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This Day In Aviation History — December
December Aviation Events & Milestones


December 1

  • 1 December 1783 (France) — J.A.C. Charles and another man make the first trip in a hydrogen balloon, flying 27 miles from Paris to Nesle, France. After landing, Charles goes up again by himself, achieving the first solo balloon flight.

  • 1 December 1928 (USA) — Philadelphia Naval Air Reserve Division, wins Noel Davis Trophy awarded annually for deficiency among United States Naval Reserve Units.

  • 1 December 1928 (USA) — Goodyear—Zeppelin Corporation begins construction of airship hangar at Akron, Ohio. The hangar is 1,175 feet long, 325 feet wide and 200 feet high.

  • 1 December 1928 (USA) — Interstate Air Lines starts daily mail and passenger service between Chicago, Illinois and Atlanta, Georgia, 623 miles.

  • 1 December 1928 (USA) — Pitcairn Aviation Inc. starts daily mail service between Atlanta, Georgia, and Miami, Florida, 622 miles.

  • 1 December 1928 (USA) — Interstate Air Line starts daily mail and passenger service between St. Louis, Missouri and Evansville, Indiana, 145 miles.

  • 1—9 December 1928 (USA) — Fifty—three manufacturers exhibit 79 airplanes at International Aeronautical Exposition held in Chicago, Illinois, under the auspices of Aeronautical Chamber Of Commerce of America, Inc.

  • 1 December 1934 (USA) — The first airway traffic control center is opened in Newark, New Jersey, operated by the staff of Eastern Air Lines, United Air Lines, American Airlines and TWA.

  • 1 December 1949 (USA) — $2.6 million Naval supersonic wind tunnel is dedicated at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • 1 December 1949 (USA) — American Rocket Society outlines specifications for transcontinental rocket airship, capable of 3,000 mile flight in less than 60 minutes.

  • 1 December 1949 (USA) — Douglas Aircraft Company develops automatic analyzer to cut 80% of time and cost in interpreting data radioed from research rockets.

  • 1 December 1961 (USA) — The United States Navy claims three world speed records for its Sikorsky HSS—2 helicopters. The twin—turbine craft sets marks of 182.8—mph for 100—km, 179.5—mph for 500—km, and 175.3—mph for 1,000 km.

  • 1 December 1969 (USA) — The first legislation to limit aircraft noise levels at airports is introduced in United States Federal Air Regulation, Part 36.

December 2

  • 2 December 1949 (USA) — Civil Aeronautics Board approves transcontinental coach service by American Airlines with Douglas DC—6 equipment.

  • 2 December 1949 (USA) — North American Aviation delivers YF—86D prototype, a swept—Back to jet fighter, to Muroc Air Force Base, California.

  • 2 December 1949 (USA) — United States Navy reveals details on Allison Division's XT—40 turbo—prop engine, which will power the Navy's Convair XP5Y—1 Flying Boat. The XT—40 has a rating of 5,500 hp without increase in fuel consumption rate.

  • 2 December 1976 (USA) — The Boeing 747 SCA, an ex—American Airlines airliner which has been adapted to carry the United States Space Shuttle, makes its first flight.

  • 2 December 1986 (France) — A “Concorde” SST airliner carrying 94 passengers returns to Charles de Gaulle airport after an 18—day round—the—world journey; total flying time amounted to 31 hours 51 minutes.

December 3

  • 3 December 1928 (USA) — Pacific Air Transport starts daily mail, passenger and express service between Oakland and San Jose, California, 38 miles.

  • 3 December 1945 (England) — A DeHavilland “Sea Vampire” fighter becomes the first purely jet—powered airplane to operate from an aircraft carrier, when Lieutenant—Commander E. M. “Winkle” Brown lands his aircraft on the HMS Ocean in England.

  • 3 December 1958 (USA) — An aircraft exchange, which will function like the stock markets and commodity exchanges, opens in New York.

December 4

  • 4 December 1908 (France) — The Englishman J.T.C. Moore—Brabazon (later Lord Tara of Brabazon) makes a flight of 1,350 ft. in a Voisin biplane at Issy—les—Moulineaux in France. He becomes one of the guiding lights of early British aviation and is issued the first British pilot's license, then called an aviator's certificate.

  • 4 December 1938 (Italy) — A. Tondi, G. Pontonutti, D. Risaliti and M. Razzano, Italy, set four world speed records for 2,000—kms, without payload and with 500, 1,000, and 2,000 kgs, of 291.305 mph. (Savoia S—79, 3 Piaggio P—XI RC—40 engines.)

  • 4 December 1938 (Italy) — A. Tondi, G. Pontonutti, D. Risaliti and M. Razzano, Italy, set world speed record for 1,000—kms, with 2,000 kgs payload of 293.799 mph. (Savoia S—79, 3 Piaggio P—XI RC—40 engines.)

  • 4 December 1961 (USA) — The National Air and Space Museum receives the Douglas C—54 “Sacred Cow” used by Presidents Roosevelt and Truman.

