Portal:Aviation/Anniversaries/December 20

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December 20

  • 2008Continental Airlines Flight 1404, a Boeing 737-500 with 115 people on board, veers off the runway upon takeoff from Denver International Airport, comes to rest in a ravine near the runway and catches fire. There are no fatalities, over 38 people are injured, at least two of them seriously.
  • 2004 – An Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor crashes on takeoff at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, prompting the U.S. Air Force to ground most of its other F-22s. The pilot ejected safely from the Lockheed Martin-built jet, which smashed into the runway it was trying to leave at about 1545 hrs. local time.
  • 1995American Airlines Flight 965, a Boeing 757, crashes into a mountain while approaching Santiago de Cali, Colombia; of the 164 people on board, only 4 people and a dog survive.
  • 1992 – Northwest and KLM introduce a new joint logo: “Worldwide Reliability”.
  • 1989 – The United States invasion of Panama, Operation Just Cause, begins with over 300 U. S. military aircraft participating. The U. S. Air Force's F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter and the U. S. Army's AH-64 Apache attack helicopter make their combat debuts. One of the first U. S. operations is an air assault by the 1st Battalion (Airborne) of the U. S. Army’s 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment which secures Fort Amador.
  • 1981 With Capt. Don Eddie in command the last official CF Otter flight took place from Downsview.
  • 1970 – with pre-tax losses of $US 130 million, the year ends as the worst ever for US airlines.
  • 1969 – The highest-scoring North Vietnamese ace of the Vietnam War, Nguyễn Văn Cốc, scores his final victory, claimed as over an AQM-34 Firebee unmanned aerial vehicle but possibly over an OV-10 Bronco. The North Vietnamese Air Force credits him with nine victories, while the United States confirms seven.
  • 1962 – NASA research pilot Milton O. Thompson, after making an X-15 weather evaluation flight for an impending launch in NASA Lockheed JF-104A-10-LO Starfighter, 56-0749, c/n 183-1037, makes simulated X-15 approach at Rogers Dry Lake, Edwards Air Force Base, California, experiences asymmetric flap condition that results in uncommanded roll. Unable to resolve problem by repeatedly cycling the roll and yaw dampers, flap-selector switch and speed brakes, he ejects inverted at 18,000 feet (5,500 m) after the airframe makes four complete rolls. Fighter impacts nose first on Edwards bombing range. Pilot descends safely and walks to nearby road where NASA Flight Operations chief Joe Vensel, speeding to the crash site expecting the worst as Thompson had not radioed that he was ejecting, finds him waiting uninjured. Investigation finds that the crash had most likely been the result of an electrical malfunction in the left trailing-edge flap.
  • 1952 – A United States Air Force Douglas C-124A Globemaster II, 50-0100, c/n 43238, crashed on takeoff from Larson AFB, Moses Lake, Washington, United States. 115 on board (105 Passengers, 10 Crew); 87 killed (82 Passengers, 5 Crew). This was the highest confirmed death toll of any disaster in aviation history at the time.
  • 1944 – With an abundance of male pilots now available to ferry military aircraft from factories to airfields, the U. S. Army Air Forces Air Transport Command’s Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) organization is disbanded.
  • 1943 — After much effort following Ernst Heinkel's initial proposal on November 17, 1938 to power two prototypes of it (the V3 and V4 airframes) with four "individual" inverted V12 engines, the He 177 V102 four-engined prototype for the Heinkel He 177B heavy bomber makes its first flight on four discrete Daimler-Benz DB 603 powerplants.[2]
  • 1942 – (overnight) A de Havilland Mosquito of Royal Air Force Bomber Command uses the Oboe blind bombing targeting system operationally for the first time in a raid against a power station at Lutterade in the Netherlands
  • 1934 – United Airlines Flight 6 was a scheduled flight departing from Chicago, Illinois to Omaha, Nebraska on 1934. Shortly after departing Chicago power was lost on the right engine, and the crew notified Chicago that they were returning. Then power was lost on the left engine and a forced landing was attempted. The aircraft struck some trees. The cause was believed to be carburetor icing.
  • 1934 – A KLM Douglas DC-2 registered PH-AJU crashes into the desert during a flight from Amsterdam Netherlands to Jakarta, Indonesia, killing all 7 on board.
  • 1934 – United States Coast Guard Lieutenant Richard L. Burke sets a world seaplane speed record of 308.750 kilometres per hour (191.848 mph) over a 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) test course flying a Grumman JF Duck.
  • 1924 – First RCAF Wings Parade took place at Camp Borden, Ontario. W/C LS Breadner presented wings to F/L Higgins, P/O Carr-Harris, P/O Anderson, P. O Durnin, P/O Slemon, P/O Weaver.
  • 1916 – The US Army Balloon School is established in Fort Omaha, Nebraska.
  • 1910 – Chile establishes its first military aviation arm, the Chilean Army’s Military Aviation Service of Chile.


  1. ^ Chivers, C. J., "Syria Unleashes Cluster Bombs on Town, Punishing Civilians," The New York Times, December 20, 2012.
  2. ^ Griehl, Manfred; Dressel, Joachim (1998). Heinkel He 177 – 277 – 274. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing. p. 163. ISBN 1-85310-364-0.