On This Day in Aviation History

February 18, 2012

Today in Aviation History: February 18th

Enterprise during a captive flight. [Photo: NASA]
Enterprise during a captive flight. [Photo: NASA]
1981 – Aircraft industrialist Jack Northrop, co-founder of Lockheed Corporation and, later, founder of Northrop Corporation, dies at the age of 85.

1977 – Space Shuttle Enterprise, unmanned, makes its maiden “flight” while mated to the top of a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. This captive-inert test was designed to test the flight and handling characteristics of the aircraft while it was mated to the orbiter. (Its first free flight would occur in August of this year.)

1973 – Daniel Bouchart and Didier Potelle land 19,568 feet up on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania in an SA 319 B Alouette II helicopter.

1969 – Terrorists attack an El Al 707 on the runway at Zurich, killing a pilot and three passengers

1969 – Hawthorne Nevada Airlines Flight 708 crashes into Mount Whitney, killing all 35 on-board. The pilots of the DC-3 (N17750) were straying from their filed VFR flight plan when they struck. Weather and challenging terrain prevented rescue crews to come upon the wreckage until the following August.

1934 – TWA assembles a team to fly a prototype of the DC-1 from Burbank, California, to Newark, New Jersey, in a record-breaking 13 hours and 4 minutes.

1911 – The first airmail is carried by an aircraft. Henri Pequet carries 6,500 letters across the Jumna River, from Allahabad to Naini Junction, India, traveling a distance of about five miles.