1952 Master Index 1954

1953 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

1953 Events

  • 1953 — The first year in which the world's airlines carried more than 50 million people. [1]

  • 1953 — Argentina initiates a study of the feasibility of converting either a cargo ship or a heavy cruiser into an aircraft carrier in an Argentine shipyard. Ultimately, no conversion takes place. [1]

  • 1953 — During the Korean War, Communist aircraft attack the U.S. Navy rocket-equipped medium landing ship USS LSM(R)-409 off Korea, but do not damage her. [1]

January 1953

  • January 5 — The British European Airways Vickers VC.1 Type 610 “Viking 1B Lord St. Vincent” crashes on approach to Nutts Corner in Northern Ireland, killing 27 of the 35 people on board. [1]

  • January 15 — Two Royal Air Force planes, an Avro “Lancaster” maritime patrol aircraft of No. 38 Squadron and a Vickers “Valetta” transport aircraft, collide over the Strait of Sicily in heavy rain and poor visibility and crash. The accident kills all 19 people aboard the “Valetta” and the “Lancaster's” entire crew of seven. [1]

  • January 26 — The first meeting of the Experimental Aircraft Association takes place at Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Curtiss-Wright Field. [1]

  • January 31 — United States Air Force Captain Ben L. Fithian (pilot) and Lieutenant Sam R. Lyons score the first aerial victory in a Lockheed F-94 “Starfire”, shooting down a Lavochkin La-9 (NATO reporting name “Fritz”) over Korea. It is the first of four kills by Lockheed F-94 “Starfires” during the Korean War. [1]

February 1953

  • February — Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm No. 705 Squadron Westland “Dragonfly” helicopters and other services rescue 600 people over a period of two weeks during severe flooding in the Netherlands. No. 705 Squadron loses one helicopter during the operations. [1]

  • February — No. 194 Squadron is commissioned as the Royal Air Force's first helicopter squadron. [1]

  • February 2 — A Skyways Limited Avro “York” with 39 people on board disappears over the North Atlantic Ocean during a flight from Lajes Field in the Azores to Gander, Newfoundland. No trace of the airliner or its occupants ever is found. [1]

March 1953

  • March 10 — Czechoslovakian Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagots” shoot down a USAF North American F-86 “Sabre” in Czechoslovakian airspace. [1]

  • March 12 — Soviet fighters shoot down a RAF Avro “Lincoln” over East Germany. [1]

  • March 27 — The Netherlands establishes the Royal Netherlands Air Force as an independent service [1]


April 1953

  • April 1 — BEA and Air France introduce “Tourist Class” fares. [1]

  • April 3 — BOAC introduces a weekly service to Tokyo (Japan) by the de Havilland “Comet 1” jet airliner. [1]

  • April 24 — A Boeing EB-29 “Superfortress” and two Republic EF-84B “Thunderjets” flying as part of “Project Tom-Tom” crash with no survivors. [1]

May 1953

  • May 11 — INS Garuda opens, serving as the base for the Indian Naval Air Arm. [1]

  • May 12 — The second Bell X-2 research aircraft explodes over Lake Ontario while mated to its Boeing EB-50 “Superfortress” mothership, killing test pilot Skip Ziegler and a Boeing EB-50 “Superfortress” crewman and critically damaging the Boeing EB-50, which manages to land safely. [1]

  • May 13 — 59 USAF Republic F-84G “Thunderjet” fighter-bombers attack the Toksan dike in Korea. [1]

  • May 16 — 90 USAF Republic F-84 “Thunderjets” carry out a successful attack against Chusan, Korea. [1]

  • May 18 — On his last day of combat, USAF Captain Joseph C. McConnell shoots down three Karen-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagots” during two sorties over Korea in the North American F-86F-1 “Sabre Beauteous Butch II”. He has shot down 16 aircraft, all Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagots”, in his four months of combat, making him the top-scoring American fighter pilot of the Korean War and the first American triple jet ace. He remains the top-scoring American jet ace in history. [1]

  • May 18 — American Jacqueline Cochran becomes the first woman to break the sound barrier, reaching over 760 mph (1,224 km/hr) in a series of steep dives in a North American F-86 “Sabre” over Edwards Air Force Base, California. She also sets a new women's international speed-over-distance record over a 100-km (62.1-mile) closed course, averaging 652 mph (1,050 km/hr). [1]

