Friday, December 19, 2014

December 20

2013 -- “Bride and Boom!” 

We’re Number One... In Obliterating Wedding Parties By Tom Engelhardt.

2011 -- A Saudi BAE Systems Hawk, single-engine, advanced jet trainer aircraft of the Royal Saudi Air Force crashed during a training mission in the north-western region (Tabuk) this morning.

The Ministry of Defence said the crash was caused by a bird strike, which led to a malfunction in one of its engines.  The pilot managed to eject safely.

2011 -- New details emerge in doomed flight that killed 5 in Morris County, New Jersey, U.S.A.

2011 -- The majority of Virgin America flight attendants have voted against unionization. 

Fifty-nine percent of the flight attendants who voted cast their ballots against joining the Transport Workers Union.

2011 -- NASA's Kepler spacecraft has located its first two Earth-size worlds.

Although neither are plausibly hospitable to life, it seems only a matter of time before the mission scores its ultimate goal of finding  planets that are about the size of Earth and have temperate surface conditions.

2011 -- Airbus Military is investigating the loss of part of a refuelling boom over the Atlantic during testing of a tanker plane being developed for the Royal Australian Air Force.

2010 -- Venezuela’s authorities took Fuerza Aérea Dominicana (FAD) (Dominican AF) lieutenant colonel Carlos Quiñones into custody for trying to fly a Falcon airplane with drugs to Dominican Republic, from a rural airport in that South American nation.

The arrest came after the Dominican pilot tried to fly the plane despite having a no-fly restriction issued by the Venezuela Aviation authorities.

2010 -- First flight HondaJet from the company’s Honda Aircraft Co. operation at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.A.

The HondaJet completed its maiden flight on Dec. 20While an earlier version called a proof-of-concept aircraft has logged more than 500 hours of flight testing, flying the version built to Federal Aviation Administration rules is what really counts toward bringing the plane to market.

The HondaJet has been in development since 1997 when Fujino first sketched the design. The proof-of-concept aircraft made its first flight in December 2003 and has since racked up more than 500 flight test hours. In 2007 the company revealed the interior design concept for the aircraft which is slated for delivery in 2012.

Honda is also nearing completion of its 266,000 square foot (24,712 m2) aircraft production facility on its Greensboro campus that is scheduled for completion in early 2011. Upon completion, the company fit will begin the process of moving equipment and personnel into the facility and begin ramping up production.

2010 -- Israeli fighter jets attack Gaza. 

Air raids hit targets in several parts of the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory. Apparently the raids were in retaliation for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired seven mortar shells into southern Israel that fell on open ground, causing no casualties.

2010 -- "I counted them all out, and I counted them all back:" Brian Hanrahan, a veteran BBC reporter who was responsible for one of British war reporting’s most celebrated moments, aboard Royal Navy aircraft carrier Hermes off the Falklands in 1982, has died from cancer. He was 61.

2010 -- The fourth Airbus Military A400M military airlifter has made its first flight – the culmination of a highly successful 2010 which also saw the fleet of Grizzly development aircraft complete just over 1,000 hours flight-time and 300 flights.

Known as Grizzly 4, the aircraft took off from Seville, Spain with a weight of 130 tons at 10h18 local time (GMT+1) and landed five hours and ten minutes later.

2010 -- Sonic booms rouse crocs into mating mode.

Sonic booms created by Israeli warplanes speeding across the sky are having the unintended consequence of launching hibernating crocodiles into mating mode.
2008 -- Continental(CAL) Flight 1404, a Boeing 737-500, veered off the runway in Denver around 6 p.m., hit an embankment and burst into flames. Within 90 seconds, every passenger had been evacuated. There were no fatalities, although 37 people were injured.
Much of the credit for the successful evacuation belongs to three flight attendants who made sure the passengers exited before they did -- even as a fire, burning on the right side of the aircraft, made right side exits unusable, melted overhead bins and caused windows to melt and pop. The crew included Pamela Howard, an 18-year flight attendant; Regina Ressler, with 11 years, and 10-year-veteran Al Felipe.Ressler, even though she broke her ankle and had to stand on one foot, never lost her composure until after all passengers were off of the plane. Felipe disregarded his own safety and  searched every row and searched through pillows, blankets and luggage on the floor to make sure no one was there.   Howard opened the rear door, assisted passengers, and -- wearing high heels -- went through the plane to make sure everybody was out before exiting.


Airmen from McChord Air Force Base, Wash., began the annual winter fly-in augmentation of scientists, support personnel, food and equipment for the U.S. Antarctic Program at McMurdo Station.2006 -- During Operation Deep Freeze, Airmen from McChord AFB, Washington, flew the first C-17 Globemaster III airdrop mission to the South Pole by dropping 70,000 pounds of supplies to the National Science Foundation team at Antarctica's South Pole Station.

The airdrop showed that one C-17 could deliver up to four times the tonnage of a ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules, when bad weather interfered with the resupply mission. The LC-130s belonged to the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Bureau in Scotia, New York.

2004 -- The U.S. Air Force inactivated its last operational F-4 Phantom II squadron at Holloman AFB, New Mexico.

The 20th Fighter Squadron's inactivation also ended a 33-year German-American joint fighter training program in F-4E/F aircraft. The last F-4s from Holloman were transferred to the Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona

2000 -- Death of Friedrich Duerr.

1999 -- Space Shuttle STS-103 Discovery launched from Cape Canaveral.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission SM-3A, delayed repeatedly by technical problems with the shuttle fleet after the near-disastrous previous launch. Finally launched after the last possible day to avoid Y2K computer problems.

1999 -- Torrential rains in mid-December caused massive landslides down Mount Avila near Caracas, Venezuela.

The landslides destroyed most shantytowns around Caracas and killed as many as 30,000 people, while leaving another 400,000 homeless. A C-5 from the New York Air National Guard arrived at Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station in Puerto Rico on December 23 with water purification equipment. From Roosevelt Roads, C-130 aircrews from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard airlifted the C-5's cargo to Caracas. Through December 28, the U.S. Air Force dispatched six C-130s, one C-5 and two MH-60 helicopters to Caracus to provide humanitarian relief.

