On This Day in Aviation History
Sputnik 1 Wins Space Race, Eastern Plane Crashes In Boston: October 4th in Aviation History
2004: Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne makes its third successful flight into space, thus clinching the $10 million Ansari X Prize. It marks SpaceShipOne’s final flight, as it is replaced by SpaceShipTwo for space tourism development.
2004: Gordon Cooper, NASA astronaut during the Mercury program and the sixth American to orbit the earth, dies in Ventura, California at the age of 77.
2001: Siberian Airlines Flight 1812, a Tupolev Tu-154 (registered RA-85693), is struck by an errant Ukranian missile, sending it crashing into the Black Sea and killing all 78 on-board.
1992: El Al Flight 1862, a 747-200F (registered 4X-AXG), crashes into an apartment complex in Amsterdam, killing four people on the aircraft and 39 on the ground after engines number 3 and 4 fall from the wing. It would be determined that fuse pins designed to let separating engines break away clean had failed to do so, allowing the number 3 engine’s loss to also cause the number 4 engine to separate as well. This caused damage to the flaps and right aileron that sent the aircraft into an 90-degree roll while attempting to slow down for their second landing attempt.
1984: After her husband dies at the controls, 61-year-old Elaine Yadwin safely lands a Piper Cherokee Warrior II in Florida.
1975: A Cessna 310Q carrying NWA wrestlers Ric Flair, Johnny Valentine “Mr. Wrestling” Tim Woods and Bob Bruggers, and promoter David Crockett, crashes in Wilmington, North Carolina. The pilot is killed, Valentine is paralyzed, and the others are severely injured. Flair breaks his back in three places, but returns to wrestling despite being told he’d never enter the ring again.
1960: Eastern Airlines Flight 375, a Lockheed L188 Electra (registered N5533) flying from Boston Logan to Philadelphia crashes seconds after takeoff due to a bird strike, killing 62 of the 72 people on-board.
1958: BOAC becomes the first airline to operate a transatlantic route by a jetliner, flying the de Havilland Comet 4 (G-APDB) from London Heathrow Airport to New York International Airport (now known as JFK Airport).
1957: The Soviets win round one of the Space Race, launching Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.
1957: The Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow rolls out at the Avro Canada plant in Malton, Ontario.
1946: As part of the US Air Force’s Marathon Project, a modified B-29 named “Pacusan Dreamboat” sets a nonstop, unrefueled flight distance record of over 9,000 miles, flying from Honolulu to Cairo in 39 hours 36 minutes.
1924: First flight of the Curtiss XPW-8A, predecessor of the US Army’s Curtiss P-1 Hawk open-cockpit biplane fighter aircraft.
1919: New altitude record: 31,569 feet (9,622 meters) set by American pilot Rudolph Schroeder, flying a Packard-Le Peré LUSAC-11 biplane.
1909: Wilbur Wright performs the first flight over the Hudson River in front of millions of gawkers.
1784: James Sadler becomes the first British aeronaut, piloting a balloon six miles from Christ Church Meadow, Oxford to Woodeaton, reaching an altitude of 3,600 feet. While Sadler was the first Englishman to fly a balloon, this marked the second flight in England — Italian balloonist Vincenzo Lunardi had taken a flight over about three weeks earlier.