aviation history

This Day In Aviation History, February

February 1

  • 1 February 1851 (Australia) — Englishman William Dean makes the first balloon ascent in Australia, flying the “Australasia” for about 7 miles over Melbourne.

  • 1 February 1911 (USA) — Burgess and Curtiss become the United States’ first licensed aircraft manufacturer.

  • 1 February 1929 (USA) — The aviation and engine operations of Boeing and Pratt & Whitney are merged to form the United Aircraft & Transport Corp.

  • 1 February 1930 (USA) — San Francisco’s first air ferry service starts to operate, cutting journey time across the Bay to 6 minutes. The ferry flies from San Francisco to Alameda, and from Oakland to Vallejo.

  • 1 February 1950 (USA) — Eight Grumman F9F “Panthers” land on the USS Valley Forge to complete the first aircraft carrier night landing trials by jets.

February 2

  • 2 February 1918 (France) — The first operational squadrons of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) are formed in France.

  • 2 February 1954 (Japan) — Japan Air Lines inaugurates its first international service: a twice-weekly route to San Francisco.

  • 2 February 1989 (USA) — People Express flies its last service from Newark, New Jersey, to New York; it has been taken over by Continental Airlines.

February 3

  • 3 February 1934 (Germany) — The first scheduled trans-Atlantic airmail service between Berlin, Germany, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is inaugurated by Luft Hansa. The journey is made in four stages.

  • 3 February 1946 (USA) — Pan American inaugurates the first commercial use of Lockheed Model 49 “Constellation” with the aircraft’s first scheduled service between New York and Bermuda.

  • 3 February 1948 (USA) — All 145 pilots and co-pilots at National Airlines go on strike, grounding the carrier’s 22 aircraft. The dispute is mainly over air safety.

  • 3 February 1964 (USA) — The Federal Aviation Agency launches “Operation Bongo Mark 2” to investigate the effects of supersonic flight; over the coming months, a Convair B-58 “Hustler” will fly through the sound barrier at low altitude over Oklahoma City.

  • 3 February 1982 (USSR) — A Mil Mi-26 helicopter sets a world record in the USSR, lifting 125,153.8 lb. to a height of 6,562 feet.

February 4

  • 4 February 1902 (USA) — Charles Augustus Lindbergh (1920-1974), one of the most famous aviators in history, is born in Detroit, Michigan.

  • 4 February 1945 (Yalta) — United States President, Franklin D. Roosevelt touches down at Yalta, the Crimean resort, in his presidential airplane “Sacred Cow” for a crucial summit with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. The leaders met to discuss the terms for German surrender and the shape of post-war Europe.

  • 4 February 1948 (USA) — Navy and Air Force Transport Systems consolidated forming the Military Air Transport Service (MATS).

  • 4 February 1949 (USA) — In the United States, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) gives authorization for the full use of Ground Control Approach (GCA) landing aids. These will be used only in conditions of poor visibility caused by fog or bad weather and comprise a ground radar system.

  • 4 February 1958 (USA) — The world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the CVAN-65 USS Enterprise is laid down at the Newport News shipyard.

February 5

  • 5 February 1914 (USA) — Lt. J.C. Morrow became 24th and last flier to qualify as “Military Aviator.”

  • 5 February 1919 (Germany) — The first regular, daily passenger service in the world is launched at Berlin’s city airfield. A German airline, Deutsche Luft-Reederei (D.L.R), operates the new service on route from Berlin to Weimar via Leipzig.

  • 5 February 1929 (USA) — Frank Hawks and Oscar Grubb land their Lockheed “Air Express” in New York after a record flight of 18 hours 20 minutes from Los Angeles.

  • 5 February 1949 (USA) — An Eastern Air Lines Lockheed “Constellation” lands at LaGuardia, New York, at the end of a flight of 6 hours 18 minutes from Los Angeles, a coast-to-coast record for transport aircraft.

  • 5 February 1951 (USA/Canada) — The United States and Canada announce the establishment of the Distant Early Warning (DEW), the air defense system that uses more than 30 radar stations located across the northern portion of the continent.

