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Aircraft

Nixon and North Korea

Tensions between the US and North Korea are not new. In fact a drunk president Nixon almost launched a tactical nuclear strike against the North Koreans in April 1969.

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1941 – Sinking of the HMS Ark Royal

On This Day – 14 November 1941

The HMS Ark Royal was sunk

Commissioned in November 1938, the HMS Ark Royal was sunk less than three years later  on 14 November 1941 by the German U-81. The HMS Ark Royal was an innovative Royal Navy aircraft carrier serving during WWII, the first on which the flight deck and hangers were an integral part of the hull.

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1927 – The Lockheed Vega

4 July

On this day in 1927 the Lockheed Vega had its first flight.

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1942 – The first flight of the Hellcat

26 June

The Grumman F6F Hellcat was an American carrier-based fighter aircraft designed to replace the earlier F4F Wildcat in United States Navy (USN) service.

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1936 – Vickers Wellington bomber

15 June

The Vickers Wellington twin-engined, medium bomber made its first flight from Brooklands on this day in 1936.

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1952 – Sweden: the Catalina affair

13 June

The Catalina affair was a military confrontation and Cold War-era diplomatic crisis in June 1952, in which Soviet Air Force fighter jets shot down two Swedish aircraft in the Baltic Sea over international waters. Continue reading “1952 – Sweden: the Catalina affair”

1939 – The Heinkel He 100 fighter sets a world airspeed record of 463 mph (745km/h)

30 March

The Heinkel He 100 was a German pre-World War II fighter aircraft design from Heinkel. Although it proved to be one of the fastest fighter aircraft in the world at the time of its development, the design was not ordered into series production. Approximately 19 prototypes and pre-production examples were built. None are known to have survived the war. Continue reading “1939 – The Heinkel He 100 fighter sets a world airspeed record of 463 mph (745km/h)”

1977 – Tenerife airport disaster

27 March

The Tenerife airport disaster was a fatal runway collision between two Boeing 747s on this day in 1977, at Los Rodeos Airport (now Tenerife North Airport) on the Spanish island of Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. The crash killed 583 people, making it the deadliest accident in aviation history. As a result of the complex interaction of organizational influences, environmental preconditions, and unsafe acts leading up to this aircraft mishap, the disaster at Tenerife has served as a textbook example for reviewing the processes and frameworks used in aviation mishap investigations and accident prevention. Continue reading “1977 – Tenerife airport disaster”

1947 – First flight of the B-45 Tornado strategic bomber

17 March

The North American B-45 Tornado was the United States Air Force’s (USAF) first operational jet bomber, and the first multi-jet engined bomber in the world to be refuelled in mid-air. The B-45 was an important part of the United States’s nuclear deterrent for several years in the early 1950s, but was soon superseded by the Boeing B-47 Stratojet. B-45s and RB-45s served in the United States Air Force’s Strategic Air Command from 1950 until 1959. It was also the first jet bomber of the NATO Alliance, which was formed in 1949. Continue reading “1947 – First flight of the B-45 Tornado strategic bomber”

1943 – World War II: Battle of the Bismarck Sea

2 March

The Battle of the Bismarck Sea (2–4 March 1943) took place in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) during World War II when aircraft of the U.S. Fifth Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) attacked a Japanese convoy carrying troops to Lae, New Guinea. Most of the task force was destroyed, and Japanese troop losses were heavy. Continue reading “1943 – World War II: Battle of the Bismarck Sea”

1939 – First flight of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning

27 January

The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American propeller driven fighter aircraft. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. The P-38 was used in a number of roles, including interception, dive bombing, level bombing, ground-attack, night fighting, photo reconnaissance, radar and visual pathfinding for bombers, and evacuation missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings. Continue reading “1939 – First flight of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning”

1961 – Goldsboro B-52 crash

24 January

The 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash was an accident that occurred in Goldsboro, North Carolina, on this day in 1961. A B-52 Stratofortress carrying two Mark 39 nuclear bombs broke up in mid-air, dropping its nuclear payload in the process. Continue reading “1961 – Goldsboro B-52 crash”

1950 – The first prototype of the MiG-17 makes its maiden flight

14 January

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 is a high-subsonic fighter aircraft produced in the USSR from 1952 and operated by numerous air forces in many variants. It is an advanced development of the very similar appearing MiG-15 of the Korean War. Continue reading “1950 – The first prototype of the MiG-17 makes its maiden flight”

1941 – World War II: First flight of the Avro Lancaster

9 January

The Avro Lancaster is a British four-engined Second World War heavy bomber designed and built by Avro for the Royal Air Force (RAF). It first saw active service with RAF Bomber Command in 1942 and, as the strategic bombing offensive over Europe gathered momentum, it was the central implement for the night-time bombing campaigns that followed.

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