On This Day in Aviation History


January 21st in Aviation History: First Concorde Passenger Flight, Cargolux Lands on Van and 40 More Events!

2010 – Cargolux Flight 7933, operated by Boeing 747-400 LX-OCV strikes a vehicle on landing at Luxembourg International Airport. The van, which was also given permission by Air Traffic Control to be on the runway, suffered major damage, while the aircraft sustained a damaged tire. Three investigations have been launched into the incident, eventually placing blame on an ATC communication error.
2009 – An Indian Air Force HAL HJT-16 Kiran Mk.2 military trainer aircraft from the No. 52 Squadron Surya Kiran (Sun Rays) Aerobatics display team based at the Bidar Air Force Station in Karnataka, India, crashes into a field during a routine training exercise, killing the pilot.
2004 – NASA’s Mars Exploration Robot-A (MER-A) Spirit ceases communication from the red-planet because of a flash memory issue. The problem would be fixed two days later remotely from Earth.
1999 – A Royal Air Force Panavia Tornado GR-1 crashes into a Cessna 152 II (G-BPZX) near Mattersley, Nottinghamshire. The Air Accident Report concluded that none of the pilots saw each other in time to take avoiding action. Both crew of the Tornado, Flight Lieutenant Greg Hurst and Sottotenete Matteo Di Carlo, as well as the pilot and passenger in the Cessna, were killed.
1999 – A Nicaraguan Air Force Antonov An-26, 126, c/n 14206, crashes into a mountain near Bluefields, Nicaragua, killing all 28 on board.
1991 – An Iraqi surface-to-air missile shoots down a U. S. Navy F-14 Tomcat, and a United States Army attack helicopter is lost to non-combat causes in the Gulf War.
1991 – The Soviet Union commissions the heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser “Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov”. It is a hybrid ship combining the capability of a Western aircraft carrier to operate high-performance fighters for fleet air defense, with the heavy shipboard anti-ship missile armament of Soviet guided-missile cruisers. She is the first Soviet/Russian ship with a full-length flight deck similar to that of Western aircraft carriers and the only such ship ever to be built prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Van11987 – American triathlete Lois McCallin, in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Michelob Light Eagle human powered aircraft, sets straight-line and closed circuit world distance records and the world duration record for women at 4.25 miles (6.83km), 9.59 miles (15.44km) and 37 minutes 38 seconds respectively.
1985 – Galaxy Airlines Flight 203, a Lockheed L-188 Electra (reg N5532) crashes just after takeoff from Reno, Nevada. The small air-start door on the right wing had not not secured properly by ground crews, causing a vibration felt by the crew. The pilots then eased back on the engines to try to isolate the noise, which resulted in a stall as they tried to continue climbing. There was only one survivor among the 70 people on the aircraft.
1980 – An Iran Air Boeing 727-086 (EP-IRD), crashes into a mountain while on approach to Tehran in very snow conditions. There were no survivors among the 128 aboard.
1976 – The Concorde begins scheduled service, with British Airways and Air France simultaneously launching flights from London to Bahrain and Paris to Rio de Janeiro, respectively.
1972 – First flight of the Lockheed S-3B Viking, a four-seat twin-engine jet aircraft that was used by the U.S. Navy to identify and track enemy submarines. The aircraft was used extensively decades later during Operation Desert Storm, and in the late 1990s, the S-3B’s mission focus shifted to surface warfare and aerial refueling. The type was finally retired by the US Navy in January of 2009.
1970 – The Boeing 747 (-100, of course) makes its first commercial flight from New York to London for Pan American.
1968 – A Boeing B-52G-100-BW Stratofortress, (58-0188, c.n. 4642256) of the 528th Bomb Squadron, 380th Bomb Wing, from Plattsburgh AFB, New York, carrying four hydrogen bombs crashes on the ice seven miles from Thule Air Base, Greenland, killing 1 member of the crew. All four B-28 weapons are consumed in post-crash fire, however, one bomb was unaccounted for after debris is audited, with extensive contamination of site and several relief workers having been exposed to radiation. This accident caused the Department of Defense to suspend Operation Chrome Dome, the nuclear airborne alert program of SAC.
1963 – First flight of the Fairchild Hiller FH-1100, an American single-engine, single two-bladed rotor, light helicopter.
1960 – Avianca Flight 671, a Lockheed Constellation, crashes on landing at Sangster International Airport, killing 2 of 7 crew and 35 of 39 passengers on board in Jamaica’s worst aviation accident.
1960 – Little Joe 1B, Launch Escape System test of the Mercury spacecraft, lifts off from Wallops Island, Virginia with Miss Sam, a female rhesus monkey on board.
1958 – The last Fokker C.X in military service, the Finnish Air Force FK-111 target tower, crashes, killing the pilot and winch-operator.
1952 – Second prototype of Arsenal VG 90 turbojet strike fighter design for the Aeronavale, VG-90.02, first flown June 1951, crashes, killing pilot Claude Dellys.

