This Day In Aviation History

  • 26 May 1961
    The flight crew of the Convair B-58A-10-CF Hustler 59-2451, “The Firefly,” planning the Washington, D.C.-to-Paris flight, 26 May 1961. Left to right, Captain William L. Polhemus, Captain Raymond R. Wagener and Major William R. Payne. (Jet Pilot Overseas) 26 May 1961: The Firefly, the Blériot Trophy-winning Convair B-58A-10-CF Hustler, serial number 59-2451, assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Wing, Carswell Air Force Base, Fort Worth, Texas, set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Speed Over a Recognized Course by flying from… Read more »
  • 26 May 1942
    Northrop Corporation XP-61 prototype 41-19509 at Northrop Field, 1942. (U.S. Air Force) 26 May 1942: The prototype Northrop XP-61-NO Black Widow, 41-19509, made its first flight at Northrop Field, Hawthorne, California, with free-lance test pilot Vance Breese at the controls. (Breese had taken the North American Aviation NA-73X, prototype of the Mustang, for its first flight, 20 October 1940.) Northrop XP-61 41-19509 taking off from Northrop Field. (U.S. Air Force)… Read more »
  • 26 May 1923
    1st Lieutenant Harrison Gage Crocker, Air Service, United States Army, with the DH-4B-1-S, A.S. 22-353. (Bain News Service, George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress) 26 May 1923: 1st Lieutenant Harrison Gage Crocker, Air Service, United States Army, made the first South-to-North non-stop flight across the United States when he flew from the Gulf of Mexico to the U.S./Canada border near Gordon, Ontario. Lieutenant Crocker’s airplane was a modified DH-4B-1-S, serial… Read more »
  • 26 May 1909
    This photograph shows LZ-5 backing out of its floating shed on Lake Constance, just before its first flight. (George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress) Ferdinand Adolf Heinrich August Graf von Zeppelin (Bundesarchive) 26 May 1909: The creation of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the rigid airship LZ-5 made its first flight at Lake Constance (Bodensee). This was an experimental airship, 442 feet (136 meters) long, with a diameter of 42… Read more »
  • 25 May 1953
    George S. Welch with North American YF-100A 52-5754. (North American Aviation, Inc.) 25 May 1953: North American Aviation Chief Test Pilot George S. Welch took the YF-100A Super Sabre, U.S. Air Force serial number 52-5754, for its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base. The airplane reached Mach 1.03. Development of the Super Sabre began with an effort to increase the speed of the F-86D and F-86E Sabre fighters. The… Read more »
  • 25 May 1927
    1st Lieutenant James H. Doolittle, United States Army Air Corps, at the 1929 Cleveland National Air Races. Jimmy Doolittle is seen in this photograph sitting on the turtle deck of the Curtiss P-1C Hawk. (National Air and Space Museum) 25 May 1927: At Wright Field, now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, First Lieutenant James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, United States Army Air Corps, was the first pilot to successfully perform an outside… Read more »
  • Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky (25 May 1889–26 October 1972)
    Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky, 1914. Sikorsky is wearing the cross of the Imperial Order of St. Vladimir. (Karl Karlovich Bulla) 25 May 1889: Ігор Іванович Сікорський (Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky) was born at Kiev, Ukraine, Russian Empire, the fifth of five children of Professor Ivan Alexeevich Sikorsky and Doctor Mariya Stefanovich Sikorskaya. 15 year-old Midshipman Igor Ivanovich Sikorksky, Imperial Naval Academy, at lower right, with his sisters Olga, Lydia and Elena, and… Read more »
  • 24 May 1978
    James S. McDonnell, Founder and Chairman of the Board, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, with the 5,000th Phantom. (Boeing) 24 May 1978: McDonnell Douglas delivered the 5,000th F-4 Phantom II, F-4E-65-MC 77-0290, to the United States Air Force in a ceremony at the McDonnell Aircraft Company division at St. Louis, Missouri. The Mach 2 fighter bomber was developed in the early 1950s as a long range, missile-armed interceptor for the U.S. Navy.… Read more »
  • 24 May 1962, 12:45:16 UTC, T plus 00:00:00.57
    MA-7 liftoff, 12:45:16 UTC, 24 May 1962. (NASA) 24 May 1962: Lieutenant Commander Malcolm Scott Carpenter, United States Navy, NASA Astronaut, was launched aboard Mercury-Atlas 7 at 12:45:16.57 UTC (7:45:16 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time) from Launch Complex 14 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Cape Canaveral, Florida. This was the fourth manned space flight of the American space program. Carpenter was the sixth human to fly in space. Scott… Read more »
  • 24 May 1961
    Lieutenants Gordon and Young. (U.S. Navy) 24 May 1961: Lieutenant Richard Francis Gordon, Jr., United States Navy, with Radar Intercept Officer Lieutenant (j.g.) Bobbie R. Young, flew from Ontario International Airport, east of Los Angeles, California, to Floyd Bennett Field, New York, with their McDonnell F4H-1F Phantom II, Bu. No. 148270. The duration of their flight was 2 hours, 47 minutes, 0.01 seconds, for an average speed of 1,399.66 kilometers… Read more »