This Day in Aviation History Files, compiled by Don Kutter on the AVSIG forum at

                     April 1
In 2010, the first flying car enters mass production in the U.S.  Over
    the next few years, the nation's roadways are no longer clogged
    with dangerous motorists, and abandoned, inoperable cars are
    rarely seen on roadside berms.  Reports of  $#!% falling from the
    sky rise dramatically, however.  (... April Fools ... -MO).

Lon Chaney Sr.: born April 1, 1883
     Actor; Man of a Thousand Faces; "Hunchback of Notre
     Dame"; "Phantom of the Opera"; born in Colorado Springs,
     Colorado; both parents were deaf mutes; worked a short
     while as a giude taking tourists to Pikes Peak; worked
     as a property boy, screen painter and stagehand at the
     Colorado Springs Opera House; credited with over 150

Arthur E. Raymond:  Born April 1, 1899
     born in Boston, Mass; moved to California when he was
     3 years old; father owned the Raymond Hotel; at 15 he
     took a ride in a dirigible flown by Roy Knabenshue;
     attended Harvard University and studied Aeronautical
     Engineering at MIT.

     In 1932 was an engineer with Douglas; he was asked to
     design a plane for Transcontinental and Western Air;
     United Airlines was flying Boeing 247's and T&W was using  
     Ford Trimotors; the initial design was the DC-1/DC-2; in
     1934, Raymond became Chief Engineer at Douglas and designed
     the DC-3; the plane was such a success that between 1934
     and 1945 11,000 were built; Raymond would also be involved
     in the design of the DC-4, DC-6, DC-7 and DC-8; later, as a
     consultant with NASA, he worked on the Gemini and Apollo
     projects; one of the founders of the Rand Corporation in
     Santa Monica, CA.

In 1911, Captain W. I. Chambers, the officer in charge of
     aviation, reported for duty with the General Board, a
     move suggested by Admiral George Dewey, when space for
     aviation was not available in the office of the Aid for

In 1915, French Lt. Roland Garros shoots down a German
     Albatros two-seater with a Hotchkiss machine gun fixed
     on the nose of his Morane-Saulnier Type L monoplane.
     The airplane's propeller is fitted with wedge-shaped
     steel deflector plates that protect the blades from
     damage as the rounds pass through the propeller arc.

In 1921, Navy Contract No. 53305 required only 18
     pages to set forth the specifications which resulted
     in the purchase of three DT Torpedo Bomber folding-wing
     aircraft - Douglas' first military contract.

In 1922, descriptive specifications of arresting gear of the
     type later installed in Lexington and Saratoga were
     sent to various design engineers, including Carl L.
     Norden and Warren Noble. "The arresting gear will
     consist of two or more transverse wires stretched
     across the fore and aft wires . . . [and which] lead
     around sheaves placed outboard to hydraulic brakes.

     The plane after engaging the transverse wire is guided
     down the deck by the fore and aft wires and is brought
     to rest by the action of the transverse wire working
     with the hydraulic brakes."

In 1924, Imperial Airways is formed in Britain

In 1927, Waldemar Roeder achieved a new distance record with
     a Junkers G24L for 2000kg payload with 1013,18km in
     7 hours and 52 minutes.

In 1938, Boeing created its Stearman Aircraft Division.
     It was renamed the Wichita Division in 1941.
     Previously, Northrop Aircraft of Burbank, California
     relocated to Wichita and was merged with Stearman
     Aircraft Corporation in September 1931.  Later
     acquired by United Aircraft and Transport Corporation.

In 1942, virtually unopposed Japanese ground forces start
     pushing south along the coast and the upland Kokoda
     Trail in eastern New Guinea in hopes of quickly capturing
     the main (critical) Allied defense base at "Port Moresby."
     If this base falls to the Japanese, a vital jump-off
     facility for Allied counterattacks will have been lost.

In 1946, a tusnami that was the result of an Aleutian Island
     earthquake resulted in 165 casualties in Hawaii and Alaska.
     This disaster prompted the creation of the Pacific Tsunami
     Warning Center in 1949.

In 1950, the missile staff headed by Wernher von Braun was
     moved from White Sands to Army Ordnance's Redstone
     Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala.

In 1954, the first transcontinental flights in less than 4
     hours were made by three pilots of VF-21 in F9F Cougars
     in a 2,438-mile flight from San Diego to Floyd Bennett
     Field, N.Y., with aerial refueling over Hutchinson,
     Kansas. Lieutenant Commander F. X. Brady made the
     crossing in 3 hours 45 minutes 30 seconds, Lieutenant
     (jg) J. C. Barrow took 1 minute and 19 seconds longer,
     and Lieutenant W. Rich made it in 3 hours 48 minutes
     even. Official timers were not present.

In 1954, President Eisenhower signs into law a bill creating
     the US Air Force Academy.

In 1960, the weather observation satellite, TIROS I
     (Television Infra-Red Observation Satellite), was
     launched into orbit by Thor-Able, and took pictures of
     earth's cloud cover on a global scale from 450 miles
     above. TIROS I was hailed as ushering in "a new era of
     meteorological observing."

In 1964, the last of 15 astronauts completed a helicopter
     flight familiarization program at Ellyson Field, as a
     phase of their training for lunar landings. The
     training was designed to simulate the operation of the
     Lunar Excursion Module of Project Apollo.

In 1970, NASA's first flight in YF-12A 935 was by Donald

In 1975, Eugene Taylor "Smokey" Rhoads, Chief Aviation
     Pilot, USN, died at the Veterans Hospital, San Diego,
     California. Rhoads was a member of the flight crew that
     made the first Trans-Atlantic flight in May 1919 on the

In 1976, Margaritaville is released by Jimmy Buffett.

                       April 2

Hans Christian Anderson:  born April 2, 1805
        Writer; raised on Odense, Denmark; his first book,
        "Youthful Attempts" was published in 1822 under the
        pseudonym William Walter; he preferred writing
        travel books and poetry, fairytales were just a

Walter Percy Chrysler:  born April 2, 1875
        Founded Chrysler Corp; born in Wamego, Kansas;
        started as a mechanic on various railroads; joined
        the American Locomotive Company in 1910; works
        manager of Buick 1912-1916; President of Buick
        from 1916-1919; Operations VP for General Motors
        1919-1925; organized Chrysler in 1925.

Sir Alec Guinness:  born April 2, 1914
        Actor; born in London; had a commission in the
        Royal Navy during WW-II and commanded a landing
        craft in the Mediterranean.
        Films included The Lavender Hill Mob, The Man In The
        White Suit and Bridge Over The River Kwai. Also known
        for the amazing feat of playing eight different parts
        in "Kind Hearts & Coronets."

        Characters ranged from Obiwan Kenobi in Star Wars to
        his portrayal of George Smiley.

In 1915, President Wilson appointed the first 12 members of
        the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
        (NACA). Throughout the entire history of the NACA
        until October 1958, members served without

In 1916, an American altitude record of 16,072 feet was set
        by Lt. R. C. Saufley in a Curtiss hydroaeroplane.

In 1918, at 1230 German time, a Fokker Dr1 Serial Nr.477/17
        of Jadgeschwader No.1 drew unnoticed to within 40
        meters of a British RE8, Serial A3868, of 52
        Squadron, that had just begun observation duty over
        Hill 104 in the Moreuil Salient. The German pilot
        would report his 75th victory. This would also be
        the first victory for the German pilot over a
        Royal Air Force plane.  The RAF has just been
        formed (1-April-1918) and the German pilot?  Baron
        Manfred von Richtohfen.

In 1920, successful altitude soundings of wind direction and
        velocity at night, using candle-lighted free
        balloons at Hampton Roads in flights since January,
        announced by the Navy.

In 1923, the first flight of an all-metal pursuit monoplane,
        Wright H-3, 400-hp engine, at Curtiss Field.

In 1925, the feasibility of using flush-deck catapults to
        launch landplanes was demonstrated by catapulting a
        DT-2 landplane, piloted by Lieutenant Commander C.
        P. Mason, with Lieutenant Braxton Rhodes as
        passenger, from the Langley, moored to its dock at
        San Diego.

In 1931, a contract for the XFF-1 two-seat fighter, the
        first naval aircraft to incorporate retractable
        landing gear for the purpose of improving
        aerodynamic cleanness and thereby increasing
        performance, was issued to Grumman.

In 1941, the world's first twin-jet aircraft, the Heinkel
        He 280V1, made its first powered flight.

In 1951, two F9F-2B Panthers of VF-191, each loaded with
        four 250 and two 100-pound general purpose bombs,
        were catapulted from Princeton. This was the first
        Navy use of a jet fighter as a bomber.

In 1958, an important step in the development of the Drone
        Anti-Submarine Helicopter for operation from
        destroyers was taken as an existing Bureau of
        Aeronautics contract with Gyrodyne for the RON-1
        rotocycle (one man helicopter) was amended to
        provide for the development, installation and
        flight test of remote control equipment.

In 1959, seven astronauts were selected for Project Mercury
        after a series of the most rigorous physical and
        mental tests ever given to U.S. test pilots. Chosen
        from a field of 110 candidates, the finalists were
        all qualified test pilots:
        Capts. Leroy G. Cooper, Jr., Virgil I. Grissom, and
        Donald K. Slayton, (USAF); Lt. Malcolm S. Carpenter,
        Lt. Comdr. Alan B. Shepard, Jr., and Lt. Comdr.
        Watler M. Schirra, Jr. (USN); and Lt. Col. John
        H. Glenn (USMC).

In 1959, Lt. Gen. Bernard A. Schriever, Commander AFBMD, was
        named Commander of Air Research and Development
        Command.  It is believed that Schriever is the only
        living General to have an Air Force Base named after
        him: Schriever AFB, Colorado Springs, CO, home of the
        50th Space Wing, which, among other things, operates
        the GPS system.

In 1959, a USAF Bold Orion ballistic missile test launched
        from a B-47 jet bomber.

In 1974, the last C-54 Skymaster in the Navy's flying
        inventory was retired to storage. The twenty-nine
        year-old C-54Q saw its last service with the Naval
        Test Pilot School, NAS Patuxent River. The
        Skymaster, Bureau Number 56501, had flown almost
        15,000 hours with more than 2,500,000 nautical miles
        since its acceptance on 24 March 1945.

In 1985, Steve Ishmael is the first NASA pilot to fly the
        X-29 research aircraft investigating forward swept
        wings, composite construction concepts and
        integrated flight controls.

