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

                  December 1

In 1783, J.A.C. Charles and one of the Roberts brothers make
        the first trip in a hydrogen balloon, flying 27 miles
        from Paris to Nesles, France.

In 1914, two way air to ground radio communications is
        demonstrated in a Burgess Wright biplane by Army
        Signal Corps Lt. H.A. Dargue and Lt. J.O. Maubornge
        over Manila, the Philippines.

In 1917, NAS Pauillac was established as an active assembly
        and repair station supporting all naval air stations
        in France.

In 1921, the first flight of an airship inflated with helium
        gas was made at Norfolk, Virginia. The airship, the
        nonrigid dirigible Goodyear C-7, was piloted by Lieutenant
        Commander R. F. Wood flew from Hampton Roads, Va.,
        to Washington, D.C.

In 1932, Teletypewriter Weather Map Service was inaugurated
        by Aeronautics Branch, Department of Commerce.

In 1932, the first flight of the prototype Heinkel He 70V-1.
        It reached 370 km/h during its maiden flight. This
        design, inspired by Lockheed "Orion", led to the
        Heinkel He 70 "Blitz"/He 170/He 270 Passenger
        aircraft. In early 1932 the commercial version
        set 8 World Speed Records.

In 1934, The first airway traffic control center is opened
        in Newark, NJ. It is staffed by employees of
        Eastern Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines
        and TWA.

In 1939, Ensign A. L. Terwilliger was designated a Master
        Horizontal Bomber, the first Naval Aviator in a
        fleet squadron to so qualify.

In 1941, the Civil Air Patrol was organized as part of the
        U.S. civil defense structure.

In 1942, thirty staff sergeant pilots began flying missions
        over the "Hump".

In 1949, supersonic wind tunnels, capable of 3,000-mph
        speeds, were dedicated at MIT.

In 1951, the U.S. Naval Aviation Safety Activity was
        established at Norfolk under the Chief of Naval

In 1959, the USAF reduced the order for the B-70 bomber to
        only two prototypes.

In 1961, an HSS-2 helicopter, flown by Captain Bruce K.
        Lloyd and Commander E. J. Roulstone, laid claim to
        three new world speed records over a course along
        Long Island Sound between Milford and Westbrook,
        Conn., with performances of 182.8 m.p.h.,
        179.5 m.p.h., and 175.3 m.p.h. for 100, 500,
        and 1,000 kilometers, respectively.

In 1961, the Navy-sponsored Hypersonic Propulsion Research
        Laboratory, for simulating flights at speeds up to
        mach 10, was opened at Applied Physics Laboratory of
        Johns Hopkins University.

In 1984, a remote controlled 720 test aircraft erupted in
        flames in an unsuccessful test crash to demonstrate
        a fuel additive which was supposed to inhibit fire.

In 1987, groundbreaking ceremonies are held signaling
        construction of the $16 million Integrated Test
        Facility for Dryden.

                    December 2

In 1908, Rear Admiral W. S. Cowles, Chief of the Bureau of
        Equipment, submitted a report on aviation prepared by
        Lieutenant George C. Sweet to the Secretary of the Navy.
        The report outlined the specifications of an airplane
        capable of operating from naval vessels on scouting and
        observation missions, discussed the tactical advantages of
        such capability for naval forces and recommended that a
        number of aircraft be purchased and "placed in the hands
        of the personnel of the Navy to further develop special
        features adapted to naval uses."

In 1912, Ensign W. D. Billingsley, later to become Naval Aviator
        No. 9, reported for duty at the Aviation Camp, Annapolis,
        and was assigned to the Navy-Wright B-2 for instruction.

In 1918, efforts to develop aircraft to operate from ships were
        renewed by the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations'
        request that the Bureau of Construction and Repair provide
        aircraft of the simplest form, lightly loaded, and with
        the slowest flying speed possible.

In 1924, "Standard Atmosphere," after careful coordination,
        approved by Executive Committee of NACA, later adopted for
        use in aeronautical calculations by the War and Navy
        Departments, the Weather Bureau, and the Bureau of
        Standards; described by Lt. Walter S. Diehl of BuAer in
        NACA Technical Report No. 218. It gave pressures and
        densities for altitudes up to 20,000 meters and to
        65,000 feet.

In 1927, Henry Ford unveiled the Model A Ford at 36 locations
        across the country including the Waldorf Hotel in New
        York.  The Phaeton sold for $395.00 and the Tudor Sedan
        for $495.00.

In 1930, the seaplane tender Aroostook (CM 3), one utility and two
        patrol squadrons of the Battle Fleet reported for duty to
        Commander Base Force, thereby providing that command with
        its first aviation organization.

In 1935, a mass flight of 20 bombers completed a flight from
        California to Florida in 21 hours, 50 minutes.

In 1939, based on the November 1939 request by General Arnold,
        approval was granted to contract with major aircraft
        companies for studies of a Very Long-Range (VLR) bomber
        that would be capable of carrying any future war well
        beyond American shores. USAAC engineering officers under
        Captain Donald L. Putt of the Air Material Command at
        Wright Field began to prepare the official specification  
        for what would become the B-29.

