On This Day in Aviation History

May 6, 2011

On This Day in Aviation History: May 6th

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2009 – A World Airways DC-10 (N139WA) receives heavy damage while making a hard landing in Baltimore. The former Northwest and ATA aircraft would not fly again.

2006 – SkyValue USA and their fleet of one Boeing 737 (leased from Xtra Airways) ceases operations, citing poor demand and even blaming hot weather forcing them to fuel-stop on flights from Las Vegas to Mesa and Phoenix, AZ (Hot weather in the desert? Surely you jest!)

2004 – An Air Cush Let 410UVP (9XR-EF) stalls on takeoff in Jiech, Sudan, due to an imbalance after a shift in its cargo load. The plane is sent crashing into the ground, killing 6 of the 10 occupants.

1988 – Wideroe Flight 710, a de Havilland Dash-7, crashes while on approach in Norway after descending four miles too soon and striking a hill in low visibility, leading to the deaths of all 36 aboard. This stands as the worst disaster for the aircraft type, as the aircraft was fully packed with passengers, even in the cockpit jumpseat.

1955 – United Airlines begins the first nonstop flights between New York and San Francisco.

1949 – Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) operates its first flight with a leased Douglas DC-3 with weekly service between San Diego and Oakland with a stop in Burbank, California. They would later be absorbed by USAir in May of 1987.

1941 – The first flight of the P-47 Thunderbolt. In its 25 years of service, more than 15, 600 were built by Republic Aviation in Farmingdale, NY.

1941 – An endurance record is set by the Sikorsky VS-300 helicopter in Connecticut after staying aloft for just over an hour and a half.

1940 – Trans World Airlines receives their first Boeing 307 Stratoliner, one month after Pan Am becomes the launch airline.

1937 – The Hindenburg explodes at NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey, ending the era of the airship. At a length of 803 feet, more than that of three 747s, the hydrogen-filled LZ 129 Hindenburg rigid airship began its journey across the Atlantic in Frankfurt, Germany on May 3rd. Headwinds enroute and then poor conditions in the Lakehurst area delay the arrival more than 12 hours, finally approaching to moor just after 7pm. While ground crews attempt to secure the airship, flames are spotted just forward of the vertical fin. The fire spreads very quickly, engulfing the entire airship in less than a minute, crashing it to the ground in a massive fireball. Though the exact cause is uncertain, a sudden wind change from east to southwest meant a late S-turn correction needed to be made in the final minutes of flight. This may have caused strain on the aircraft, snapping a support line and ripping open a gas cell, sparking the fire from the leaking hydrogen. Of the 97 people onboard, 35 of them die, as well as one on the ground.

1930 – Boeing’s first commercial monoplane, the Monomail, makes its first flight.

1929 – The Boeing F4-B1 fighter makes its first flight. It would serve as the US military’s primary fighter until the 1940s.

1919 – The first commercial flight between the US and Canada takes place on a Curtiss aircraft flying furs between Elizabeth, New Jersey and Toronto.

Here we see Indiana Jones helping evacuate the Hindenburg in his own special way. The original movie had Hindenburg titles on the airship, but were removed in subsequent versions…