1951 Master Index 1953

1952 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

Events 1952

  • 1952 — The Royal Navy conducts the world's first trials of an angled flight deck, aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Triumph. It had been invented by Royal Navy Captain (later Rear Admiral) Dennis R. F. Campbell. [1]

  • 1952 — The Royal Navy conducts the world's first trials of a mirror landing aid, aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. It had been invented by Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander (later Rear Admiral) H. C. Nicholas “Nick” Goodhart. [1]

January 1952

  • January — United Nations forces in Korea begin “Operation Moonlight Sonata ”, which uses the illumination effect of the moon on snow to allow night-flying aircraft to find enemy trains operating at night and isolate them by bombing the tracks in front of and behind them, with carrier-based naval aircraft destroying the isolated trains the following morning. Several trains are destroyed in this way by the spring of 1952. [1]

  • January — The Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm makes use of a helicopter in a major rescue effort for the first time when a Westland “Dragonfly” attempts to rescue two men from the sinking cargo ship SS Flying Enterprise. Although the attempt is unsuccessful, the “Dragonfly” proves capable of flying in conditions previously thought to preclude helicopter operations. [1]

  • January — The USN begins “Operation Package ”, an effort to use carrier air power to interdict enemy road and rail traffic in northeastern Korea, in conjunction with “Operation Derail ”, a shore bombardment campaign against coastal roads and railroads by surface warships. The two operations will end in February and be only partially successful. [1]

  • January — The Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR) has 200 atomic bombs allocated for his use in the defense of Europe in the event of a Soviet offensive against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). [1]

  • January 5 — Pan American World Airways commences transatlantic freight services. [1]

  • January 10 — An Aer Lingus Douglas DC-3 on a Northolt Aerodrome-Dublin flight crashes in Wales due to vertical draft in the mountains of Snowdonia, killing twenty passengers and the three crew. It is the airline's first fatal crash in its fifteen-year history. [1]

  • January 22 — The de Havilland “Comet 1 ” becomes the first turbojet-powered civil airliner to be awarded a certificate of airworthiness. [1]

  • January 22 — American Airlines Flight 6780, a Convair CV-240, crashes into a house in Elizabeth, New Jersey, while on final approach to Newark Airport, killing all 23 people on the plane and seven people on the ground. It is the first fatal accident involving a Convair CV-240. Among the dead are Robert P. Patterson, a jurist and former Undersecretary of War under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and former Secretary of War under President Harry S Truman; former war correspondent John F. Chester; and U.S. Civil Aeronautics Administration officials George T. Williams and John D. Rice, both engaged in the development of airport radar systems and navigational aids at the time. [1]

February 1952

  • February — “Operation Strangle”, a day-and-night air interdiction campaign against enemy roads, bridges, and tunnels across the width of the Korean Peninsula between 38 degrees 15 minutes North and 39 degrees 15 minutes North, by the USAF, USN, and USMCs which had begun in June 1951, ends without success. The similar “Operation Saturate” begins, but also ultimately will be unsuccessful. [1]

  • February 10 — Major George A. Davis Jr. is awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously, after attacking a group of 12 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagots” that were about to bounce other U.S. aircraft. He shot down two before being shot down himself. [1]

April 1952

  • April — The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff decide that if the Korean War broadens to include war with the Soviet Union in East Asia, the United States will conduct an atomic and conventional air offensive in the region but will fall Back into a defensive posture there if the war spreads to Europe. [1]

  • April 11 — The Pan American World Airways Douglas DC-4 “Clipper Endeavor”, operating as Flight 526A, suffers the failure of two engines and ditches in rough seas in the Atlantic Ocean 11.3 miles northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, nine minutes after takeoff from San Juan-Isla Grande Airport. The plane breaks up and sinks in three minutes, with many panicking passengers refusing to leave the sinking aircraft; 52 of the 69 people on board die, and the United States Coast Guard rescues the 17 survivors. After this accident the implementation of pre-flight safety demonstrations for over-water flights is recommended. [1]

  • April 25 — John Jay Hopkins founds General Dynamics Corporation. [1]

  • April 28 — The Pan American World Airways Boeing 377 “Stratocruiser 10-26 Clipper Good Hope”, operating as Flight 202, crashes in the Amazon Basin 410 km (220 nautical miles) southwest of Carolina, Brazil, killing all 50 people on board. [1]

