On This Day in Aviation History

May 11, 2011

On This Day in Aviation History: May 11th

1996: ValuJet Flight 592, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 (N904VJ) flying from Miami to Atlanta, crashes into the Florida Everglades shortly after takeoff, killing all 110 people on board. Recovery is extremely difficult due to the remoteness of the crash site, in a deep, alligator- and sawgrass-infested swamp 1/4 mile from the nearest road. The cause is determined to be a fire sparked by oxygen generation canisters being illegally transported in the plane’s cargo hold.

Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. (Photo by Matt Molnar)

1945: The aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill is struck by two Kamikazes, killing 346 crew.

1927: Charles Lindbergh sets a nonstop speed record in his new custom-built Ryan single-engine plane, Spirit of St. Louis (N-X-211), flying nonstop from San Diego to St. Louis in 14 hours 25 minutes.

1926: An Italian-built Norge airship takes off from Spitsbergen, Norway to become the first aircraft to cross the Arctic Ocean and North Pole. A crew of Roald Amundsen of Norway, Umberto Nobile of Italy, Lincoln Ellsworth of the United States and others lands in Teller, Alaska three days later.

1911: New speed record of 74.4 mph is set by former racing cyclist Edouard Niéport piloting his 28 hp Nieuport monoplane.