  • 5 February 1962 (USA) — A Sikorsky HSS-2 “Sea King” of the United States Navy sets a world helicopter speed record of 210.6 mph, in the course of a flight between Milford and New Haven, Connecticut.

February 6

  • 6 February 1916 (Germany) — The airline Deutsche Luft Reederei flies its first service, which is freight only, between Berlin and Weimar.

  • 6 February 1946 (USA) — A TWA Lockheed “Constellation” lands at Orly airport, Paris, from LaGuardia, New York, to complete the airline’s first scheduled international flight.

  • 6 February 1956 (USA/France) — William Judd lands his Cessna 180 in Paris after a solo flight of 25 hours 15 minutes across the North Atlantic from the United States.

February 7

  • 7 February 1918 (USA) — Instrument standardization in Army and Navy aircraft established.

  • 7 February 1920 (France) — French aviator Sadi Lacointe, piloting a Nieuport-Delage 29V, becomes the first pilot to set a new Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) world speed record after World War I. He reaches a measured speed of 275.862 km/h (171.141 mph) along 1 km (3,280 ft.) course.

  • 7 February 1927 (USA) — Georgetown University medical school in Washington, D.C., offers the first aviation medicine course in the United States.

  • 7 February 1937 (England) — The prototype Blackburn B.24 “Skua” two-seat fighter/dive-bomber makes its maiden flight, piloted by “Dasher” Blake at Brough, Yorkshire. It is Britain’s first dive-bomber.

  • 7 February 1958 (Germany) — One of the best British soccer teams, Manchester United, has been virtually wiped out in an air crash. The team was returning from Belgrade after victory against a Yugoslav opponent when their British European Airways (BEA) Airspeed AS.57 “Ambassador” failed to take off and crashed into a house in Munich, Germany.

February 8

  • 8 February 1908 (USA) — Three bids for United States Army’s first aeroplane proved by Secretary of War.

  • 8 February 1908 (France) — Flight tests begin at Issy-les-Moulineaux for the Gastambide-Mengin I monoplane, built by Léon Levavasseur and fitted with a 50-hp Antoinette engine.

  • 8 February 1919 (France/England) — The Farman brothers make the first scheduled international flight in Europe when a Farman F.60 “Goliath” piloted by M. Lucien Bossoutrot carries a token load of military passengers between Toussus le Noble airfield outside Paris and Kenley in southern England.

  • 8 February 1933 (USA) — The first Boeing 247 takes to the air opening a new era in air transport, representing the new age of all-metal monoplane designs.

  • 8 February 1939 (USA/Canal Zone) — Ten new Douglas B-18 “Bolo” bombers arrive at Balboa, Canal Zone, to reinforce the Army Air Corps units at Albrook and France Fields. They flew from Randolph Field, Texas with one overnight stop at Guatemala.

  • 8 February 1988 (USA) — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) retires an aircraft registration number for the first time (USA) — that of Amelia Earhart’s airplane, which disappeared over the Pacific in July 1937.

February 9

  • 9 February 1934 (USA) — All domestic airmail contracts canceled in the United States. The United States Army is ordered to fly mail.

  • 9 February 1936 (England/South Africa) — Tommy Rose lands at Wingfield Aerodrome in Cape Town, South Africa, after a record flight from England of 3-days 17-hrs 38-min.

  • 9 February 1939 (USA) — Brigadier General Delos C. Emmons is named Commander of the General Headquarters Air Force at Langley Field, Virginia, with the rank of Major General. Col. George H. Brett, also of the Air Force, is promoted to Brigadier General.

  • 9 February 1939 (South Africa/England) — British flyer Alex Henshaw lands his Percival “Mew Gull” at Gravesend in Kent, England, after a record flight to Cape Town and Back in 4 days 10 hours and 20 minutes.

  • 9 February 1943 (Guadalcanal) — Japanese resistance on Guadalcanal ends.

  • 9 February 1969 (USA) — First flight of the Boeing 747 “Jumbo Jet” airliner takes place in Seattle, Washington. The wide-bodied, long-range transport is capable of carrying 347 passengers, and is the largest aircraft in commercial airline service in the world.