May 1952

  • May 1 — The International Air Transport Association agrees on new “Tourist Class” fares, which are first offered by Pan American World Airways on its “Rainbow Service” between New York City and London. [1]

  • May 2 — BOAC introduces the de Havilland DH.106 “Comet 1” on its multi-stop London, England-Johannesburg, South Africa route, the first regular service flown by a jet airliner. G-ALYP makes the first flight, carrying 36 passengers. [1]

  • May 12 — Squadron Leader P. G. Fisher makes the first non-stop, unrefuelled flight from England to Australia in an English Electric “Canberra” bomber in a record 23 hours 5 minutes. [1]

  • May 15 — The Royal Air Force takes delivery of its last Avro “Anson”. The Avro “Anson” had been in production for the RAF since 1934. [1]

  • May 29 — Aerial refueling is used on a combat mission for the first time, with twelve Republic F-84 “Thunderjets” of the 159th Fighter Bomber Squadron being refueled by a Boeing KB-29 “Superfortress” on their way Back from an attack on Sariwon, Korea. [1]

June 1952

  • June — The Israeli Air Force places its first order for jet aircraft, Dassault “Ouragans”. The first 25 will not be delivered until October 1954. [1]

  • June 13-16 — Soviet Air Force Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagots” shoot down a Swedish Air Force C-47 “Dakota” on an intelligence gathering mission over the Baltic Sea, and the Consolidated PBY “Catalina” that is sent to search for survivors. [1]

  • June 23-27 — United Nations aircraft conduct concentrated attacks on 13 North Korean electric power generation facilities which previously had been off-limits to air attack in the most intense use of airpower of the Korean War. Aircraft of the USAF, USN, USMC, and South African Air Force (SAAF) all participate as do all four aircraft carriers, USS Boxer (CV-21), USS Princeton (CV-37), USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31), and USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) — of Task Force 77, the first time since World War II that four Essex-class aircraft carriers have operated together, with USN and USMC aircraft flying 1,200 sorties on June 23-24. In one strike on the Sui-ho Dam, USN Douglas AD “Skyraiders” drop 85 short tons (77 metric tons) of bombs in two minutes. The attacks result in extensive and sustained blackouts in North Korea, which is powerless for two weeks, and in bordering areas in Manchuria in the People's Republic of China, some of which last for months. [1]

  • June 28 — American Airlines Flight 910, a Douglas DC-6, collides with a privately owned Temco “Swift” while on final approach to Love Field in Dallas, Texas. The Douglas DC-6 lands with no injuries to any of the 60 people on board, but the “Swift” crashes, killing both occupants. [1]


July[edit] July 1 — The Portuguese Air Force is formed by the amalgamation of the nation's various previous air arms. July 8 — New York Airways begins inter-airport helicopter services to link Idlewild, La Guardia, and Newark airports. July 11 — Aircraft from the U.S. Navy aircraft carriers USS Princeton (CV-37) and USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31), the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Ocean (R68), the U.S. Marine Corps, the USAF, and the Royal Australian Air Force conduct a massive attack on industrial targets in and around Pyongyang, Korea.[18] July 15-31 — A pair of USAF Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaws make the first transatlantic crossing by helicopter July 29 — A USAF RB-45 Tornado makes the first non-stop crossing of the Pacific Ocean by jet.

August 1952

  • August — A massive strike by United Nations aircraft against industrial targets in and around Pyongyang, Korea, completes the destruction begun by the similar strike on July 11, 1952. [1]

  • August 4 — Off Korea, the explosion of an aircraft fuel tank causes a fire on the flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Boxer (CV-21) which kills nine and injures 30 men and destroys or damages 18 aircraft. [1]

  • August 9 — Four Royal Navy piston-engine Hawker “Sea Furies” encounter eight Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagots” near Pyongyang, Korea, and Lieutenant Peter Carmichael of No. 802 Squadron FAA aboard HMS Ocean shoots one down. It is the Fleet Air Arm's first kill of the Korean War and first the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagot” kill. [1]

  • August 12 — A bomb explodes aboard a Transportes Aéreos Nacional Douglas C-47A while it is in flight near Palmeira de Goiás, Brazil. The airliner crashes, killing all 24 people on board. [1]

