On This Day in Aviation History
March 5th in Aviation History: First Flights of the Gloster Meteor and Supermarine Spitfire
Tags: BOAC Flight 911, Bob Fowler, Convair B-58, Explorer 2, Igor Sikorsky, Lake Central Airlines Flight 527, Landsat 3, Palair Macedonian Flight 301, plane crashes, Southwest Airlines Flight 1455, speed records, Supermarine Spitfire, Venera 14, Voyager 1
1993 – Palair Macedonian Airlines Flight 301 crashes moments after takeoff on runway 34 in Skopje, Macedonia. The Fokker F-100 (PH-XXL) failed to climb due to the crew’s failure to have the aircraft de-iced, killing 83 of the 97 aboard.
1981 – Venera 14, a Soviet space probe for intended to explore Venus, arrives at its destination. The spacecraft has a twin, Venera 13, which launched and also arrived 5 days prior.
1979 – Voyager 1 makes its closest approach to Jupiter at a distance of 172,000 miles.
1978 – Landsat 3 launches, the third in a series of photo satellites. Its Earth-snapping work would last five years until March of 1983.
1967 – Lake Central Airlines Flight 527, a Convair CV-580 (N73130), crashes in Marseille, Ohio, killing all 37 on-board. The crash is attributed to all four blades separating from right propeller, the no. 2 blade piercing through the aircraft.
1966 – BOAC Flight 911, a Boeing 707-436 (GAPFE) enroute to Kai Tak International, crashes into Mount Fuji shortly after departure from Tokyo International Airport, killing all 124 people aboard. The aircraft encounters severe turbulence, resulting in structural failure, beginning with separation of the vertical stabilizer. The crash comes one day after Canadian Pacific Flight 402 crashed at Tokyo Airport, with the BOAC 707 taxiing past the smoldering wreckage minutes before their own crash. Similarly, the Canadian Pacific aircraft crashed while returning from Kai Tak.
1962 – A Convair B-58 flies a round trip between Los Angeles and New York, setting three records in the process for the fastest between the two cities (2 hours, 58 minutes), fastest transcon and fastest round-trip (4 hours 41 minutes).
1958 – Explorer 2 launches, but due to a mechanical failure, does not reach orbit.
1943 – The Gloster Meteor jet fighter, the first in the Allied fleet, makes its maiden test flight.
1936 – The Supermarine Spitfire makes its maiden flight. The single-seat fighter would play a major role in World War II, with over 20,300 being built over the following 10 years.
1923 – Igor Sikorsky founds the Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation, which would become Sikorsky Manufacturing Company two years later.
1912 – Aviation pioneer Bob Fowler flies a west to east coast-to-coast journey from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida, taking four months to complete.