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February 10

  • 10 February 1908 (USA) — First Army airplane contracts signed with Wright Brothers.

  • 10 February 1923 (England/France) — An experimental night flight arrives to Le Bourget, France, from Croydon, England. The pilot has given his position by radio and used the aviation light beacons to make his approach.

  • 10 February 1933 (USA) — American Airways, Inc., extends air mail service from Toledo, Ohio to Columbus, Ohio.

  • 10 February 1935 (USA) — Harry Richman and George Daufkirch make amphibian speed record for 1,000 kms of 99.95-mph at Miami, Florida. (Sikorsky S-39, Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engine.)

February 11

  • 11 February 1909 (New Zealand) — An important pioneer in developing aviation in New Zealand, Vivian C. Walsh pilots a Howard-Wright biplane on what is generally considered the first flight in New Zealand by a powered airplane.

  • 11 February 1913 (USA) — First Bill to establish a separate Aviation Corps failed to pass.

  • 11 February 1914 (Germany/Russia) — Distance record for balloons over land is set by H. Berliner, who flies 1,890 miles (3,040 km) from Bitterfeldt, Germany to Kirgischano, Russia.

  • 11 February 1933 (USA) — American Airways, Inc., starts Air Mail Service between Buffalo, New York, and Detroit, Michigan.

  • 11 February 1946 (USA/UK) — The United States and United Kingdom sign an agreement in Bermuda setting out the principles by which air rates and frequencies of international services should be set. The Bermuda Agreement becomes a standard upon which air agreements would be based in the future.

  • 11 February 1959 (USA) — A United States meteorological balloon achieves a record height of 146,000 ft. carrying a special package of detectors sending information by radio signal to the ground.

February 12

  • 12 February 1809 (USA) — Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 (USA) — April 15, 1865) served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination on 15 April 1865.

  • 12 February 1914 (Russia) — Igor Sikorsky’s giant four-engine biplane, the Il.11 “Ilya Muromets” flies in Russia. It is an improved version of last year’s “Bolshoi Baltiskii.”

  • 12 February 1921 (USA) — The United States Army Air Service establishes the first in an expending series of airways routes safely surveyed by the army civilian and commercial users linking towns and cities by air by leasing land between Washington and Dayton, Ohio to facilitate a stopover.

  • 12 February 1928 (South Africa/England) — Lady Heath (formerly Mrs. Elliot-Lynn) becomes the first woman to fly solo from Cape Town, South Africa to London, England.

  • 12 February 1933 (USA) — American Airways, Inc., starts Air Mail Service between Boston, Massachusetts, and Albany, New York.

  • 12 February 1935 (USA) — USS Macon crashes at sea off the California coast, with loss of 2 lives.

  • 12 February 1959 (USA) — The last Convair B-36 bomber in operational USAF service is retired to Amon Carter Field, where it is put on display; Strategic Air Command is now equipped with an all-jet bomber force.

  • 12 February 1960 (USA) — A Delta Air Lines Convair 880 lands in Miami, Florida, from San Diego to set a new transcontinental speed record over the route of 3 hours 31 minutes.

  • 12 February 1973 (North Vietnam) — USAF Lockheed C-141 “Starlifter” lands in Hanoi to pick up first returning POWs.

February 13

  • 13 February 1913 (England) — At the second British Aero Show in London, the world’s first airplane specifically designed to carry a gun, 37-mm cannon on biplane, is displayed for the first time. Called “Destroyer” and built by Vickers, Sons & Maxim, it is officially called the Experimental Fighting Biplane No.1 (E.F.B.1).

  • 13 February 1919 (France) — The first post-war French commercial service is established on a route from Paris to Lille for the carriage of food and clothing to France’s northern departments.

  • 13 February 1943 (Solomon Islands) — The Vought F4U “Corsair” naval fighter makes its operational debut in Solomon Island, escorting PB4Y-1 “Liberators” (the United States Navy’s version of the B-24) raiding Bougainville.

  • 13 February 1961 (USA) — Bell GAM-83 “Rascal” air-to-surface missile successfully launched at supersonic speed.

