On This Day in Aviation History

January 5, 2013

Nixon Launches Space Shuttle Program: January 5 in Aviation History

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By: NYCAviation Staff
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President Richard M. Nixon and Dr. James C. Fletcher, NASA Administrator, discuss the proposed Space Shuttle vehicle in San Clemente, California, on January 5, 1972. (Photo by NASA)
President Richard M. Nixon and Dr. James C. Fletcher, NASA Administrator, discuss the proposed Space Shuttle vehicle in San Clemente, California, on January 5, 1972. (Photo by NASA)
2011: A man attempts to hijack Turkish Airlines Flight 1754, a Boeing 737-800 (TC-JGZ) flying from Oslo to Istanbul. The would-be hijacker is overpowered by the flight’s passengers and arrested.

2009: A Basler BT-67 crashes while attempting to land in Antarctica. All four passengers survive, but the plane is destroyed.

2006: Independence Air ceases operations after a little over one year of flying.

2002: Charles J. Bishop, a Florida teenager inspired by the September 11th hijackers, flies a Cessna 172 into the side of the Bank of America Tower in Tampa. Bishop is killed and one office is damaged but no one else is hurt.

1995: The “Father of Stealth,” Ben Rich, dies in Ventura, Calif., at the age of 69. The second director of Lockheed’s Skunk Works, Rich led development of the F-117 and also took part in the F-104, U-2, SR-71, A-12, F-22 projects.

1981: Sir James Martin, co-founder of famed Martin-Baker Aircraft Co., dies at the age of 87.

1977: A disgruntled former employee of Connellan Airways in Australia flies a Beechcraft Baron into the airline’s complex at Alice Springs Airport, killing four people and the pilot, and injuring four others.

1972: President Richard Nixon launches the Space Shuttle program with initial funding of $5.5 billion

1969: Venera 5, USSR’s first probe to make a successful planet landing, is launched. It would later enter the atmosphere of Venus on May 16.

1969: Ariana Afghan Airlines Flight 701, a Boeing 727-100 (YA-FAR), crashes into a house while on approach to London’s Gatwick Airport. 48 of the 54 passengers and crew are killed as well as two people in the house, though a baby in the house survives. The crash is blamed on the captain not diverting to Heathrow due to Gatwick’s heavy fog and not extending the flaps.

1967: A Lockheed A-12 crashes after running out of fuel on a training flight from Groom Lake, Nevada. Pilot Walter Ray ejects prior to impact, but his ejection seat fails and he is killed.

1964: First flight of the Short Belfast, a four-engined turboprop freighter built for the Royal Air Force.

1962: A US Army Piasecki H-21 C Shawnee transport helicopter is shot down by Viet Cong ground fire near Dak Roda, South Vietnam, killing three and marking the Army’s first combat deaths of the war.

1962: Three airmen are killed in the crash of a US Air Force Boeing B-47E-105-BW Stratojet out of March Air Force Base, California.

1959: The Fairey Rotodyne, a part-plane, part-helicopter aircraft, sets a new speed record for “convertiplanes,” hitting 190 mph during a 62-mile flight.

1956: The first and only prototype of the Piasecki YH-16A Turbo Transporter helicopter breaks up in flight over Swedesboro, New Jersey, killing both pilots. The program is subsequently cancelled.

1952: Pan Am begins cargo flights across the Atlantic.

1949: Charles “Chuck” Yeager flies the only conventional runway take off performed during the Bell X-1 program, reaching 23,000 ft in 90 seconds.

1939: Amelia Earhart is declared legally dead, 18 months after her plane had disappeared over the Pacific Ocean.


  • Rodrigo

    Wow, it's a boring day haha

  • Rodrigo

    Wow, it's a boring day haha

  • Art Vandalay

    Yeah, the slow days happen on occasion. I wish something could be invented to spice it up!

  • Art Vandalay

    Yeah, the slow days happen on occasion. I wish something could be invented to spice it up!