On This Day in Aviation History

November 1, 2011

On This Day in Aviation History: November 1st

2011 – LOT Polish Airlines Flight 16, a Boeing 767-300ER flying from Newark to Warsaw with 230 people on board makes a gear-up belly landing at Warsaw Chopin Airport. No one is injured. The malfunction is blamed on a hydraulic failure.

1993 – Space Shuttle Columbia lands at Edwards Air Force Base, completing mission STS-58, the fourth longest US mission ever. It would also be Columbia‘s final landing at Edwards.

1992 – Space Shuttle Columbia completes mission STS-52 after landing at Kennedy Space Center.

1989 – Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) bans smoking on many flights.

1966 – NASA test pilot Bill Dana reaches an altitude of 58 miles (93 km) and a speed of 3,750 mph aboard an X-15.

1955 – A dynamite bomb explodes in the luggage hold of United Airlines Flight 629 while flying near Longmont, Colorado, killing all 39 passengers and five crew members. The Douglas DC-6B was enroute to Portland and Seattle from Denver, having originated at New York’s LaGuardia Airport with a stop at Chicago O’Hare. The culprit was not a terrorist, but a man named Jack Gilbert Graham who sought revenge against his mother Daisie King, a passenger on the flight, for treating him badly as a child. The bomb was disguised as a Christmas gift, which he had given her and she had packed in her suitcase. Having been only the second bombing of an airplane in the United States, there were no explicit laws against blowing up airliners. Despite the large body count, Colorado authorities were only able to charge Graham with a single count of premeditated murder for the killing of his mother. Graham was convicted and executed in a Colorado gas chamber 14 months after the bombing.

1939 – The first jet-powered plane, the Heinkel He 178, is demonstrated to officials of the Reich Air Ministry for their consideration as a warplane. The Nazi bigwigs pass on the design despite its superior speed, preferring to continue using proven piston-driven aircraft rather than investing in the new jet technology.

1926 – The Air Commerce Act is passed into law. Created at the urging of aviation industry leaders and President Calvin Coolidge, the act mandates for the first time such fundamentals as pilot licenses, aircraft airworthiness certificates, airways and investigation of accidents.

1911 – Italian Army Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti drops four grenades from his Bleriot aircraft onto an Ottoman encampment in Libya, marking history’s first aerial bombing.

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