In 1942, the first nuclear chain reaction successfully
        accomplished at the University of Chicago.

In 1944, one hundred twenty-nine 1st Bombardment Division B-17s
        attack the marshaling yard at Oberlahnstein; 135 2nd
        Bomardment Division B-24s attack the marshalling yards
        at Bingen; 160 3rd Division B-17s have to abort due
        unfavorable weather conditions. Eleven B-24s are shot
        down by German fighters just west of the Rhine river.

In 1948, the third Convair MX-774 test missile successfully fired.

In 1948, the first flight of the Beech Model 45 Mentor.

In 1954, the first 12 Engineers begin design of U-2 hardware.
        Final configuration design requirements determined and
        General Arrangements drawing started.
In 1971, Commander George White, at the Naval Air Test Center,
        became the first Navy test pilot to fly the F-14A Tomcat.
        By the end of 1971, nine of the aircraft were assigned to
        various flight test programs. Purchase plans had called
        for an eventual total of 313 aircraft -- 301 for
        operations and 12 for research and development.

In 1979, the first flight of the Gulfstream III.

In 1992, flights with Dryden's F-16XL no 849 achieve laminar flow
        over a swept wing aircraft for the first time at speeds up
        to nearly 1,200 mph at at altitudes above 50,000 feet. 

In 1993, Air Force Col. Richard O. Covey, pilot and mission
        commander, piloted the fifth flight of the shuttle
        Endeavor, which set a record for the greatest number of
        spacewalks, five. On the same flight Air Force Lt. Col.
        Tom Akers became the U.S. record holder for spacewalks
        with 29 hours and 40 minutes. The main mission of STS-61
        was to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

                    December 3

Cleveland Abbe:  born December 3, 1838
        Meteoroligist who pioneered the foundation and
        growth of the US Weather Bureau, later renamed the
        National Weather Service; in 1871, he joined
        the Signal Service as the Special Assistant to
        the Chief Signal Officer; the first forcast from
        this agency was by Abbe on November 1 under the
        title "Weather Synopsis and Probabilities".

Charles Pillsbury:  born December 3, 1842
        Born in New Hampshire; in 1826, started operation
        in Minneapolis Flour Mill in St Anthony Falls;
        in 1882 Pillsbury was the largest flour miller
        in the world

In 1915, Lieutenant R. C. Saufley, flying the Curtiss AH-14,
        set an American altitude record for hydroaeroplanes,
        reaching 11,975 feet over Pensacola and surpassing
        his own record of 11,056 feet which he had set only
        3 days before.

In 1943, the Southwest Pacific Area Commander decides to
        by-pass the large Japanese Naval Base at Rabaul.
        With U.S. airfields to be constructed at upcoming
        invasion sites, and with aircraft flying from
        Boungainville and the Solomon Islands, he feels
        that Rabaul can be contained and gradually
        neutralized to a point of noneffectivness.

        1st Lt. Kirby, USAAC pilot, gives his approval
        and the plan goes ahead! <g>

In 1945, the first USAAF jet fighter unit, the 412th Fighter
        Group, received its first Lockheed P-80 aircraft at
        March Field, California.

In 1953, the Steam Catapult Facility, NAMC, Philadelphia,
        was  established by Hon. James H. Smith, Assistant
        Secretary of the Navy for Air, with an attendant
        launching of F9F and AD aircraft.

In 1953, the first successful test of super circulation
        (boundary layer control) on a high speed airplane,
        an F9F-4 Panther, took place at the Grumman Aircraft
        Corporation field at Bethpage, Long Island. John
        Attinello, a BuAer engineer, was credited with
        developing this practical application of long known
        aerodynamic principle.

In 1996, the first flight of the Boeing 777 (-200B)

                    December 4

In 1892, the birth of Sir Ross Macpherson Smith, Australian
        aviatior who was the first to fly from England to
        Australia along with Sir Keith Macpherson Smith. 

In 1908, J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon makes a flight of 1,350 feet
        in a Voisin biplane at Issy-les-Moulineaux. He becomes
        a supporter of British aviation and is issued the
        first British pilot's license, then called an
        Aviator's Certificate.

Gregory "Pappy" Boyington:  born December 4, 1912
        WWII Ace; originated the Black Sheep Squadron;
        commanding officer of VMF-214; member of the
        Flying Tigers; born in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho

In 1918, the first Army transcontinental flight by four
        Curtiss JN4's began at San Diego, reaching
        Jacksonville, Fla., on December 22. Only one of the
        planes reached Florida, piloted by Major Albert D.

In 1922, President Harding requested there commendations of
        the NACA as to the most promising program for the
        Air Mail Service in the expenditure of its limited
        funds. The NACA, on December 20, recommended that
        $2,300,000 be appropriated to demonstrate
        feasibility of night flying on the mail service
        and to establish regular New York-San Francisco mail
        service in 36 hours or less.