  • 4 December 1991 (USA) — Pan Am World Airways goes out of business after 64 years of service. The sudden shutdown of this aviation pioneer strands many passengers and leaves about 9,000 employees out of work.

December 5

  • 5 December 1909 (Australia) — George Taylor makes the first manned glider flight in Australia in a glider of his own design. He eventually makes a total of 29 flights at Narrabeen Beach in New South Wales, Australia.

  • 5 December 1921 (Australia) — Western Australia Airways opens the first scheduled regular airline service in the country.

  • 5 December 1949 (USA) — Fairchild Aircraft Division announces $20—million in new orders.

  • 5 December 1949 (USA) — Douglas D—558—2 “Skyrocket” exceeds speed of sound in test flight at Muroc Air Force Base, California.

  • 5 December 1961 (USA) — A United States Navy McDonnell F4H “Phantom II,” piloted by Commander George W. Ellis, sets a new world altitude record of 66,443 feet for sustained horizontal flight.

December 6

  • 6 December 1949 (USA) — Sikorsky Aircraft Division totals more than 20 hours flight time on is 12—place H—19 Air Force helicopter.

  • 6 December 1949 (USA) — Air Force to divert $50 million of 1950 fiscal funds to build United States—Alaska radar defense system.

  • 6 December 1957 (USA) — A Vanguard vehicle fails in attempt to launch the first United States satellite.

  • 6 December 1957 (USA) — A Lockheed “Electra” makes its first successful test flight.

  • 6 December 1960 (USA) — The first flight of the Sikorsky S—61L helicopter is made in the United States. It serves as a transport craft as well as patrol, rescue, and even anti—submarine duty.

  • 6 December 1975 (USSR) — The first airmail flight by a supersonic aircraft is made by the Tupolev Tu—144, carrying mail between Moscow and Alma Ata, within the USSR.

December 7

  • 7 December 1941 (Hawaii) — Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. United States enters World War II.

  • 7 December 1945 (New Zealand) — New Zealand National Airways Corporation is founded with amalgamation of Union Airways, Air Travel and Cook Strait Airways.

  • 7 December 1949 (USA) — Thomas G. Lamphier sets round—the—world commercial transport record, flying from LaGuardia field eastward and returns in 119 hours 47 minutes ... 3 minutes less than the scheduled time.

  • 7 December 1972 (Moon) — All USAF crew in Apollo 17 makes the final landing on the moon.

  • 7 December 1980 (USA/Japan/China) — Pan Am's Boeing 747 China Clipper arrives in Peking from New York via Tokyo to complete the first official flight between China and USA since shortly before 1949.

December 8

  • 8 December 1938 (Germany) — Germany officially launches its first aircraft carrier, the Graf Zeppelin. It was the only aircraft carrier launched by Germany during World War II and represented part of the Kriegsmarine's attempt to create a well—balanced ocean going fleet, capable of projecting German naval power far beyond the narrow confines of the Baltic and North Seas. Construction was ordered on 16 November 1935 and her keel was laid down on 28 December 1936 by Deutsche Werke at Kiel. Named in honor of Graf (Count) Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the ship was launched on 8 December 1938 but was not completed and was never operational.

  • 8 December 1940 (USA) — The New York City experiences its first blackout and anti—aircraft exercise, around the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

  • 8 December 1964 (USA) — A United Air Lines “Caravelle” makes the first landing in the United States completely controlled by a computer (automatic touchdown).

December 9

  • 9 December 1904 (USA) — The Wright brothers discontinue trials with “Flyer II” after completing 105 tests and 80 brief flights since they began flying the new machine in May.

  • 9 December 1909 (USA) — American Dr. Henry W. Walden makes the first flight with his triplane known as the “Walden III.” It is powered by a three—cylinder, 22—hp Anzani engine and takes off from Mineola, Long Island, New York.

December 10

  • 10 December 1919 (England/Australia) — Capts. Ross Smith and Keith Smith become the first Australians to fly directly between Great Britain and Australia, a distance of 11,340 mi., after flying 135 hr. 55 min. at an average speed of 83 mph.

December 11

  • 11 December 1917 (USA) — Katherine Stinson flies 606 miles from San Diego to San Francisco, setting a new American non—stop distance record.

  • 11 December 1928 (USA) — privates Sidney R. Glover and Paul W. Lemons are awarded the Soldiers Medal for rescuing Major Junius W. Jones, United States Air Corps, and Maj. Samuel T. Stewart, C.A.C, from drowning after an airplane crash into the Mississippi River near Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

December 12

  • 12—24 December 1928 (USA) — International Civil Aeronautics Conference held in Washington, DC.

  • 12 December 1949 (USA) — Capital Airlines Douglas DC—3 passenger transport crashes near National Airport, killing 4.

  • 12 December 1953 (USA) — Mach 2.5 is achieved for the first time by Major Charles “Chuck” Yeager in the Bell X—1A. The rocket—propelled experimental aircraft reaches 1,650 mph at 70,000 feet.