  • 13 February 1972 (USSR) — The Soviet Union has started to use Cuba as a base from which to spy on the United States. The first mission is flown by two Soviet Tu-95, which surveys part of the east coast.

February 14

  • 14 February 1914 (USA) — An official American nonstop duration and distance record is made when Lt. Townsend Dodd and Sgt. Herbert Marcus fly the United States Signal Corps Burgess H tractor biplane. (S.C. No. 26) 244.8 mi. in 4 hours 43 minutes. Although it established a record for two people in one airplane, it also exceeded the previous single-seat record.

  • 14 February 1932 (USA) — Ruth Nichols flies her Lockheed “Vega” from Floyd Bennett Field, New York to an altitude of 19,928 feet, a new world record for diesel-engine airplanes.

  • 14 February 1934 (USA) — S. J. Wittman makes speed record for 100 kms for light airplanes in the fourth category of 137.513 mph at New Orleans, Louisiana (Wittman Special, Pobjoy R motor.)

  • 14-19 February 1934 (USA) — Pan American Air Races held at Shushan Airport, New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • 14 February 1980 (Japan) — Japan Air Lines begins commercial operations with the highest-capacity airliner ever put into scheduled service, conducting the inaugural flight of eight Boeing 747SR. The aircraft has seating for 550 passengers, 45 in the upper deck.

  • 14 February 1991 (Iraq) — 4th TFW McDonnell Douglas F-15E “Strike Eagle” shoots down Iraqi helicopter using a GBU-10, 2000-lb laser guided bomb during “Desert Storm.”

February 15

  • 15 February 1910 (England) — King Edward VII grants the title “Royal” to the Aero Club of the United Kingdom.

  • 15 February 1926 (USA) — The Ford Motor Co. becomes the first United States private air carrier to operate a contract airmail (CAM) route. Ford begins operations with CAM-6 between Detroit and Chicago and CAM-7 between Detroit and Cleveland.

  • 15 February 1942 (Singapore) — British surrender at Singapore.

  • 15 February 1961 (Belgium) — Members of a United States Skating Team are among 73 killed when Belgian airliner Sabena Boeing 707 crashes during its landing approach near Brussels, Belgium.

  • 15 February 1962 (USA) — A “Minuteman” missile sets a new record by traveling 3,900 miles.

  • 15 February 1965 (USA) — Mrs. Guy Maher arrives from Culver City, California to Medford, New Jersey in a Hughes 300 to complete the USA’s first transcontinental helicopter flight by a woman.

February 16

  • 16 February 1912 (USA) — Frank Coffyn takes aerial views of New York City with a cinema camera while controlling his airplane with his feet and knees.

  • 16 February 1914 (USA) — Lts. J. C. Carberry and W. R. Taliaferro set Army altitude record of 8,700 feet.

  • 16-17 February 1935 (France) — Paul Codos and Maurice Rossi attempt South Atlantic flight from Marseille, France, but are forced down at Cape Verde Islands. (Blériot Zapata, Hispano-Suiza engine.)

  • 16 February 1960 (USA) — The Vought F8U-2N “Crusader” interceptor makes its maiden flight in Dallas, Texas.

  • 16 February 1982 (France) — The first production Airbus Industrie A310 is rolled out at the factory in Toulouse, France, destined for Swissair as the launch customer.

February 17

  • 17 February 1904 (USA) — The Wright brothers inspect the grounds where the St. Louis Aeronautical Exposition will be held in April.

  • 17 February 1933 (USA) — Makay Trophy for 1931 presented to Major General Benjamin D. Foulois.

  • 17 February 1934 (USA) — James R. Wedell makes American speed record for 100 kms without payload of 266.032 mph at New Orleans, Louisiana (Wedell-Williams, Pratt & Whitney “Wasp” motor.)

  • 17 February 1934 (Australia/New Zealand) — The first airmail flight from Australia to New Zealand is flown by Charles T. Ulm in his Avro “Ten,” a license-built Fokker F. VIIB/3m registered as VH-UXX.

