This Day In Aviation History

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  • An Indian Air Force Mikoyan MiG-21 Bison from the Chabua Air Force Station, Assam, India crashes due to a technical fault while on a routine training flight, the pilot successfully ejecting from the aircraft. – June 18, 2009
  • Airblue flies its first flight, a private airline in Pakistan – June 18, 2004
  • Grand Canyon Airlines Flight 6, a De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, collides with a Bell 206 helicopter over the Tonto Plateau, killing all 25 on board both aircraft. – June 18, 1986
  • Launch: Space shuttle Challenger STS-7 at 11:33:00 UTC. Mission highlights: First US woman in space Sally Ride; Multiple comsat deployments; First deployment and retrieval of a satellite SPAS. – June 18, 1983
  • First flight of the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk – June 18, 1981
  • British European Airways Flight 548, a Hawker Siddeley Trident, undergoes a series of stalls as a result of pilot error, followed by a deep stall, crashing near Staines, United Kingdom; all 118 on board are killed. – June 18, 1972
  • General Dynamics F-111A, 67-0082, c/n A1-127, crashes near Eglin AFB, Florida, shortly after takeoff. Lost control after an external fuel fire and explosion. Unsuccessful ejection, crew killed. – June 18, 1972
  • Southwest Airlines is founded – June 18, 1971
  • The first B-52 Stratofortress missions are flown against North Vietnam – June 18, 1965
  • Lockheed NF-104A Starfighter, 56-0756, c/n 183-1044, assigned to Air Force Systems Command Test Pilot School, Edwards AFB, California, suffers rocket oxidizer explosion this date, blowing off portion of the tail, pilot landed safely. Repaired and flown again. – June 18, 1965
  • On the very first Operation Arc Light mission flown by Boeing B-52 Stratofortress aircraft of SAC to hit a target in South Vietnam, a total of 30 B-52Fs depart Andersen AFB, Guam just after midnight, flying in ten cells of three aircraft, to hit a suspected Viet Cong stronghold in the B?n Cat District, 40 miles N of Saigon. Unexpected tailwinds from a typhoon cause the bombers to arrive seven minutes early at their refuelling point with KC-135 tankers over the South China Sea at a point between South Vietnam and the island of Luzon. The three planes of Green Cell, in the lead, begin a 360 degree turn to make their rendezvous, and in doing so cross the path of Blue Cell and directly towards oncoming Yellow Cell. In the darkness, Boeing B-52F-105-BO Stratofortress, 57-0047, and Boeing B-52F-70-BW Stratofortress, 57-0179, both of the 441st Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Wing, attached to the 3960th Strategic Wing, collide, killing eight crew, with four survivors, plus one body recovered. The four are located and picked up by an HU-16A-GR Albatross amphibian, 51-5287 (?), but it is damaged on take-off by a heavy sea state and those on board have to transfer to a Norwegian freighter and a Navy vessel, the Albatross sinking thereafter. Another B-52 loses a hydraulic pump and radar, cannot rendezvous with the tankers and aborts to Okinawa. Twenty-seven Stratofortresses drop on a one-mile by two-mile target box from between 19,000 and 22,000 feet, a little more than 50 percent of the bombs falling within the target zone. The force returns to Andersen except for one bomber with electrical problems that recovers to Clark AFB, the mission having lasted 13 hours. Post-strike assessment by teams of South Vietnamese troops with American advisors find evidence that the VC had departed the area before the raid, and it is suspected that infiltration of the south's forces have tipped off the north because of the ARVN troops involved in the post-strike inspection. – June 18, 1965
  • To reduce the chances of Viet Cong forces slipping away from large South Vietnamese ground units by fleeing operations areas in small groups, U. S. Marine Corps helicopters operating in South Vietnam begin to use the “Eagle Flight” tactic, in which Marine transport helicopters circle contested areas and drop off South Vietnamese troops troops when and where they are needed to block escaping Viet Cong forces. It will become a proven tactic by the middle of July. – June 18, 1962
  • A USAF C-124 Globemaster II crashes near Tokyo, killing 129 people in the worst air crash to date. It is the first crash in which over 100 people were killed. – June 18, 1953
  • A United States Air Force Douglas C-124A Globemaster II, 51-0137, c/n 43471, crashes at Kodaira, Japan after engine failure on take-off at Tachikawa Air Force Base, Tokyo, Japan. 129 die, making this the deadliest recorded disaster in aviation history at the time. – June 18, 1953
  • An infamous day in the history of RAF Biggin Hill when three Gloster Meteors and their pilots are killed in accidents, all three crashing in an area of about 100 yards. The first, a Mk.8 piloted by Flight Lieutenant Gordon McDonald of 41 Squadron, crashed shortly after take off, corkscrewing as pieces of structure fell from the aircraft. The aircraft hit a bungalow killing the pilot. The jet wash of his flight leader was named as a possible cause. Within seconds of this accident two Mk.4 Meteors of 600 Sqn, piloted by Sergeant Kenneth Clarkson and Squadron Leader Phillip Sandeman, both circling over the wreckage and preparing to land, collided at 2,000 feet (610 m) above the scene. Although Sandeman managed to bail out he was killed when his parachute failed to open. Clarkson was killed in his aircraft. A week after this incident, another Meteor overshot the runway, narrowly missing passing cars. After these incidents, several residents stated they would be "selling up" and there were calls for traffic lights to be sited on the Bromley road for use during take-offs and landings. Princess Elizabeth, soon to be Queen Elizabeth II, was visiting the base on this day. – June 18, 1951

A USAF C-124 Globemaster II crashes near Tokyo, killing 129 people in the worst air crash to date. It is the first crash in which over 100 people were killed. – 18th June 1953

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