S-3B Viking, with magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) extended, used to detect submarines.

S-3B Viking, with magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) extended, used to detect submarines.

1952 – The Saab 210 experimental delta-winged research aircraft makes its first flight in Sweden.
1951 – Lockheed P2V-4 Neptune, of VP-22, deployed to WestPac during the Korean War on November 1, 1950 and based at Naha Air Base, Okinawa, is lost this date due to starboard engine failure during takeoff. The P2V crashed and sank in 20 fathoms of water one mile off the end of the runway. There were 11 survivors and two crewmen were listed as missing (their bodies were later recovered).
1951 – The U. S. Air Force F-84 Thunderjet makes its first kill, when F-84 pilot Lieutenant Colonel William E. Bertram shoots down a MiG-15 during the Korean War.
1951 – First non-stop unrefueled transatlantic crossing by a jet is made by an English Electric Canberra.
1950 – First flight of the Tupolev Tu-75, a Soviet 4-engine military transport prototype variant of the Tu-4 bomber.
1950 – Birth of Joseph Richard “Joe” Tanner, jet pilot, and NASA astronaut. No relation to Danny Tanner or any of the other members of “Full House.”
1945 – The British East Indies Fleet aircraft carriers HMS Ameer and HMS Shah support the landings of the 26th Indian Infantry Division on Ramree Island off the coast of Burma.
1945 – Task Force 38 aircraft fly 1,164 sorties in strikes on Formosa, the Pescadores, and the Sakishima Gunto, sinking five tankers and five other merchant ships and destroying two Japanese aircraft in the air and 104 on the ground.
1945 – In Japanese air attacks on the Allied task force, a bomber damages the Aircraft Carrier USS Langley (CVL-27) and kamikazes damage the carrier USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) and a destroyer. In addition, an accidental bomb explosion during a landing accident damages the carrier USS Hancock (CV-19).
1944 – Launch of Operation Steinbock (Baby Blitz), nocturnal WWII Luftwaffe offensive against southern England launched primarily for the sake of propaganda and as a measure of retaliation than for any military objective.
1944 – German ace Hauptmann Manfred Meurer is killed when his Heinkel He219 night fighter collides with a British Lancaster bomber over Magdeburg, Germany. He has 65 kills at the time of his death.

Martin M-130 flying boat, similar to the one operated by Pan Am that crashed in 1943.

Martin M-130 flying boat, similar to the one operated by Pan Am that crashed in 1943.

1943 – Pan Am flight 1104, a Martin M-130 Flying Boat (“Philippine Clipper”, reg. NC-14715), crashes in Ukiah, California, killing all 19 on-board. The aircraft, flying in very poor weather, descended for improved visibility, causing it to crash into a mountain after drifting off-course. The 10 passengers on the aircraft were all naval officers enroute to San Francisco.
1939 – Imperial Airways Short Empire flying boat Cavalier makes an emergency landing 285 miles southeast of New York due to loss of power and later sinks; 3 of 12 onboard die.
1938 – First flight of the Potez-CAMS 141 ‘Antares’, a French 4-engined monoplane long range reconnaissance flying boat prototype.
1936 – First flight of the FMA AeC.3G, an Argentinian light utility aircraft, an evolution of the FMA AeC.3, first Argentine aircraft to be equipped with flaps.
1931 – First flight of the Vickers Type 161, a British unusual pusher biplane prototype interceptor, designed to attack aircraft from below with a single upward-angle large caliber gun.

1930 – First complete airport lighting system online at Calgary airport.
1921 – The first triple-triplane aircraft, also the first passenger-carrying aircraft designed to carry more than 100 people that actually got off the ground, is launched at Lake Maggiore, Italy. The flight attempt ends in failure when the 55,000lb flying boat takes a nosedive into the lake.
1920 – The last Royal Navy balloon ship, HMS Canning, which has operated since December 1916 as a balloon depot ship, is sold.
1920 – Ten de Havilland DH-9 are dispatched to form “Z Force”, and are used for bombing, strafing and as air ambulances during the RAF first ‘Little War’ against the tribal leader Mohammed bin Abdulla Hassan, the ‘Mad Mullah’, in British Somaliland.
1919 – Birth of Eric Melrose “Winkle” Brown, CBE, DSC, AFC RN, British Navy test pilot who has flown more types of aircraft than anyone else in history and holds the world record for aircraft carrier landings.
1917 – First flight of the Nielsen & Winther Type AA (also known as the Type Aa), a single seat Danish designed fighter aircraft.
1911 – Lieutenant Paul Ward Beck sends the first wireless-telephonic message from an aeroplane, sending a message from a Wright biplane over Selfridge Field in Michigan.

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