1997 -- A C-141A towed a modified QF-106 Delta Dart into the air for the first Eclipse Project flight.

Dryden Research Center pilot Mark Stucky flew the Eclipse experimental Demonstrator-1 to 10,000 feet above Edwards AFB, California. Eclipse was a joint U.S. Air Force/NASA/Kelly Space & Technology Inc. concept demonstrator for a future reusable space vehicle.

1996 -- U.S. astronomer and writer of popular science books Carl Edward Sagan died.

Sagan played a prominent role in the U.S. space program, with his involvement in the Mariner, Viking, and Voyager spacecraft expeditions.

1992 -- Royal Naval Air Service Ace Aubrey Beauclerk Ellwood,  who scored ten victories flying the Sopwith Camel during WW I, died at Crewkerne, Somerset, England.

Air Marshal Sir Aubrey Beauclerk Ellwood KCB, DSC, DL, RAF, served in WW II as Deputy Director of Bomber Operations.

1991 -- U.S. Navy announces plans to close Argentia Newfoundland base in 1994; 500 personnel will leave; once the largest U.S. base on foreign soil.

1989 -- Operation Just Cause was the invasion of Panama by the United States. It occurred during the administration of U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush, and ten years after the Torrijos–Carter Treaties were ratified to transfer control of the Panama Canal from the United States back to Panama by the year 2000.
During the invasion, de facto Panamanian leader, general, and dictator Manuel Noriega was deposed, president-elect Guillermo Endara sworn into office and the Panamanian Defense Force dissolved.

Military Airlift Command played a significant role in the operation as 24 active and nine reserve units completed 84 airdrops, and 22 C-130s, 77 C-141s, and 12 C-5s flew employment missions. Another 40 C-141 and 13 C-5s airlifted follow-on security forces. Meanwhile Strategic Air Command KC-135s and KC-10s flew more than 160 missions to deliver 10 million pounds of fuel. From Tactical Air Command, the F-117A Stealth Fighter made its combat debut by dropping 2,000 pound bombs to "disorient, stun, and confuse" Panamanian Defense Force troops near Rio Hato. The Army's AH-64 Apache helicopter from the 82nd Airborne Division's Aviation Brigade saw action for the first time, launching AGM-114 Hellfire missiles against Panamanian targets. In aeromedical evacuations to January 5, 1990, eight C-141s and one C-130 flew 257 wounded soldiers from Panama to the U.S. During humanitarian airlift, airlifters carried three tons of medical supplies.

1989 -- A 16th Special Operations Squadron AC-130 crew, under the command of Capt. Greg McMillian, received the 1990 Mackay Trophy for leading the attack on the Panamanian Commandancia in Operation Just Cause.

1989 -- U.S. Air Force Reserve crews contributed to the success of Operation Just Cause.

Reserve airlifters carried more than 5,900 passengers and 3,700 tons of cargo, while refuelers supported active and reserve aircraft. Reserve gunships flew 29 sorties and expended over 7,000 rounds of ammunition.

1989 -- Air National Guard fighter, special operations, and airlift units also participated in Operation Just Cause. Participants included the 114th Tactical Fighter Group, 180th Tactical Fighter Group, 193rd Special Operations Group, and the 105th, 136th, 139th, 146th, 166th, and 172nd Tactical Airlift Groups.

1989 -- In Operation Just Cause, Military Airlift Command units transport 9,500 airborne troops from Pope AFB, North Carolina, to Panama in less than 36 hours, making it the largest night-combat airdrop since the Normandy invasion of 1944.

1984 -- Two C-130 Hercules aircraft moved 23.8 tons of emergency rescue equipment and vehicles to help in the unsuccessful rescue of 27 miners trapped over a mile below the earth's surface near Huntington, Utah.

Primary manager of the Soviet missile and space programs 1946-1976. In charge of development of Soviet rocketry 1946-1957. Chairman of the VPK 1957-1963. Secretary of Central Committee for Defence and Space 1965-1976, was Minister of Defense of the Soviet Union from 1976 until his death.

1978 -- Devendra Nath Pandey and Bhola Nath Pandey hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC-410. 

They demanded the immediate release of Indian National Congress party leader Indira Gandhi who was imprisoned at that time on the charges of fraud and misconduct. Later, they were awarded with party tickets for this act by the Indira Gandhi government in 1980 such that Devendra Nath Pandey rose to become a minister in the government of most populous state of India, Uttar Pradesh. This case was also mentioned by Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale to justify his claim regarding the hypocrisy of the Indian government.

1972 -- Day Three of Operation Linebacker II. The targets of the 99 bombers sent in on 20 December included the Yen Vien Railroad yards, the Ai Mo warehouse complex, the Thai Nguyen power plant, a transhipment point at Bac Giang, the Kinh No Railroad complex, and the Hanoi petroleum products storage area–all in or near Hanoi.

The combination of repetitive tactics, degraded EW systems, and limited jamming capability, however, led to dire consequences.

The repetitious nature of the previous evening's strike profiles had allowed North Vietnamese air defense forces to anticipate strike patterns and to salvo 34 missiles into the target area. Four B-52Gs and three B-52Ds were lost in the first and third waves of the mission. A fourth D model, returning to Thailand, crashed in Laos. Only two of the eight downed crews were recovered by search and rescue aircraft.

Of the 99 huge B-52 bombers in this bombing raid on targets around Hanoi, eight were lost to enemy fire, resulting in 36 airmen killed or captured.

The Strategic Air Command (SAC) blamed the tactics utilized (flight paths, altitudes, formations, timing, etc.), which had not varied from raids the two previous days. Air Force historian Earl Tilford offered a differing opinion: "Years of dropping bombs on undefended jungle and the routines of planning for nuclear war had fostered a mind-set within the SAC command that nearly led to disaster...Poor tactics and a good dose of overconfidence combined to make the first few nights of Linebacker nightmarish for the B-52 crews."

