On This Day in Aviation History

April 12, 2011

On This Day in Aviation History: April 12th

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1989: A British Airways Concorde loses a chunk of its rudder while flying between Christchurch and Sydney.

First launch of Space Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-1.

First launch of Space Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-1.

1981: The US Space Shuttle program takes off with the first launch of Space Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-1. The flight crew, consisting of only two—Commander John W. Young and Pilot Robert Crippen—spend 54 1/2 hours in orbit.

1971: The US Air Force’s 31st Aerospace Rescue Squadron evacuate Charles Lindbergh and a group of scientists from Mindanao Island, Philippines, after their helicopter had crashed.

1961: Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space, riding a Russian Vostok 3KA space capsule into orbit on mission Vostok 1. He would orbit the planet once, spending about 89 minutes in space before returning to earth.

1951: Korean War: 48 US B-29 Superfortresses bomb the Sinuiju Railway Bridge spanning the Yalu River.

1937: Sir Frank Whittle conducts ground-tests of the world’s first jet engine designed specifically to power an aircraft.

1918: The Loughead brothers fly their F-1 seaplane from Santa Barbara to San Diego. They would later found Lockheed.

1911: Pierre Prier pilots the first non-stop passenger flight from London to Paris.

1911: Lt. Theodore Gordon Ellyson becomes the US Navy’s first pilot.

1935: The Bristol Blenheim, a British light bomber, makes takes off from Filton, England on its maiden test flight.