On This Day in Aviation History

July 29, 2010

On This Day in Aviation History: July 29th

On July 29th,

1930, the first transatlantic passenger flight takes off from England for Canada. HM Airship R100, a rigid airship, made the 3,300 mile crossing in 78 hours, landing in a suburb of Montreal. Sadly, her sister ship, R101, would crash three months later, killing 48 people, making it the second worst airship crash in history.

1967, while sailing off the coast of Vietnam, a malfunction in an F-4 Phantom II jet on the deck of the USS Forrestal causes a rocket to fire inadvertently. The rocket hits another aircraft on the deck (possibly one occupied by Lt. Cmdr. John McCain) without exploding, but does rupture the plane’s fuel tank. The subsequent fire that would eventually ravage the ship, killing 134 sailors and injuring 161 others.

1985, the eighth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger, and 19th shuttle flight overall, lifts off from Cape Canaveral for mission STS-51-F. Five minutes and 45 seconds into its ascent, main engine number one shuts down due to a malfunctioning high temperature sensor, forcing the crew to abort its originally planned orbit and coast to a lower orbit. Receiving more attention than the Spacelab 2 module on board was the “Carbonated Beverage Dispenser Evaluation,” a test financed by Coca-Cola and Pepsi to determine if carbonated soft drinks could be enjoyed in space using specially designed cans. The verdict: No.

2003, the International Space Station’s 1,000th consecutive day of astronauts living on board.