President Nixon ordered that the effort be extended past its original three-day deadline. The first change that SAC headquarters in Omaha stipulated was that only the aircraft stationed at U-Tapao (equipped with more powerful and sophisticated ECM gear) be allowed over the North. As a result the attack waves were reduced in size, although the tactics employed did not change.

1972 -- The Northrop M2-F3 lifting body completed its 27th and final flight after an air launch from a B-52. It reached 1,066 mph and 17,500 feet.

1971 -- The NF-104 rocket-powered aerospace training aircraft completed its last flight.

Students at Edwards AFB, California, used the NF-104 for steep zoom climb flights to reach the fringes of space.

1968 -- NASA terminated the X-15 hypersonic research program. 

The X-15's 200th flight, scheduled for this day, was cancelled for bad weather, and the decision was made to end the program.  The last actual flight attempt was December 12, 1968, but snow at several of the dry lakes used as emergency landing areas resulted in the flight being cancelled.

There had been three X-15A rocketplanes built by North American Aviation, Inc. The project was sponsored by the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), the United States Air Force and United States Navy, with the purpose of exploring flight in the Mach 3–Mach 7 range and altitudes above 100,000 feet (30,480 meters).

The first X-15 flight took place June 8, 1959 with former NACA test pilot Albert Scott Crossfield in the cockpit of the Number 1 ship, 56-6670.

Over the next nine-and-a-half years, the three rocketplanes were carried aloft from Edwards Air Force Base in the high desert of southern California and Nevada by two modified Boeing B-52 Stratofortress “motherships.” They were flown by twelve test pilots, three of whom would qualify as astronauts in the X-15, and one, Neil Alden Armstrong, who would be the first human to set foot on the surface of the Moon. One pilot, John B. Jack McKay, was seriously injured during an emergency landing at Mud Lake, Nevada, and another, Michael James Adams, was killed when the Number 3 ship went into a hypersonic spin and broke up on the program’s 191st flight, November 15, 1967.

After 46 years, no other airplane has flown faster and higher, and it has been a museum piece for four decades. That is food for thought.

1961 -- The General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously adopted Resolution 1721 (XIV) on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

1955 -- Two P2V Neptune and two R5D Skymaster aircraft of VX-6 , aka the Puckered Penguins, completed the first air transportation link with Antarctica by establishing a route between Christchurch, New Zealand and McMurdo Naval Air Facility, Antarctica.

This link by naval aviation was vital in Operation Deep Freeze I, which would prepare a permanent research station and pave the way for more exhaustive research in later Deep Freeze operations.

Here is simulated flyover of McMurdo in Antarctica…

1952 -- A USAF C-124 Globemaster II, 50-100, c/n 43238, crashed on take-off from Larson AFB in Moses Lake, Washington, USA, killing 87 servicemen, the highest confirmed death toll of any accident in aviation history at that time.

1950 -- During Operation Christmas Kidlift, the 61st Troop Carrier Group airlifted more than 800 endangered South Korean orphans on 12 C-54s to Kimpo to Cheju-do, an island off the South Korean coast.

1948 -- The XB-47 Stratojet averaged 500 mph for a 1,000-mile flight from Moses Lake, Washington, to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

1944 --  RCAF Squadrons Nos. 435 and 436 fly their first operational mission, supplying Wingate's Fourteenth Army on its epic march south on the Burma Road.

1941 -- The Nationalist Chinese Air Force's American Volunteer Group, the Flying Tigers, see its first combat near Kunming, China.

1934 -- United States Coast Guard Lieutenant Richard L. Burke sets a world seaplane speed record of 308.750 km/h (191.734 mph) over a 3-kilometer (1.8-statute mile) test course flying a Grumman JF-2 Duck.

1930 -- They expect high speed of rocket-driven plane.

1928 -- Australian George Wilkins and Lieutenant Carl Eielson make the first flight over Antarctica. They use a Lockheed Vega for the 10-hour flight.

1916 -- The U.S. Army Balloon School is established in Fort Omaha, Nebraska.

In 1917 the Army determined that weather conditions at Fort Omaha were not suitable for rapidly training balloon companies. The next year a contingent of officers and men from Fort Omaha were assigned to Camp John Wise in Texas. The Balloon School at Fort Omaha was soon ended

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 19

2014 -- China Jails Pilot For 3 Years Over 2010 Crash That Killed 44 People in 2010.

Qi Quanjun, the pilot of the Henan Airlines flight, was found guilty of negligence for not following safety rules while landing and escaping the aircraft after the crash, leaving the passengers trapped inside the burning plane.

The Brazilian-built E Jet, burst into flames after it overshot the runway while landing at Yichun in China’s northeastern province of Heilongjiang. The plane had 91 passengers and five crew members on board,  

It was one of the worst air disasters since 2004 for the country, which had implemented stricter safety rules and improved its training since then. In 2004, a China Eastern plane had plunged into a lake in northern China, killing all 53 on board and two people on ground.

Henan Airlines, which was earlier known as Kunpeng Airlines, was ordered after the crash to change its name back to Kunpeng Airlines.  Kunpeng Airlines doesn't exist anymore. It was controlled by Shenzhen Airlines, which is partly owned by Air China.

2014 -- A 2009 CIA memo assessing drone strikes in and around Afghanistan has been released by Wikileaks. 

The 2009 CIA study lends support to critics of US drone strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen by warning that such operations "may increase support for the insurgents, particularly if these strikes enhance insurgent leaders' lore, if non-combatants are killed in the attacks, if legitimate or semi-legitimate politicians aligned with the insurgents are targeted, or if the government is already seen as overly repressive or violent".

The CIA study can be found at

2011 -- Vision-based system that imitates insects designed to improve navigation of UAVs.

Along with the well known defense applications, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are also used for crop dusting, bushfire and environmental monitoring, and infrastructure inspection. Such applications can see them flying close to the ground and amongst obstacles meaning it is of the utmost importance for pilotless craft to be able to accurately determine their heading and orientation to the ground. By imitating the method insects employ, Australian researchers have designed a vision-based system to provide real-time guidance for these eyes in the skies.