  • May 19 — The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that United Nations air and naval operations expand into Manchuria and other parts of the People's Republic of China and include the use of nuclear weapons, if necessary, in order to force an end to the Korean War. The U.S. National Security Council approves the recommendation the following day. [1]

June 1953

  • June — The U.S. Joint Intelligence Committee estimates that the Soviet Union could employ 12,000 tactical aircraft in support of Soviet Army ground forces if the Soviets began an offensive against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Europe. [1]

  • June 1 — The USAF “Thunderbirds” are activated as the 3600th Air Demonstration Team at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. [1]

  • June 7 — Descending from 41,000 feet (12,497 m) over the Yalu River to attack what he thinks is a flight of four Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagots”, USAF pilot Ralph S. Parr, flying an North American F-86 “Sabre”, pursues them to 300 feet (91 m), then climbs to 4,000 feet (1,219 m) before realizing he is actually engaged with 16 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagots”. In the ensuing dogfight, he shoots down two and damages a third before withdrawing safely. [1]

  • June 11 — The second prototype of the Gloster “Javelin” crashes. Gloster test pilot Peter Lawrence ejects at an altitude of about 400 feet (122 m) but is killed. [1]

  • June 15 — The Royal Navy aircraft carriers HMS Eagle, HMS Illustrious, HMS Implacable, HMS Indefatigable, HMS Indomitable, HMS Perseus, and HMS Theseus, the Royal Canadian Navy aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent, and the Royal Australian Navy aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney and 37 squadrons of Fleet Air Arm and Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve aircraft — including Fairey “Fireflies”, Hawker “Sea Furies”, Supermarine “Seafires”, Supermarine “Attackers”, de Havilland “Vampires”, Douglas AD “Skyraiders”, de Havilland “Sea Hornets”, Gloster “Meteors”, Grumman “Avengers”, Fairey “Gannets”, Westland “Wyverns”, the Havilland “Sea Venoms”, Hawker “Sea Hawks”, and Westland “Dragonflies” … take part in the Coronation Review of the Fleet for Queen Elizabeth II. The ceremonies include a fly-past by 300 naval aircraft. [1]

  • June 18 — A USAF Douglas C-124 “Globemaster II” crashes near Tokyo, Japan, killing 129 people in the worst air crash in history at the time and the first with a confirmed death toll exceeding 100. The toll surpasses a 1952 crash in Moses Lake, Washington, in the United States, also involving a USAF Douglas “Globemaster II”. [1]

  • June 18 — René Fonck, the top-scoring Allied and second-highest-scoring ace overall of World War I with 75 kills, dies in Paris, France at the age of 59. [1]

  • June 23 — Lieutenant Commander George H. Whisler, Jr., of U.S. Navy Air Transport Squadron 31 (VR-31), a ferry squadron, makes the first round-trip across the continental United States to be completed between sunrise and sunset. Departing Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia, in a Grumman F9F-6 “Cougar” at 05:18 local time, he makes stops at Naval Air Station Memphis, Tennessee, and Webb Air Force Base, Texas, before arriving at Naval Air Station North Island, California at 09:05 local time. At 09:55 local time, he takes off from North Island in a Douglas F3D-2 “Skyknight”, stops at Naval Air Station Dallas, Texas, to refuel, and lands at Naval Air Station Norfolk at 19:21 local time. [1]

  • June 30 — Attacked by ten MiGs, USAF pilot Ralph S. Parr, flying a North American F-86 “Sabre”, shoots down two of them and drives the rest off despite being low on fuel, escorting the badly damaged North American F-86 “Sabre” of his wing commander to a safe landing at an air base near Seoul. He will receive the Distinguished Service Cross for the mission. [1]

  • June 30 — A SNCASO S.O. 4000 (prototype of the Sud “Vautour” fighter-bomber) becomes the first European aircraft to exceed the speed of sound in a shallow dive. [1]

July 1953

  • July — Chilean President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo grants the Chilean Navy the authority to operate helicopters and transport aircraft. It is the first time that the navy has had administrative control over aircraft since 1930. [1]

  • July 1 — The responsibility for air traffic control over West Germany is transferred from the Allies to West German authorities. [1]

  • July 1 — The Aero Vodochody company is formed in Czechoslovakia, carrying on the “Aero” name of Aero Tovarna. [1]

  • July 3 — The first tethered flight by the Rolls-Royce Thrust Measuring Rig VTOL aircraft takes place. [1]

  • July 8 — Sabena begins the first international helicopter services, linking Brussels (Belgium) with destinations in the Netherlands and France. [1]

