On This Day in Aviation History MAY 12 th

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1880 - Birth of Lincoln Ellsworth, American raid aviator and polar explorer.

1890 - Birth of Kurt Arthur Benno Student, German WWI Flying ace, Luftwaffe general and commander of German Fallschirmjäger (Paratroopers) during WWII. -

1891 - Birth of Howard Redmayne Harker, British WWI flying ace. -

1892 - Birth of William "Bill" Miller, British wwi flying ace

1893 - Birth of Hasso von Wedel, German WWI flying ace, and luftwaffe WWII fighter pilot. -

1893 - Birth of Silvio Scaroni, Italian WWI fighter pilot, air racer, credited with 26 victories. He was the 2nd ranking Italian ace of the war. He also served in WWII -

1896 - Birth of Gerald Ewart Nash, Canadian WWI flying ace and high ranking officer in WWII -

1902 - 1st flight of the semi-rigid Airship 'Pax', with on board it's brazilian designer Augusto Severo and french engineer Goerges Saché. Unfortunately, they began to lose control of the airship, it caught fire and exploded 1,200 feet (366 m) above Montparnasse Cemetery, killing both men instantly. -,6135234

1912 - The Central Flying School (CFS), Royal Air Force's primary institution for the training of military flying instructors is established.

1912 - Guido Nardini is the 1st italian to cross the english Channel.

1915 - Birth of Herbert Schob, German fighter ace of Spanish war and WWII.

1916 - Birth of Bernhard Hohmann, German Glider pilot, test pilot of the Me-163 rocket fighter during WWII, Chief of Flight Development Section at Wright Field, He worked on both Mercury and Gemini programs.

1917 - Death of Rowland Dring, British test pilot for Blackburn, killed in the crash of his B.E.2c in Leeds.

1918 - Death of Henry Eric Dolan, British WWI flying ace, killed in action in his S.E.5a -

1919 - Death of Clive Wilson Warman, American WWI flying ace, from injuries sustained in a crash, sole American winner of the British DSO. -

1925 - Death of Hans-Georg von der Marwitz, German WWI fighter ace, killed in a flying accident. -

1926 - The Norge (semi-rigid Italian-built airship) reached the North Pole, at which point the Norwegian, American and Italian flags were dropped from the airship onto the ice. The expedition was the brainchild of polar explorer and expedition leader Roald Amundsen, the airship's designer and pilot Umberto Nobile and American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth, who along with the Aero Club of Norway financed the trip.

1927 - 1st flight of The Yakovlev AIR-1, Soviet two-seat light biplane, 1st aircraft designed and built by Aleksandr Sergeyevich Yakovlev

1927 - 1st flight of The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.14 Starling, British single-engine biplane fighter.

1930 - With the Laté 28 "Comte-de-la-Vaulx", Jean Mermoz takes off from Saint-Louis, in Senegal, to Natal, Brazil for the 1st south Transatlatic Postal flight.

1933 - 1st flight of the Kellner-Béchereau 28VD, French racing monoplane built for the 1933 Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe.

1936 - 1st Flight of The Messerschmitt Bf 110, often called Me 110, German twin-engine heavy fighter (Zerstörer - German for "Destroyer")

1936 - 1st flight of The Loire 102 'Bretagne', French high wing 4 tandem engine flying boat designed as a mail plane by Loire. -

1936 - Amy Johnson lands her Percival Gull Six (G-ADZO), Setting a record flight of 7 days 22 hr 43min From Croydon to Wingfield aerodrome, Cape Town, and back.

1938 - The US Navy commissions its 6th aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise.

1938 - In a demonstration of U.S. air power, 3 YB-17 bombers of the U.S. Army Air Corps using dead reckoning navigation, intercepted the Italian ship SS Rex 620 miles at sea in a highly publicized event. -

1940 - 1st operational sortie of the Boulton Paul Defiant. Defiants flew with 6 Spitfires of 66 Sqn, and a Ju 88 was shot down over Holland.

1941 - Death of Roy Cecil Phillipps, Australian WWI fighter ace, Killed in crash of a private plane. -

1941 - 1st (tethered) flight of The Platt-LePage XR-1, also known by the company designation PL-3,early American twin-rotor helicopter.

1942 - Birth of Dumitru Dediu, Romanian Air Force pilot and cosmonaut.

1943 - 1st successful use of an air-dropped precision weapon in air warfare : A Consolidated Liberator maritime patrol aircraft of No.86 Squadron drops a Mark 24 acoustic homing torpedo (codenamed Fido), seriously damaging U-Boat U-456 and driving it to the surface. Forced to dive by approaching destroyers, she sank because of the damage inflicted by the Liberator.

1949 - The Soviet blockade of Berlin is lifted at one minute after midnight.

1950 - James 'Jim' Reginald Cooksey, Gloster test pilot, breaks the world air-speed record for the 1,000 kilometre closed circuit with a Gloster Meteor.

