Today in Aviation History

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  • The Syrian Expatriates Organization claims that a combination of Syrian government airstrikes and and a military blockade over the previous 130 days have destroyed 75 percent of the city of Deir ez-zor, Syria, killing over 3,000 people and causing 380,000 to flee the city. - Saturday 20th Oct, 2012
  • Launch: Space Shuttle Columbia STS-73 at 9:53:00 am EDT. Mission highlights: Spacelab mission. - Friday 20th Oct, 1995
  • Sheila Scott, English aviatrix died (b. 1922). Scott broke over 100 aviation records through her long distance flight endeavours, which included a 34,000 mile (54,400 km) “world and a half” flight 1971 on which she became the first person to fly over the North Pole in a small aircraft. - Thursday 20th Oct, 1988
  • USAF LTV A-7D-4-CV Corsair II, 69-6207, of the 4450th Tactical Group, Nellis AFB, Nevada, loses all power 15 miles S of Indianapolis, Indiana at 31,000 feet while en route from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. Pilot tries to dead-stick into Indianapolis International Airport but receives poor direction from air traffic controllers and crashes at ~0915 hrs. during late turn after aiming plane at a baseball field but fighter veers, striking bank branch roof and hitting center of Ramada Inn across the street, killing nine employees, injuring five others (one of whom died later as a result of the injuries sustained). Pilot Maj. Bruce L. Teagarden, 35, ejected, suffering bruises and muscle strain. He lands in parking lot of Ace Supply Company, four blocks from the hotel. Air Force pays out $50,427 in property claims damages, according to The New York Times on 26 October. This A-7D was part of the unit then secretly operating Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk stealth aircraft but this was successfully kept out of the media for several years. - Tuesday 20th Oct, 1987
  • The presidential aircraft of southeast African nation of Mozambique, a Tupolev Tu-134, crashes in South Africa, killing President Samora Machel and 33 other passengers. The aircraft (registered C9-CAA) crashes into hills after the pilots fail to follow proper instrument procedures for landing at Mbuzini. Though an investigation of the crash would show no indication of any sabotage or intentional grounding, many people such as Nelson Mandela claim that Machel was murdered. Ten people survived. - Monday 20th Oct, 1986
  • Japanese Air Self Defense Force McDonnell-Douglas F-15DJ Eagle, 12-8053, of the 202 Hiko-tai, crashes into the Pacific Ocean 110 miles E of Nyutubaru Air Base, Japan, during low altitude night flying training. - Thursday 20th Oct, 1983
  • A Swiss Air Force Hawker Hunter is shot down by another Hunter during an exercise at Cherroux near Payne, Switzerland. - Wednesday 20th Oct, 1982
  • First dog fights of the Iran-Iraq War]. An Iraqi Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 is shot down by Iranian F-4 Phantoms - Monday 20th Oct, 1980
  • In the 1977 Convair CV-300 crash, the airliner chartered by the band Lynyrd Skynyrd runs out of fuel en route to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, crashing five miles (8 km) north of Gillsburg, Mississippi in a swampy pine forest while trying to reach an alternate airport; band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve and Cassie Gaines, plus assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick and the two pilots of the plane, are killed in the accident. - Thursday 20th Oct, 1977
  • Finnair introduces an inertial navigation system on its aircraft, becoming the first airline to dispense with the need for a navigator aboard. - Monday 20th Oct, 1969
  • First flight of the Bell UH-1 Iroquois - Saturday 20th Oct, 1956
  • A TWA Lockheed Constellation makes the first non-stop, scheduled passenger flight across the United States - Tuesday 20th Oct, 1953
  • Northrop YF-89D Scorpion, 49-2463, crashes at Edwards AFB, California, killing Northrop test pilot Walter P. Jones and Northrop radar operator Jack Collingsworth. - Tuesday 20th Oct, 1953
  • US paratroops are used to cut off supplies from Pyongyang - Friday 20th Oct, 1950
  • First flight of the McDonnell XF-88 Voodoo - Wednesday 20th Oct, 1948
  • In the 1948 KLM Constellation air disaster, a Lockheed Constellation named Nijmegen crashes near Prestwick, Scotland, killing 40. - Wednesday 20th Oct, 1948
  • Lockheed YP-80A-LO Shooting Star, 44-83025, c/n 080-1004, crashes at Burbank, California after main fuel pump failure, killing Lockheed test pilot Milo Burcham. - Friday 20th Oct, 1944
  • U. S. forces invade Leyte in the Philippine Islands. U. S. Army Air Forces aircraft fly nearly 300 sorties in support. - Friday 20th Oct, 1944
  • A U. S. Navy PBY Catalina flying boat and an Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi G4 M (Allied reporting name “Betty”) bomber exchange fire off Attu. It is the last air combat action in the Aleutian Islands. - Wednesday 20th Oct, 1943
  • A Messerschmitt Bf 109F–2, Werk Nr. 12764, previously flown by Rolf Pingel (1 October 1913 – 4 April 2000), a German Luftwaffe ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, captured on 10 July 1941 when Pingel was forced to crash land in England near St. Margarets Bay after being hit by fire from a British Short Stirling bomber that he was pursuing, returned to flying condition by the RAF and allocated the serial ES906, crashes this date near Fowlmere, killing Polish pilot F/O J. Skalski. - Monday 20th Oct, 1941
  • The Republican submarine C-6 is scuttled at Gijon, Spain, after suffering damage in an Nationalist air attack. - Wednesday 20th Oct, 1937
  • MacRobertson Air Race flown from England to Melbourne, Australia to celebrate the centenary of the state of Victoria. The £75,000 prize money is won by C. W. A. Scott and Tom Black flying de Havilland DH.88 Comet Grosvenor House. - Saturday 20th Oct, 1934
  • (October 20-November 3) Sir Charles Kingsford Smith makes the first eastward crossing of the Pacific Ocean, from Brisbane, Australia to San Francisco, California, in the Lady Southern Cross. The Hawaii-to-San Francisco leg of his crossing on November 3 is the first eastward flight from Hawaii to North America. - Saturday 20th Oct, 1934
  • The airfield at Naval Air Station Glenview, located in Glenview, Illinois, is dedicated, and its hangar deemed the largest in the world. - Sunday 20th Oct, 1929
  • First recorded RCAF mercy flight took place from Vancouver BC to Norway House, Manitoba. - Monday 20th Oct, 1924
  • First flight of the Tupolev ANT-7, a Soviet reconnaissance aircraft and escort fighter. - Saturday 20th Oct, 1923
  • 1923 – First flight of the Boeing NB - Saturday 20th Oct, 1923
  • Lt Harold Harris makes the first parachute escape from a stricken aircraft, bailing out of a Loening PW-2 over Dayton, Ohio. - Friday 20th Oct, 1922
  • Flying his Nieuport Delage, Sadi Lecointe set a world speed record when he flew 187.99 mph. - Wednesday 20th Oct, 1920
  • The French pilot Bernard de Romanet, flying a Nieuport-Delage 29v, sets a new world speed record of 268.79 km/hr (166.92 mph). - Monday 20th Oct, 1919
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