On This Day in Aviation History
On This Day in Aviation History: April 12th
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.