                     April 3

Marlon Brando Jr.:  born April 3, 1924
        Actor; born in Omaha, Nebraska; at 9, his parents
        are separated and he moves with his mom to California;
        in 1940 he is sent to Shattuck Military Academy in
        Fairbult, Minnesota; in 1943 he is expelled for
        insubordination and moves to NY City to take acting

Virgil "Gus" Grissom:  born April 3, 1926
        Original Mercury Astronaut; born in Mitchell,
        Indiana; attended Purdue University; joined the Air
        Force and received his wings in 1951; flew 100 combat
        missions in F-86's in Korea with the 334th Fighter
        Interceptor Wing; attended Test Pilot School at Edwards
        AFB in 1956; 2nd US astronaut in space in Liberty Bell 7,
        in July 1961; in 1965 was the command pilot of the first
        manned Gemini flight (Gemini 3); was lost in the
        Apollo 1 fire.

In 1944: (Pacific) B-25s of the 41st Medium Bombardment Group
        attack Ponape Island. That night B-24s attack Truk Atoll.
        In China four 14th Air Force P-40s attack large Japanese
        riverboats on the Yangtze between Hengyang and Ichang.
        B-24s attack Japanese shipping in the Haiphong Harbor
        while others lay mines in the approaches.

In 1946, a contract was issued to Douglas for the design and
        construction of the XF3D-1 night fighter.

In 1956, the Navy announced that the Petrel, an air-to
        -surface guided missile designed for use by patrol
        aircraft against shipping, was in operational use
        from the P2V-6M's of VP-24.

In 1962, Lieutenant Commander John W. Young piloted the
        F4H-1 to its seventh world time-to-climb record by
        reaching 25,000 meters in 230.44 seconds at NAS
        Point Mugu.

In 1982, the first flight of the Airbus A-310 (-200).

                        April 4

John Cameron Swayze:  born April 4, 1906
        attended HS in Atcheson, Kansas; left University of
        Kansas to try acting; in 1930 he joined the Kansas
        City Journal Post as the City Hall reporter; he had
        a microphone to quickly air news bulletins; in 1933
        he appeared in experimental TV by broadcasting from
        the 29th floor of the Kansas City Power and Light
        Building; some attribute this as the first anchorman
        on network news.

In 1917, the SPAD XIII completed its first flight. In all, 8,472
        were built and delivered to 11 countries. It was
        flown by Rene Fonck, the French WW I ace.

In 1927, regular commercial airline passenger service was
        initiated by Colonial Air Transport between New York
        and Boston.

In 1930, the American Interplanetary Society, later the
        American Rocket Society (ARS), was founded in New
        York City by David Lasser, G. Edward Pendray,
        Fletcher Pratt, and nine others, for the "promotion
        of interst in and experimentation toward
        interplanetary expeditions and travel."

In 1933, the rigid airship Akron (ZRS-4) crashed in a severe
        storm off Barnegat Light, N.J. Among the 73
        fatalities were Rear Admiral William A. Moffett,
        Chief, Bureau of Aeronautics, and Commander Frank C.
        McCord, Commanding Officer of the Akron. Rear
        Admiral Moffett was replaced by Rear Adm. E. J. King

In 1943, the Naval Aircraft Factory reported that, in tests
        of an automatic flying device for use on towed
        gliders, the LNT-1 had been towed automatically
        without assistance from the safety pilot.

In 1961, the three astronauts selected for Mercury-Redstone
         flight (MR-3) were ordered to take refresher course
        in Navy centrifuge at Johnsville, Pa.

In 1966, NASA announced selection of 19 men for the
        Astronaut Team, among whom were 11 who had qualified
        as Naval Aviators including John S. Bull, Ronald E.
        Evans, Thomas K. Mattingly, Bruce McCandless II,
        Edgar D. Mitchell and Paul J. Weitz on active duty
        in the Navy and Gerald P. Carr and Jack R. Lousma
        on active duty in the Marine Corps. Don L. Lind
        (USNR), and Vance D. Brand and Fred W. Haise, Jr.
        (former Marine pilots), were selected as civilians.

In 1968, the Apollo 6 unmanned spacecraft was recovered
        after its orbital flight by Okinawa about 380 miles
        north of Hawaii.

                       April 5

W. Atlee Burpee:  born April 5, 1858
        Founded the largest mail order seed company in the
        world; dropped out of the Medical Program at the
        University of Penn when he was 18; established
        Fordhook Farms in Doylestown, PA; used the farm to
        evaluate new plants.

Lawrence Dale Bell:  born April 5, 1894
        born in Mentone, Indiana; at 16, he and his brother
        attended an air show at Dominguez Field near Los
        Angeles; after High School he worked as a mechanic
        for his brother; at 20 he became a shop forman for
        Glenn L Martin; within a few years he was VP and
        General Manager; left in 1928 to join Consolidated
        Aircraft in Buffalo, NY; when Consolidated moved to
        California in 1935, he formed Bell Aircraft.
        Among Bell's firsts are the Airacuda, originally
        designed as a bomber destroyer; P-39 with first use of
        tricycle gear on modern military aircraft; XP-77
        all wood military fighter; P-59 first US jet propelled
        fighter; X-1 first supersonic aircraft; X-5 first
        aircraft able to vary degree of wing sweepback.
        Also from Bell, the X-1A, the XP-83, and the X-2.
        In 1946 Bell also produced the first
        commercially licensed helicopter followed
        by the Souix and Iriquois models.

Herbert von Karajan:  born April 5, 1908
        born in Salzburg; Austria; his great grandfather was
        a historian and philoligist at the Academy of Science
        in Vienna and provided support for Motzart biographer
        Otto Jahn; his dad was a surgeon in Salzburg; he had
        his first piano lesson at 3 and his first public
        appearance at 9; to graduate from High School, he wrote
        a paper entitled "Modern Internal Combustion Engines -
        Their Thermodynamic and Dynamic Principles"; in 1929
        invited to be the principle conductor at the Ulm
        Stadttheater; in 1939 appointed conductor of the Berlin
        State Opera; in 1949, appointed principle conductor
        of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.

Albert Romolo Broccoli:  born April 5, 1909
        Produced James Bond movies; started work at 20th
        Century Fox in the mail room; born in New York City.

General Colin Powell:  born April 5, 1937
        Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; born in New York
        City, raised in the South Bronx; served two tours
        of duty in Vietnam; served a battalion commander
        in Korea; commanded the 2nd Brigade 101st Airborne
        and V Corps, US Army, Europe; appointed Secretary
        of State in 2001.

In 1940, the first flight of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-1

In 1944, the Allies begin a bombing campaign against oil
        targets, especially Ploesti. Five B-24's are lost,
        all from the 451st Heavy Bombardment Group, which
        is attacked fiercely by as many as 85 German

        It was during this campaign that Sergeant James
        Atkinson, during his 24th mission, was forced to
        bail out of the B-24 Jolly Roger.  For more
        information, see "Bilbo" in the Avsig library.

In 1949, the first two models of the Fairchild C-119
        transport were completed.

In 1949, the disestablishing of the last of the observation
        squadrons, VO-2, marked the end of one era and the
        beginning of another as a plan to use helicopters in
        place of fixed-wing aircraft aboard battleships and
        cruisers was put into effect, with the changeover
        scheduled for completion by 30 June.

In 1957, in the Second Annual Naval Air Weapons Meet,
        VMF-314 won the Earle Trophy for first place in air
        gunnery, and VA-26 took the Kane Trophy for best in
        the air-to-ground competition. Best individual score
        of the meet was made by Commander A. Vraciu,
        Commanding Officer of VF-51 and Navy Ace in World
        War II.

In 1963, the Dryden M2-F1 lightweight lifting body became
        airborne for the first time over Rogers Dry Lake
        behind a Pontiac convertable tow vehicle with Milt
        Thompson in the cockpit.

In 1971, modernization of the Naval Air Reserve continued
        when the first A-7 Corsair II's were received by
        VA-303 at NAS Alameda. The first reserve squadron to
        operate the modern jet, VA-303 received its full
        complement of 12 aircraft by the end of June.

In 1977, the Navy took delivery of the new T-44A trainer at
        NAS Corpus Christi. The Beech aircraft signaled a
        significant modernization trend in the Navy's flight
        program. The T-44A would eventually replace the
        TS-2A Tracker, flown by training squadrons since the
        early 1960s.

In 1991, the shuttle Atlantis was launched at 9:22:44 AM on
        its 8th flight as STS-37. Crew was Steven R. Nagel,
        Jerry L. Ross, and "rookies" Kenneth D. Cameron,
        Linda M. Godwin, and Jay Apt.

        The shuttle deployed the Gamma Ray Observatory but
        the high gain antenna failed to open. An unscheduled
        space walk on 7-April by Jay Apt and Jerry Ross freed
        the antenna. The next day, Ross and Apt conducted a
        scheduled 6 hour space walk.

                         April 6

Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker:  born April 6, 1890
        born in Blitar, a small town on Eastern Java in the
        Dutch East Indies; at the age of 4 his family
        moved to Haarlem, Netherlands; went to college
        in Salbach to study aviation but the school plane
        was damaged and could not fly; Fokker and another
        student built the "Spin"; this aircraft allowed
        Fokker to perform all over Germany; during WW-I
        his aircraft were in great demand; at the end of
        the war, he went back to flight lessons and began
        designing the f.II; this aircraft was designed to
        carry passengers and was purchased by Royal Dutch

        During his tenure, it is believed he produced 60
        different aircraft designs including the E Series,
        the D-VII and the Red Baron's DR-1 Triplane.  Other
        notables were the US Air Corps Fokker T-2 which
        made the first non-stop transcontinental flight
        (New York to San Diego), the Fokkers which flew over
        the North and South Poles, the great endurance
        flight of the Question Mark and Kingsford Smith's
        Southern Cross.

        Because he raised capital for his company through
        stock, he lost control during the stock market
        crash in 1929; first to Western Air Express and
        then to General Motors which became General
        Aviation Corp.

Donald Wills Douglas:  born April 6, 1892
        born in Brooklyn, New York; entered the Naval
        Academy at Annapolis when he was 17; left the
        Naval Academy to study aviation and graduated
        with a BS from MIT in two years; hired by the
        Connecticut Aircraft Company and helped build the
        first Navy dirigible; became the chief engineer
        at the Glenn Martin Co also serving as the chief
        civilian aeronautical engineer for the Army
        Signal Corps; was in charge of building the MB-1
        twin engine bomber.

        Wanting to move back to California, he started his
        own company in addition to working as a laborer,
        hoeing potatoes and washing cars;  got his first
        order for an aircraft and built the Cloudster
        which eventually became the flagship of Claude
        Ryan's airline; success came when he landed a
        Navy contract and began building the DT-1
        torpedo bomber; next aircraft was the Douglas
        World Cruiser; in 1932he began building the
        DC-1 followed by the DC-2 and DC-3.

