On This Day in Aviation History

February 15, 2011

On This Day in Aviation History: February 15

sabena-flight-548-100
2011 - United Airlines temporarily grounds all 96 of its Boeing 757 aircraft to check on a recent software upgrade that had not been performed to spec.

Sabena Flight 548 Boeing 707 crash wreckage.

Sabena Flight 548 crash wreckage.

1965 - Mrs. Guy Maher lands in Medford, NJ in a Hughes 300, completing the U.S.’s first transcontinental helicopter flight by a woman.

1961 - Sabena Flight 548, a Boeing 707-300 (OO-SJB) enroute to Brussels, Belgium from Idlewild Airport in New York, crashes on approach to Brussels, killing all 72 people on board, including the entire United States Figure Skating Team which had been enroute to the World Championships in Prague. A farmer on the ground was also killed, while another lost a leg to flying shrapnel. It is the first fatal crash of the Boeing 707, which had entered service a little over two years earlier. The cause is never precisely determined, but the most likely culprit is thought to have been a malfunction of the stabilizer adjusting mechanism.

1938 - Six US Army Air Corps B-17 Flying Fortresses begin a goodwill tour of Latin America, traveling 12,000 miles to Lima, Buenos Aires, Santiago and back.