On This Day in Aviation History


Pearl Harbor Attacked, Last Moon Mission Launched: December 7th In Aviation History

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Written by: NYCAviation Staff
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Apollo 17 awaits launch at Cape Canaveral. (Photo by NASA)

2005: A man named Rigoberto Alpizar is shot by U.S. Air Marshals in the jetway after running off American Airlines Flight 924 which had just arrived in Miami from Medellin, Colombia. He moved towards the plane, refusing to comply with the officers’ orders to stop, and was shot. It was the first time since before 9/11 that an Air Marshal had used a firearm on-duty.

1995 The Galileo spacecraft arrives at Jupiter, just more than six years after it was deployed by Space Shuttle Atlantis during Mission STS-34.

1987 Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) Flight 1771, a BAE-146 registered N350PS, crashes in Cayucos, California, after a former USAir employee deliberately crashed the aircraft. The man, David Burke, thought that the best way of exacting revenge on his boss (a fellow passenger) was to storm the cockpit, kill the pilots and crash the plane. All 43 people on-board are killed, with the jet hitting the ground so fast (700 mph) that 27 passengers were never identified.

1983: Iberia Airlines Flight 350, a Boeing 727 (EC-CFJ) collides with an Aviaco DC-9 (EC-CGS) in dense fog at Madrid-Barajas Airport after the DC-9 accidentally turns onto runway 01 as the 727 is departing. All 42 on-board the Aviaco plane are killed, and 51 of the 93 on the Iberia jet perished.

1980: Pan Am Boeing 747-100 (N540PA), the China Clipper, lands in Beijing from New York’s JFK (after a stop in Tokyo). It is the first commercial flight between the United States and mainland China since 1949.

1972 Apollo 17, the final Apollo moon mission and the last time man has been on the Moon, launches.

1945 – New Zealand National Airways Corporation is born after merging Union Airways, Air Travel and Cook Strait Airways.

1941 – Japan attacks Pearl Harbor in a surprise pre-dawn raid, killing 2,402 and thrusting the United States into World War II. The Japanese use 408 aircraft over two waves to strike a considerable blow to the US Navy, where 188 American planes are destroyed.

1940 – The first prototype of the Fairey Barracuda makes its maiden flight.

1920 – World War II Austrian flying ace Walter Nowotny is born in Gmünd, Austria.

1916 – Yekaterina Budanova, who would become one of two female flying aces during World War II, is born in Konoplanka, Russia.

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