On This Day in Aviation History

February 22, 2012

February 22nd in Aviation History: Airbus A320 Makes its First Flight, Man Tries to Crash Delta DC-9 Into the White House

2011 - Christchurch International Airport is closed after a magnitude 6.3 earthquake rocks the city center, causing extensive damage, deaths and injuries.

1995 - The CIA’s Corona reconnaissance satellite program, run in secret with help from the US Air Force from 1959 through 1972, is declassified. Corona satellites were launched aboard rockets, took photos of the Soviet Union and China, then parachuted back into the atmosphere where they would be retrieved in the air by specially equipped US Air Force C-119 Flying Boxcar transport planes.

1987 - The Airbus A320 makes its first test flight.

Airbus A320 first flight team

Airbus A320 first flight team. (Photo by Airbus)

1974 - An unemployed tire salesman named Samuel Byck attempts to hijack a Delta Air Lines DC-9 at Baltimore/Washington International Airport using a .22 caliber handgun and a suitcase filled with gasoline bombs. Byck’s objective: To crash the plane into the White House and assassinate President Richard Nixon. The plane never leaves the gate, though he does shoot and kill a police officer and one of the pilots and wounds the other pilot before being wounded by police and then committing suicide.

1913 - French aviator Jules Védrines becomes the first pilot to fly over 100 mph, behind the controls of a Deperdussin Monocoque near Pau, France.