Portal:Aviation/Anniversaries/December 12

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December 12

  • 1994 – Stuart Roosa, American astronaut, died (b. 1933). Roosa was a NASA astronaut, who was the command module pilot for the Apollo 14 mission. Throughout his career, Roosa logged more than 5,500 hours of flying time (5,000 hours in jets) and 217 hours in space.
  • 1989 – ‘Canadian Aviation’ (Maclean Hunter Ltd, ISSN 0008-2953) Monthly general interest magazine published from June 1928 until the merger with ‘Aerospace & Defence Technology’ to form ‘Aviation & Aerospace’ (see above). Included the long running Ace McCool humorous series of articles. Last issue was Vol.62 No.12 December 1989. Published by the Aviation League of Canada 1928-1931; by the Canadian Flying Clubs Association, 1932-1936; by Aeronautical Publications, 1937-September 1939; by Maclean-Hunter, October 1939-December 1989. Titled Canadian Aviation Magazine 1945-1950+. 52 pages in each issue in the 1950s. Ceased publication.
  • 1985Arrow Air Flight 1285, a chartered Douglas DC-8-63CF, N950JW, crashes just after take-off from Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, killing 256 people, of whom 248 were soldiers in the United States Army 101st Airborne Division returning from overseas duty in the Sinai desert, Egypt. This remains the greatest peacetime loss of military personnel in US history.
  • 1981 – Maxie Anderson and Don Ida launch from Luxor, Egypt, in the balloon Jules Verne to begin the first serious attempt at a circumnavigation of the world by balloon. They are forced to end their attempt on December 14 at Hansa, India, after a flight of 4,316 km (2,682 mi).
  • 1979 – USAF General Dynamics F-111E-CF, 68-0045, c/n A1-63, of the 79th TFS, 20th TFW, based at RAF Upper Heyford, crashed in the sea off Wainfleet Range, UK, during night bombing practice, range staff witnessing it dive into the water before the crew could eject. Pilot Capt. R.P. Gaspard and Maj. F.B. Slusher KWF. Gale force conditions prevented discovery of any wreckage for two days.
  • 1968Pan Am Flight 217, a Boeing 707, crashes near Caracas, Venezuela as a result of pilot error; all 51 on board died.
  • 1961 – Mid-air collision of two BAF Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium. 15 died.
  • 1957 – Major Adrian Drew sets a new world speed record, in a modified F-101 Voodoo, of 1,943 km (1,207 mi).
  • 1957 – A U.S. Air Force Boeing B-52D-75-BO Stratofortress, 56-0597, crashes on takeoff at Fairchild AFB near Spokane, Washington. All crew members are killed except the tail gunner. The incident is caused by trim motors that were hooked up backwards. The aircraft climbed straight up, stalled, fell over backwards and nosed straight down. Among the dead crewmen was the commanding officer of the SAC bomb wing to which the aircraft was assigned. Wreckage was strewn over a radius of more than 1,000 feet (300 m) in a stubble field about a mile west of the airbase. Although the Air Force has never indicated whether or not nuclear weapons were aboard the aircraft, this crash was cited in a February 1991 EPA report as having involved nuclear materials.
  • 1953 – Mach 2.5 (2 ½ times the speed of sound) is achieved for the first time by Major Charles “Chuck” Yeager in the Bell X-1 A. The rocket-propelled experimental aircraft reaches 1,650 mph (2,660 km/h) at 70,000 ft (21,000 m).
  • 1951Alaska Air becomes the first airline to fly over the North Pole
  • 1941 – Major General Herbert A. Dargue, the first recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, en route to Hawaii to assume command of the Hawaiian Department from Lieutenant General Walter Short, is killed when his Douglas B-18 Bolo, 36-306, of the 31st Air Base Group, crashes in the Sierra Mountains, S of Bishop, California, in worsening weather conditions. Wreckage not found until March 1942. (Joe Baugher cites discovery date of 5 July 1942.) Besides the general, seven are KWF including his staff, and crew chiefs, critically needed in the Pacific.
  • 1941 – World War II: USMC F4 F “Wildcats” sink the first 4 major Japanese ships off Wake Island.
  • 1941 – World War II: Fifty four Japanese A6 M Zero fighters raid Batangas Field, Philippines. Jesus Villamor and four Filipino fighter pilots fend them off; Cesar Basa is killed.
  • 1940 – The British aircraft carriers HMS Eagle and HMS Illustrious strike Italian transport at Bardia, Libya. Later in the month their aircraft strike Rhodes and Stampalia in Greece and Tripoli in Libya.
  • 1937 – The USS Panay incident occurs, when Imperial Japanese Navy Yokosuka B4Y (Allied reporting name “Jean”) bombers and Nakajima A4 N fighters sink the U. S. Navy gunboat USS Panay (PR-5) and three nearby Standard Oil tankers on the Yangtze River near Nanking.
  • 1924 – The Cierva C.6 autogyro makes the first cross-country flight by a rotary-wing aircraft, piloted by Captain Joaquín Loriga Taboada the 10.5 km (7 statute miles) from Cuatro Vientos airfield to Getafe, Spain, in eight minutes.
  • 1917North Sea class blimp N.S.5 sets off for RNAS East Fortune, but both engines fail within sight of her destination, and she drifts with the wind for about 10 miles (16 km) before they can be restarted. However, since both engines continue to be troublesome it is decided to make a "free balloon" landing, but the ship is damaged beyond repair during the attempt.
  • 1916 – Sole prototype of Kishi No.2 Tsurugi-go ("Sword" type) Aeroplane, 'II', single-engine pusher biplane, makes first and last flight when Lt. Inoue lifts off, immediately banks sharply to port, wingtip contacts ground, airframe cartwheels sustaining considerable damage. Cause of accident assumed to be due to the sweptback wing design.
  • 1915 – German Leutnant Theodor Mallinckrodt makes the initial “hop” of the world’s first practical all-metal aircraft, the Junkers J 1.