        A little fill from Randy:
        In the mid-sixties "Red" Wallis and I took ole
        "728" back to Clover Field, Santa Monica, where
        it was originally built for a movie. Jimmy Doolittle
        seemed to me to be the only one of those guys who
        showed up every day on-time. At any rate, we took
        DWD from there to Palm Springs one day for lunch. 
        That brass plaque he signed is still on its forward
        cabin bulkhead at the Ford Museum in Dearborn (I

Harold Edgerton:  born April 6, 1903
        An electrical engineer; pioneer in high speed
        photography; born in Freemont, Nebraska.

In 1917, the Secretary of the Navy, by approval of the
        recommendation of a Board on Flying Equipment,
        established standard flight clothing for the Naval
        Flying Service, and authorized its issuance as Title
        B equipage. Clothing consisted of a tan sheepskin
        long coat, short coat and trousers, moleskin hood,
        goggles, black leather gloves, soft leather boots,
        waders, brogans, and life belts.

In 1917, the United States declared war on the Central
        Powers. The Aviation Section of the Signal Corps
        consisted of 35 pilots, 1,987 enlisted men, and
        55 training airplanes. Navy Aviation and Marine
        Corps combined had 48 officer-pilots, 239 men,
        54 airplanes, 1 airship, 3 balloons, and 1 air

In 1918, night aerial photographs were taken with the use of
        magnesium flares by Lt. J. C. McKinney (USA) and
        civilian pilot Norbert Carolin.

In 1924, (through September 28), the first round-the-world
        flight and the first transpacific flight, from and
        returning to Seattle, by two Army Douglas "World
        Cruiser" biplanes, flying 26,345 miles in 363 hours'
        flying time, with an elapsed time of 175 days.

In 1926, United Airlines performed their first flight as
        a Commercial Transportation airline, formally known
        as Varney's airline.

In 1927, Private Certificate number 1 was issued to William
        Patterson MacCracken, Jr. MacCracken was the former
        Assistant Secretary of Commerce.

In 1934, American Interplanetary Society renamed the
        American Rocket Society (ARS).

In 1938, Dr Roy Plunkett working in Dupont's Jackson Lab in
        New Jersey on a project related to freon made a
        discovery that was the beginning of Teflon.

In 1972, the Navy's new air superiority fighter, the F-14
        Tomcat, arrived at Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent
        River. The swing-wing, twin-engine Grumman aircraft
        arrived for a series of catapult launches, Automatic
        Carrier Landing System checks, airspeed system
        calibrations and weight and balance checks to
        determine its suitability for naval operations.

                      April 7

Will Keith Kellogg:  born April 7, 1860
        born in Battle Creek, Michigan; left school at 14
        to work as a travelling salesman selling brooms;
        at 19 went to work for his brother at Battle
        Creek Sanitorium; they experimented with the
        concept of health foods which led them to create
        the "Corn Flake"; in 1906 he founded the Battle
        Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company wich quickly
        became the W.K. Kellogg Company.

In 1927, Herbert Hoover (then Commerce Secretary) got his
        image transmitted to an audience in NY, which was
        the first successful long-distance demo of TV.

In 1939, all of the production run PBY-4s, which were
        delivered in 1938, were returned to Consolidated
        for conversion to amphibians with the installation
        of  retractable tri-cycle landing gears. These 33
        conversions, when completed in November 1939,
        acquired the new designation XPBY-5A. After
        testing acceptance by the Navy in early 1940 the
        aircraft was designated PBY-5A. On 25 November
        of 1940 an order was placed with Consolidated for
        134 PBY-5As.

In 1942, (through April 24), a Douglas A-20A completed 44
        successive takeoffs using liquid-propellant JATO
        developed by Cal Tech's Frank S. Malina.

In 1943, Marine 1st Lt. James E. Swett shoots down seven
        Japanese VAL's over Guadalcanal - the first
        American to achieve this score in a single mission.
        The 7 victories were recorded over "Tulagi". 
        Japanese A/C Type: Aichi 99's (VAL) aka, D3A.  He
        was flying an F4F-4... Serial: 12036. His Marine
        Squadron was VMF-221. He was shot down by the rear
        gunner of 8th VAL he attacked. Although not his
        first combat mission, he had only been operating with
        "221" since 16 Mar 43.

In 1945, American planes intercepted a Japanese fleet that
        was headed for Okinawa on a suicide mission. The
        Japanese lost their "Super Battleship Yamato" in
        this engagement!

In 1949, Rogers and Hammersteins' "South Pacific" opened on

In 1960, Major General Donald N. Yates (USAF) named Deputy
        Director of Defense Research and Engineering for
        Ranges and Space Ground Support.

                      April 8

Sonja Henie:  born April 8, 1912
        Won the world amatuer women's skating championship
        10 consecutive times; born in Kristiana (Oslo),
        Norway; won her first contest at the age of 5;
        won the Norway national amateur skating championship
        at 9 and first world championship at the age of 14.

In 1919, Captain Thomas T. Craven was detached from the
        Bureau of Navigation for duty in the Office of the
        Chief of Naval Operations where, in the following
        month, he relieved Captain N. E. Irwin as Director
        of Naval Aviation.

In 1925, Lieutenant John D. Price, piloting a plane of VF-1,
        made a night landing on Langley, at sea off San
        Diego and was followed on board by Lieutenants D. L.
        Conley, A. W. Gorton and R. D. Lyon. Except for an
        accidental landing on the night of 5 February when
        Lieutenant H. J. Brow stalled while practicing night
        approaches, these were the first night landings made
        on board a U.S. carrier.

In 1925, almost two years after the special naval aviation
        uniform had been abolished, new uniforms of forestry
        green for winter and khaki for summer were
        authorized for Naval Aviators, Observers, and
        other officers on duty involving flying. Although
        there were minor modifications to the original
        design in later years, this uniform, in khaki, was
        adopted for the entire Navy in 1941.

In 1930, Orville Wright received first Daniel Guggenheim

In 1931, Amelia Earhart established a woman's autogiro
        altitude record of 18,415 feet in a Whirlwind
        -powered Pitcairn at Willow Grove, Pa.

In 1943, P-47s flew their first escort mission in combat
        over Western Europe. Spitfires of the RAF had
        been flying daylight escort missions for medium
        bombers going into Western Europe [France] since
        the Spring of 1941.

In 1943, Captain Edward ""porky" Cragg became the Commander
        of the 80th Fighter Squadron. Cragg would commission
        Crewchief Yale Saffro (who had worked for Disney)
        to design the 80th's legendary symbol.  Cragg
        would also give the Squadron its nickname:
        The Headhunters.

In 1957, a McDonnel F-101B Voodoo, powered by improved J-57
        engine, made its first flight.

In 1958, a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker ended a nonstop,
        nonrefueled record distance jet flight of 10,228
        miles, from Tokyo to Lajes Field, Azores.

In 1958, airborne firing tests of HIPEG (High Performance
        External Gun), in F3H-2N aircraft, commenced at
        Naval Aviation Ordnance Test Station, Chincoteague,
        Va. This twin-barreled, high-speed 20 mm aircraft
        machine gun was developed for a pod installation on
        aircraft, thereby making it interchangeable with
        other aviation ordnance.

In 1977, the Navy's first E-2C ARPS (Automatic Radar
        Processing System) aircraft joined the fleet at NAS
        Norfolk when assigned to Carrier Airborne Early
        Warning Squadron 121 (VAW-121). The third of its
        type produced, and the first to be operational with
        a Navy squadron. The ARPS aircraft was designed to
        improve the radar capability in its mission of
        airborne early warning.

                      April 9

Frank King:  born April 9, 1883
        born in Tomah, Wisconsin; began his career as a
        cartoonist with the Minneapolis Times in 1901;
        moved to the Chicago Examiner and then to the
        Chicago Tribune; his creation, Gasoline Alley,
        first appeared in 1919; the strip was based on
        real people he knew from a South Side neighborhood
        in Chicago.

Gladys Marie Smith:  born April 9, 1893
        aka Mary Pickford; actress; born in Toronto,
        Ontario, Canada; appeared in her first production
        at the age of 6; in 1908, did her first film,
        in 1909, appeared in 51 films; in all, she's
        credited with appearing in 236 films.

John Presper Eckert Jr.:  born April 9, 1919
        born in Philadelphia, PA; attended the William
        Penn Charter School in Germantown, PA; in 1946,
        working with John Mauchley, he developed
        the first general purpose computer - ENIAC; he
        was a graduate student at the University of
        Penn Moore School of Electrical Engineering; the
        US Military wanted a computer for their Ballistics
        Research Laboratory; it took 2 1/2 years to build;
        The ENIAC contained 17,468 vacuum tubes, 70,000
        resistors, 10,000 capacitors, 1,500 relays, 6,000
        manual switches and 5,000,000 soldered joints; it
        covered 1,800 square feet and weighed 30 tons;
        when turned on, it used 160 kilowats of power and
        caused brownouts in Philadelphia.

In 1929, the feasibility of abandoning fore-and-aft wire
        arresting gear was confirmed in operations aboard
        Langley. These, and similar operations aboard
        Saratoga later that month, culminated a year of
        experimental development on the landing platform at
        Hampton Roads and led to the Secretary's
        authorizing, in September, the physical removal from
        shipboard of the fore-and-aft wires and associated

In 1931, a contract was issued to the Glenn L. Martin
        Company for 12 BM-1 dive bombers. This aircraft,
        which was a further development of the XT5M-1, was
        the first dive bomber capable of attacking with a
        heavy (1,000 pound) bomb to be procured in
        sufficient quantity to equip a squadron.

In 1942, a radio controlled TG-2 drone, directed by control
        pilot Lieutenant M. B. Taylor of Project Fox, made a
        torpedo attack on the destroyer Aaron Ward steaming
        at 15 knots in Narragansett Bay. Taylor utilized a
        view of the target obtained by a television camera
        mounted in the drone, and directed the attack so
        that the torpedo was released about 300 feet
        directly astern of the target and passed under it.

In 1953, the XF2Y-1 Sea Dart, an experimental delta-wing jet
        seaplane equipped with hydro-skis, made its first
        flight at San Diego.

In 1967, the first flight of the Boeing 737 (-100).

In 1969, the first flight of the British Concorde prototype,
        002. The flight crew was Britan Trubshaw, John
        Cochrane and Brian Watts. The flight left the Filton
        factory at Bristol and flew to Fairford.