  • 17 February 1938 (USA/Argentina) — Lt. Col. Robert Olds leads a flight of six Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortresses” on a goodwill flight to Argentina.

February 18

  • 18 February 1832 (France) — Octave Chanute (1832-1910), first great historian of aviation, is born in Paris, France. Brought to the United States when young, Chanute was a civilian engineer before turning to aviation. In 1894 he published Progress in Flying Machines. The book became a bible for the Wright brothers.

  • 18 February 1911 (India) — First official government Air Mail flight is made in India as French pilot Henri Pequet flies 6,500 letters a distance of about five miles (8 km).

  • 18 February 1918 (France) — 103rd Pursuit Squadron, AEF, formed with members of Lafayette Escadrille.

  • 18-19 February 1934 (USA) — Capt. E. V. RickenBacker and Jack Frye, of Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc., fly from Los Angeles, California, to Newark, New Jersey, in 13 hrs. 2 min., making new record for passenger transport. (Douglas DC-1, 2 Wright “Cyclone” motors.)

  • 18 February 1973 (Tanzania) — Daniel Bouchart and Didier Potelle land 19,568 feet up on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania in an SA.319B “Alouette II” helicopter.

  • 18 February 1977 (USA) — The converted Boeing 747 Space Shuttle carrier makes its first flight with the shuttle “Enterprise” on its Back, at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center.

February 19

  • 19 February 1912 (Germany) — One of the most successful pre-World War I airship operations begins with the first flight of the Zeppelin LZ II, “Victoria Louise,” and its introduction into service with the German airship company DELAG.

  • 19 February 1934 (USA) — All domestic air mail contracts having been annulled by order of President Roosevelt on 9 February. The United States Army Air Corps starts to fly the mail.

  • 19 February 1936 (USA) — Brig. Gen. William Mitchell died in New York City.

  • 19 February 1937 (USA) — Howard Hughes establishes a new transcontinental speed record of 7 hours 28 minutes 25 seconds from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey.

  • 19 February 1945 (Iwo Jima) — Marines land on Iwo Jima.

  • 19 February 1982 (USA) — The first Boeing 757 takes to the air on its maiden flight. With capacity for between 178 and 239 passengers in a wide variety of configurations, it has a cruising speed of 528 mph and a range of 2,100 mi., or 5,343 mi. at economic cruise.

February 20

  • 20 February 1915 (USA) — During the Panama-Pacific Exhibition, Allan Loughead is allowed to launch an air service and flies 600 passengers across the bay during 50 days. The 10-minute flight costs $10 per passenger.

  • 20 February 1924 (Dakar) — In Dakar, Lieutenant-Colonel Tulasne, Capt. Gama and Lieutenant Michel complete the first trip across the Sahara desert and Back, piloting Breguet-14 airplanes.

  • 20-21 February 1935 (USA) — Leland S. Andrews, with Henry Myers, co-pilot, and G. D. Rayburn, radio operator, flies an American Airlines plane from Los Angeles, California, to Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York, in 11 hrs. 34 min. 16 sec. making transcontinental record for passenger transport airplanes. (Airplane Development Vultee, Wright “Cyclone” engine.)

  • 20 February 1942 (South Pacific) — First United States Fighter Ace of World War II, Lieut. Edward O’Hare from the USS Lexington off Rabaul.

  • 20 February 1944 (England/Germany) — 8th and 15th Air Forces began a six-day strikes against Germany.

  • 20 February 1968 (USA) — A standard Learjet 25 sets a new “time-to-climb” record by climbing to 40,000 feet in 6 minutes 29 seconds.

  • 20 February 1972 (Taiwan/USA) — A USAF Lockheed HC-130H “Hercules” piloted by a crew commanded by Lt. Comdr. Ed Allison sets a new world record for unrefueled flight by turboprop aircraft. It flies a distance of 14,052.94 km (8,732.5 mi.) between the Taiwanese base of Ching Chuan Kang AB and Scott AFB, Illinois.

February 21

  • 21 February 1911 (USA) — A new 1910 Wright “Type B Flyer” owned by Collier’s magazine publisher Robert F. Collier, arrives at San Antonio, Texas on rent to the United States Army for $1.00 per month to supplement the aging Wright biplane first accepted on August 2, 1909.