  • Mid-July — At the request of Rear Admiral Joseph J. “Jocko” Clark, the commander of the U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier task force, Task Force 77, off Korea, atomic bombs are placed aboard Task Force 77 carriers as a “precautionary measure,” in case they are needed if the Korean War expands into Manchuria. [1]

  • July 17 — Lieutenant Guy P. Bordelon scores his fifth aerial victory, becoming the USN's only ace of the Korean War. He had scored all five victories since June 29, using a Vought F4U-5N “Corsair” night fighter to shoot down North Korean light aircraft making night harassment raids. [1]

  • July 23 — A U.S. Navy fleet-record 61,000th landing takes place aboard the aircraft carrier USS Boxer (CV-21) off Korea. [1]

  • July 24–26 — Operating off the east coast of Korea, the U.S. Navy attack aircraft carriers USS Boxer, USS Lake Champlain (CVA-39), USS Philippine Sea (CVA-47), and USS Princeton (CVA-37), supporting United Nations ground forces, break records for the number of sorties flown with the highest sortie rates of the Korean War. They average 170 sorties per day, and Princeton aircraft fly 184 sorties on one day. [1]

  • July 27 — Aircraft from the aircraft carriers of U.S. Navy Task Force 77 attack airfields in North Korea. Since July 1, U.S. Navy carrier aircraft have flown 6,423 sorties over Korea, and aircraft ordnance tonnage has doubled since May 1. [1]

  • July 27 — Hours before the armistice that ends the Korean War, USAF pilot Ralph S. Parr, flying a North American F-86 “Sabre”, scores the final aerial victory of the war, shooting down a Soviet Ilyushin Il-12 “Coach” cargo aircraft in restricted airspace over North Korea. It is his 10th victory, all of them scored during 30 missions flown in the last seven weeks of the war, tying him with five other pilots for total kills during the conflict. The Soviet Union claims the Il-12 was a civilian aircraft carrying VIPs, but Parr claims it was marked with a military red star. [1]

  • July 27 — The Korean War ends. During the war, the U.S. Navy has flown 276,000 combat sorties … only 7,000 fewer than it had in all of World War II … and dropped 177,000 short tons (160,573 metric tons) of bombs &helip; 77,000 short tons (67,132 metric tons) more than it did during all of World War II. It has lost 1,248 aircraft, 564 of them (including 302 Vought F4U “Corsairs” and 124 Douglas AD “Skyraiders”) to enemy action. Since mid-1951, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps combined have lost 384 tactical aircraft to enemy ground fire, including 193 “Corsairs” and 102 “Skyraiders”. A typical U.S. Navy carrier air wing has lost 10 percent of its aircrew during its deployment to Korea. Aircraft of the British Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm have flown over 20,000 carrier sorties during the war. [1]

  • July 28 — Two Boeing B-47 “Stratojet” bombers of the USAF's 305th Bombardment Wing set speed records, when one flies from RCAF Goose Bay, Labrador, to RAF Fairford, England, in 4 hours 14 minutes and the other flies from Limestone Air Force Base, Maine, to RAF Fairford in 4 hours 45 minutes. [1]

August 1953

  • August — A Royal Air Force English Electric “Canberra” on an intelligence-gathering flight overflies the secret Kapustin Yar rocket test site in the Soviet Union. [1]

  • August 20 — Using aerial refueling, 17 USAF Republic F-84G “Thunderjets” make the longest-ever nonstop flight by jet fighters, flying 4,485 miles (7,218 km) from the United States to the United Kingdom. [1]

September 1953

  • September 1 — A Boeing B-47 “Stratojet” is refueled by a Boeing KB-47 “Stratojet” tanker in the first jet-to-jet aerial refueling. [1]

  • September 16 — American Airlines Flight 723, a Convair CV-240, crashes in Colonie, New York, while on final approach in fog to land at Albany Airport, killing all 28 people on board. [1]

  • September 17 — Test pilot Scott Crossfield reaches Mach 1.85 at an altitude of 74,000 feet (22,555 m) in a Douglas D-558-2 “Skyrocket”. [1]

  • September 21 — North Korean pilot No Kum-Sok defects to South Korea, bringing his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagot” with him to Seoul and collecting a $US 100,000 reward. [1]

October 1953

  • October — Chapter One of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Experimental Aircraft Association is formed in Riverside, California. [1]