  • August 28 — The first launch in combat of a guided missile by an aircraft carrier occurs when Guided Missile Unit 90 on board the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Boxer (CV-21) launches a pilotless Grumman F6F-5K “Hellcat” loaded with explosives as a remote-controlled drone against a railway bridge at Hungnam, Korea. The unit fires five more “Hellcat” drones at the bridge between August 28 and September 2, scoring two hits and one near-miss. [1]

September 1952

  • September — Several Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagots” approach to within 7 nautical miles (13 km) of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Bradford (DD-545) before she drives them off with gunfire. [1]

  • September 1 — In the largest carrier air strike of the Korean War, 144 U.S. Navy aircraft from the aircraft carriers USS Essex (CV-9), USS Princeton (CV-37), and USS Boxer (CV-21) attack the oil refinery at Aoji, Korea. Attacks on industrial targets at Munsan and electrical plants at Chongjin are also conducted. All U.S. aircraft return safely. [1]

  • September 6 — The de Havilland DH.110 prototype (WG236) disintegrates at the Farnborough Airshow in Hampshire, England, killing 29 spectators and both men aboard the plane. About another 60 spectators are injured. [1]

  • September 10 — During a dogfight between two piston-engine USMC Vought F4U “Corsair” fighter-bombers from the escort aircraft carrier USS Sicily (CVE-118) and several Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagot” jet fighters, “Corsair” pilot Captain Jesse G. Folmar shoots down a MiG-15 before being shot down himself; he survives and is rescued. It is the only “Corsair” victory over a MiG-15 during the Korean War. [1]

  • September 15 — Noticing that the damaged North American F-86 “Sabre” fighter of his wingman, USAF First Lieutenant Joseph Logan, was rapidly leaking fuel over enemy-held territory, Captain James R. Risner instructs Logan to shut down his engine. Amid heavy enemy antiaircraft fire, Risner in an unprecedented maneuver twice places the nose of his own North American F-86 “Sabre” into the tailpipe of Logan's at 200 mph (322 km/hr) to push Logan's powerless plane out of enemy territory. He succeeds, although Logan lands in the ocean after parachuting from the plane and drowns. Risner receives the Silver Star for his effort to save Logan. [1]

  • September 17 — Flying a Bell 47, Bell Aircraft pilot Elton J. Smith flies nonstop from Hurst, Texas, to Buffalo, New York, setting a nonstop distance record for helicopters of 1,217 miles (1,959 km). [1]

October 1952

  • October — In an attempt to rescue a downed aviator, a USN helicopter from the heavy cruiser USS Helena (CA-75) makes a 105-mile (169-km) flight, often under heavy enemy antiaircraft fire, during which the enemy attempts to jam its communications with Helena and builds fires to lure it closer to antiaircraft guns. The rescue attempt, extremely lengthy for its time, is unsuccessful. [1]

  • October — The U.S. Navy's Task Force 77 begins “Cherokee Strikes,” in which aircraft from the task force's aircraft carriers attack enemy supply, artillery, and troop concentrations in Korea. Through January 1953, Cherokee Strikes will constitute a third of the United States Seventh Fleet's air effort in the Korean War. [1]

  • October 1 — The USN reclassifies all of its “aircraft carriers” (CV) and “large aircraft carriers” (CVB) as “attack aircraft carriers” (CVA). [1]

  • October 8 — Twelve McDonnell F2H “Banshee” fighters of U.S. Navy Fighter Squadron 11 (VF-11) embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge (CVA-33) escort USAF Boeing B-29 “Superfortress” bombers in a raid on the rail and supply center at Kowon, Korea. Minutes later, 89 aircraft from USS Essex (CVA-9), USS Princeton (CVA-37), and USS Kearsarge follow up with a bomb and rocket attack on Kowon. [1]

  • Mid-October — Task Force 77 carrier aircraft attack a 25-mile-long stretch of shoreline along the east coast of North Korea around the town of Kojo, on one day flying 667 sorties and losing five planes, as preparation for an amphibious landing. The carrier commanders later are infuriated to discover that no landing was planned, the attack being merely a feint to put pressure on North Korean negotiators to make peace. [1]

  • October 26 — A BOAC de Havilland “Comet” airliner is badly damaged in an accident during take-off from Rome-Ciampino airport in Italy. [1]

November 1952

  • November — In the Gulf of Mexico off Panama City, Florida, Piasecki HRP-1 “Rescuer” helicopters of USN Experimental Squadron 3 (VX-3) begin tests which demonstrate for the first time the feasibility of using helicopters in aerial mine-sweeping. [1]

