On This Day in Aviation History

August 30, 2012

Space Shuttle Discovery’s First Flight: August 30 in Aviation History

First launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, Mission STS-41-D. (Photo by NASA)

2008: A Conviasa Boeing 737-200 (YV-102T) ferrying from Maiquetia, Venezuela to new owners in Latacunga, Ecuador crashes into Illiniza Volcano while on approach, killing all three crew onboard. The crash is blamed on pilot error, as the crew disregarded the published approach procedures and flew into an area of dangerous terrain prior to hitting the mountain.

1995: NATO forces launch Operation Deliberate Force, an air campaign to damage the Bosnian Serb Army in Bosnia during the Bosnian War. Over the following month, 3515 sorties were flown targeting 338 individual targets. 400 planes were used from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

1994: Lockheed and Martin Marietta announce their merger plans. Lockheed Martin is formally created a year later.

1984: Space Shuttle Discovery makes its maiden spaceflight on mission STS-41-D.

1984: Cameroon Airlines Flight 786, a Boeing 737-200 (TJ-CBD), suffers an uncontained engine failure and catches fire while taxiing for takeoff from Douala Airport in Cameroon. All 116 people onboard escape the plane, but two are killed by the fire outside.

1982: A prototype of the Northrop F-20 Tigershark fighter makes its first test flight. Only three would be built before the program is cancelled.

1978: Two East German men hijack LOT Flight 165, a Tupolev Tu-134 carrying 63 passengers, during a flight from Gdańsk, Poland, to East Berlin. With a flight attendant held hostage, the men force the pilots to land at Tempelhof Airport in West Berlin. The hijackers and six other East German passengers claim sanctuary.

1975: Wien Air Alaska Flight 99, a Fairchild F-27B, crashes into Sevuokuk Mountain while on approach to Gambell, Alaska, in fog, killing 10 of the 32 people on board. All 22 survivors suffer injuries.

1969: First flight of the Tupolev Tu-22M supersonic, long-range bomber.

1967: The Spanish Navy receives its first aircraft carrier, the USS Cabot, thanks to the US Mutual Defense Assistance Program.

1962: First flight of Japan’s NAMC YS-11 turboprop airliner.

1952: First test flight of the Avro Vulcan.

1950: A US Air Force Republic F-84 Thunderjet explodes in midair and crashes near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, killing the pilot.

1943: Qantas Empire Airways PBY Catalina flying boat flies the longest, non-stop scheduled airline flight in history, the “Double Sunrise Route” from Ceylon to Perth, Australia. The flight takes 31 hours 51 minutes.

1913: American inventor Lawrence B. Sperry’s gyroscopic automatic stabilizing device, or autopilot, is used in an airplane for the first time by Lt. Patrick N. L. Bellinger in a U.S. Navy flying boat.



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