  • October 3 — Flying a Douglas XF4D-1, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander James F. Verdin sets a world airspeed record over a 3 km (1.9 mi) course of 752.944 mph (1,211.487 km/hr). It is the first time that a carrier-capable combat aircraft in its normal configuration sets a world speed record. [1]

  • October 10 — A Royal Air Force English Electric “Canberra” wins the Christchurch Centenary air race, flying 11,792 miles (18,977 km) from England to New Zealand in 23 hours 50 minutes. [1]

  • October 14 — Test pilot Scott Crossfield reaches Mach 1.96 (1,262 mph; 2,032 km/hr) — only 25 mph (40 km/hr) below Mach 2 — in a Douglas D-558-2 “Skyrocket”. [1]

  • October 16 — Flying a Douglas XF4D-1, Robert Rahm sets a world airspeed-over-distance record over a 100-km (62.1-mile) closed-circuit course of 728.11 mph (1,171.53 km/hr) at Muroc Dry Lake, California. [1]

  • October 20 — A Transworld Airlines Lockheed “Constellation” makes the first non-stop scheduled passenger flight across the United States. [1]

  • October 29 — The British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines Douglas DC-6 “Resolution”, operating as Flight 304, crashes near Woodside, California, while on initial approach to San Francisco International Airport in San Mateo County, California, killing all 19 people on board. Among the dead is pianist William Kapell. [1]

  • October 29 — Flying a North American YF-100A “Super Sabre”, USAF Lieutenant Colonel Frank K. “Speedy Pete” Everest sets a world speed record of 755.149 mph (1,216.021 km/hr). [1]

  • October 30 — The United States National Security Council document NSC 162/2 is adopted. It states that the United States military posture must remain strong, “with emphasis on the capability of inflicting massive retaliatory damage by offensive striking power,” and that “the United States will consider nuclear weapons to be as available for use as other munitions.” The document brings the term “massive retaliation” into general use and inaugurates the “New Look” defense policy of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, which reduces American military spending and force levels and places a great reliance on strategic power, particularly on long-range nuclear bombers, to defend the United States and to deter foreign militaries from aggressive activities abroad. [1]

November 1953

  • November — The United Kingdom's first operational atomic bomb, “Blue Danube,” enters service. [1]

  • November 20 — Scott Crossfield flies the Douglas D-558-2 “Skyrocket” to Mach 2.005 at an altitude of 62,000 feet (18,898 meters) in a dive over Antelope Valley in California. It is the first manned flight to exceed Mach 2, and it sets a new world airspeed record of 1,291 mph (2,078 km/h) for manned flight. [1]

December 1953

  • December 12 — Flying the Bell X-1A, Chuck Yeager reaches an altitude of 22,280 meters (74,700 feet), where he sets a new world speed record of Mach 2.44, equal to 2,608 km/hr (1,620 mph) at that altitude, in level flight. [1]

1953 First Flights

  • January 5 — Ambrosini “Sagittario” [1]

  • March 2 — Sud-Ouest SO 9000 “Trident” [1]

  • March 4 — Bell HSL [1]

  • April 9 — Convair XF2Y-1, prototype of the Convair F2Y “Sea Dart” [1]

  • May 16 — Leduc O.21 [1]

  • May 25 — North American YF-100A, prototype of the North American F-100 “Super Sabre” [1]

  • June 14 — Blackburn “Beverley” [1]

  • July 3 — North American FJ-3 “Fury” [1]

  • September — Lualdi-Tassotti ES 53 [1]

  • September — Mooney M20 [1]

  • September 3 — Pilatus P-3 [1]

  • October 13 — North American X-10 [1]

  • October 13 — Short “Seamew” [1]

  • October 24 — Convair YF-102, prototype of the F-102 “Delta Dagger” [1]

  • December 10 — Beech “Super 18” [1]

  • December 14 — Miles “Sparrowjet” [1]

  • December 23 — Lockheed XFV-1 (unplanned “jump” prior to first official flight) [1]

1953 Aircraft Entering Service

  • Late 1953 — McDonnell F3H “Demon” with the USN [1]

  • January 13 — Vickers “Viscount” with British European Airways [1]

1953 Aircraft Retiring from Service

  • 1953 — Douglas D-558-2 “Skyrocket” by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. [1]

  • 1953 — Lockheed R6V “Constitution” by the USN [1]

  • 1953 — North American F-82 “Twin Mustang” by the United States Air Force [1]

Works Cited

  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 1953 in aviation

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