1950 - Chuck Yeager makes the last flight of the Bell XS-1, american research rocket plane, for RKO motion picture "Test Pilot".

1952 - Sqn Ldr P. G. Fisher makes the 1st non-stop, unrefuelled flight from England to Australia in an English Electric Canberra bomber in a record 23 hours 5 minutes.

1952 - Death of Elia Antonio Liut, Italian Aviation pioneer, 1st pilot to fly over the Andes

1953 - Death of Jean "Skip" Ziegler, American test pilot, killed in the explosion of the Bell X-2 during a captive-carry flight test.

1954 - 1st flight of the 2nd prototype SNCASE SE-5000 'Baroudeur', French single-engined lightweight jet fighter using a wheeled trolley for take-off and three retractable skids to land. -

1958 - 1st flight of The Morane-Saulnier MS.1500 Epervier (en: Sparrowhawk), French two-seat ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft. -

1958 - 1st flight of the Dassault Mirage IIIA, 1st pre-serie of the french multirole jet fighter, 1st european jet fighter to reach Mach 2.2. -

1958 - A formal North American Aerospace Defense Command agreement is signed between the United States and Canada.

1959 - Capital Airlines Flight 75 Vickers 745D Viscount entered an area of severe turbulence and began a steep descent after In-flight structural failure. It crashed in Chase, Maryland, killing all 31.

1960 - A USAF C-130 Hercules drops a record 35,000 lb (15,876 kg) by parachute.

1962 - Birth of Gregory Harold "Box" Johnson, former colonel in the USAF and a NASA astronaut.

1963 - American Betty Miller becomes the 1st woman to fly transpacific solo. The 4-stop flight was from Oakland in California to Brisbane in Australia.

1964 - 1st flight of the Thorp T-18 Tiger, American two-place, all-metal, plans-built, homebuilt aircraft

1964 - American flyer Joan Merriam Smith lands her Piper Apache, completing the 2nd round-the-world flight by a woman. she took 56 days.

1965 - After loss of control as a result of a gyroscope problem, Luna 5 crashed. It was the 2nd Soviet spacecraft to reach the surface of the Moon

1965 – The prototype HFB-320 Hansa Jet crashes due to a tail design problem, killing manufacturer Hamburger Flugzeugbau’s chief test pilot Loren Davis.

1967 - 1st flight of the Aermacchi AM.3, Italian single engine high wing observation aircraft, joint venture between Aermacchi and Aeritalia, initially designated the MB-335.

1970 - The Aero Spacelines 377MGT Mini Guppy Turbine prototype crashes at Edwards AFB on take off during flight testing killing all 4 on board. -

1975 - Mayaguez incident, ast official battle of the Vietnam War begins : American container ship SS Mayaguez is seized at sea by the Khmer Rouge. P-3 Orion aircraft stationed at Naval Air Station Cubi Point in the Philippines and at U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield in Thailand took off to locate the Mayaguez.

1980 - 1st non-stop trans-North American balloon flight : Max Leroy Anderson and his son Kristian land their balloon 'Kitty Hawk' at Sainte-Félicité, Quebec coming from Fort Baker, California.

1982 - Braniff Airways ceased all operations, thus ending 54 years of service in the American airline industry. Braniff flights at DFW that morning were suddenly grounded, and passengers on the jets were forced to disembark, being told that Braniff now ceased to exist

1983 - Death of Oliver Colin "Boots" LeBoutillier, French WWI flying ace, Skywriter, Barnstormer who piloted aircraft for eighteen movies. He gave Amelia Earhart her 1st instruction in a twin-engined aircraft and was a Civil Aviation Authority inspector in charge of Colorado and Wyoming. -

1993 - Launch of Astra 1c, Société Européenne des Satellites (SES, now SES Astra) geostationary communications satellite.

1998 – A Mauritanian Air Force Xian Yunshuji Y-7H-500 crashed near Néma, Mauritania during a sandstorm killing 39 of the 42 people on board.

2001 - Death of Alexei Andreyevich Tupolev, Soviet aircraft designer who led the development of the 1st supersonic passenger jet, the failed Tupolev Tu-144. He also helped design the Buran space shuttle and the Tu-2000,

2002 - Death of Alfred Vogt, German glider designer.

2002 - A hangar housing Buran, Soviet orbital vehicle, in Kazakhstan collapsed, due to poor maintenance. The collapse killed 8 workers and destroyed the orbiter as well as a mock-up of an Energia carrier rocket.

2004 - The last F-4 Phantom fighters are withdrawn from service with the Israeli Air Force.

2010 - Airbus A330 Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 crashed on approach to Tripoli International Airport. Of the 104 passengers and crew on board, the sole survivor was 9-year-old Dutch boy Ruben van Assouw.

2011 - A Eurocopter X3 (X-Cube), French experimental compound helicopter, flew at a speed of 430 km/h (267 mph).