In 1994, the roll out of the first Boeing 777.

                      April 10

In 1913, performance standards for qualification as a Navy
        Air Pilot and issuance of a certificate to all
        officers meeting the requirements, were approved by
        the Secretary of the Navy. They were described by
        Chambers as being different from those of the "land
        pilot" and more exacting than the requirements of
        the international accrediting agency, the Federation
        Aeronautique Internationale.

In 1919, the roll-up of Naval Air Stations in Europe, which
        had begun on 31 December 1918 with the
        disestablishment of Porto Corsini, Italy, was
        completed as the Assembly and Repair Base
        at Eastleigh, England, was demobilized.

In 1931, airship subcloud observation car demonstrated by
        Lt. Wilfred J. Paul at Langley Field, Va. This design
        was adopted from WWI German Rigid Airships.

In 1934, F.A.I.'s Official World Records for Speed [100 km
        closed course, of course, at variance] Macchi
        -Castoldi 72... Lago de Garda, Italy... 423.76 mph
       (681.97 km/h) W.O. F. Agello

In 1954, UAL took deliverly of their FIRST DC-7. It was
       N6301C - delivered April 10, 1954.  "Mainliner San
       Francisco."  Sold by UAL August 7, 1963, withdrawn
       from use and stored at Ontario, Ca., and broken up
       December 1964.  (not 100% sure on this one <G>)

In 1961, a C-130BL Hercules of VX-6, piloted by Commander
        Loyd E. Newcomer and carrying a double crew of 16
        and a special crew of five, landed at Christchurch,
        New Zealand, completing the emergency evacuation
        from Byrd Station, Antarctica, of Leonid Kuperov a
        Soviet exchange scientist who was suffering from an
        acute abdominal condition. The round trip flight out
        of Christchurch was the first to pierce the winter
        isolation of the Antarctic Continent.

In 1961, rumors swept Moscow that U.S.S.R. had placed a man
        into space.

In 1966, two Navy enlisted men, and a Medical Officer and a
        civilian electronics technician acting as observers,
        began spinning at 4 r.p.m. in the Coriolis
        Acceleration Platform of the Naval Aerospace Medical
        Institute at NAS Pensacola. It was the beginning of
        a 4-day test to determine the ability of humans to
        adapt to a new form of rotation such as may be used
        in space stations to produce artificial gravity.

In 1970, the A-4M Skyhawk made its first flight at the
        McDonnell Douglas plant at Palmdale, California.
        This aircraft was equipped with a high power engine
        (nearly 50 percent more thrust than that of the
        A-4A (A4D-1) of 1954) and brake parachute; these
        features make it particularly adaptable for
        operations from short airfields in forward areas.

In 1978, the first TA-7C attack trainer arrived at NATC
        Patuxent River for Board of Inspection and Survey
        trials. The TA-7C was designed to provide a position
        for the instructor in the aircraft, as well as the
        student, thus providing a more efficient method of
        instruction while reducing fuel consumption about
        one-half. The new two-seater will also reduce the
        number of aircraft required for transition

In 1999, the first Boeing MD-10 freighter made it's maiden
        flight in Long Beach, California. Boeing pilot Captain
        Joe Goodlove and co-pilot Captain Gary McCellan flew
        for about 4.6 hours, then landed near Mesa, AZ. First
        flight reported as going well. MD-10 is the designation
        given to modified DC-10's that incorporate the Boeing
        Advanced Common Flight Deck (ACF).

                      April 11

In 1911, the Army's first permanent flying school is
        established at College Park, Maryland.

In 1928, the first manned rocket automobile tested by Fritz
        von Opel, Max Valier, and others, at Berlin,

In 1934, Commander Renato Donati established altitude record
        of 47,352 feet in Caproni aircraft, at Rome, Italy.

In 1945, USS Enterprise is seriously damaged off Okinawa by
        Japanese Kamikaze aircraft that try a last-ditch
        attempt to stop the American advance

In 1951, President Truman fired General MacArthur as Supreme
        Commander, United Nations Forces in Korea, Supreme
        Commander for Allied Powers, Japan, Commander-in-Chief,
        Far East, and Commanding General U.S.Army, Far East.

In 1970, Apollo 13 was launched on its historic mission
        with James Lovell, Fred Haise and John Swigert on

        Matter of interest: Fred Haise was the first guy to
        fly the shuttle off of the back of the NASA test 747
        at Edwards AFB.  Fred later had a sucessful (other
        than burns) forced landing of a CAF "Val" (BT-13)in
        a rice field down near Houston.  Sunken carburetor float.

In 1972, the Harpoon anti-ship missile underwent its first
        drop test at the Naval Missile Center, Point Mugu.
        The missile, developed by McDonnell Douglas
        Corporation, was dropped from 20,000 feet altitude
        by a P-3 Orion operated by the Missile Center. The
        Harpoon was designed to be launched from aircraft
        or ships from a stand-off range against enemy ship

                   April 12

In 1921, President Harding recommended establishment of a
        Bureau of Aviation within the Department of
        Commerce, in his address to Congress.

In 1928, (through April 13), German pilots Gunther
        von Huenfeld and Capt. Hermann Koehl along with
        navigator Commandant James Fitzmaurice of Ireland
        made the first westbound transatlantic airplane
        flight in a Junkers W.33. The aircraft was a typcial
        Junkers aircraft (designed by Hermann Pohlmann) with
        a single inline-engine, and it was their personal
        aircraft that was named "Bremen".

        The Bremen departed Baldonnel, Ireland and landed on
        Greenly Island, Labrador after 37-hours. The Bremen
        was headed for Mitchell Field, New York. Mitchell is
        1200-miles from Greenly Island. The flight encountered
        strong headwinds and snowstorms during the middle third
        of the flight. The flight encountered low cloud and fog
        in the last 1/5th of its passage. With just over an
        hour of fuel remaining the crew spotted an island and
        landed on it -- Greenly.

        The "Bremen" currently is on exhibition at the
        airport of Bremen, where the aircraft has been
        restored with great care.

In 1930, led by Captain Hugh Elmendorf, 19 pilots of the
        95th Pursuit Squadron set an unofficial world record
        for altitude formation flying over Mather Field,
        California. The P-12 pilots reached 30,000 feet,
        shattering the old record of 17,000 feet.

In 1935, the first flight of the Bristol 142  civilian
        transport. Later, this design would evolve into
        the Bristol M142 (Blenheim) light bomber.

In 1937, Frank Whittle bench tested the first practical jet
        engine in laboratories at Cambridge University,

In 1960, the first production model of McDonnell-built
        Mercury capsule was delivered to NASA.

In 1961, the U.S.S.R. announced that Maj. Yuri A. Gagarin
        had successfully orbited the Earth in a 108-minute
        flight in a 5-ton Vostok (East), the first man to
        make a successful orbital flight through space.

In 1962, the F4H-1 made a clean sweep of world time-to-climb
        records as Lieutenant Commander Del W. Nordberg
        piloted a Phantom II at Point Mugu on a climb to
        30,000 meters in 371.43 seconds. Speed attained was
        better than 3 miles per minute, straight up.

In 1977, an operational requirement was established for
        night vision capability in U.S. Marine Corps
        transport helicopters.

In 1981, the first flight of Columbia carried John Young and
        Robert Crippen on STS-1. This was the historic first
        flight in the U.S. space shuttle program.

                   April 13

F. W. Woolworth:  born April 13, 1852
        born in Rodman, New York; in 1879 he established a
        five-cent store in Utica, New York but it failed.
        the same year he started another store in Lancaster
        PA and it was a success; in 1911 the FW Woolworth
        Company was incorporated and consisted of over
        1,000 stores; in 1913, completed the Woolworth
        building in New York City, the highest building in
        the world at the time (792 feet).

In 1925, Henry Ford started an airfreight line between
        Detroit and Chicago, the first such commerical
        flights on a regular schedule.

In 1931, the first flight of the Boeing Model 215, later
        designated the B-9, the first Boeing bomber. This
        was the earliest plane based on the monomail

In 1960, Maj. R.M. White became the first USAF pilot to fly
        the X-15 rocket research aircraft.

In 1966, Pan Am announced an order for 25 Boeing 747's,
        effectively launching the aircraft.

In 1970, the famous words "Houston, we have a problem" were
        transmitted from Apollo 13 at 55 hours, 55 minutes
        and 20 seconds into their flight. Analysis would
        reveal that O-Tank No. 2 "burst" at about
        200,000 miles from Earth.

In 1973, the Secretary of the Navy announced that an
        agreement with the United Kingdom had been signed
        providing for an eight-month joint study of an
        advanced V/STOL Harrier involving participation by
        Rolls-Royce, Hawker Siddeley, Pratt & Whitney
        Aircraft and McDonnell Douglas. The overall aim was
        to determine the feasibility of joint development of
        an advanced concept V/STOL incorporating a Pegasus
        15 engine and an advanced wing.

In 1975, the Naval Aviation Museum was dedicated at
        Pensacola, Florida. Among the 72 vintage aircraft at
        the museum, a feature attraction was the original
        NC-4, the first aeroplane to fly the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1982, the 1,800th Boeing 727 was delivered to Eastern Airlines.
        It was line # 1,800, c/n 22559, N822EA.

        The last line number I've found was delivered Sept 18,
        1984 to FedEx as c/n 22938, N217FE.

                        April 14

In 1918, Lts. Alan Winslow and Douglas Campbell, flying
        Nieuport 28's of the 94th Aero Squadron, down two
        enemy fighters in a ten minute battle. Lt. Winslow
        is the first American pilot to down an airplane in
        the American sector of the front.

        Both Campbell & Winslow took their formal flight
        training with the French at "Issoudon" during the
        late Fall & Winter of 1917/1918. The first two
        confirmed kills by the 94th Aero Squadron were obtained
        by Campbell 08:53-hrs and by Winslow 09:03 hrs of
        14 April 18. These Campbell/Winslow victories were
        over Pfalz DIII's of Jasta 64 in the "Gengault-Toul
        Sector of the American Front".  

        Jasta 64 pilots were very experienced. Leutnant
        "Friedrich Hengst" was the member of "64" who brought
        down the famous Captain J.N. Hall of the 94th Aero
        (former Lafayette pilot).

In 1927, Lieutenant G. R. Henderson, flying a Vought O2U
        Corsair equipped with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine,
        broke the FAI Class C-2 world altitude record with
        a useful load of 500 kilograms, reaching 22,178 feet
        over Washington, D.C.

In 1960, one week in self-sustained simulated space capsule
        environment concluded by C. A. Metzgen at USAF
        Aerospace Medical Laboratory.

