On This Day in Aviation History

April 5, 2012

April 5th in Aviation History: The Death of Howard Hughes, Czechoslovakia’s First Jet Flies

Aero L-29 Delfin on display at the Museum of Hungarian Aviation.
Aero L-29 Delfin on display at the Museum of Hungarian Aviation. (Photo by VargaA)
2009 – North Korea launches the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2 rocket, allegedly to deliver a satellite to orbit, but the satellite is never located by US or Russian astronomers. The rocket’s trajectory over Japan draws sharp criticism from much of the world community for fears that it was actually a test of North Korea’s nuclear missile capabilities.

1999 – Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer and the head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA), and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, the LAA station manager in Luqa Airport, are handed over to Scottish authorities for their roles in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

1991 – Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 2311, an Embraer 120RT Brasilia (N270AS) flying from Atlanta to Brunswick, Georgia, crashes on approach to Brunswick, killing all 23 people onboard. Among the dead include former US Senator John Tower, and NASA STS-33 astronaut Sonny Carter. Investigators would blame the accident on a “malfunction of the left engine propeller control unit which allowed the propeller blade angles to go below the flight idle position. Contributing to the accident was the deficient design of the propeller control unit by Hamilton Standard and the approval of the design by the Federal Aviation Administration.”

1976 – Legendary aviator and business magnate Howard Hughes dies of kidney failure aboard a Learjet flying from his penthouse in Acapulco to the Methodist Hospital in Houston.

1959 – Czechoslovakia’s first locally designed and built jet aircraft, the Aero L-29 Delfin fighter jet trainer, makes its first flight.

1943 – Allied bombers accidentally bomb the residential town of Mortsel, Belgium, missing a Nazi-controlled factory by a kilometer. 936 civilians are killed, including 209 children.