2011 -- Aerial Photography: Florida.

Millions of people fly over Florida each year, but how many of them really see anything? The University of Florida Map & Digital Imagery Library contains over 160,000 aerial photographs of the Sunshine State, and it is a tremendous resource for agronomists, ecologists, geographers, and
historians. These particular aerial images were originally created to assist farmers in accurately assessing their farms and to provide information on soil conservation. This collection contains 120 maps that range from 1937 to 1990, and visitors to the site can use a Google Maps interface to search the maps by location.

2010 -- Earlier today, a business jet operated by Windrose Air, a German charter company, crashed and burned at Bever, Switzerland. Both pilots perished in the accident. The crew were believed to be the only people on board.
The aircraft, a Hawker Beechcraft 390 Premier IA, D-IAYL, was on approach to St. Moritz-Samedan Airport, arriving from Zagreb-Pleso, Croatia. It crashed into an electrical power station near the town of Bever, Switzerland.

Winter Storms Europe keep flights grounded2010 -- Flights stay grounded across Europe.

2005 -- "3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Rip-Off!" Taxpayer Group Blasts Boeing/Lockheed Launch Vehicle Plan.

The EELV program was designed to reduce the cost of government space launches through greater contractor competition, and modifiable rocket families whose system requirements emphasized simplicity, commonality, standardization, new applications of existing technology, streamlined manufacturing capabilities, and more efficient launch-site processing. Result: the Delta IV (Boeing) and Atlas V (Lockheed Martin) heavy rockets.

A detailed National Taxpayer’s Union letter to Congress takes a dim view.

2002 -- The YAL-1A Airborne Laser arrived at the Airborne Laser Laboratory Systems Integration Laboratory at Edwards AFB, California, where the six SUV-sized COIL laser generators, sensors, tracking optics, and a megawatt-class chemical laser would be installed in the aircraft.

1993 -- A KC-135 Stratotanker flew from Kadena AB, Japan to McGuire AFB, New Jersey and set a new world record for nonrefueled nonstop flight.

1988 -- Austrian-German engineer Bernhard Tessmann died at Huntsville, Alabama, U.S.A.

German expert in guided missiles during WW II. Tessmann first met Wernher von Braun in 1935. He had little interest in spaceflight, even though he had seen the sets of the film Frau im Mond since his father worked at Ufa film studios. Tessmann was involved in the basic planning for Peenemüende, moving there in late 1936 to supervise construction, and conduct first engine testing there at Test Stand I. Tessmann worked on wind tunnels, then on thrust measuring systems for V-2 engines. He was evacuated after the bombing in August 1943 to Koelpinsee, where he designed ground equipment for V-2 mobile units and was involved in the planning for the Projekt Zement underground V-2 facilites at Ebensee, Austria. He was evacuated to Thuringia at the end of the war and arrived in America under Project Paperclip on November 16,1945 aboard the Argentina from La Havre. As of January 1947, was working at Fort Bliss, Texas. Thereafter he worked his entire life with the rocket team, at Fort Bliss, White Sands, and then at Huntsville. As of 1960, Deputy Director, Test Division, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

1985 -- Yakutsk United Air Group Flight 101/435 was hijacked by the co-pilot and diverted to China. The hijacker was apprehended by the Chinese upon landing, while the passengers returned safely to the Soviet Union.

1982 -- American electrical engineer Frederick Emmons Terman died.

research during WW II produced valuable radar countermeasures for the allied forces. He directed the Radio Research Laboratory at Harvard University formed for the purpose of inventing jammers of enemy radar, which included active radio transmitters, passive chaff (aluminium strips to mask targets by producing invalid reflections to enemy radar), and tunable receivers to detect radar signals

1979 -- U.S. Air Force Military Airlift Command supported British Commonwealth troops monitoring a ceasefire and elections¹ in Zimbabwe through December 27, by flying airlift control elements, aircrews, and communications equipment to the airports at Cairo, Egypt; Salisbury, Zimbabwe; and Mombasa, Kenya.

Using two C-5s and 10 C-141s from Royal Air Force Brize-Norton, England MAC flew 335 people and 428 tons of cargo to Salisbury in 23 missions. Three months later two C-5 missions returned 120 British troops and 100 tons of equipment to RAF Brize-Norton.

1978 -- Solar One,  one of the world's first solar powered aircraft.

1974 -- Deputy Secretary of Defense William P. Clements, Jr., authorized the production of A-10s.

1973 -- The U.S. Air Force approved the procurement of 52 A-10 Thunderbolt production aircraft, associated engines, and GAU-8A 30 mm gun systems. This followed a successful flight evaluation fly-off of the A-10 with the A-7D Corsair.

1972 -- The Apollo lunar-landing program ends, when the last three astronauts (CernanEvans; Schmitt.) to travel to the moon splash down safely in the Pacific Ocean. The crew was picked up by helicopter and was on board the U.S.S. Ticonderoga 52 minutes after the CM landed. Apollo 17 had lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, 10 days before.

