On This Day in Aviation History

January 4, 2012

On This Day in Aviation History: January 4th

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Dodgers Convair

Dodger President Walter O’Malley and Dodger Director Bud Holman are on the steps of the 44-seat Dodger Convair 440 Metropolitan twin-engine plane. Holman’s son Bump is visible in the cockpit window.

2004 — The NASA Mars Rover Spirit, lands successfully on Mars.

1989 — Two US Navy F-14 Tomcats shoot down two Libyan Air Force MiG-23s over the Mediterranean.

1964 — Pope Paul VI flies to Amman, Jordan aboard an Alitalia DC-8, marking the first time a pope has used an aircraft for an official visit.

1958 — Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, falls out of orbit and back to terra firma.

1957 — The Brooklyn Dodgers order a Convair CV-440 Metropolitan for $775,000, becoming the first major league baseball team to buy an airplane. Thanks to Dodger-owner Walter O’Malley’s friendship with Eastern Air Lines president Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, the Dodgers are able to piggyback onto an Eastern order to get a plane directly from the Convair factory in San Diego. With the exception of having auto-pilot (which Eastern refused in those days) the Dodgers’ 44-seater is identical to the 20 planes Eastern purchased, even down to the Eastern duck hawk logo on the tail, but with Dodgers titles, of course. Sadly for Brooklyn fans, the plane would play a key role in O’Malley’s moving of the team to Los Angeles later that year.

1952 — Pan American World Airways launches the first all-cargo transatlantic service with a new Douglas DC-6A.

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