On This Day in Aviation History: September 21st
1979 – A pair of RAF Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3’s (XV756 and XZ128) out of RAF Wittering collide over the UK. The pilots from both aircraft ejected safely. Though one jet broke up and fell into a field, the second aircraft crashed in Cambridgeshire, destroying two houses and a bungalow, killing three people.
1970 – The Soviet Luna 16, the first robotic probe to land on the Moon, departs on a mission to collect soil samples and return to Earth.
1964 – The North American XB-70 Valkyrie, the world’s first Mach 3 bomber, makes its maiden flight from Palmdale, California. The six-engined aircraft was the prototype for the B-70 bomber, was intentioned to deliver nuclear weapons from an altitude as high at 70,000ft to avoid interceptors. Two were built, one of them crashing in a mid-air collision 1966, and the second is on display at the National Museum of the USAF outside Dayton, Ohio.
1961 – Maiden flight of the CH-47 Chinook, the twin-engine, tandem rotor, heavy lift helicopter, takes place.
1942 – B-29 Superfortress, one of the largest World War 2 aircraft and the type that dropped the two atomic bombs on Japan, makes its first flight.
1913 – The first aerobatic maneuver, a sustained inverted flight, is performed in France.