On This Day in Aviation History
First Flight of the BAC One-Eleven: August 20 in Aviation History
2008: Spanair Flight 5022, a McDonnell Douglas MD-82, crashes while attempting takeoff from Madrid-Barajas Airport, killing 154 of the 172 people onboard. The crash is blamed on the pilots failing to deploy the flaps and slats prior to takeoff, causing a stall immediately after rotation. An alarm that should have alerted the pilots of the problem did not function.
2007: Fire breaks out in the right engine of China Airlines Flight 120, a Boeing 737-800, after landing at Naha Airport in Okinawa, Japan. Four people are injured during the evacuation, and the plane is destroyed.
2002: First flight of South Korea’s KAI T-50 Golden Eagle jet trainer.
1986: The General Electric GE-36 propfan engine makes its first test flight. A hybrid between a turbofan and a turboprop, also known as an unducted fan, a number of factors from noise issues to falling fuel prices eventually lead to the abandonment of the program before ever being delivered, despite impressive gains in fuel economy. (Flightglobal published a great history of the propfan.)
1978: First flight of the British Aerospace Sea Harrier.
1977: The Voyager 2 unmanned interplanetary spacecraft is launched aboard a Titan IIIE/Centaur rocket from Cape Canaveral, tasked mainly with photographing Venus, Neptune and Saturn. As of today, Voyager 2 is still beaming messages back to Earth and Tweeting.
I am currently 13 hrs 40 mins 53 secs of light-travel time from Earth (2012:234:2L)
— NASAVoyager2 (@NASAVoyager2) August 21, 2012
1963: First flight of the BAC One-Eleven.
1955: Flying a U.S. Air Force North American F-100C Super Sabre, Horace A. Haines sets a world speed record of 822.135 mph (1,323.889 km/hr).
1953: With the help of aerial refueling aircraft, 17 US Air Force F-84G Thunderjets make the longest-ever nonstop flight by jet fighters, flying 4,485 miles (7,218 km) from the United States to the United Kingdom.
1947: A Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak piloted by U.S. Navy Commander Turner F. Caldwell sets a new world air speed record of 640.796 mph (1,031.878 km/h) over Muroc, California.
1919: The world’s first scheduled airship service launches in Berlin, operated with a Zeppelin LZ 120 Bodensee.
1913: From an altitude of 700 feet above Buc, France, Adolphe Pegond becomes the first person to safely parachute from a plane. Pegond actually deployed his chute before exiting the plane.
1910: The US Army test fires a rifle from an airplane for the first time, aboard a Curtiss plane piloted by Glenn Curtiss himself.
1901: The Wright brothers head back to Dayton, Ohio after completing their second season of glider testing at Kitty Hawk, NC.