  • 12 December 1957 (USA) — A McDonnell F—101A “Voodoo,” piloted by Major Adrian Drew, captures the world speed record for the United States Air Force by flying 1,207.6 mph.

December 13

  • 13 December 1918 (England/India) — The first flight from England to India is made by A.S. MacLaren, Halley, and McEwen in Handley Page V—1500 four—engine bomber.

  • 13 December 1949 (USA) — Prototype Of North American Aviation XF—93, Air Force jet penetration fighter, arrives at Edwards Air Force Base, California for testing. The XF—93 is a new version of the basic North American F—86 “Sabre” design, with a 38—foot wingspan and 44 foot length, powered by a Pratt & Whitney J—42 engine.

  • 13 December 1984 (USA) — First flight of the Grumman X—29 FSW (Forward Swept Wing) research aircraft.

  • 13 December 1962 (USA) — USAF Stargazer balloon reached an altitude of 82,000 feet.

December 14

  • 14 December 1903 (USA) — Wilbur Wright makes the first and unsuccessful attempt at powered flight at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. His aircraft stalls after 3½ seconds in the air and crash—lands 105 feet away.

  • 14 December 1927 (USA) — The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Lexington was commissioned.

  • 14 December 1927 (USA) — Major General J. E. Fechet became Chief of the Air Corps.

  • 14 December 1959 (USA) — An altitude record of 103,389 feet was set by a Lockheed F—104 “Starfighter.”

  • 14 December 1962 (Venus) — Mariner 2 becomes the first spacecraft to fly past Venus.

  • 14 December 1965 (USA) — A LearJet 23 executive transport shows off its impressive capabilities by climbing to 40,000 feet in 7 minutes 21 seconds with seven people aboard.

  • 14 December 1972 (Moon) — Eugene Cernan becomes the last person to walk on the Moon at the conclusion of Apollo 17's surface activity.

  • 14 December 1986 (USA) — Burt Rutan's Voyager takes off for the first unrefueled flight around the world. The record flight covered 26,366—miles and took just over 9 days to complete.

  • 14 December 1988 (Japan) — Japan Air Lines says its future Boeing 747—400's will be fitted with personal video screens in the first and business class.

December 15

  • 15 December 1920 (France) — The first of a number of flying schools to train reserve pilots for the military opens at Orly, south of Paris.

  • 15 December 1928 (USA) — Illinois Central Railroad issues round trip air—rail tickets enabling passengers to fly one—way between St. Louis, Missouri and Chicago, Illinois.

  • 15 December 1928 (USA) — Missouri's State Supreme Court declares valid the bond issues for Kansas City and St. Louis municipal airports.

  • 15 December 1928 (USA) — Northwest Airways starts daily Mail, passenger and express service between Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin, 120 miles.

  • 15 December 1970 (USSR) — Artem Mikoyan, founder of the USSR's Mikoyan—Gurevich design bureau dies.

  • 15 December 1955 (England) — The de Havilland “Mosquito” concluded its career with the Royal Air Force.

  • 15 December 1964 (Vietnam) — The first USAF gunship, the AC—47 enters combat in Vietnam.

  • 15 December 1989 (USA) — KLM Flight 867, a Boeing 747—400 registered PH—BFC, flew through a cloud of volcanic ash from Mount Redoubt while descending to Anchorage, Alaska. After falling 14,000 feet, the engines finally restarted, allowing the aircraft land safely.

  • 15 December 1996 (USA)— The merger of McDonnell Douglas and Boeing was announced, after a $13 billion stock—swap

  • 15 December 2005 (USA) — The Lockheed Martin F—22 “Raptor” entered service after 15 years of testing (including the YF—22A version).

  • 15 December 2006 (USA) — The Lockheed Martin F—35 “Lightning II” made its maiden flight.

December 16

  • 16 December 1907 (USA) — Chief Signal Officer called for bids on a lighter—than—air “airship."

  • 16 December 1928 (USA) — Lt. James E. Dyer, USN, wins Herbert Schiff Memorial Trophy for having the best record among Naval aviators for the year ending June 30, Dyer's record being 1,215 hours of flying without accident.

  • 16 December 1941 (Borneo) — Japanese invade British Borneo.

  • 16 December 1951 (USA) — The first helicopter powered by a gas—turbine engine flies successfully. The Kaman K—225 uses a turbine that makes for a lighter, simpler, more powerful engine compared to a conventional piston engine.

  • 16 December 1957 (USA) — Senator Stuart Symington is named 1957 winner of the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy.

  • 16 December 1960 (USA) — United Airlines Flight 826 (Douglas DC—8, N8031U) and Trans World Airlines Flight 266 (Lockheed Super Constellation, N6907C) collided in midair over Staten Island in New York City, killing all 128 on both planes and six on the ground.

  • 16 December 1979 (USA/England) — A British Airways “Concorde” lands in London after flying from New York in 2 hours 58 minutes, at an average speed of 1,172 mph.