In 1978, the first of 12 C-2A Greyhounds rolled off the
        service life extension program (SLEP) line at NARF
        North Island. SLEP adds between seven and ten years
        of service to the carrier-on-board-delivery

In 1981, 20,000 VIPs and guests at Dryden witness the first
        Space Shuttle landing by the orbiter Columbia. An
        estimated 300,000 citizens viewed the landing from
        the East Shore public viewing site. Touchdown
        occured at 10:21 Pacific Standard Time.

                    April 15

In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln passes away. He was shot
        on April 14th and passed away in the morning.

In 1912, the "RMS Titanic" sank in the North Atlantic at
        2:17 AM. She had struck an iceberg at 11:40 PM the
        previous evening of the 14th taking only 2:37 hours
        to go down.

In 1916, an anchor and a two digit numeral, both in dark
        blue on a white background, were prescribed as
        "Distinguishing Marks for Naval Aeroplanes" in a
        Bureau of Construction and Repair drawing.

In 1918, the First Marine Aviation Force, commanded by
        Captain A. A. Cunningham, was formed at NAS Miami
        from personnel of the First Aviation Squadron and
        the Aeronautic Detachment, USMC.

In 1923, the Naval Research Laboratory reported that
        equipment for radio control of aircraft had been
        demonstrated in an F5L, and was found satisfactory
        up to a range of 10 miles. It also stated that radio
        control of an airplane during landing and takeoff
        was feasible.

In 1925, daily flights to an altitude of 10,000 feet to
        obtain weather data and to test upper-air-sounding
        equipment begun at NAS Anacostia. In the following
        February, the schedule was extended by the Navy to
        include weekends and holidays, with the altitude
        being increased to 15,000 feet.

In 1941, Igor Sikorsky piloted a Vought-Sikorsky in the
        first officially recorded single-rotor helicopter
        flight longer than an hour in the Western
        Hemisphere; flying time, 1 hour 5 minutes
        14.5 seconds; at Stratford, Conn.

In 1947, the first flight of Douglas D-558-I research
        airplane was successful with Gene May, Douglas test
        pilot, at the controls. Airplane was developed as a
        Navy-NACA project and three were built.

In 1947, USAAF Captain William P. Odom, flying a converted
        A-26, landed at LaGuardia Field, New York, after
        setting a new world record of 78 hours, 56 minutes
        for a 20,000 mile round the world flight.

In 1952, a prototype YB-52 Stratofortress Air Force bomber
        made its first flight. At 11:09 AM, the YB-52
        Stratofortress, the first of its kind to fly, began
        rolling down the runway at Boeing Field near Seattle,
        Washington. Moments later, Test Pilot Alvin "Tex"
        Johnson and his co-pilot, USAF Lt. Col. Guy Townsend,
        got the huge plane airborne while Bill Allen,
        Boeing's president, waved his arms and yelled, "Pour
        it on, boy!".  It was lifted off a Boeing
        runway by eight Pratt & Whitney J57 turbojets, each
        producing 10,000 pounds of thrust.

In 1961, the first flight of the Lockheed P-3 Orion.

                     April 16

Wilbur Wright:  born April 16, 1867
         born on a farm near Millville, Indiana; father was
         a minister; brother Orville was a champion
         bicyclist so they opened a bicycle repair shop;
         began working with his brother on aviatin projects
         in the 1890's; in addition to development of flight
         control surfaces, they also developed their own
         internal combustion engine for flight; this all
         led to the first successful flight at Kitty Hawk;
         passed away in 1912 of Typhoid fever.

In 1913, the first Schneider Trophy race, a 173 mile course
        for hydroplanes, is held at the Monaco seaplane
        meeting. It was won by Maurice Provost, flying a
        Deperdussin at an average speed of 45 miles per

In 1915, the AB-2 flying boat was successfully catapulted
        from a barge by Lieutenant P. N. L. Bellinger at
        Pensacola. The catapult used had been designed in
        1913 by Naval Constructor H. C. Richardson and
        fabricated at the Washington Navy Yard. The
        success of this and subsequent launchings led to
        installation of the catapult aboard ship.

In 1916, the Lafayette Escadrille was formed.  It was an
        aviation squadron within the French Lafayette
        Flying Corps that consisted of aviators from the
        United States who volunteered to fight for the
        people of France during World War I.  In all, 265
        volunteers from the US served in the Lafayette
        Flying Corps, completing 3,000 combat sorties and
        amassing nearly 200 victories. They won 4 Legions
        of Honor, 7 Medailles Militaires, and 31 citations,
        each with a Croix de Guerre.

        The "Escadrille" [part of the 1st Aero Group] was
        officially disbanded in mid-December 1918. With
        the end of WWI, there also followed an immediate
        and massive demobilization of the U.S. Army Air
        Service, both in reduction of personnel and air
        units including the 1st Aero (Pursuit) Group
        which was de-mobilized December 24, 1918. After 
        5 months, a new "1st Pursuit Group" began
        formation on June 10, 1919 at Selfridge Field,
        Michigan. After this formation process it became
        an official part of the U.S. Army Air Service on
        August 22, 1919, consisting of the 27th, 94th,
        95th and 147th Aero Pursuit Squadrons.

In 1918, the first detachment of trained aerologists,
        consisting of nine officers and 15 enlisted men,
        departed for duty at naval air stations in Europe.

In 1926, the Department of Agriculture purchased its first
        cotton-dusting plane.

In 1935, Pan American Airways' Clipper flew from California
        to Honolulu and returned in preliminary survey
        flight for transpacific air route to the Orient.

In 1946, the first flight test of the American-assembled V-2
        rocket was launched by the Army at White Sands
        Proving Ground, New Mexico. In July firings,
        Missiles Nos. 5 and 9 set new altitude records of
        slightly over 100 miles, while Missile 17 set
        velocity record of 3,600 mph.

In 1947, nearly 600 killed in the explosion of the Grandcamp,
        being loaded with ammonium nitrate in Texas City. The
        explosion instantly wiped out the entire Texas City
        Fire Department.

In 1949, the Berlin Airlift delivered a record 12,940 tons
        in a 24 hour period.

In 1949, company test pilot Tony LeVier and flight test
        engineer Tony Faulkerson make the first flight of the
        YF-94 Starfire prototype from Van Nuys, Calif. The
        Starfire, actually modified TP-80, was designed to
        serve as an interim all-weather interceptor.

In 1971, the A-4M Skyhawk entered squadron service with
        VMA-324 and VMA-331 at MCAS Beaufort, S.C. The most
        advanced in the A-4 series, the aircraft featured a
        new self contained starter, carried twice as much
        20mm ammunition, and had 20 percent more thrust
        (11,200 pounds). The new model Skyhawk, the
        seventh major version, was developed specifically
        for the Marine Corps and was capable of delivering
        all air-to-ground weapons in the naval inventory.

In 1971, VMA-513 at MCAS Beaufort, S.C. took delivery of
        three AV-8A Harrier aircraft, thereby becoming the
        first operational high performance V/STOL squadron
        in the United States.

In 1972, the Apollo 16 spacecraft was successfully launched
        from Cape Kennedy Space Center for a Lunar Highlands
        Investigation. The astronaut team was composed of
        John W. Young, Charles M. Duke and Thomas K.
        Mattingly. Astronauts Young and Duke, the Navy
        members of the Apollo 16 crew, landed on the moon
        four days later to conduct scientific research.

                      April 17

In 1492, a contract was signed between Christopher
        Columbus and a representative of Spain's King
        Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, giving Columbus
        a commission to seek a westward ocean passage
        to Asia.

In 1906, historic records indicate about 700 died when an
        earthquake struck San Francisco. A recent historian
        said the figure was at least three thousand when
        she stopped her research and was probably at least
        twice that.

        A fire started that destroyed at least five
        hundred blocks, and the city fathers, terrified of
        possible damage to the city's reputation referred
        to the incident until very recently only as 'The
        Great Fire of 1906'.

In 1918, Lieutenant W. F. Reed, Jr., reported at NAS
        Pensacola for what was then called "aerographical"
        duty, the first such assignment ever made to a naval
        air station.

In 1923, Lieutenant Rutledge Irvine, flying a Douglas DT
        equipped with a Liberty engine, established an
        FAI Class C-2 world altitude record with a useful
        load of 1,000 kilograms, reaching 11,609 feet over
        McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio.

In 1943, the greatest number of 8th Air Force bombers, so
        far in the war, reach German aircraft industry
        targets at Bremen. In total 107 B-17s conduct the
        raid dropping 265 tons of explosives. This raid
        also represented the greatest loss of U.S. Bombers
        on one daylight mission with 16 bombers missing,
        39 significantly damaged and 159 crewman lost. The
        loss rate for this one mission was 15% of the total
        number of aircraft sortied. The heaviest losses
        occurred in the 91st Heavy Bombardment Group at
        30%. This day also marked the Luftwaffe's change
        in fighter tactics: On this date, Fw 190's started
        attacking in line-abreast swarms thus diminishing
        concentration of defensive fire power.

In 1945, famed American war correspondent Ernie Pyle, 44,
        was killed by Japanese gunfire on the Pacific
        Island of Ie Shima, near Okinawa.

In 1961, USAF Cambridge Research Laboratories' balloon was
        launched from Vernalis, Calif., maintained constant
        altitude of 70,000 feet for 9 days with payload of
        40 pounds.

In 1961, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion was launched.

In 1964, Ford unveiled the Mustang.

In 1964, Jerrie Mock of Columbus, OH became the first woman
        to complete a solo flight around the world. Flight
        departed 19-March and travelled 22,858 miles, making
        21 stops.  Jerrie was flying a Cessna 180, N1538C
        which is currently at the restoration facility at
        Silver Hill/Smithsonian.

In 1970, Apollo 13 Astronauts Capt. James A . Lovell, USN,
        John L. Swigert, Jr., ex-USAF, and Fred W. Haise,
        Jr., ex-USMCR, were recovered by HS-4 off Iwo Jima
        after their abortive moon flight in Apollo 13.

In 1989, Lockheed delivered the 50th and last C-5B Galaxy
        transport to the Air Force.

                      April 18

In 1921, John J. Ide appointed as technical assistant in
        charge of the Paris office of the NACA, a post he
        held until 1940 and resumed after the end of
        World War II.

