On This Day in Aviation History DECEMBER 28th

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1879 - Birth of William Lendrum "Billy" Mitchell, US Army general, regarded as the father of the USAF He is one of the most famous and most controversial figures in the history of American airpower.

1894 - Birth of Andre Emile Alfons de Meulemeester, Belgian WWI flying ace -

1895 - Birth of Werner Junck, German WWI flying ace, he helped to set German airline in Colombia and Venezuela, competitor in some FAI International Tourist plane challenges, chief pilot at the Albatros-Flugzeugwerke and chief pilot, head of the department of experimental Heinkel Flugzeugwerke, and WWII high ranking officer. - -

1910 - Death of Paul Alexandre Laffont, Early french aviation pioneer, Latham chief pilot and one of teh 1st designer of a flight simulator, and spanish Mario Pola, killed at Issy-Les-Moulineaux shortly after taking off in an attempt to fly to Belgium when their Antoinette collapsed in midair. -

1916 - Zeppelins LZ53 (L17) and LZ69 (L24) are destroyed in a fire at their shed at Tondem. In a separate incident Schutte-Lanz SL12 (E5) is also wrecked. -

1916 - Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel 29, Jasta 29, Geramn WWI fighter squadron, is formed.

1917 - Death of Alfred Edwin “Eddie” McKay, Canadian WWI Flying ace, probably shot down in his Spad S. VII over Belgium by Jasta 2's Leutnant Karl Menckhoff. -

1921 - Death of Samuel Howard Davis, WWI US Army Air Service officer, killed at Carlstrom Field, Arcadia, Florida, in the crash of a Curtiss JN-6HG-1 where he was passenger.

1928 - Death of Edward Willits 'Eddie' Hubbard, Early american aviator.

1929 - 1st flight of the Blackburn T.7B / 3MR4 (Mitsubishi B2M), British three-seat biplane carrier-based reconnaissance and torpedo bomber developped for Japan, Later built by Mitsubishi and designed Mitsubishi B2M, developped from the Blackburn T.5 Ripon,

1932 - French René Lefevre lands his Peyret-Mauboussin PM XI, French high-wing 2 seat touring aircraft, in Saigon after a journey of 10 days 7hr et 58 mn from Le Bourget, France, winning the Paris-Saigon challenge. -

1933 - 1st flight of The Loire 70 , French 3 engine long-range maritime reconnaissance flying boat. -

1938 - 1st flight of The Blackburn B.26 Botha, British four-seat twin engine reconnaissance and torpedo bomber.

1941 - Australian National Airlines begins evacuation of civilians from Rabaul in the Solomon Islands.

1941 - Death of Luigi Rovelli, Italian WWII bomber pilot, killed in action near Alessandria in his Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79.

1948 - A Douglas DC-3DST-144 Airborne Transport disappeared near the end of a scheduled flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Miami, Florida. 32 Missing. Part of incidents attributed in popular culture to the Bermuda Triangle.

1949 - 1st flight of the Sud-Ouest SO 6025 Espadon, 3rd prototype of the French turbojet-powered single-seat fighter SO 6020, with lateral intakes and a ventrally-mounted SEPR 25 auxiliary rocket motor of 1500kg thrust. -

1951 - 1st flight of the Morane-Saulnier MS-477 'Vanneau', French twin seat low-wing monoplane fighter trainer prototype, reengined version of the MS-475.

1954 - 1st flight of the S.N.C.A.N. Nord 1750 'Norelfe', French experimental helicopter with a tail rotor replaced by a ducted exhaust gas arrangement similar to that employed forty years later on the McDonnell Douglas NOTAR designs -

1955 - The de Havilland Comet III arrives at London airport after completing a round-the-world flight. Group Captain John Cunningham flies the last 3,350 miles from Montreal to London in 6 hours 8 minutes, averaging 548mph.

1967 - 1st flight of The Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.1, 1st operational close-support and reconnaissance fighter aircraft with vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) capabilities

1968 - Birth of Akihiko Hoshide, Japanese engineer and a JAXA astronaut, 3rd Japanese astronaut to walk in space.

1968 - Israeli commandos mount a surprise raid (Operation Gift) on Beirut Airport, destroying 13 aircraft and jeopardising the Lebanese aviation industry.

1968 - Birth of Svetlana Kapanina, Russian aerobatic pilot who won the title more times than any other pilot in the category.

1968 - Birth of Michael Scott Hopkins, USAF test pilot and NASA Astronaut.

1970 - Birth of Oleg Germanovich Artemyev, Latvian Cosmonaut.

1971 - Death of Norman William Reginald 'Bill' Mawle, British WWI flying ace. -

1978 - United Airlines Flight 173 McDonnell-Douglas DC-8-61 crashes in Portland, Oregon. Aircraft ran out of fuel while crew trouble shot landing gear indicator problems.

1985 - 1st flight of The Fokker 50, Dutch twin turboprop-powered airliner, designed as a refinement of and successor to the highly successful Fokker F27 Friendship

1988 - 1st flight of the Let L-610, Czech twin engined turboprop airliner prototype.

1993 - 1st flight of the Technoavia SM92 Finist, russian utility aircraft with a STOL capability.

1995 - Launch of IRS 1C (Indian Remote Sensing ), Indian earth Observation satellite, and Skipper, american Navigation technology satellite to investigate aerothermochemistry and aerobraking by dipping into the atmosphere. -

1995 - Launch of EchoStar I, American Civilian communications satellite.

1996 - Death of Wassili Iwanowitsch Rakow, Soviet WWII Pilot and high ranking officer.

2001 - USA3000 Airlines (Brendan Airways), American airline, begins operations.

2003 - Death of Benjamin Thurman Hacker, 1st Naval Flight Officer (NFO) to be selected for Flag rank in the US Navy.

2005 - Launch of GIOVE-A, 1st spacecraft whose design is based upon SSTL's new Geostationary Minisatellite Platform (GMP) satellite bus, intended for geostationary orbit, to develop the mission segment of the Galileo positioning system.

2010 - Russian Air Force Antonov An-22A crashed at Krasny Oktaybr, killing all 12 -