  • 21 February 1919 (USA) — The prototype of the first United States designed fighter to enter large-scale production, the Thomas-Morse MB-3 (to be made by Boeing), makes its maiden flight.

  • 21 February 1945 (Germany) — Republic P-47 “Thunderbolts” attack Berchtesgaden, Germany for the first time.

  • 21 February 1979 (USA) — Former astronaut Neil Armstrong climbs to 50,000 feet in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in just over 12 minutes in a Gates Learjet Longhorn 28, breaking five world records for business jets.

  • 21 February 1984 (USA/France) — Racing driver Henri Pescarolo and Air France pilot Patrick Fourticq land their Piper “Malibu” in Paris after a flight from New York, setting a speed record of 14 hours 2 minutes for a single-engine lift aircraft across the North Atlantic.

February 22

  • 22 February 1912 (Germany) — The Fokker Aviatik G.m.b.H. company is entered in the trade register at Berlin, Germany with a quoted capital of 20,000 marks. The company’s Holland-born founder, Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker, was brought up in Haarlem, the Netherlands and moved to Germany where he developed a passion for aviation before designing his first airplane, the “Spider No. 1,” in late 1910.

  • 22 February 1925 (England) — Geoffrey de Havilland takes off in his newly built D.H.60 “Moth” (G-EBKT) heralding a new age of light aviation.

  • 22 February 1928 (England/Australia) — Australian Bert Hinkler lands at Fanny Bay in Darwin, Australia after 11,000-mile solo flight from England. He is the first to make such a trip, setting four other new records: longest solo flight, longest light plane flight, first nonstop flight from London to Rome and fastest journey from Britain to India.

  • 22 February 1942 (USA) — President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders General Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines.

  • 22 February 1942 (England) — First American Air Headquarters in Europe during World War II established.

February 23

  • 23 February 1909 (Canada) — John A. McCurdy flies the Aerial Experimental Association’s “Silver Dart” biplane 40 feet over the frozen Bras d’Or lake at Baddeck Bay, the first flight of a heavier-than-air machine in Canada.

  • 23 February 1912 (USA) — War Department first officially recognizes “Military Aviator” rating.

  • 23 February 1914 (England) — Harry Busteed makes the first test flight of the Bristol “Scout” biplane at Larkhill training center in England.

  • 23 February 1921 (USA) — A team of pilots completes an experimental coast-to-coast mail flight; flying by day and night, they have linked San Francisco and Long Island in a day and half’s flying time.

  • 23 February 1945 (Iwo Jima) — Flag Raising on Iwo Jima.

February 24

  • 24 February 1921 (USA) — Lieutenant William D. Coney completes a solo flight from Rockwell Field, San Diego to Jacksonville, in 22 hours and 27 minutes flying time.

  • 24 February 1931 (England) — John Lankester Parker makes the first flight of the prototype Short S.17 “Kent” flying boat, from the river Medway in Kent, England.

  • 24 February 1940 (England) — The 2,000-hp prototype Hawker “Typhoon” fighter makes its first flight in England.

  • 24 February 1949 (USA) — Republic XF-91 “Thunderceptor” jet rocket aircraft unveiled by United States Air Force.

  • 24 February 1957 (Denmark/Japan) — Scandinavian Airline Services (SAS) opens the first regular scheduled service from Europe to the Far East over the North Pole, with departure from Copenhagen, Denmark and Tokyo, Japan; the DC-7C aircraft will circle the pole en route.

  • 24 February 1983 (Mexico) — The youngest pilot known to have made a solo flight in a powered, heavier-than-air, flying machine takes to the air for the first time at age of 9 years 316 days. The flight takes place near Mexicali, Mexico and the aircraft the boy pilots is a Cessna 150.

February 25

  • 25 February 1784 (Italy) — The first balloon flight made in Italy takes place from the grounds of a villa owned by Chevalier Paul Andreani near Milan and uses a modified Montgolfière hot air design built by the brothers Charles and Augustin Gerli.

