On This Day in Aviation History

February 1, 2013

10 Years Since Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster: February 1st in Aviation History

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By: Matt Molnar
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The remnants of Shuttle Columbia rain down over Texas.
The remnants of Shuttle Columbia rain down over Texas.
2006 - United Airlines’ parent company, UAL Corp., emerges from the longest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.

2003 - Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates over Texas during its descent to earth on mission STS-107, killing all seven astronauts on board. Heat shield tiles, which suffered damage during the shuttle’s launch, fail during reentry, allowing hot gases to enter the left wing and eventually cause it to break off, quickly leading to the destruction of the entire spacecraft.

1991 – USAir Flight 1493, a Boeing 737-300 (N388US) landing at LAX, collides with a SkyWest Airlines Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner which had lined up on the runway for takeoff, killing 22 of the 83 people aboard the USAir jet and all 12 on the SkyWest plane. The crash would be blamed on air traffic controller error.

1988 – UPS Airlines began flying with a fleet of 92 DC-8s, 727s and 747s, their first flight being on a DC-8 from Louisville to Milwaukee. See this UPSblog infographic, which highlights their history.

1983 - Boeing announces it will stop producing the 727. The 1,832nd, and final 727, would roll off the line in 1984.

1981 - Donald Douglas, founder of the Douglas Aircraft Company, dies at age 88.

1923 - Danish Army Flying Corps established.

1920 - South African Air Force is established as an independent air arm.

1930 – San Francisco’s first air ferry commences service, crossing the bay in six minutes. Routes are between San Francisco and Alameda, as well as Oakland and Vallejo.

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