In 1933, Lieutenant G. A. Ott piloting an O2U seaplane, with
        Lieutenant (jg) B. A. Van Voorhis as passenger, made
        the first operational test of a device, later called
        the Plane Trap, installed on the stern of Maryland
        (BB 46). Proposed by Lieutenant Lisle J. Maxson, the
        device was a V-shaped float attached to the stern of
        the ship by a system of struts which permitted it to
        ride at an even depth in the water. In operation,
        the seaplane taxied toward the float pushing a
        knobbed probe on the nose of its pontoon into the
        V-float which engaged the probe and held the
        seaplane in position for hoisting aboard.

In 1934, Baker Board, appointed by the Secretary of War to
        investigate the Army Air Corps, held its first

In 1942, -Raid on Tokyo--, from a position at sea 668 miles
        from Tokyo, the carrier Hornet (CV-8) launched 16
        B-25's of the 17th AAF Air Group led by Lieutenant
        Colonel J. H. Doolittle, USA. The Hornet (CV-8)
        sortied from Alameda 2 April, made rendezvous with
        Enterprise and other ships of Task Force 16 (Vice
        Admiral W. F. Halsey) north of the Hawaiian Islands,
        and proceeded across the Pacific to the launching
        point without making port.

In 1943, in a planned ambush to kill Admiral Isoroku
        Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial
        Japanese Navy's combined fleet, 16 P-38 Lightning
        pilots of the 347th Fighter Group flying from
        Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, intercept two G4M
        2 engine Mitsubishi Betty bombers and an escort of
        eight A6M Zeros over southwestern Bougainville

        Admiral Isoroku Yamamota is aboard one of the two
        G4M's that are destroyed and he is killed. Three of
        the escorting Zero's are also brought down. In the
        hurried aftermath of assigning credit to the pilots
        who downed the G4Ms, credit is mistakenly given to
        three (3) pilots for the downing of three (3) G4M's
        with specific credit given to Captain Thomas G.
        Lanphier, 70th Fighter Squadron for the destruction of 
        Yamamoto's aircraft.

        However, only two (2) G4M's were ever present at the
        site and subsequent review of combat reports and pilot
        statements reveal this fact. The other two pilots
        receiving G4M credits were 1st Lt. Rex Barber of the
        339th Fighter Squadron and 1st Lt. Besby F. Holmes also
        of the 339th. The Official USAAF report subsequently
        indicates that both Barber and Lanphier had each been
        credited with the downing of the same G4M which carried
        Yamamoto. The controversy has never been suitably
        resolved. Holmes retained official credit for the
        "other" G4M.

In 1944, in preparation for the campaign to occupy the
        Marianas, photo-equipped Liberators of VD-3 obtained
        complete coverage of Saipan, Tinian, and Aguijan
        Islands. For the 13-hour flight from Eniwetok and
        return, B-24's of the AAF flew escort for the photo
        planes. This was the first mission by shore-based
        aircraft over the Marianas.

In 1950, the experimental model of the Consolidated Vultee
        P5Y, a 60-ton seaplane, passed its initial flight
        test at San Diego. The plane was equipped with four
        Alison T-40 turboprop engines each rated at 5,500 hp
        and each turning 15-foot contra-rotating propellers.

In 1958, Lieutenant Commander G. C. Watkins, piloting an
        F11F-1F Tiger at Edwards AFB, broke the world
        altitude record for the second time in 3 days, this
        time setting the mark at 76,939 feet.

                         April 19

In 1775, the famous midnight rides of Paul Revere, William
        Dawes and Dr Samuel Prescott.  Paul Revere was
        captured after he left Lexington but before
        reaching Concord.  Dr. Samuel Prescott, a Concord
        resident, who had been in Lexington visiting his
        lady friend managed to escape by jumping the stone
        wall and riding across the fields and woods with
        which he was familiar. He was the only one who
        managed to reach Concord. 

        This is also when the first battle of the War for
        American Independence took place.  The farmers and
        Minutemen decided to draw the proverbial line in
        the sand at the old North Bridge in Concord. 

        To add to the story, the Minutemen chased the British
        all the way back to Boston taking shots at them from
        behind stone walls and trees, thoroughly demoralizing
        the British. Approximately 70 something British
        Regulars (as they were called) were killed as were 43 or
        thereabouts Colonials. 

        The reason that the Colonials fired on the British in
        Concord,and not in Lexington where there was also a
        skirmish at dawn was because the Colonials saw through
        the woods that there was a fire in Concord center and
        they thought that the British regulars were burning
        down the town.  That wasn't true, but it inflamed the
        Minutemen who fired then on the British.

        The British soldiers were utterly exhausted. They had
        marched all night of the 18th out from Boston to
        Concord some 15 or more miles, and then fought in the
        AM and marched/retreated back to Boston all day on the
        19th. Both sides thought of themselves as British citizens
        however.  And at the time of the revolution the populace
        was far from unanimous on wanting to become a separate
In 1919, an American distance record was set in a non-stop
        flight from Chicago to New York.

In 1932, the first flight of a Goddard rocket with
        gyroscopically controlled vanes for automatically
        stabilized flight, near Roswell, New Mexico.

In 1942, two tests of the feasibility of utilizing drone
        aircraft as guided missiles were conducted in
        Chesapeake Bay. In one, Utility Squadron VJ-5,
        utilizing visual direction, crash-dived a BG-1 drone
        into the water beyond its target, the wreck of
        San Marcos (LSD 25) and a live bomb exploder in the
        drone failed to detonate. The second and more
        successful test was conducted by Project Fox from
        CAA intermediate field, Lively, Virginia, using a
        BG-2 drone equipped with a television camera to
        provide a view of the target. Flying in a control
        plane 11 miles distant, Lieutenant M. B. Taylor
        directed the drone's crash-dive into a raft being
        towed at a speed of 8 knots.

In 1960, the Secretary of the Navy established the Naval
        Space Surveillance Facility, Dahlgren, Va.

In 1960, the first flight of the Grumman A-6 Intruder

In 1965, six Navy and two Marine Corps aviators emerged from
        two sealed chambers at the Aerospace Crew Equipment
        Laboratory, Philadelphia, after a 34-day test to
        learn the physical effect of prolonged stays in
        confined quarters and a low-pressure pure oxygen

In 1979, the first flight of the Lear Model 55 Longhorn.

                      April 20

In 1914, --FIRST CALL TO ACTION-- In less than 24 hours
        after receiving orders, an aviation detachment of 3
        pilots, 12 enlisted men, and 3 aircraft, under
        command of Lieutenant John H. Towers, sailed from
        Pensacola on board Birmingham (CL 2) to join
        Atlantic Fleet forces operating off Tampico in the
        Mexican crisis.

In 1914, Mr. A. B. Lambert of St. Louis informed the
        Secretary of the Navy that the services of the
        Aviation Reserve, which he had organized the year
        before, were available for use in the Mexican crisis
        and listed the names of 44 members, 20 of whom
        could furnish their own aircraft.

In 1917, the Navy's first airship, DN-1, made its first
        flight at Pensacola. Its performance was
        unsatisfactory on several counts and, after only two
        more flights in this month, it was grounded and
        never flown again.

In 1918, Manfred Albrecht Frieherr von Richthofen scored his
        last victory, his 80th.  He would not be a victor in
        a battle fought the next day (April 21).

In 1923, the first aerial refueling with a hose, at Rockwell
        Field, San Diego, between two DH-4B aircraft, under
        the direction of Henry H. Arnold (USAS).

In 1939, the free-flight wind tunnel was placed into operation
        at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory.

In 1939, experiments with a four-bladed controllable
        propeller on a Curtiss P-36 was begun at Wright

In 1942, Wasp on special ferry duty out of Glasgow,
        Scotland, entered the Mediterranean and launched 47
        Spitfires of the RAF to Malta. When the operation
        was duplicated on 9 May, it was the occasion for
        Winston Churchill's message, "Who says a Wasp
        cannot sting twice?"

In 1945, B-29s destroy the Musashi aircraft assembly plants,
        thereby stopping production of Nakajima Hayate
        Ki-84-Ia fighter planes.

                        April 21

In 1911, Lts T.D. Milling and H.H. Arnold ordered to Dayton,
        OH for flying instruction.

In 1914, a second aviation detachment from Pensacola of one
        pilot, three student pilots, and two aircraft,
        commanded by Lieutenant (jg) P. N. L. Bellinger,
        embarked in Mississippi (BB 23) and sailed for
        Mexican waters to assist in military operations at
        Veracruz, Mexico.

In 1918, Manfred Albrecht Frieherr von Richthofen was killed
        in combat. He  was the top German ace in WW-I with
        80 victories to his credit. The Red Baron came down
        in the Vaux sur Somme at 1100-hrs (British time). One
        bullet had entered his body from the back right and
        had exited the left front of his chest area. He was
        found dead on the Bray-Corbi road setting in the
        cockpit of his red Fokker Dr 1 which, according to
        witnesses, was only slightly damaged. At the time of
        his death he was Rittmeister of Jagdgeschwader 1.

In 1924, the Bureau of Aeronautics requested the Bureau of
        Steam Engineering to investigate development of a
        single-wave radio sending and receiving set,
        suitable for installation in fighting planes, with a
        20-mile sending radius, and powered by a small
        battery or engine driven generator.

In 1938, the delivery of the XF2A-1 to the Langley Memorial
        Aeronautical Laboratory of the National Advisory
        Committee for Aeronautics marked the initiation of
        full-scale wind tunnel tests to determine means of
        decreasing aerodynamic drag and thereby increasing
        high speed.

        These tests, conducted at the recommendation of
        Commander Walter S. Diehl,indicated that the speed
        of the XF2A-1 could be increased 31 m.p.h. over the
        277 m.p.h. already achieved, and led to the
        utilization of this technique in other high-
        performance aircraft, by both the Army and the Navy.

In 1943, Captain Frederick M. Trapnell made a flight in the
        Bell XP-59A jet Airacomet at Muroc, Calif., the
        first jet flight by a U.S. Naval Aviator.

In 1949, the first European flight of aircraft powered
        solely with a ramjet engine was made in France, an
        air-launched Leduc which flew for 12 minutes.  Rene
        Leduc had worked with ramjet design since 1935.

In 1950, the first carrier takeoff with the AJ-l heavy
        attack plane was made from Coral Sea by Captain
        J. T. Hayward, commanding VC-5.

In 1950, the heaviest aircraft ever launched from a carrier,
        a P2V-3C, piloted by Lieutenant Commander R. C.
        Starkey of VC-6, took off from Coral Sea with a
        gross weight of 74,668 pounds.

In 1952, the BOAC De Havilland Comet inaugurated first jet
        passenger service, between London and Rome.

In 1955, the first flight of the DC-7B.  One month and four
        days later, it was delivered to Eastern Airlines.

