On This Day in Aviation History

June 17, 2011

On This Day in Aviation History: June 17th

1991: Alaska Airlines launches its first flights to the Magadan and Khabarovsk in the Soviet Union.

Amelia Earhart is greeted by the mayor of Southhampton, England on June 20, 1928

Amelia Earhart is greeted by the mayor of Southhampton, England on June 20, 1928.

1948: United Airlines Flight 624, a Douglas DC-6 (NC37506) enroute to New York’s LaGuardia Airport from Chicago O’Hare, crashes near Aristes, Pennsylvania, killing all 39 passengers and 4 crewmembers. The crew had discharged the cargo hold’s carbon dioxide fire extinguishers in response to a fire alarm (which turned out to be false). Forgetting to open the relief valves, the CO2 apparently seeps into the cockpit and incapacitates the pilots.

1947: Pan Am launches the world’s first scheduled round-the-world flights using a Lockheed Constellation L-749, Clipper America. The route: San Francisco-Honolulu-Tokyo-Hong Kong-Bangkok-Manila-Kolkata-Delhi-Beirut-Istanbul-Frankfurt-London-New York.

1928: Amelia Earhart takes off from Trepassey Harbor, Newfoundland on the first nonstop transatlantic flight by a woman, onboard a Fokker F.VII. She is not the pilot, however, as most of the trip is flown via instruments, for which Earhart is not trained. Arriving in Bussy Port, Wales, 20 hours and 40 minutes later, Earhart says, “[Wilmer] Stultz did all the flying—had to. I was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes…maybe someday I’ll try it alone.”

1916: French pilot Jean Navarre, the country’s first flying ace, is shot down and wounded, ending his career with 12 kills.

1911: The Aurel Vlaicu nr. 1, a plane developed by Romanian aircraft pioneer Aurel Vlaicu, makes its maiden flight. Bucharest’s main airport is today named after Vlaicu.