Although Apollo 17 was the last lunar landing, the last official Apollo mission was conducted in July 1975, when an Apollo spacecraft successfully rendezvoused and docked with the Soviet Soyuz 19 spacecraft in orbit around the Earth. It was fitting that the Apollo program, which first visited the moon under the banner of "We came in peace for all mankind," should end on a note of peace and international cooperation.
The first lunar landing was in July of 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon's surface during the Apollo 11 mission. In less than three years, six more manned Apollo missions headed for the moon, and all of them except for Apollo 13 successfully carried astronauts all the way to the surface (an oxygen tank blew up on Apollo 13, but everyone survived). Altogether, 12 people have walked on the moon's surface, 2 of them members of the Apollo 17 crew.
Apollo 17 had a crew of three: Eugene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt, and Ronald Evans. The astronauts were planning to conduct geology research; and to prepare for the diversity of the lunar surfaces, they had extensive training at Big Bend National Park in Texas, the Sudbury Basin impact crater in Ontario, the volcanoes of Hawaii's Big Island, and other sites in Montana, California, and Nevada. Although all the NASA astronauts were trained in basic geology research, Schmitt was already a geologist, and became known as the only scientist to walk on the moon.
Apollo 17 launched just after midnight on December 7. On December 10, the crew arrived in the lunar orbit. Evans remained in orbit for several days conducting research, while Cernan and Schmitt got into a smaller lunar module and landed on the moon's surface. They took lots of rock and soil samples, including rocks that were older and younger than those collected in other Apollo missions. Schmitt found what looked like orange soil, and turned out to be particles of volcanic glass. Just before getting back into the lunar module, Cernan scratched his daughter's initials into the lunar dust.
1972 -- Hanoi's foreign ministry, calling the new Operation Linebacker II B-52 raids against Hanoi and Haiphong "extremely barbaric," accuses the United States of premeditated intensification of the war and labels the actions "insane."
On the second night, 93 sorties were flown by the bombers. Their targets included the Kinh No Railroad and storage area, the Thai Nguyen thermal power plant, and the Yen Vien complex. Although an 20 SAMs were launched and a number of the bombers were damaged, none were lost on the mission. SAC expected that the third (and supposedly last) night of the operation would proceed just as well as the previous one.

U.S. President Nixon was severely criticized both by American antiwar activists and in the international community for ordering what became known as the "Christmas bombing." Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, China and the Soviet Union officially condemned the resumption of American bombing above the 20th parallel. The French newspaper Le Monde compared the attacks to the bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, when German planes from the Condor Legion attacked the Spanish city and caused great devastation and loss of life. In England, the Manchester Guardian called the bombing "the action of a man blinded by fury or incapable of seeing the consequences of what he is doing." Pope Paul VI and United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim expressed concern for world peace.

Antiwar activists charged that Linebacker II involved "carpet bombing"--deliberately targeting civilian areas with intensive bombing designed to "carpet" a city with bombs. Though the bombing was focused on specific military targets, it did result in the deaths of 1,318 civilians in Hanoi.

The "Christmas bombing" was deemed a success by many, since it caused the North Vietnamese to return to the negotiating table, where the Paris Peace Accords were signed less than a month later.

1968 -- The Boeing Company receives its first order, from Israeli airline El Al, for a long-range version of the 747 Jumbo Jet, production of which was announced just under a month previoiusly.

1958 -- BOAC’s De Havilland Comet 4 services to Canada commenced. The London to Montreal service was operated by G-APDC.

1957 -- Birth of American test pilot mission specialist astronaut Michael Edward Fossum.  Flew on STS-121, STS-124.

1957 -- BOAC operated the first gas-turbine transatlantic scheduled passenger service with Bristol Britannia 312 aircraft between London and New York.

1957 -- In the fourth successful launch, a Thor missile flew its first fully guided intermediate-range ballistic missile flight using an all-inertial guidance system.

1956 -- Canadian and West Germany sign agreement to train 360 West German aircrew in Canada.

1954 -- First flight Convair's F-102 Delta Dagger.

1951 -- Birth of astronaut Dr. Fred Weldon Leslie.  Flew on STS-73.

1936 -- Spanish aeronautical engineer Juan de la Cierva (Codorniu) died in a fixed-wing aircraft accident.

invented the autogiro (1923), a predecessor to the helicopter. Its rotor, mounted on a mast, was not powered but provided lift by auto-rotation. Power was provided by a forward-mounted engine and a conventional propeller. Flight was controlled by elevators, a rudder, and usually ailerons, though some roll control could be achieved by adjusting the tilt of the rotor head. Unlike the later helicopters, it could not take off vertically nor hover though it could takeoff and land in a much shorter distance, it could. However, if an autogiro lost power, it could spin safely back down to earth like a maple seed.

1935 -- Birth of astronaut Lawrence Retman Young.

1934 -- Von Braun's German Ordnance group launches A-2 Max from the Island of Borkum in the North Sea before the Commander-in-Chief of the German Army.

The rocket is at an altitude of 1.7 km at burn-out, and reaches 2.2 km before falling back to impact 800 m from the launch point.

1931 -- Maj. Gen. Benjamin D. Foulois became Chief of U.S. Air Corps.

Amelia Earhart and the Autogiro1930 -- The first autogyro pilot to carry a passenger² was Amelia Earhart at Pitcairn Field, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.

She flew a PCA-2 Pitcairn Autogyro, making several trips with various passengers until dark. It was only on the previous day, that she made her first solo flight in the autogyro, also making her the first female to make a solo flight.

1913 -- Birth of Ernst Stuhlinger.  Member of German Rocket Team in the U.S. after WW II.

Stuhlinger was a physicist who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Tuebingen in 1936 and continued research into cosmic rays and nuclear physics until 1941 while serving as an assistant professor at the Berlin Institute of Technology. He then spent two years as an enlisted man in the German army on the Russian front before being assigned to the rocket development center at Peenemuende, Germany. There he worked principally on guidance and control of rockets. After World War II, he came to the United States as part of Project Paperclip and worked with Wernher von Braun at Fort Bliss, Texas, and then at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

1908 -- The world's first aerodrome, Port-Aviation, is opened 12 miles outside of Paris.

¹ Elections took place in 1980, and Robert Mugabe won an outright majority for the Patriotic Front.

He has held power ever since, but his increasingly dictatorial style in recent years has been a major source of concern to Western governments and human rights campaigners.

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 over concerns with the electoral and land reform policies of Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government, before Zimbabwe withdrew from the organisation in 2003.
²  Two years before, on Deccember 19, 1928, the first autogyro flight had been made there. Harold F. Pitcairn had brought the aircraft to America and formed the Pitcairn-Cieva Autogyro Company of America for licensing the manufacture of the autogiro in the U.S. 

December 18

2014 -- The first Australian F-35A Lightning jet arrived at Luke Air Force Base where it will be used for pilot training beginning in 2015.

