On This Day in Aviation History
On This Day in Aviation History: November 10th
1972 – Southern Airways Flight 49, a DC-9 enroute from Memphis to Miami is hijacked by three armed men— Melvin Cale, Louis Moore and Henry D. Jackson, Jr—during a scheduled stop in Birmingham, Ala. Their beef: All three were facing criminal charges for unrelated incidents. Further, Cale and Moore felt that they had been the victims of racial discrimination when the City of Detroit awarded them only $25 in a $4 million over police brutality claims. Their demand: $10 million. Over the next 30 hours, the plane, its two pilots, two flight attendants, three hijackers and 27 passengers would fly to Jackson, Miss., Detroit, Toronto, Chattanooga, Orlando and twice to Havana, where the ordeal would finally end. At one point, the hijackers threatened to crash the plane into the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s nuclear reactor in Tennessee. One pilot was shot in the arm, but everyone else was uninjured as the hijackers were quickly arrested and jailed by Cuban authorities. Cuba would extradite the men to the U.S. to serve more time after their sentences expired, and also returned the plane and the ransom money. The hijacking was the 170th of the year, and led to the first government-mandated security screenings at airports starting a few months later.
1970 – The first of two Russian, unmanned lunar rovers, Lunokhod 1, was launched. As mission Luna 17, the craft was the first remote-controlled robot to land on another celestial body, sending back images and data to Russia until the following September.
1907 – Henri Farman makes the first flight in Europe of over one minute in his Voisin-Farman I biplane in France.
1907 – Louis Bleriot introduces what will become the modern configuration of the airplane. His “No.VII” has an enclosed or covered fuselage, a single set of wings (non-biplane), a tail unit, and a propeller in front of the engine.
1775 – The US Marine Corps is founded in Philadelphia.