On This Day in Aviation History
February 27th in Aviation History: The Father of Area 51 is Born and A Bumbling Ryanair Evacuation
2002 – The crew of Ryanair Flight 296, a Boeing 737-800 (EI-CSA), while taxiing to a gate at London Stansted Airport evacuates the plane after fire personnel report smoke and fire billowing from the right engine. All 117 passengers are evacuated in 90 seconds, but flight attendants have difficulty opening the doors without assistance. Without proper guidance, several passengers evacuate over the right wing not knowing that’s where the fire is suspected. An investigation reveals there had been no fire, and UK aviation safety regulators recommend several changes to evacuation procedures and training at Ryanair.
1993 – The US Air Force begins dropping supplies over wartorn Bosnia.
1910 – Pioneering Lockheed Skunk Works aerospace engineer Kelly Johnson is born in Ishpeming, Michigan. He would spend four decades at the company, launching Area 51 and developing many of history’s most advanced aircraft, including the U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird. In a 2003 Aviation Week list of the top 100 “most important, most interesting, and most influential people” of aviation’s first century, Johnson was ranked 8th. He passed away at the age of 80 in 1990.