In 1957, Antietam reported for duty to the Chief of Naval
        Air Training at Pensacola, providing that command
        with its first angled deck carrier for use in flight

In 1961, the USAF-USN-NASA X-15 was flown to a controlled
        flight record speed of 3,074 miles per hour by
        Maj. Robert White (USAF) at Edwards, Calif. This was
        the first flight of the X-15 with full throttle.

In 1993, the F-15 HiDEC (Highly Integrated Digital
        Electronic Control) is landed using only engine
        power to turn, climb and descend. Gordon Fullerton
        is the pilot.

                       April 22

Alexander Kerensky: Born April 22, 1881
        A Russian revolutionary leader who was instrumental
        in toppling the Russian monarchy. He served as
        second Prime Minister of the Russian Provisional
        Government until Vladimir Lenin seized power
        following the October Revolution.

In 1908, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. accompanied by 2 officers
        made a balloon ascent lasting 4 hrs. 30 min.

In 1914, the Bureau of Navigation approved formal courses of
        instruction for student aviators and student
        mechanics at the Flying School at Pensacola.

In 1922, the Secretary of the Navy approved a recommendation
        of the General Board that one spotting plane be
        assigned to each Fleet battleship and cruiser, and
        that the feasibility of operating more aircraft from
        these ships be tested.

In 1944, Units arriving in England from the US: HQ 398th
        Bombardment Group (Heavy) and 600th, 601st, 602d and
        603d Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy) at Nuthampstead
        with B-17s 844th, 845th, 846th and 847th Bombardment
        Squadrons (Heavy), 489th Bombardment Group (Heavy),
        at Halesworth with B-24s.

In 1946, the Glenn L. Martin Co. contracted with the AAF to
        produce (under Project MX-771) a surface-to-surface
        guided missile (later designated the Matador).

In 1946, the U.S. Weather Bureau in cooperation with Army,
        Navy, NACA, Air Transport Association, and several
        universities, began a series of flights into
        thunderstorms with pilotless P-61 "Black Widows" and
        piloted sailplanes to obtain scientific data.

In 1974, a twelve-plane detachment of RH-53D Sea Stallions
        from NAS Norfolk's HM-12 began minesweeping the Suez
        Canal as part of Project NIMBUS STAR.

                       April 23

In 1915, Lieutenant P. N. L. Bellinger, in the Burgess-Dunne
        AH-10, established an American altitude record for
        seaplanes by ascending to 10,000 feet over

In 1915, the Secretary of War called the first meeting of
        the NACA in his office. Brig. Gen. George P.
        Scriven, Chief Signal Officer, was elected temporary
        Chairman, and Dr. Charles D. Walcott, Secretary of
        the Smithsonian Institution, was elected first
        Chairman of the important NACA Executive Committee.

In 1918, the first shipment of Liberty engines to Naval
        Aviation units in France was received at the
        assembly and repair station, NAS Pauillac.

In 1921, an aerial photo survey of the Dominican Republic
        coastline was completed by the First Air Squadron of
        the USMC; and in June, it completed an aerial survey
        of Haitian coastline.

In 1927, Lieutenant S. W. Callaway, flying a Vought O2U
        Corsair at Hampton Roads, Va., set a new
        100-kilometer FAI Class C-2 world speed record
        with a 500 kilogram useful load, at
        147.263 m.p.h.

In 1940, Commander D. Royce was designated to represent the
        Navy on an Army Air Corps Evaluation Board for
        rotary-wing aircraft. This board was established
        incidental to legislation directing the War
        Department to undertake governmental development of
        rotary-wing aircraft.

In 1944, VR-3 operated the first regularly scheduled NATS
        transcontinental hospital flight between Washington,
        D.C., and March Field, Calif.

In 1957, details of the X-15 rocket research airplane were
        publicly revealed for the first time.

In 1959, the GAM-77 'Hound Dog' strategic missle was launched
        for first time from a B-52.

In 1974, delivery of Bell's 20,000th helicopter. Anyone know
        model this was?

In 1979, in a ceremony at NAS Norfolk, Vice Admiral Forrest
        S. Petersen transferred ownership of the last
        Kawanishi H8K2 flying boat to the Japanese Museum of
        Maritime Science. Code named Emily by the allies
        during World War II, the big craft was brought to
        the United States by the Navy late in 1945 to
        undergo tests at Patuxent River. When the tests were
        completed, the Emily was stored at Norfolk and
        outlasted all its sister aircraft. In July 1979, the
        Museum of Maritime Science transported the Emily to

In 1992, the first flight of an X-31 aircraft from Dryden
        takes place. The X-31 thrust vectored aircraft
        (called Enhanced Fighter Maneuverability
        demonstrator) is being flown in a DoD study of the
        value of thrust vectoring for close-in air combat
        at high angles of attack.

                        April 24


In 1922, in efforts to increase the service life of aircraft
        engines beyond the 50-hours then required, the
        Bureau of Aeronautics issued a contract to the
        Packard Motor Car Company for a 300-hour test of a
        Packard 1A-1551 dirigible engine.

In 1944, of 281 B-17s dispatched, 109 hit Erding Air Depot,
        84 hit aviation industry targets at Oberpfaffenhofen,
        57 hit Lansberg Airfield and 18 hit targets of
        opportunity; 27 B-17s are lost and 112 damaged;
        casualties are 4 KIA, 22 WIA and 260 MIA.  Two Hundred
        forty three (243) B-17s are dispatched to bomb aviation
        industry targets at Friedrichshafen/Lowenthal (98th BG)
        and Friedrichshafen/Manzell (58th BG) industrial areas
        at Friedrichshafen/Manzell and Neckarsulm (15th BG);
        3 also hit targets of opportunity; 9 B-17s are lost
        and 119 damaged; casualties are 7 KIA, 4 WIA and 71 MIA. 
        Eight (8) B-24s are dispatched on CARPETBAGGER operations.

In 1953, the first YF-100A (52-5754) was completed. It was
        moved from the Los Angeles factory out to Edwards AFB.
        Company test pilot George S.("Wheaties") Welch made
        the maiden flight on May 25, 1953.

In 1958, a Navy rocket sled attained a speed of 2,827.5 mph
        at China Lake, California.

In 1961, Dr. Leonard S. Sheingold, director of applied
        research at Sylvania Electronic Systems, was named
        by the President to be Chief Scientist, USAF.

In 1970, China launches its first satellite into orbit.

In 1980, eight RH-53D Sea Stallions operating from Nimitz in
        the Arabian Sea took part in a joint task force
        operation to rescue the American hostages in Tehran,
        Iran. The mission was later aborted at a desert
        refueling site. Subsequently, one of the helicopters
        collided with a C-130 Hercules aircraft resulting in
        the loss of eight lives. All other personnel were
        evacuated on the remaining C-130s.

                        April 25

In 1914, on the first flight by Mississippi (BB 23) aviation
        unit at Veracruz, Mexico, Lieutenant (jg) P. N. L.
        Bellinger piloted the AB-3 flying boat to observe
        the city and make preliminary search for mines in
        the harbor.

In 1918, the Loening M-3 was first flown, equipped with
        Lawrence three-cylinder, air-cooled engine.

In 1922, the all-metal airplane designed for the Navy made
        its first flight. The ST-1 twin-engine torpedo
        plane, built by Stout Engineering Laboratory, was
        test-flown by Eddie Stinson. Although this aircraft
        possessed inadequate longitudinal stability, its
        completion marked a step forward in the development
        of all-metal aircraft.

In 1943, SOLOMON ISLANDS: Vicinity New Georgia -- Four
        VMF-213 F4U Pilots returning from an escort
        mission encountered sixteen (16) Japanese Bombers
        escorted by thirty (30) A6M (Zero) fighters. These
        four Marine Corps pilots attacked the Japanese
        formation bringing down five (5) Zeros for a loss
        of two (2) of their own. The American attack was
        so effective that the bombers turned back from
        their intended target.

In 1947, NACA Langley's PARD launched its first
        rocket-propelled model of a complete airplane for
        performance evaluation (AF XF-91), at Wallops
        Island. This was followed by flight tests of models
        of practically all Air Force and Navy supersonic

In 1953, the first flight of the YF-100A (52-5754).  It was
        completed on April 24 and moved from the Los Angeles
        factory out to Edwards AFB. Company test pilot George
        S.("Wheaties") Welch made the maiden flight exceeding
        the speed of sound on its first flight.

In 1956, the Chief of Naval Operations announced that mirror
        landing systems would be installed in the near
        future at all principal Naval Air Stations for
        improvement of air traffic control and reduction of
        landing accidents.

                       April 26

In 1917, the catapult installed on Huntington (ACR 5) was
        given its first dead load tests at Mare Island Navy

In 1917, Offizer Candidate R von Sohn's first solo flight
        ...Helmshaven...Pfalz D.1...9-minutes... three

In 1919, an F5L flying boat, equipped with two 400-hp
        Liberty engines and piloted by Lieutenant H. D. Grow
        out of Hampton Roads, completed a flight of 20 hours
        and 19 minutes in which it covered 1,250 nautical
        miles. Although the flight was not made under FAI
        supervision and was prior to the date on which
        seaplanes were recognized as a separate class for
        record purposes, this time was better than any
        recognized seaplane duration record until May 1925.

In 1939, a Messerschmitt Bf 109R (also known as Me 209)
        piloted by Fritz Wendel is flown at 755.138 km/h
        at Augsburg, Germany, taking the absolute speed
        world record away from Heinkel. Heinkel abandons
        plans for still higher speeds on request of Roluf
        Lucht of the German Aviation Ministry.  Today, this
        flight remains as number 2 in the record books,
        not surpassed until 1969.

        The airplane was a one-off design meant purely for
        the speed record, but it was designated as the Me109R
        to reinforce the reputation of the fighter.

In 1941, the Naval Aircraft Factory project officer reported
        that an unmanned O3U-6 airplane under radio control
        had been successfully flight-tested beyond the safe
        bounds of piloted flight and that the information
        thus obtained had been of great value in overcoming
        flutter encountered at various speeds and

In 1944, after being diverted from their primary targets by
        heavy overcast, 165 1st Bombardment Division B-17s
        and 127 3rd Bombardment Division B-17s strike the
        aircraft industry works at Brunswick. Unable to reach
        Padeborn 238 2nd Bombardment Division B-24s return to
        England with their bombs while 62 1st Bombardment
        Division B-17 dispatched to Cologne are recalled
        while still over the English Channel. Adverse weather
        conditions persisted over Europe and the Northern
        Mediterranean during this time period.
In 1956, the Naval Aircraft Factory at Philadelphia was
        decommissioned and renamed the Naval Air Engineering
        Facility (Ships Installations) and its mission
        revised to include research, engineering, design,
        development, and limited manufacturing of devices
        and equipment for launching and recovering aircraft
        and guided missiles.