  • 16 December 1997 (Canada) — Air Canada Flight 646, a CRJ—200 registered C—FSKI, crashes in a failed go—around in Fredericton, New Brunswick. All on—board miraculously survived.

December 17

  • 17 December 1903 (USA) — First sustained controlled flight in a powered aircraft. On the morning of December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright took turns piloting and monitoring their flying machine in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Orville piloted the first flight that lasted just 12 seconds and 120 feet. On the fourth and final flight of the day, Wilbur traveled 852 feet, remaining airborne for 59 seconds. That morning, the brothers became the first people to demonstrate sustained flight of a heavier—than—air machine under the complete control of the pilot. They built their 1903 glider in sections in the Back room of their Dayton, Ohio, bicycle shop. That afternoon, the Wright brothers walked the four miles to Kitty Hawk and sent a telegram to their father, Bishop Milton Wright, Back home in Dayton, Ohio: “Success four flights Thursday morning all against twenty one mile wind started from level with engine power alone average speed through air thirty one miles longest 57 seconds inform Press home Christmas."

  • 17 December 1928 (England) — British aircraft industry holds dinner at Science Museum, South Kensington, London, commemorating the twenty—fifth anniversary of the invention of the airplane by the Wright brothers.

  • 17 December 1928 (USA) — International delegates attend ceremonies at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, commemorating the first airplane flight ever made, December 17, 1903. Orville Wright, who made it, attend celebration.

  • 17 December 1935 (USA) — The first flight of the Douglas DC—3 took place. As one of the toughest aircraft of all—time, 10,655 were made, with hundreds still flying commercially at the turn of the century.

  • 17 December 1938 (USA) — Rear Admiral William A. Moffett Memorial Trophy awarded Aviation Unit of USS Northhampton. Lieut. Robert Goldwaite, USN, Senior Aviator of the ship, receives the trophy on behalf of the personnel.

  • 17 December 1938 (USA) — Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, National Bureau of Standards, delivers second Wright Brothers' lecture at Columbia University, New York City.

  • 17 December 1947 (USA) — The first flight of the Boeing B—47 “Stratojet” bomber took place.

  • 17 December 1969 (USA) — The United States Air Force closes “Project Blue Book,” its 22—year investigation into sightings of unidentified flying objects, or UFO's.

  • 17 December 1973 (Italy) — Palestinian guerrillas storm a terminal in Rome, Italy, throwing grenades and spraying automatic fire on Pan Am Flight 110 (Boeing 707, N407PA). The resulting flames kill several on the aircraft. The terrorists also hijack a Lufthansa 737 on the ramp, taking it and several Italian hostages on commanded flights to Greece, Syria and finally Kuwait, where the hostages are finally freed and the hijackers given to the custody of the PLO. In the end, 30 people die.

  • 17 December 1994 (Netherlands) — KLM's last DC—10 is retired.

  • 17 December 1994 (USA) — The Lockheed C—5 “Galaxy” sets a national record after taking off with the maximum payload of all time at 920,836 pounds.

  • 17 December 2003 (USA) — Burt Rutan's “SpaceShipOne” becomes the first privately designed and manufactured manned aircraft to exceed the speed of sound.

December 18

  • 18 December 1912 (North Africa/Europe) — French aviator Rolland Garros becomes the first pilot to bridge two countries in a single flight. He flies his Blériot monoplane from North Africa to Europe, half—way across the Mediterranean, 177 miles.

  • 18 December 1941 (Hong Kong) — Japanese invade Hong Kong.

  • 18 December 1941 (Philippines) — Lt. “Buzz” Wagner became the first American “Ace” of World War II.

  • 18 December 1957 (USA) — The first successful firing of the United States Air Force Convair “Atlas” intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is revealed by the United States Defense Department.

  • 18 December 1970 (France) — Airbus Industrie is formally established to develop the Airbus A300; it is comprised of Aérospatiale, Deutsche Airbus, Fokker and Hawker Siddeley.

December 19

  • 19 December 1908 (France) — The world's first aerodrome, Port—Aviation, is opened 12 miles outside of Paris.

  • 19 December 1968 (USA) — The Boeing Company receives its first order, from Israeli airline El Al, for a long—range version of the 747 Jumbo Jet, production of which was announced just under a month ago.

  • 19 December 1972 (Vietnam) — The 11—day “LineBacker II” offensive of the Vietnam War begins. Massive air strikes persuade North Vietnam to conclude and Paris peace negotiations.

  • 19 December 1972 (Pacific Ocean) — The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt, returns to Earth.

  • 19 December 1978 (England) — The first solar—powered aircraft “Solar One,” makes a successful flight in England.

December 20

  • 20 December 1916 (USA) — The United States Army Balloon School is established in Fort Omaha, Nebraska.

  • 20 December 1928 (Antarctica) — Australian George Wilkins and Lieutenant Carl Eielson make the first flight over Antarctica. They use a Lockheed “Vega” for the 10—hour flight.

  • 20 December 1957 (USA) — The first production model of the Boeing 707 makes its first flight.