The arrival of AU-2 at Luke AFB marks the first of 10 international partners starting training in the U.S. The second F-35A for Australia, designated AU-1, is scheduled to arrive at Luke Air Force Base in the next few days.

The RAAF is expected to operate 72 such multi-role planes from two airfields, Williamtown, in New South Wales, and Tindal, in the Northern Territory, along with the current fleet of Australian F/A-18F Super Hornet (some of those are deployed in the UAE to support the campaign against ISIS) and EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft.

2014 -- Two RNoAF F-16s in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) were scrambled from Bodo airbase to intercept an unidentified aircraft flying off the north of Norway.

The news of the latest close encounter was given by the Norwegian media outlet Nordland in an article on their website which included an extremely interesting collection of images  taken by RNoAF pilots during recent intercept missions of Russian Air Force combat planes.

2014 -- Three Key Islamic State Figures Killed in Recent Weeks, U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs Says.

The U.S. has launched 1,337 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria as of Dec. 17, 2014, according to data compiled by Military Edge and The Long War Journal (782 strikes in Iraq since Aug. 7, and 555 in Syria since Sept. 22)

2014 -- The Three Biggest Frequent Flyer Programs Are Changing .

2014 -- Getting rid of military equipment is never easy.

The U.S. Army is moving ahead with a controversial plan to shift Apache attack helicopters from the National Guard to the active-duty in exchange for Blackhawks, retire all of its Bell OH-58 Kiowas and buy Airbus Lakota helicopters for training without holding a competition, despite ongoing litigation trying to block it.

The National Guard is upset it will lose combat aircraft to utility aircraft. And helicopter makers – specifically Bell and AgustaWestland – say they could sell the Army single-engine helicopter trainers for a fraction of the price of 100 twin-engine Lakota. AgustaWestland has even taken rare the step of suing the Army in federal claims court to block the sale. But the Army is still moving forward with the reorganization plan.

Army leaders say that by buying the Lakota, a helicopter already in its inventory, and retiring the Kiowa, they will save billion of dollars over the long term. The decision has been driven by defense budget cuts.

2014 -- The Air Arsenal Albacete (MAESAL) celebrated its 75th anniversary.

2014 --  Defense industry's poll calls for more defense spending. 

A Harris Poll chartered by the Aerospace Industries Association, or AIA, the lobbying group that represents more than 300 defense and aerospace firms, claims 69 percent of Americans believe defense spending should get a boost.

The poll also found that 78 percent of more than 800 registered voters surveyed believe threats to American security are increasing due to ISIS, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. 

2014 -- India Successfully Launches GSLV Mk-III, The Country’s Heaviest Rocket.

The GSLV Mk-III rocket, which is 139 feet tall and weighs 630 tons, is carrying the Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE), an experimental test vehicle for ISRO’s future manned spacecraft temporarily named “Orbital Vehicle.” The latest development comes less than three months after India successfully launched “Mangalyaan,” a Mars orbiter which put India in an elite club of Martian explorers including the U.S., the European Space Agency and the former Soviet Union.

2011 -- The strike by French security workers who screen passengers before they board again disrupted air traffic in Lyon, where the planes were grounded until early afternoon; while in Roissy, and to a lesser extent Toulouse, delays were also reported.

2011 -- Taiwan received two upgraded early warning aircraft from the United States today, as part of an arms deal that upset China-U.S. relations.

2010 -- The first magnetic launch of a naval aircraft took place at NAVAIR Lakehurst, New Jersey. The electromagnetic aircraft launch system or EMALS was tested using a F-18 Super Hornet.

The new EMALS catapults will be installed into the new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers as they enter the fleet. More than 722 launches of various test loads have been made from the EMALS catapult at the Lakehurst test facility at speeds up to 180 knots, which is the highest speed requirement for the system.

2010 -- Tejas successfully completes drop tank jettison trial.

2010 -- Vidéo sur l'évolution du RAFALE MARINE lors du meeting aérien à Niort (04/07/2010).


2010 -- An Israeli air strike in Gaza killed five militants from a rocket launching squad, in the deadliest Israeli assault on the coastal strip in months, indicating a trend of escalation.

Two years ago, incessant rocket barrages from Gaza led Israel to launch a punishing three-week invasion that left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead, including many civilians.

A British Airline flight to Heathrow  delayed by weather2010 -- Europe is facing one of the coldest winters in recent times, and its effect is being felt across the continent.

Thousands of airline passengers are facing long delays because of bad weather. In the U.K., London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports were forced to close all runways yesterday amid warnings of more heavy snow. Meanwhile, airports in Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark all reported cancellations or delays to flights. In Germany alone, more than 600 flights were canceled. Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport saw more than 100 cancellations and major delays. About 100 flights in Switzerland were cancelled and Geneva's airport closed early Friday morning, though it was open again by midmorning, and flights were also disrupted in Zurich.

2010 -- ScanEagle UAV and image recognition software used to track seals.

2009 -- U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus toured the Lockheed Martin Fort Worth, Texas facility for a look at the Navy's and Marine Corps's first stealth fighter and to get an update on the F-35 program.

Secretary Mabus saw three F-35C carrier variants in final assembly among the the more than 30 F-35s currently in production at the Fort Worth site.

1998 -- Cosmonaut Lev Stepanovich Demin dies from cancer at age of 72.

He Flew on Soyuz 15 and later he a deep-sea researcher. .

1997 -- During Super Typhoon Paka, C-5s, C-141s, KC-10s and KC-135s flown by active-duty, guard and reserve air crews delivered relief supplies through January 14, 1998, to Guam.

Despite being restricted to daylight flying and limited navigational aids, the aircraft transported more than 200 emergency workers and critical provisions to Andersen AFB, Guam.

1992 -- Air Canada President Hollis Harris says airline will post record loss of $300 m in 1992; will cut staff by 2,000.

1992 -- The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Gordon Bilney, announced in Parliament that the Government had decided to open most combat roles in the Australian Defence Force to women.

