On This Day in Aviation History

December 17, 2011

On This Day in Aviation History: December 17th

2003 – Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne becomes the first privately designed and manufactured manned aircraft to exceed the speed of sound.

The birth of aviation, as the Wright Flyer takes to the air!

The birth of modern aviation, as the Wright Flyer takes to the air!

1994 – KLM’s last DC-10 is retired.

1994 – The C-5 Galaxy sets a national record after taking off with the maximum payload of all time at 920,836 pounds.

1973 – Palestinian guerrillas storm a terminal in Rome, throwing grenades and spraying automatic fire on Pan Am Flight 110 (a Boeing 707, registered N407PA). The resulting flames kill several on the aircraft. The terrorists also hijack a Lufthansa 737 on the ramp, taking it and several Italian hostages on commanded flights to Greece, Syria and finally Kuwait, where the hostages are finally freed and the hijackers given to the custody of the PLO. In the end, 30 people die.

1947 – The first flight of the B-47 Stratojet bomber.

1935 – The first flight of the Douglas DC-3. As one of the toughest aircraft of all-time, 10,655 were made, with hundreds still flying commercially at the turn of the century.

1903 – The modern era of aviation is born at the Wright Brother takes the world’s first powered flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina at 10:53 am. Their Wright Flyer was airborne for 12 seconds, flying a distance of 120 feet. They flew it four times that day, the last one reaching a distance of 200 feet.