  • 20 December 1941 (China) — The AVG (American Volunteer Group), better known as the “Flying Tigers” in Kunming, China, shoots down three Kawasaki Ki—48 “Lily” light bombers in its first engagement.

  • 20 December 1942 (India) — Bombing of Calcutta by the Japanese.

  • 20 December 1952 (USA) — United States Air Force Douglas C—124 “Globemaster II” crashes and burns in Moses Lake, Washington killing 87.

  • 20 December 1954 (USA) — The Convair YF—102A “Delta Dagger” makes its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base.

  • 20 December 1960 (USA) — First flight of the variable—wing—geometry General Dynamics F—111 “Aardvark.”

  • 20 December 1995 (Bosnia) — NATO begins peacekeeping in Bosnia.

December 21

  • 21 December 1914 (England) — The UK is bombed by a German aircraft for the first time — a Taube drops two bombs near the Admiralty Pier, Kent.

  • 21 December 1944 (USA) — General H. H. Arnold became General of the Army.

  • 21 December 1960 (USA) — The first major combat aircraft with variable geometry wings, the General Dynamics F—111 “Aardvark,” makes its first flight.

  • 21 December 1968 (USA) — Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At 2h:50m:37s Mission elapsed time (MES), the crew performs the first ever manned Trans Lunar Injection and become the first humans to leave Earth's gravity.

  • 21 December 1979 (USA) — The NASA AD—1 oblique—wing concept demonstrator makes its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base.

  • 21 December 1982 (UK) — The last “V—Bomber” squadron of Britain's RAF, is disbanded at Waddington, Lincolnshire.

  • 21 December 1990 (USA) — Kelly Johnson dies, aged 80.

December 22

  • 22 December 1930 (USSR) — The Tupolev ANT—6 heavy bomber makes its first flight in USSR.

  • 22 December 1941 (Mediterranean Sea) — A radar—equipped Fairey “Firefly” sinks a German submarine (U—451) at night, the first such victory.

  • 22 December 1941 (Philippines) — Japanese invade Luzon in the Philippines.

  • 22 December 1964 (USA) — First flight of the Lockheed SR—71 “Blackbird.”

  • 22 December 1974 (France) — The Dassault Breguet “Mirage F1—E” makes its first flight, in the hands of Guy Mitaux—Maurourard.

  • 22 December 1966 (USA)— The Northrop HL—10 “Lifting Body” makes its first glide flight at Edwards Air Force Base.

December 23

  • 23 December 1907 (USA) — The Chief Signals Officer of the United States Army, Brig. Gen. James Allen, issues specification no. 486, the first military aircraft specification for which commercial tenders were invited. The specification is written around the capabilities of the Wright Flyer and, though published for bids to conform to army requirements, only the Wrights are expected to respond by the closing date of February 1, 1908.

  • 23 December 1910 (USA) — Lt. Theodore Ellyson of the United States Navy is assigned to flight training with the Curtiss company, making him the first naval aviator.

  • 23 December 1937 (England) — First flight of the Vickers “Wellington” bomber.

  • 23 December 1939 (USA) — Anthony Fokker, pioneer in aviation and a Dutch—American aircraft manufacturer dies in New York, age 49.

  • 23 December 1940 (USA) — The first United States all—cargo air service is inaugurated by United Air Lines when at 11:30 pm a flight leaves New York for Chicago, where it arrives at 3:40 am local time the following morning after stopping in Cleveland.

  • 23 December 1941 (wake Island) — Japanese take Wake Island.

  • 23 December 1972 (USSR) — Andrei Tupolev dies, age 86.

  • 23 December 1974 (USA) — The Rockwell B—1A Lancer makes its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base.

  • 23 December 2002 (Iraq) — A General Atomics MQ—1 “Predator” is shot down by an Iraqi MiG—25 &ldquoFoxbat,” making it the first time in history that an aircraft and an unmanned drone had engaged in combat.

December 24

  • 24 December 1908 (France) — The world's first aeronautical exhibition opens in Paris when the French president inaugurated the second half of the Annual Automobile Salon at the Grand Palais.

  • 24 December 1924 (USA) — Walter Beech, Clyde Cessna and Lloyd Stearman combine forces to form the Travel Air Manufacturing Company.

  • 24 December 1928 (USA) — R.S. Fogg completes emergency airplane service established November 10 to flooded areas in Vermont. Total flying 15,000 miles in 44 days.

  • 24 December 1943 (Germany/European Theater) — Six hundred and fifty (650) B—17 “Flying Fortress” and B—24 “Liberator” heavy bombers made first major strike on German V—weapons sites.

  • 24 December 1944 (Philippines) — The people of the Philippines receive a surprise when airplanes of 43rd Bombing Group flew over to drop a million Christmas cards; each one contains the words: “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 1944 — General Douglas MacArthur.”

  • 24 December 1955 (USA) — NORAD Tracks Santa for the first time in what will become an annual Christmas Eve tradition.