For the RAAF, this meant that the number of jobs in which women could be employed had risen from 94 per cent to 99 per cent, and included flying fast jets such as the F-111 and F/A-18, and also P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft. The only exception which now remained in the RAAF was airfield defence guard units, where hand-to-hand combat was considered likely and physical strength was a paramount consideration. Despite the announcement, it was not until January 1996 that the RAAF actually had a female pilot who was posted direct from pilots’ course at No 2 Flying Training School to fly Macchis at No 25 Squadron, in preparation for fighter conversion training at Williamtown, NSW.

1975 -- First F-15 Eagle delivered to the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Virginia.

1974 -- U.S. President Gerald R. Ford signed a law to permit non-flyers to command flying units.

1972 -- Following the breakdown of peace talks with North Vietnam on December 13, U.S. President Richard Nixon announces the beginning of a massive bombing campaign to break the stalemate.

American B-52s and fighter-bombers dropped over 20,000 tons of bombs on the cities of Hanoi and Haiphong.

On the first night 129 bombers were launched, 87 of them from Guam. 39 support aircraft of the Seventh Air Force, the Navy's Task Force 77, and the Marine Corps supported the bombers by providing F-4 fighter escorts, F-105 Wild Weasel SAM-suppression missions, Air Force EB-66 and Navy EA-6 radar-jamming aircraft, chaff drops, KC-135 refueling capability, and search and rescue aircraft; the skies were dominated by American airpower to ensure the safety of the aircraft involved in the operation.

The targets of the first wave of bombers were the North Vietnamese airfields at Kep, Phuc Yen, and Hoa Lac and a warehouse complex at Yen Vien while the second and third waves struck targets around Hanoi itself. Three aircraft were shot down by the 68 SAMs launched by North Vietnamese batteries, two B-52G's from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam and a B-52D from U-Tapao RTAFB, Thailand. Two D models from Andersen with heavy battle damage managed to limp into U-Tapao for repairs. Only one of the three downed crews could be rescued. That same evening, an Air Force F-111 Aardvark was shot down while on a mission to bomb the broadcasting facilities of Radio Hanoi.

The United States lost 15 of its giant B-52s and 11 other aircraft during the attacks. The overwhelming U.S. aircraft numerical superiority meant that, from the point of view of the Vietnamese pilots, the aerial battlefield was a "target rich environment." For the American airmen Vietnam was a "target poor environment." The Americans could not find enough enemy simply because there weren't that many MiGs around; the VPAF never had more than 200 combat aircraft. North Vietnam claimed that over 1,600 civilians were killed during Operation Linebacker II AKA Christmas Bombing.

The bombings continued until December 29, at which time the North Vietnamese agreed to resume the talks. A few weeks later, the final Paris Peace Treaty was signed and the Vietnam War came to a close. The impact of the so-called "Christmas Bombings" on the final agreement was difficult to assess. Some historians have argued that the bombings forced the North Vietnamese back to the negotiating table. Others have suggested that the attacks had little impact, beyond the additional death and destruction they caused

1972 -- During a Linebacker II mission over Vietnam Staff Sgt. Samuel O. Turner became the first B-52 tail gunner to shoot down an enemy airplane, a MiG-21.

1970 -- Airbus Industrie is formally established to develop the Airbus A300; it is comprised of Aérospatiale, Deutsche Airbus, Fokker and Hawker Siddeley.

1969 -- The England to Australia Commemorative Air Race begins.

1969 --Hawker Siddeley Aviation and the Beech Aircraft Corporation announce their co-operation in the development and marketing of a range of business jets to include the HS125.

1969 -- The U.S. Air Force Missile Development Center completed the first guided launch of an AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface television-guided missile.

1961 -- B-52Gs from the 4241st Strategic Wing at Seymour-Johnson AFB, North Carolina, conducted the GAM-72A Quail missile's first combat evaluation launches at Eglin AFB, Florida.

1958 -- An F-104A flown alternately by 1st Lts. William T. Smith and Einar K. Enevoldson over a two-day period at NAS Point Mugu, California set several time-to-climb records: 3000 meters (9842 feet) in 41.35 seconds, 6000 meters in 51.41 seconds, 9000 meters in 81.14 seconds, 15,000 meters (49,212 feet) in 131.1 seconds, 20,000 meeters in 222.99 seconds, and 25,000 meters (82,020 feet) in 266.03 seconds.

1958 -- The U.S. Air Force places in orbit the first artificial communications satellite using the four-ton Atlas launcher. The next day, the satellite broadcasts a taped recording of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Christmas message: 

"This is the President of the United States speaking. Through the marvels of scientific advance, my voice is coming to you via a satellite circling in outer space. My message is a simple one: Through this unique means I convey to you and all mankind, America's wish for peace on Earth and goodwill toward men everywhere."

The broadcast signal for Eisenhower's greeting was fairly weak, and only very sensitive radio receivers were able to detect it. Most Americans heard the message as it was rebroadcast on commercial news programs. His Christmas message pointedly told the Soviet Union that although the satellite was on a peaceful mission, the U.S. was now at an even technological par with the Soviet Union, the U.S. now had the capability of delivering a nuclear weapon from space.

1953 -- USAF TB-29 Superfortress, formerly Silverplate B-29-55-MO, 44-86382, of the 7th Radar Calibration Squadron, Sioux City Air Force Base, Iowa, destroyed by post-crash fire when pilot and co-pilot mistake Ogden Municipal Airport, Utah, for nearby Hill Air Force Base, put down on much shorter runway, overrun threshold, bounce across deep ditch, 10-foot-wide (3.0 m) canal, crosses highway, comes to rest in pieces, followed by immediate fire. One fatality on crew, two others injured.

avimage18a logo on FEB P-47DThunderbolt used by the 1st Brazilian Fighter Squadron during 1944 and 1945 in Italy against German and Italian Fascist forces.1943 -- The 1oGAVCA (1st Fighter Group/1º Grupo de Aviação de Caça) was formed, Its commanding Officer was Ten.-Cel.-Av. (Aviation Lieutenant Colonel) Nero Moura. This group was part of the Força Expedicionária Brasileira, or FEB (Brazilian Expeditionary Force or BEF)  of about 25,700 men and women arranged by the Army and Air Force to fight alongside the Allied forces in the Mediterranean Theatre of WW II. The fighter group was considered a full member of the U.S. 350th Fighter Group. The Squadron was unique in the Italian campaign in that it fought the entire period without any replacements. The unit lost several aircraft to hostile fire, and at least three Brazilians were captured and made P.O.W.s by the Germans for the duration

1941 -- Lt. Boyd Buzz Wagner became the first USAAF Ace of WW II, when he shot down his fifth Japanese plane over the Philippines in four days. He flew with the 17th Pursuit Squadron.

