On This Day in Aviation History


On This Day in Aviation History: November 21st

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Written by: Phil Derner Jr.
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2004 – China Eastern Flight 5210, a Bombardier CRJ-200 registered B-3072, crashes into a park shortly after takeoff from Baotou, China, killing all 53 onboard and two on the ground. The aircraft had been parked overnight and had accumulated frost on the wings which were not de-iced before departure. The aircraft stalled after being airborne for less than a minute and plummeted back to Earth.

1989 – A British Airways Boeing 747-100 enroute to London Heathrow Airport from Bahrain performs a go-around at the last moment and misses hitting the Penta Hotel by only 12 feet. With the first officer and flight engineer incapacitated by food poisoning, Captain Glen Stewart had been left to handle the challenging Cat. II approach on his own. Despite being defended by British Airways, the captain is indicted on criminal negligence charges, and fined about $4,000. During the legal tussle, he loses his 747 captain’s qualification and resigns from the airline. In 1992, Stewart would commit suicide.

1981 – Aeroflot is temporarily banned from U.S. skies after a flight strays from its flight plan and over some New England military installations.

1917 – A Zeppelin LZ59 begins a 4,198-mile journey through Africa in 96 hours.

1783 – The first untethered human flight takes place when Jean Francois Pilatre de Rozier flies as high as 500 feet and travels five miles over Paris in a Montgolfier hot-air balloon.

About the Author

Phil Derner Jr.
Phil Derner founded NYCAviation in 2003. A lifetime aviation enthusiast that grew up across the water from La Guardia Airport, Phil has aviation experience as a Loadmaster, Operations Controller and Flight Dispatcher. He owns and operates NYCAviation and performs duties as an aviation expert through writing, consulting, public speaking and media appearances. You can reach him by email or follow him on Twitter.



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  • Christopher di Spirito

    I just eat up this sort of aviation trivia. November 21st was a very busy day. Keep up the great work!