  • 24 December 1957 (USA) — North American Aviation, Inc. wins the competition for the WS—110A chemical bomber, a plane capable of speeds in excess of 2,000—mph at altitudes in excess of 70,000 feet.

  • 24 December 1957 (USA) — Chance Vought receives $200—million United States Navy contract for production of the F8U—2 “Crusader” and continued production of the F8U—1 “Crusader.”

  • 24 December 1963 (USA) — New York International Airport is rededicated as John F. Kennedy Airport in honor of the murdered president.

  • 24 December 1966 (South Vietnam) — A Canadair CL—44 chartered by the United States military crashes into a small village in South Vietnam, killing 129.

  • 24 December 1968 (Moon) — The crew of Apollo 8 enters into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed 10 lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures that became the famous Christmas Eve Broadcast, one of the most watched programs in history.

December 25

  • 25 December 1914 (Germany) — HMS Empress, HMS Engadine and HMS Riviera launch a seaplane attack on the Zeppelin sheds at Cuxhaven. Fog prevents the aircraft from reaching their target, and only three of the nine aircraft find their way Back to their mother ships.

  • 25 December 1934 (France) — French pilot Raymond Delmotte sets a new world speed record for landplanes of 314.33 mph, flying a Caudron 460.

  • 25 December 1941 (Hong Kong) — British surrender at Hong Kong.

  • 25 December 1946 (China) — Today is nicknamed “Black Christmas” as three airliners crash trying to land in bad weather, killing 72 people. It is the worst day so far in the history of Chinese civil aviation.

  • 25 December 1949 (USA) — USAF revealed development of a ceramic with resistance to 2000°F.

  • 25 December 1979 (Afghanistan) — Antonov An—12's and An—22's airlift the first Soviet troops into Afghanistan. 5,000 arrive in the first 24 hours.

  • 25 December 1981 (Atlantic Ocean) — USAF lieutenant Thomas Tiller is rescued from the Atlantic Ocean by a boat after his plane, a McDonnell Douglas F—4 “Phantom II” had an accident seven days before.

December 26

  • 26 December 1922 (Japan) — The Hosho, Japan's first aircraft carrier is commissioned.

  • 26 December 1928 (Mexico) — Joaquin G. Pacheco, of Mexico , in a Stinson “Detroiter,” Pratt & Whitney “Wasp” engine, leaves Mexico City on a good—will tour of South America.

  • 26 December 1935 (Hawaii) — The USAAC uses aerial bombardment to divert a flow of lava from Mauna Loa, Hawaii that is threatening Hilo's waterworks.

  • 26 December 1939 (England) — The first RAAF squadrons to join the war arrive in Britain.

  • 26 December 1943 (New Britain) — Pre—invasion bombing of Cape Gloucester, New Britain completely destroyed enemy defenses.

  • 26 December 1948 (USSR) — I. V. Fedorov becomes the first Soviet pilot to break the sound barrier. He achieves the necessary speed by diving his Lavochkin La—176 jet, powered by a Rolls—Royce Nene engine, at full throttle.

  • 26 December 1968 (Pacific Ocean) — Apollo 8 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.

  • 26 December 1972 (North Vietnam) — 117 Boeing B—52 “Stratofortress” bombers attack Hanoi in Operation LineBacker II, the largest air assault in the Vietnam War to this time.

  • 26 December 1980 (USSR) — Aeroflot puts the Ilyushin Il—86 into service on its Moscow—Tashkent route.

  • 26 December 1992 (Iraq) — USAF F—16 “Fighting Falcons” shoot down an Iraqi Air Force Mikoyan—Gurevich MiG—25 “Foxbat” in Southern Iraq's “no fly zone.”

December 27

  • 27 December 1773 (England) — George Cayley is born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England. Pioneer of early aviation regarded by many as the father of flight. His glider takes his coachman on the first manned flight in 1853.

  • 27 December 1928 (Antarctica) — Capt. Sir George H. Wilkins and Carl Eielson, in a Lockheed “Vega” (“Whirlwind” engine,) make first flight over Antarctica Continent.

  • 27 December 1935 (Hawaii) — U.S. Army planes diverted lava flow in Hawaii by aerial bombardment.

  • 27 December 1941 (Philippines) — Japanese bomb Manila.

  • 27 December 1949 (USA) — United States Carriers American Airlines and TWA begin coast—to coast coach—class flights with 60—passenger Douglas DC—4s, charging USD $110 one—way.

December 28

  • 28 December 1948 (Greenland) — Twelve (12) USAF pilots rescued from Greenland icecap by Douglas C—47 “Skytrain” using rocket boosters.

  • 28 December 1961 (USA) — American Airlines became the first airline ever to carry 100,000,000 passengers have held ceremonies with Lt. General James H. Doolittle serving as the national symbol of the event.

  • 28 December 1968 (Lebanon) — Israeli commandos mount a surprise raid on Beirut Airport, destroying 13 aircraft and jeopardizing the Lebanese aviation industry.

