On This Day in Aviation History

November 13, 2011

On This Day in Aviation History: November 13th

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By: Matt Molnar
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1980 – Double Eagle V, piloted by Benihana-founder Rocky Aoki, as well as Ben Abruzzo, Larry Newman and Ron Clark, lands in California’s Mendocino National Forest 84 1/2 hours after taking off from Nagashima, Japan, becoming the first balloon to cross the Pacific Ocean.

Paul Cornu on his helicopter

Paul Cornu on his helicopter.

1971 – NASA’s Mariner 9 begins to orbit Mars, becoming the first manmade object to successfully orbit another planet. The spacecraft would image 100% of the Martian surface.

1941 – Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal is torpedoed by German submarine U-81. The ship would sink the following day, but only one crewmember was killed.

1907 – Paul Cornu, a French bicyclemaker, completes history’s first untethered helicopter flight, holding his 24 hp, Antoinette-engined bird at an altitude of about one foot for 20 seconds in Lisieux, France. The design proves to be uncontrollable and impractical, however, and is abandoned shortly thereafter.