On This Day in Aviation History

March 10, 2012

Today in Aviation History: March 10th

1989 – Air Ontario Flight 1363, a Fokker F28-1000 Fellowship (C-FONF) crashes immediately after takeoff from Dryden, Ontario, Canada, killing 21 passengers and 3 crew, while injuring the remaining 45 people onboard. Investigators blame the tragedy on icing, which was only a problem due to a chain of failures: The APU was inoperable, which led to the captain leaving the engines on during the fuel stop, which prevented them from using deicing fluid on the wings because doing so could have caused smoke and fumes to enter the cabin.

1979 – The US Air Force sends E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft (a military variant of the Boeing 707) to perform surveillance over Yemen, which is in the midst of a civil war.

1979 – Swift Aire Flight 235, an Aerospatiale Nord 262 (N418S) ditches into Santa Monica Bay shortly after taking off from Los Angeles International Airport, killing three of the seven people onboard. An investigation says the crew accidentally turned off the one remaining operational engine after the other engine entered an autofeather mode.

1977 – Astronomers James L. Elliot, Edward W. Dunham, and Douglas J. Mink discover rings around Uranus.

1973 – Philippine Airlines is re-designated as the country’s flag carrier.

1967 – West Coast Airlines Flight 720, a Fairchild F-27 (N2712), crashes into Stukel Mountain near Klamath Falls, Oregon, killing all three crew and its single passenger. Investigators would determine ice buildup on the wings prevented the plane from climbing after takeoff.

1956 – The British-built Fairey Delta 2 research aircraft sets a new world airspeed record of 1,132 mph, becoming the first plane to exceed 1,000 mph in level flight. The new mark bests the previous record by 300 mph, set a year earlier by a North American F-100 Super Sabre.

1948 – Test pilot Herbert Henry Hoover becomes the first civilian to fly faster than the speed of sound, reaching 703 mph (Mach 1.065) aboard the No. 2 Bell XS-1.

1945 – In a second day of bombing, a total of 279 US Army Air Forces B-29 Superfortress bombers drop 1,700 tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo, killing over 100,000 people and leaving over 1 million homeless.

1944 – Loftledir, popularly known as Icelandic Airlines, is founded by three young pilots.

1925 – The Supermarine Southampton flying boat makes its maiden flight.

1910 – History’s first ever nighttime flight takes place, as French pilot Emile Aubrun flies his Bleriot Type IX about 12 miles from Buenos Aires, Argentina and back.

1905 – The war between the Wright brothers and European planemakers begins, as French lawyer Ernest Archdeacon writes a letter challenging Wilbur and Orville to prove their claims.

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