In 1960, NASA announced selection of Douglas Aircraft for
        construction of second (S-4) stage of initial C-1
        Saturn launch vehicle.

In 1962, Schalk pilots the Lockheed A-12 on its first

                       April 27

In 1911, the second Army Wright plane was accepted by
        the Signal Corps.

In 1917, the Marine Aeronautic Company, Advance Base Force,
        was organized at Marine Barracks, Philadelphia Navy
        Yard, by the transfer of personnel from the Marine
        Aviation Section at Pensacola, from other Marine
        Corps units, and from the Marine Corps Reserve
        Flying Corps. Captain A. A. Cunningham was in

In 1918, the airship AT-1, commanded by Lieutenant F. P.
        Culbert and a crew made up of Ensigns M. P. Delano,
        A. D. Brewer and T. E. McCracken, completed a
        25-hour 43-minute flight out of Paimboeuf, France,
        during the course of which three convoys were
        escorted through a mined zone. For their flight, the
        longest on record for an airship of the type, the
        commanding officer and crew were officially
        commended by the French Minister of Marine.

In 1925, the first trial flight of new Wright Cyclone 450-hp
        air-cooled engine in DT-6 torpedo plane, at Muchio's
        Field, N.J.

In 1939, US Army Air Corps orders the P-38.

In 1944, nearly 450 IX Bomber Command B-26s and A-20s, along
        with 275 Ninth Air Force P-47s and P-51 bomb, dive bomb
        and strafe coastal batteries, gun emplacements,
        airdromes and marshalling yards in France and Belgium.

In 1948, in the first carrier launchings of planes of this
        size and weight, two P2V-2 Neptunes, piloted by
        Commander T. D. Davies and Lieutenant Commander
        J. P. Wheatley, made JATO takeoffs from Coral Sea,
        off Norfolk.

In 1960, the Bell UH-1B makes its first flight.

In 1972, HC-1, aboard the Ticonderoga, recovered the
        Apollo 16 spacecraft after it had splashed down in
        the south Pacific.

In 2005, the airbus A-380 made its maiden flight.

                        April 28

In 1913, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation Rear Admiral
        Victor Blue approved a proposal that the Navy
        Department, Glenn Curtiss, and the Sperry Company
        cooperate in testing the gyroscopic stabilizer on a
        new Navy airplane.

In 1914, Lieutenant (jg) P. N. L. Bellinger and Ensign W. D.
        LaMont made a flight in the AB-3 flying boat to
        photograph the harbor at Veracruz, Mexico.

In 1919, Lieutenant Commander R. E. Byrd, who developed and
        tested navigational equipment for the forthcoming
        transatlantic flight, requested the Naval
        Observatory to supply bubble levels which he adapted
        for attachment to navigational sextants, thereby
        providing an artificial horizon which made it
        possible to use these instruments for astronomical
        observations from aircraft.

In 1919, an unofficial seaplane record made by Navy F5L
        piloted by Lt. H. B. Grow out of Hampton Roads,
        which completed a flight of 20 hours and 19 minutes,
        a distance of 1,250 nautical miles.

In 1934, the equipment and techniques of alongside recovery
        by plane net had developed to the point that
        Commander Cruisers, Battle Force, issued a directive
        describing the method that would be used by all
        ships of his command. The success of the method was
        such that the only plane trap in use, that on
        Maryland (BB 46) was removed in June and underway
        recovery of seaplanes by battleships and cruisers
        soon became routine.

In 1936, R. C. Guthrie and R. M. Page, at the Naval Research
        Laboratory, began testing a laboratory model of a
        pulsed radio wave detection device (pulse radar). As
        tests proceeded, aircraft were detected at distances
        up to 25 miles.

In 1952, following tests of the British developed steam
        catapult conducted during the first three months of
        the year at the Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, the
        Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, and at sea, in which
        U.S. naval aircraft were launched by this device
        from the HMS Perseus, the Navy announced that this
        catapult would be adopted for use on U.S. aircraft
        carriers, with the first installation on the

In 1959, NASA announced the signing of a $24 million
        contract with Douglas Aircraft Co., Inc., for a
        three-stage Thor-Vanguard launching rocket called

In 1961, world altitude record for aircraft of 113,891 feet
        (34,714 meters) flown by Colonel G. Musolov in
        Soviet Mikoyan E-66A.

In 1972, the AIM-54A, Phoenix missile, was launched from an
        F-14 for the first time. The aircraft was flying
        from Point Mugu.

                       April 29

In 1898, the first joint Army-Navy board on aeronautics
        submitted the report of its investigation of the
        Langley flying machine. Since the machine was a
        model of 12-foot wing span, its value for military
        purposes was largely theoretical, but the report
        expressed a general sentiment in favor of supporting
        Professor Langley in further experimentation.

In 1918, Lt. Edward V. Rickenbacker scored his first
        victory. Flying Nieuport 28's from Villeneuve he
        and members of the 94th Aero Squadron engaged a high
        patrol of Jasta 64 in the Baussant-Montsec Sector.
        Rickenbacker was able to single off with a Pfalz III
        and after repeated hits on this machine was able to
        force its landing behind the German lines near

        Rickenbacker received a "very" high award for a
        "first [single] victory"... a Distinguished Service
        Cross. In the, "hast to award", his citation read in
        part, " enemy Albatross monoplane..."  

In 1918, plans were approved for construction of the first
        wind 5-foot) tunnel at Langley Memorial Aeronautical
        Laboratory of NACA.

In 1933, the Bureau of Aeronautics recommended resumption of
        postgraduate instruction in aerology which had been
        suspended in 1929. By the end of the year,
        arrangements were completed for a two-year course at
        the Postgraduate School and a third year at a
        civilian university.

In 1936, Orville Wright was elected a member of the National
        Academy of Sciences.

In 1960, all eight engines of the Saturn engine were fired
        for the first time at Huntsville, Alabama.

In 1988, the first flight of the advanced technology

In 1993, a thrust vectored X-31 executes a minimum radius
        180 degree turn (the "Herbst Maneuver") while flying
        at more than 70 degrees angle of attack.

                        April 30

In 1927, Lieutenant J. D. Barner, flying a Vought O2U
        Corsair at Hampton Roads, Va., broke the
        500-kilometer FAI Class C-2 world speed record
        carrying a useful load of 500 kilograms
        with a speed of 136.023 m.p.h.

In 1928, the final flight of the Spirit of St. Louis,
        the first aircraft to  fly nonstop from New York
        to Paris.  After the flight across the Atlantic,
        Lindbergh took the Spirit on a tour of (then) all
        the 48 states, and later  flew it on a goodwill
        tour to Mexico City (where he met his future wife)
        and  Latin America.  The final flight, from Lambert
        Field in St. Louis to Bolling  Field, took 4 hours
        58 minutes.  After this flight, the Spirit was retired
        and is now displayed at the Smithsonian.

In 1941, in the initial step towards establishing a glider
        development program, the Naval Aircraft Factory was
        requested to undertake preliminary design of a
        personnel and equipment transport glider. As work
        progressed and requirements were further clarified,
        development was initiated for 12- and 24-place
        amphibian gliders constructed of wood or plastic
        by firms not already engaged in building military

        This was a case of frantically playing catchup with
        mixed results. The US military flatly refused to
        consider gliders until the Germans pulled off their
        coup at Eben Emael in 1940, then began throwing
        money away. Contracts went to all manner of companies,
        some that had never built an aircraft, including at
        least one coffin company. Robertson Aircraft of
        St. Louis showed off one of its products over Lambert
        Field, with the mayor and most of the city commission
        present ... and a wing came off.

In 1941, the Commanding Officer NAS Lakehurst directed that
        the metal-clad airship, ZMC-2, be salvaged and the
        car complete with engines, instruments and
        appurtenances be assigned to the Lighter-Than-Air
        Ground School at Lakehurst. The ZMC-2, completed in
        August 1929, had been flown over 2,250 hours.

In 1942, Lt Col Boyd "Buzz" Wagner led the 8th Fighter
        Group on a mission to Lae and was credited with
        3 Zeros.

In 1945, with Soviet forces about to defeat the troops
        at his location, Adolf Hitler took his own life.
        Historians believe he used a combination of cyanide
        and a gunshot to the head. Also killed was his
        wife (only married for 40 hours) Eva Braun.

In 1948, General Hoyt S. Vandenberg designated AF Chief of

In 1955, Admiral John H. Towers, Naval Aviator No. 3, died.
        His long and distinguished career as a naval aviator
        began on 26 June 1911, when he reported for flight
        instruction at the Curtiss Flying School,
        Hammondsport, N.Y., and extended through many
        important aviation and fleet commands including
        Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, Commander Air
        Force Pacific, Commander Second Carrier Task Force
        and Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet. Upon his
        retirement from active duty on 1 December 1947, he
        was serving as Chairman of the General Board.

        John Towers was also one of the original aviators
        who participated in the Trans-Atlantic NC boat
        flight to England in 1919.

In 1973, the last Marine NAP (enlisted Naval Aviation Pilot)
        retired. He was Master Gunnery Sergeant Patrick J.
        O'Neil who began his active duty during WW-II and
        completed over 30 years of active duty.

In 1975, the Peoples Army of Vietnam advanced into the city
        of Saigon and captured it. Led by Senior General
        Van Tien Dung and General Nguyen Van Toan, forces
        occupied strategic points of the city and on the
        afternoon of the 30th, their flag was raised over
        the Indenepdance Palace. The city was eventually
        renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

In 1975, Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Four, the Hurricane
        Hunters, was disestablished. Established 15 November
        1952 as VJ-2 and redesignated VW-4 in 1953, it was
        the Navy's last squadron specifically detailed for
        hurricane reconnaissance. During its more than 30
        years of service, VW-4 made major contribution to
        meteorological science, oceanographic research, the
        National Weather Service, and the Naval Weather
        Service Command.

In 1979, a RH-53D Sea Stallion from HM-12 set a new nonstop,
        transcontinental flight by flying from Norfolk,
        Virginia, to San Diego, California. The helicopter
        flew 2,077-nm in 18.5 hours, air refueling from an
        Air National Guard HC-130 Hercules. The flight
        demonstrated the long-range, quick-response
        capability of the RH-53D helicopter and was
        commanded by Lieutenant Rodney M. Davis.

In 1991, the 1,010th 707 rolls out of the Boeing Renton
        plant, ending a 35 year old production line.