  • November 2 or 3 — The first combat between jets at night occurs, when a USMC Douglas F3D “Skyknight” night fighter piloted by Major William T. Stratton and crewed by radar operator Master Sergeant Hans C. Hoglind shoots down an enemy jet aircraft over Korea they identify as a Yak-15. [1]

  • November 18 — Off northeastern Korea, three USN Grumman F9F-5 “Panther” fighters from Fighter Squadron 781 (VF-781) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CVA-34) engage seven Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagots” almost certainly flown by Soviet pilots, shooting down two the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagots” without loss to themselves. [1]

  • November 22 — During a flight from McChord Air Force Base, Washington, to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Territory of Alaska, a USAF Douglas C-124A “Globemaster II” crashes into Mount Gannett in Alaska, killing all 52 people on board. The wreckage is identified on November 28, but then is buried in ice and snow and is not rediscovered until June 2012. [1]

December 1952

  • December 6 — A Cubana de Aviación Douglas DC-4 crashes into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after takeoff from Kindley Air Force Base in Bermuda, killing 37 of the 41 people on board and leaving all four survivors injured. It remains the deadliest aviation accident in the history of Bermuda. [1]

  • December 18 — During a dive, an Avro Canada CF-100 “Canuck” becomes the world's first straight-wing combat aircraft to exceed the speed of sound. [1]

  • December 20 — A USAF Douglas C-124 “Globemaster II” (AF 50-100, c/n 43238), crashes on take-off from Larson Air Force Base in Moses Lake, Washington, in the United States, killing 87 servicemen, the highest confirmed death toll of any accident in aviation history at the time. [1]

  • December 26 — Wisconsin Central Airlines changes its name to North Central Airlines, and moves its headquarters from Clintonville, Wisconsin, to Minneapolis, Minnesota. [1]

1952 First Flights

  • January 3 — Bristol Type 173 (G-ALBN) [1]

  • January 21 — Saab 210 [1]

  • February — Republic RF-84F “Thunderflash” [1]

  • April — Piasecki H-21 [1]

  • April 15 — Boeing YB-52 (AF 49-231) [1]

  • April 27 — Tupolev “88” prototype of Tupolev Tu-16 [1]

  • May 19 — Grumman XF10F “Jaguar” [1]

  • June 19 — Yak-120 prototype of Yakovlev Yak-25 [1]

  • June 27 — Bell X-2 (unpowered) [1]

  • July 3 — Yak-24 twin engine tandem helicopter [1]

  • July 12 — Beecraft “Honey Bee” [1]

  • July 23 — Fouga “Magister” [1]

  • July 31 — SNCASE SE.3120 “Alouette” [1]

  • August 6 — Boulton Paul P.120 (VT951) [1]

  • August 16 — Bristol “Britannia” (G-ALBO) [1]

  • August 22 — Saunders-Roe “Princess” (G-ALUN) [1]

  • August 30 — Avro “Vulcan” (VX770) [1]

  • Early September — Avro Canuck CF-100 “Canuck Mark 3” [1]

  • September 10 — BOMARC surface-to-air missile [1]

  • September 20 — Douglas X-3 “Stiletto” [1]

  • September 28 — Dassault “Mystère IV” [1]

  • September 30 — GAM-63 “RASCAL” surface-to-air missile [1]

  • October 11 — Avro Canada CF-100 “Canuck Mark 4” prototype [1]

  • October 16 — Sud Aviation “Vautour” [1]

  • October 28 — Douglas XA3D-1 [1]

  • November 3 — Saab “Lansen” [1]

  • November 21 — Percival “Pembroke” [1]

  • December 4 — Grumman XS2F-1 “Tracker” [1]

  • December 24 — Handley Page “Victor” (WB771) [1]

1952 Aircraft Entering Service

  • January 13 — Lockheed “Neptune” with Royal Air Force [1]

  • January 22 — de Havilland DH.108 “Comet” with BOAC [1]

  • March 13 — Airspeed “Ambassador” with BEA [1]

  • March 28 — Convair CV-340 with United Air Lines [1]

  • June 17 — Airship ZPN-1 with the US Navy [1]

  • August — De Havilland “Venom” with the RAF [1]

  • November — Grumman F9F-6 “Cougar” with U.S. Navy Fighter Squadron 32 (VF-32) [1]

Works Cited
  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 1952 in aviation

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