  • 28 December 1988 (Scotland) — An analysis of the wreckage of the Pan Am Boeing 747, which crashed at Lockerbie, Scotland a week ago, reveals that a bomb had been planted in the jet's luggage hold.

December 29

  • 29 December 1921 (USA) — Edward Stinson and Lloyd Bertaud set a world endurance record of 26 hours 18 minutes and 35 seconds flying a BMW—engine Junkers—Larsen over Roosevelt Field.

  • 29 December 1927 (Germany) — Georg Wulf, co—founded of Focke—Wulf is killed in the crash of the Focke—Wulf Fw.19.

  • 29 December 1939 (USA) — First flight of the Consolidated XB—24 “Liberator” heavy bomber at San Diego, California. During the next 5½ years, over 18,100 B—24 “Liberators” will be produced (largest military production run in US History).

  • 29—30 December 1940 (England) — The Luftwaffe makes a devastating attack on London, making extensive use of incendiary weapons.

December 30

  • 30 December 1905 (France) — The Wright brothers sign a contract for one million francs with Frenchman Arnold Fordyce for the sale of a powered flying machine capable of flying a nonstop distance of 31 miles. When contingent of French government officials come to Dayton in April 1906 to change the agreement by seeking exclusivity for one year, the idea is dropped; for their trouble, the Wrights received 25,000 francs (then about US $5,000), the first money they earn from flying.

  • 30 December 1914 (USA) — The U.S. Signal Corps accepted first Burgess—Dunne inherently stable armored plane.

  • 30 December 1935 (Ethiopia) — Italian bombers destroy Swedish Red Cross unit in Ethiopia.

  • 30 December 1938 (Italy) — A. Tondi and G. Pontonutti, Italy, set world speed record for 1,000—kms, with 5,000 kgs payload of 251.878 mph. (Savoia S—79, 3 Piaggio P—XI RC—40 engines.)

  • 30 December 1938 (Italy) — A. Tondi and G. Pontonutti, Italy, set world speed record for 2,000—kms, with 5,000 kgs payload of 250.906 mph. (Savoia S—79, 3 Piaggio P—XI RC—40 engines.)

  • 30 December 1947 (USSR) — The prototype of the second Mikoyan “Type S” fighter, an early version of the Mikoyan—Gurevich MiG—15 “Fagot,” makes its first flight using an imported Rolls—Royce Nene 2 jet engine.

  • 30 December 1972 — President Richard Nixon halts aerial bombing of North Vietnam and announces peace talks.

December 31

  • 31 December 1908 (France) — Wilbur Wright at Auvours, France, makes the first flight over 2 hours. He flies for 2 hours and 20 minutes, covers 77 miles, and wins the Michelin Cup for 1908.

  • 31 December 1933 (USSR) — First flight of the Polikarpov I—16

  • 31 December 1935 (USA) — A device to insure automatic fuel transfer from reserve tanks was developed.

  • 31 December 1942 (Guadalcanal) — Japanese troops withdraw from Guadacanal after five months of bloody fighting against U.S. Forces.

  • 31 December 1951 (USA) — This year, for the first time, air passenger miles flown (10.6 million) have exceeded passenger miles traveled in Pullman cars on the railroad (10.2 million).

  • 31 December 1957 (USA) — The Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation wins a United States Navy competition for an attack aircraft.

  • 31 December 1957 (USA) — The United States Air Force takes delivery of its first production “Bomarc,” area defense missile.

  • 31 December 1958 (USA) — This year, for the first time, more passengers (1.2 million) have crossed the North Atlantic by air than by sea.

  • 31 December 1967 (UK) — The Royal Air Force's V—Bomber force begins to be dismantled, pending the deployment of the “Polaris” missile aboard Royal Navy submarines to act as Britain's nuclear deterrent.

  • 31 December 1967 (USA) — NASA begins initial talks to develop guidelines for a re—usable space plane.

  • 31 December 1968 (USSR) — The world's first supersonic transport aircraft to fly, the Tupolev Tu—144, takes to the air. It is powered by four 28,660/38,580—lb. s.t. Kuznetsov NK—144 turbofans.

  • 31 December 1970 (USA) — Jeanne Holm becomes the USAF's first female General.

Sequence of Extraordinary Events


RECENTLY RELEASED “NEED TO KNOW” REPORTS — Skytamer.com can neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the following information.

  • 13 December (North Pole) — U.S. satellites have detected unusual activity at an obscure secret aerodrome in the vicinity of the North Pole. Infrared images have detected several tiny reindeer in the area.

  • 14 December (North Pole) — U.S. satellites have detected increased activity at an obscure secret aerodrome in the vicinity of the North Pole. Infrared images have detected a HCAV (Hypersonic Christmas Air Vehicle) plus several tiny reindeer in the area. U.S. Military Forces have been placed on the SANTACON2 alert level.

  • 15 December (North Pole) — U.S. satellites have detected increased activity at an obscure secret aerodrome in the vicinity of the North Pole. Infrared images have detected a HCAV (Hypersonic Christmas Air Vehicle), a small man with a white beard in a red suit plus several tiny reindeer in the area. U.S. Military Forces have been placed on the SANTACON2 alert level.