  • 25 February 1929 (Afghanistan/India) — The world’s first major air evacuation comes to an end when Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) flies out the last of 586 civilians from Kabul to the safety to India. The airlift involves nationals of about 20 countries.

  • 25 February 1930 (Brazil/USA) — Ralph O’Neil lands in Miami on the first mail service of America airline New York, Rio and Buenos Aires Line (NYRBA) between Buenos Aires and New York after a difficult 6-day flight from Argentina.

  • 25 February 1933 (USA) — USS Ranger, aircraft carrier, launched at Newport News, Virginia.

  • 25 February 1945 (Japan) — USAAF Boeing B-29 “Superfortresses” begin incendiary raids on Japan; 1,667 tons of fire bombs destroy 15 square miles of Tokyo.

  • 25 February 1970 (USA) — TWA becomes the first airline to fly a “Jumbo Jet” within the United States, when it inaugurates a Boeing 747 service between Los Angeles and New York.

  • 25 February 1990 (USA) — Smoke-free flights become mandatory throughout North America for all United States airlines.

February 26

  • 26 February 1940 (USA) — The United States Air Defense Command is formed at Mitchell Field, New York.

  • 26 February 1940 (USA) — Air Defense Command created to integrate USAF defenses against an air attack.

  • 26 February 1942 (South Pacific) — First United States aircraft carrier, USS Langley, CV-1, is sunk by Japanese bombers.

  • 26 February 1949 (USA) — A Boeing B-50 “Superfortress” makes first nonstop refueled flight around world. American Capt. James Gallagher and “Luck Lady II” crew cover 23,452 miles (37,742 km) in 94 hours 1 minute and are refueled in flight four times.

  • 26 February 1955 (USA) — The first supersonic ejection takes place when North American test pilot George F. Smith ejects himself from his diving North American F-100 “Super Sabre” off Laguna Beach, California. He is unconscious for five days but recovers.

February 27

  • 27 February 1920 (USA) — Major Rudolph W. Schroeder of the United States Army Air Service sets a new world altitude record when he flies to the height of 33,143 feet. During the flight over McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio he nearly loses his life when his oxygen system fails.

  • 27 February 1935 (Brazil/France) — Latècoère’s giant seaplane “Santos Dumont” lands with a cargo of mail after a record flight of 53 hours 4 minutes from Natal, Brazil to Paris, with two stops en route.

  • 27 February 1965 (USSR) — The world’s largest aircraft at the time, the Antonov An-22 “Antei,” makes its first flight. It is powered by four 15,000 EHP Kuznetsov NK-12 turboprop engines.

February 28

  • 28 February 1907 (France) — Cabinet-maker Charles Voisin begins tests of the airplane made by his company for Lèon Delagrange. He takes off for a hop of several feet, but the fuselage breaks up.

  • 28 February 1918 (USA) — Regulation of the airways begins as United States President Woodrow Wilson issues an order requiring licenses for civilian pilots and owners. Over 800 licenses are issued.

  • 28 February 1929 (USA) — An amendment to the Air Commerce Act, effective in June, provides for the federal licensing of flying schools.

  • 28 February/25 April 1934 (USA/South America Tour) — Laura H. Ingalls flies from Glenn Curtiss Airport, North Beach, New York, 17,000-mile tour of South America, including a solo flight across the Andes, and returns to Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York, on April 25. (Lockheed “Air Express,” Pratt & Whitney “Wasp” engine.)

  • 28 February 1947 (Hawaii/New York) — A North American F-82 “Twin Mustang” sets a record by flying nonstop from Hawaii to New York in 14 hours 33 minutes.

February 29

  • 29 February 1964 (USA) — President Lyndon Johnson publicly acknowledges the existence of the Lockheed A-12 “Oxcart” Mach 3+ spy plane program and shows a picture that is actually a Lockheed YF-12A.

  • 29 February 1992 (England) — British Aerospace’s latest “Hawk” demonstrator, Hawk Mk 102D (ZJ100), takes to the skies for the first time. It is an enhanced two-seater ground-attack version with a modified wing and incorporates many improvements to its onboard sensors and weapons system.

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