This Day In Aviation History

  • 21 January 1987
    Rockwell B-1B Lancer 85-0073, Wings of Freedom, lands at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, 21 January 1987. (U.S. Air Force) General John T. Chain, Jr., U.S. Air Force 21 January 1987: The first Rockwell International B-1B Lancer was delivered to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. The airplane, serial number 85-0073, was named Wings of Freedom. It was flown to Ellsworth by General John T. Chain, Jr., Commander… Read more »
  • 21 January 1985
    McDonnell Douglas F-15A-17-MC Eagle 76-0086 carrying an LTV ASM-135 anti-satellite missile on a centerline hardpoint. (U.S. Air Force) 21 January 1985: Major Ralph B. Filburn, U.S. Air Force, flying a McDonnell Douglas F-15A-17-MC Eagle, serial number 76-0086, successfully launched a Ling-Temco-Vought ASM-135A anti-satellite missile to a point in space. The ASM-135 was a three-stage guided missile using a solid-fueled Boeing AGM-69 Short Range Attack Missile (SRAM) as its first stage and… Read more »
  • 21 January 1976
    British Airways’ Concorde G-BOAA departing Heathrow, 11:40 a.m., 21 January 1976. (Adrian Meredith/British Airways) 21 January 1976: The first scheduled supersonic passenger airliners, Air France’s Concorde F-BVFA, and British Airways’ Concorde G-BOAA, took off simultaneously at 11:40 a.m. F-BVFA departed Paris en route Rio de Janero, with a stop at Dakar, and G-BOAA departed London Heathrow en route Bahrain. Air France Flight AF 085 was flown by Commandant de bord, Captain Pierre… Read more »
  • 21 January 1968
    Boeing B-52G-75-BW Stratofortress 57-6471, similar to 58-0188. The numeral “3” on the vertical fin and the white cross-in-black square on the top of the fuselage identify this B-52 as a Boeing flight test aircraft. (U.S. Air Force) 21 January 1968: A United States Air Force Boeing B-52G-100-BW Stratofortress, serial number 58-0188, assigned to the 380th Strategic Aerospace Wing, was flying an Airborne Nuclear Alert mission as part of Operation Chrome… Read more »
  • 20 January 1932
    Imperial Airways’ Handley Page HP.42, G-AAXF, Helena, in flight. (San Diego Air & Space Museum Archive) Imperial Airways’ “Speedbird” logo by Theyre Lee-Elliott, from a baggage label, 1933. 20 January 1932: Imperial Airways’ Handley Page HP.42, G-AAXF, named Helena, departed Croydon Aerodrome, South London, England, on the first leg of the airline’s new transcontinental mail service to South Africa. The flights would leave Croydon at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday and arrive at Cape… Read more »
  • 20 January 1930
    Colonel Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr., United States Air Force, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Astronaut, in the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, Eagle. (NASA) Edwin E. (“Buzz”) Aldrin, Jr., 1947. (The Amphitheatre) 20 January 1930: Colonel Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., Sc.D., United States Air Force (Retired), was born at Glen Ridge, New Jersey, the second child of Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Aviation Director of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, and Marion… Read more »
  • 19 January 1975
    McDonnell Douglas F-15A-6-MC Streak Eagle 72-0119. (U.S. Air Force) Major Roger J. Smith, U.S. Air Force 19 January 1975: Major Roger J. Smith, United States Air Force, a test pilot assigned to the F-15 Joint Test Force at Edwards AFB, California, flew the  McDonnell Douglas F-15A-6-MC 72-0119, Streak Eagle, to its sixth Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and U.S. National Aeronautic Association time-to-altitude record. From brake release at Grand Forks Air… Read more »
  • 19 January 1937
    Howard Hughes climbs out of the cockpit of the H-1 Racer, NX258Y, at Newark Metropolitan Airport, 19 January 1937. “Grimy from the smoke of his exhaust stacks the lanky pilot climbed out of his cramped cockpit and grinned.” (LIFE Magazine) 19 January 1937: Howard Robard Hughes, Jr., departed Union Air Terminal, Burbank, California, at 2:14 a.m., Pacific Standard Time (10:14 UTC) aboard his Hughes Aircraft Company H-1 Racer, NR258Y. He flew… Read more »
  • 19–20 January 1915
    Luftschiff Zeppelin LZ24, the Imperial German Navy bomber L3. (Royal Air Force Museum) 19–20 January 1915: The Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Germany Navy) airship L3, under command of Kapitänleutnant Hans Fritz and Leutnant zur See v. Lynckner, departed Fuhlsbüttel, Hamburg, Germany, at 11:00 a.m., in company with L4 and L6, on a reconnaissance flight over the North Sea, then continued on to Britain, planning to attack during darkness. Route of Zeppelins L3 and L4 L3 reached the… Read more »
  • 16–18 January 1957
    The three Boeing B-52B Stratofortresses at March AFB, 18 January 1957. (U.S. Air Force) 16 January 1957: Operation POWER FLITE. At 1:00 p.m. PST, five Boeing B-52B Stratofortress eight-engine jet bombers of the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command, 93rd Bombardment Wing (Heavy), departed Castle Air Force Base, near Merced, California, on a non-stop around-the-world flight. 45 hours, 19 minutes later, three B-52s landed at March Air Force Base,… Read more »