  • 16 December (North Pole) — U.S. satellites and the elite ESS (Eskimo Surveillance Squadron) have confirmed covert activity at an obscure secret aerodrome in the vicinity of the North Pole. The previously detected HCAV (Hypersonic Christmas Air Vehicle) appears to be shaped like a small sleigh. A jolly small man with a white beard wearing a red flight—suit was seen in the cockpit of the HCAV. Numerous tiny reindeer have been spotted in the area. One of the reindeer is reported to have a red nose. U.S. Military Forces remain at the SANTACON2 alert level.

  • 17 December (North Pole)— Escalated activity at the obscure secret aerodrome in the vicinity of the North Pole have caused U.S. Military Forces to go from a SANTACON2 to a SANTACON3 alert level. The previously detected HCAV (Hypersonic Christmas Air Vehicle), which appears to be shaped like a small sleigh, has been reported to have made several test flights. The previously reported small portly jolly gentleman with the white beard conducted the HCAV test flights. The HCAV's propulsion unit has been confirmed to be an 8—pack of tiny reindeer. Intel projects that the HCAV will be fully operational by the evening of 24 December.

  • 18 December (North Pole) — A faint ROL (Ring Of Light) approximately 100 miles in diameter has appeared in the vicinity of the NPA (North Pole Aerodrome.) The ROL seems to be decreasing in diameter and getting brighter in intensity as it converges on the NPA. The elite ESS (Eskimo Surveillance Squadron) has been dispatched to investigate. U.S. Military forces around the world remain at the SANTACON3 alert level.

  • 19 December (North Pole) — The ROL (ring of light) reported yesterday is now approximately 37 miles from the NPA (North Pole Aerodrome.) The elite ESS (Eskimo Surveillance Squadron) has discovered that the ROL is comprised of thousands of small ElfEx delivery sleds speeding towards the NPA. At this point the contents of the ElfEx delivery sleds is unknown. U.S. Military forces around the world remain at the SANTACON3 alert level.

  • 20 December (North Pole) — The ROL (ring of light) has converged on the NPA (North Pole Aerodrome). Thousands of miniature ElfEx delivery sleds have been observed unloading their cargo onto small conveyor belts. One member of the ESS (Eskimo Surveillance Squadron) was able to determine that the cargo boxes are all covered with decorative wrappings. These findings have been forwarded to the TSA. U.S. Military forces around the world have gone to the SANTACON4 alert level.

  • 21 December (North Pole) — The decorative wrapped cargo boxes that were delivered to the NPA (North Pole Aerodrome) via ElfEx delivery sleds are streaming off the hundreds of small conveyor belts and being prepped for loading onto the HCAV (Hypersonic Christmas Air Vehicle.) The boxes are all being scanned per security protocols to make sure that none of them contain lumps of coal. U.S. Military forces around the world remain at the SANTACON4 alert level.

  • 22 December (North Pole) —— The NPADC (North Pole Aerodrome Distribution Center) has become fully operational. All of the boxes with the decorative wrappings reported yesterday are currently in the process of being sorted by location and by “naughty” or “nice.” The TSA has requested a full PD (Pat Down) of all boxes, but it appears that the NPADC will not be able to comply due to time constraints. The portly gentleman with the white beard and the red flight—suit was noted at the NPADC. U.S. Military forces around the world remain at the SANTACON4 alert level.

  • 23 December (North Pole) — All of the boxes with the decorative wrappings reported yesterday are in the process of being loaded into the cargo bay of the HCAV (Hypersonic Christmas Air Vehicle.) The HCAV cargo bay seems to have an infinite cargo capacity. The previously reported ElfEx delivery sleds have been redeployed to form what appears to be a 10 foot wide by 10 mile long North/South runway. The portly gentleman with the white beard in the red flight—suit has filed a 24 hour flight plan covering all 24 time zones. U.S. Military forces around the world remain at the SANTACON4 alert level.

  • 24 December (North Pole) — Refuelling of the HCAV's (Hypersonic Christmas Air Vehicle) propulsion unit comprised of an eight—pack +1 of tiny reindeer has been completed and reattached to the HCAV. The lead reindeer is reported to have a red navigation light. The HCAV has taxied to the North end of the NPA (North Pole Aerodrome) runway and is in position for takeoff. The identity of the portly gentlemen with the white beard and the red flight—suit has been discovered ... he is a Mr. S. Claus of North Pole, Earth. At precisely 23:59:00 Zulu the HCAV started a 60 second take—off run and disappeared into a hypersonic blinding flash at exactly 24:00:00 Zulu. Final communications from Mr. Claus aboard the HCAV were ... "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!" U.S. Military forces around the world have gone to SANTACON5!

  • 25 December (North Pole) — The HCAV (Hypersonic Christmas Air Vehicle) has returned safely to the NPA (North Pole Aerodrome) for a year of avionics upgrades, structural enhancements and refurbishments.

References



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