Today in Aviation History

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  • The Lockheed Martin Polecat UAV aircraft crashes due to an "irreversible unintentional failure in the flight termination ground equipment, which caused the aircraft's automatic fail-safe flight termination mode to activate", cited by Lockheed Martin. - Monday 18th Dec, 2006
  • FedEx Express Flight 647, a McDonnell Douglas MD-10-10, veers off the runway upon landing after a landing gear collapse and catches fire at Memphis International Airport; two crew members and five passengers escape with only minor injuries. - Thursday 18th Dec, 2003
  • First flight of the ShinMaywa US-2 - Thursday 18th Dec, 2003
  • The Trans Service Airlift Lockheed L-188 crash after taking off overloaded from Jamba, Angola, kills 141 of the 144 people on board. - Monday 18th Dec, 1995
  • Trans Service Airlift was operating a Lockheed L-188C Electra for UNITA (Angola political party), crashed shortly after takeoff from Jamba Airport in Angola, killing 141, with 3 survivors. The crash was attributed to a cargo shift on departure. - Monday 18th Dec, 1995
  • First flight of the MD Helicopters MD Explorer - Friday 18th Dec, 1992
  • The ill-fated Nimrod Airborne Early Warning project was finally cancelled after numerous delays and setbacks. In its place, 6 (later changed to 7) Boeing E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft was ordered. - Thursday 18th Dec, 1986
  • Hans-Ulrich Rudel, German pilot, dies (b. 1916). Rudel was a Stuka dive-bomber pilot during World War II and is famous for being the most highly decorated German serviceman of the war. Hans-Ulrich Rudel was the only person to be awarded the Knight’s Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds. - Saturday 18th Dec, 1982
  • SA de Transport Aerien Flight 730, a Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle 10R, crashes into the sea while on final approach to Madeira Airport, killing 36 people. - Sunday 18th Dec, 1977
  • SA de Transport Aerien Flight 730, an SE-210 Caravelle registered HB-ICK crashed while on approach to Funchal, Portugal, killing 36 of the 47 on board. The pilots had failed to set the altimeter to 1014.0mb, and in when relying only on instruments, they came down into the sea. - Sunday 18th Dec, 1977
  • (18–25) Frustrated with a lack of progress in peace talks with North Vietnamese negotiators, the United States conducts Operation Linebacker II. Sometimes called “The December Raids” and “The Christmas Bombing”, it involves intense American bombing of North Vietnam, including heavy operations by U. S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortresses and the laying of naval mines in North Vietnamese harbors including Haiphong. On the first day, 86 Boeing B-52 Stratofortress's based at Guam strike Hanoi. - Monday 18th Dec, 1972
  • Airbus Industries is formally established to develop the Airbus A300; it comprises Aerospatiale, Deutsche Airbus, Fokker and Hawker Siddeley. - Friday 18th Dec, 1970
  • The England-Australia Commemorative Air Race is flown in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Smith brothers' flight. It is won by W. J. Bright and F. L. Buxton in a Britten-Norman Islander. - Thursday 18th Dec, 1969
  • Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, 61-7953, Article 2004, crashes near Shoshone, California during test flight out of Edwards Air Force Base, California. Pilot Lt. Col. Joe Rogers and RSO Lt. Col. Gary Heidelbaugh eject safely. - Thursday 18th Dec, 1969
  • USAF Boeing TB-29 Superfortress, formerly Silverplate Boeing 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. - Friday 18th Dec, 1953
  • Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck exceeds M: 1, earlier tests showed M: 0.88. - Thursday 18th Dec, 1952
  • First flight of the Chase YC-122 Avitruc - Thursday 18th Dec, 1947
  • Typhoon Cobra (1944) strikes Task Force 38 as it operates in the Philippine Sea east of Luzon. In addition to the sinking of three destroyers, the loss of over 800 men, and damage to many ships, the task force loses 146 carrier aircraft and battleship and cruiser floatplanes. Plans for strikes on Luzon from December 19 to 21 are cancelled. - Monday 18th Dec, 1944
  • A RAF Lockheed Hudson III, V9032, of 6 OTU, crashes onto the farmhouse of Quarry Farm at Ingleby Barwick near Thornaby, England, whilst on a training mission when aircraft stalls soon after takeoff. Plane and house destroyed in inferno. Of the occupants, a farmer, his wife and two of his children are killed, two other children, boys aged nine and eleven escape. The twenty-three year old pilot and five other crew members are KWF. The pilot's fiancee offers to adopt the surviving children. Killed are F/Sgt Albert G. Graves RAF, pilot, 23, of Ashford, Kent; Sgt Richard H. D. Palmer RAFVR, pilot, 27; P/O Michael B. Van Heerdan RAFVR, observer, 23, of Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa; Sgt Leslie Hogg RAFVR, WOp/AG, 27, of West Croyden, Surrey; Sgt Harry W. G. Hewitt RAFVR, WOp/AG, 21, of Teddington; Mr. James R. Garbutt, 39; Mrs. Violet M. Garbutt, 41; Master Alick R. Garbutt, 8; and Master Charles R. Garbutt, 6, all of Quarry Farm, Ingleby Barwick - Thursday 18th Dec, 1941
  • Lt Buzz Wagner becomes the first US ace of the war. - Thursday 18th Dec, 1941
  • First flight of the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver - Wednesday 18th Dec, 1940
  • The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand institute the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan – known in some countries as the Empire Air Training Scheme – A massive joint military aircrew training program. South Africa participates via a parallel Joint Air Training Scheme agreement. - Monday 18th Dec, 1939
  • The Royal Air Force abandons daylight raids on Germany after a raid by Vickers Wellingtons takes heavy losses. - Monday 18th Dec, 1939
  • The sole Kreider-Reisner XC-31, 34-26, assigned at Wright Field, Ohio, receives moderate damage in a landing accident resulting in a ground loop, at Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Airport, Pennsylvania. Pilot was named Simmerman. - Friday 18th Dec, 1936
  • First flight of the Miles Nighthawk - Wednesday 18th Dec, 1935
  • Boeing Airplane Co. subsidiary Stearman Aircraft, located in Wichita, Kan., delivers its first Stearman Kaydet to the military. It will become the most common preliminary trainer in service, and 10,346 Kaydets will be built during World War II. - Tuesday 18th Dec, 1934
  • First flight of the Northrop XFT, American prototype fighter aircraft, single engined low-winged monoplane, designed and built to meet a United States Navy order for an advanced carrier based fighter. - Monday 18th Dec, 1933
  • Sir John Alcock (RAF officer) is killed in a crash at Rouen. - Thursday 18th Dec, 1919
  • Wilbur Wright at Camp d'Auvours, 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) east of Le Mans. flies 99.8 kilometres (62.0 mi) in 1 h 54 min 2/5 s. rising to 110 m (360 ft) – A new world record. - Friday 18th Dec, 1908
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