1940 -- First flight Curtiss SB2C Helldiver.

The Helldiver was developed to replace the Douglas SBD Dauntless; it was a much larger aircraft able to operate from the latest aircraft carriers of the time and carry a considerable array of armament and featured an internal bomb bay that reduced drag when carrying heavy ordnance. Saddled with demanding requirements set forth by both the U.S. Marines and United States Army Air Forces, the manufacturer incorporated features of a "multi-role" aircraft into the design

1939 -- A force of RAF Vickers Wellingtons raiding the Heligoland Bight area suffered grievous loss at the hands of pilots of II./JG77.

The Br 109Es were directed onto their target for the first time by a new Freya radar situated on the island of Wangerooge. This epic air battle, from which 12 out of 22 Wellingtons failed to return, was an enormous tactical victory the Jagdfliegern; added to the loss of five out of 12 Wellingtons on December 14, it led to a completely new operational plan for Bomber Command. Full scale daylight sorties were seen to be far too costly in the face of German fighter interception and from then on, the main weight of the RAF bomber offensive was to be flown at night.

1935 -- First flight Miles Nighthawk.

1932 -- The Magdeburg Project, headed by German scientists Rudolf Nebel and Herbert Schaefer, as part of which emerged in 1933 the first definite plan to build a manned rocket.

Mengering, an engineer working for the city of Magdeburg, is entranced by the theories of Peter Bender, who proposes that the people of the earth are in fact living on the inside surface of a hollow sphere. He believes that this can be proven. A rocket fired vertically from Magdeburg should impact south of New Zealand. Mengering convinces the city authorities to fund experiments leading to this objective.

Nebel, now a member of the Nazi Party, obtains a contract of 25,000 Marks for the first step. He will build a rocket that will carry a man to an altitude of one kilometre, from where the pilot will bail out and return to earth by parachute. A test rocket was launched on June 9, 1933, at Wolmirstedt near Magdeburg, but the rocket never cleared its 10-meter launch tower. Several more tests followed with mixed results. The Magdeburg Project was abandoned in August 1933.

1931 -- In Hawaii, 2nd. Lt. William A. Cooke set a glider¹ duration record of 21 hours, 34 minutes, 15 seconds. Traveled an estimated 600 miles.

1919 -- Sir John William Alcock died in an air crash six months after making the first nonstop transatlantic flight, with his fellow British aviator Arthur Brown as navigator.

They made the flight in a twin-engine Vickers Vimy, a converted bomber, having flown 1,950 miles in 16 hours and 27 minutes averaging 118 mph.

1913 -- Lt. Henry B. Post set a new Army solo record of 10,600 feet in Signal Corps airplane No. 23.

1912 -- French aviator Rolland Garros becomes the first pilot to bridge two countries in a single flight. He flies his Blériot monoplane from North Africa to Europe, half-way across the Mediterranean, 177 miles.

1912 -- Gen. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.  is born in Washington, DC. was the son of Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. and his wife Elnora. A career US Army officer, the elder Davis later became the service's first African-American general in 1941. Losing his mother at age four, the younger Davis was raised on various military posts and watched as his father's career was hampered by the US Army's segregationist policies. In 1926, Davis had his first experience with aviation when he was able to fly with a pilot from Bolling Field. 

Benjamin Davis JrAfter briefly attending the University of Chicago, he elected to pursue a military career with the hope of learning to fly. Seeking admission to West Point, Davis received an appointment from Congressmen Oscar DePriest, the only African-American member of the House of Representatives, in 1932.  Though Davis hoped that his classmates would judge him on his character and performance rather than his race, he was quickly shunned by the other cadets. In an effort to force him from the academy, the cadets subjected him to the silent treatment. Living and dining alone, Davis endured and graduated in 1936. Only the academy's fourth African-American graduate, he ranked 35th in a class of 278. Though Davis had applied for admission to the Army Air Corps and possessed the requisite qualifications, he was denied as there were no all-black aviation units. As a result, he was posted to the all-black 24th Infantry Regiment. Based at Fort Benning, he commanded a service company until attending the Infantry School. Completing the course, he received orders to move to Tuskegee Institute as a Reserve Officers Training Corps instructor.  As Tuskegee was a traditionally African-American college, the position allowed the US Army to assign Davis somewhere where he could not command white troops. In 1941, with WWr II raging overseas, President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress directed the War Department to form an all-black flying unit within the Army Air Corps. Admitted to the first training class at nearby Tuskegee Army Air Field, Davis became the first African-American pilot to solo in an Army Air Corps aircraft. Winning his wings on March 7, 1942, he was one of the first five African-American officers to graduate from the program. He would be followed by nearly 1,000 more "Tuskegee Airmen." 

1908 -- Wilbur Wright establishes two new world records, a flight of one hour, 54 minutes, and 2/5 seconds covering a distance of 99.8 kilometers, a new official world duration and distance record, and attains an altitude of 115 meters, a new record for which he received the 100 meter “Prix de la Hauteur” offered by the Aéro-Club de la Sarthe. 

¹ In 1931 glider clubs were formed at Ford Island, Luke Field, Wheeler Field and in Honolulu. Constant "up currents" were available in Windward Oahu and the slopes back of Schofield.

Cut and Paste Aviation Archive