation pioneer and the creator of Europe's 1st manned, engine-powered, heavier-than-air aircraft capable of a sustained (1 km), circular, controlled flight, including take-off and landing.

1976 - EgyptAir Flight 864 Boeing 707-366C crashed into an industrial complex in Bangkok killin all 52 on board and 19 on ground.

1979 - Antonov An-12s and An-22s airlift the 1st Soviet troops into Afghanistan. 5,000 arrive in the first 24 hours.

1980 - Death of Henri Dufaux, Swiss aviation pioneer, painter and politician. -

1986 - Iraqi Airways Flight 163 Boeing 737-270C is hijacked by 4 men but a hand grenade was detonated in the passenger cabin, forcing the crew to initiate an emergency descent. Another hand grenade exploded in the cockpit, causing the aircraft to crash near Arar, Saudi Arabia where it broke in two and caught fire, Killing 63 over 106.

1997 - 1st flight of The Gulfstream G200 (IAI Galaxy), American twin-engine business jet initially designed by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI).

1999 - Cubana de Aviación Flight 310 Yakovlev Yak-42 struck at night San Luis Hill and crashed near the town of Bejuma while on approach to Valencia Airport, Venezuela, killing all 22.

2003 – The ill-fated Beagle 2 probe, released from the Mars Express Spacecraft , disappears shortly before its scheduled landing on Mars.

2003 - UTAGE Flight 141 Boeing 727-223 crashed on take off in the Bight of Benin, killing 151 of the 163 occupants, most of them Lebanese.

2004 - Death of Gennadi Mikhailovich Strekalov, soviet Cosmonaut.

2004 – Cassini orbiter releases Huygens probe which will successfully land on Saturn's moon Titan a few weeks later.

2009 - Northwest Airlines Flight 253 Airbus A330-323E is nearly bombed in the air by a terrorist. A passenger tackled and restrained him and put out the fire with the aid of others.

2010 - Launch of GSAT-5P (or GSAT-5 Prime), Indian communications satellite, Destroyed by range safety officer after loss of control of liquid fuelled boosters.