In 1943, the Ninth Air Force's IX Air Support Command is
        activated in England under the command of Colonel
        C.E. Crumrine. It will begin training units for
        tactical operations in support of the projected
        invasion of France by the U.S. First Army.

In 1955, on one flight of a project set up to evaluate the
        all-weather capabilities of airships, Lieutenant
        Commander Charles A. Mills operated a ZPG airship in
        the vicinity of South Weymouth, Mass., in an ice-
        accreting experiment unparalleled in lighter-than-
        air history. In spite of heavy airship icing,
        propeller icing, severe vibration and flying ice
        particles, Mills piloted his airship, directed the
        collection of data, returned to the field under
        instrument conditions, and made a ground-controlled
        approach landing in a manner that retained a maximum
        amount of ice on the ship for analysis on the
        ground. For his achievement on this and other
        flights during the evaluation, Lieutenant Commander
        Mills was awarded the 1956 Harmon International
        Trophy for Aeronauts.

In 1961, it was reported from Cape Canaveral that Astronaut
        John H. Glenn, Jr., had moved into "ready room"
        quarters. NASA had made no announcement whether a
        man would ride in the next Mercury capsule.

In 1961, the National Air and Space Museum receives the
        C-54 transport Sacred Cow used by President's
        Roosevelt and Franklin.

In 1965, Gemini VII was launched with Lt. Col. Frank Borman
        and Commander Jim Lovell Jr.

In 1979, the first production model of the stretched C-141B
        Starlifter was delivered to the Military Airlift

                  December 5

Clyde Vernon Cessna:  born December 5, 1879
        Began as an Overland auto dealer in Enid, OK; left
        to work for the Queen Aeroplane Company; taught
        himself to fly in 1911; started the Cessna
        Exhibition Company; hired as President of the
        Travel Air Mfg Co working with Lloyd Stearman
        and Walter Beech; first aircraft produced was
        the Stearman Model A; in 1927 founded Cessna
        Aircraft Co with Victor Roos.

Walt Disney:  born December 5, 1901
        Founded Disney Corp; raised on a farm near Marceline,
        Missouri; attempted to enlist in 1918 but was rejected
        because he was under age; joined the Red Cross and
        spent a year overseas driving an ambulance; won 32
        Academy Awards for his drawings and cartoons

In 1907, following an exchange of letters, Wilbur Wright met
        formally with members of the Board of Ordnance and
        Fortifications. As a result, on Dec, 23, the Signal
        Corps published Specification No. 486 for a heavier-
        than-air flying machine.

In 1909, George Taylor makes the first manned glider flight in
        Australia in a glider of his own design. He eventually
        makes 29 flights at Narrabeen Beach, New South Wales.

In 1911, despite the Wright's claim and the prior French use
        of ailerons the A.E.A. received their patent. 
        Patent No. 1,011,106 for a "flying machine" was
        granted to all five A.E.A. members as joint
        inventors.  Orville Wright had claimed that the June
        Bug ailerons infringed on the Wright's wing warping
        claim of their 1906 patents. Bell pointed out that
        warping the wings in different ways created a drag
        between the wings and required corrective rudder
        action while the ailerons avoided this complication.

In 1917, the policy regarding helicopter development was
        established by the Secretaries of the War and Navy
        Departments on the basis of recommendations made by
        the Joint Technical Board on Aircraft.

In 1919, the Secretary of the Navy approved the basic
        agreement covering procurement of the R-38 (ZR-2)
        rigid airship from the British Air Ministry. The
        ZR-2 was never delivered. It crashed into the
        Humber River (England) on 24 August 1921. There
        was never a replacement ZR-2 built. The next rigid
        airship for the U.S. was the ZR-3 Los Angeles.

In 1919, "Aerovias Nacionales de Colombia" (Avianca) is

In 1921, Western Australia Airways opens the first scheduled
        regular service in Australia.

In 1935, the China Clipper, Sweet Sixteen, began the last
       leg of the first trans-Pacific airmail flight. The
       flight left Honolulu at 3:02 PM bound for San
       Francisco. There were also 18 Pan Am employees on

       This "China Clipper" was NC 14716 -- one of only
       three Martin M-130's to fly the Pacific for the Pan
       American Airways System. The other two were, NC 14715
       "Philippine Clipper" and NC 14714 "Hawaii Clipper."

In 1942, Edward R. Sharp was appointed Manager of the NACA
        Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory at Cleveland.

In 1960, a new three-engine jet, the 727, is announced.
        United Airlines and Eastern Airlines each order 40.
In 1961, Commander George W. Ellis piloted an F4H Phantom II
        on a world record, surpassing the existing record
        for altitude sustained in horizontal flight with a
        height of 66,443.8 feet over Edwards Air Force Base.

In 1961, it was reported by Drew Pearson that CIA had warned
        that Russia "is preparing to launch a man around the
        moon in 60 days."

                   December 6

Alfred Joyce Kilmer:  born December 6, 1886
        Poet, best known for "Trees"; born in New Brunswick,
        NJ; worked as a dictionary editor for Funk and
        Wagnall's; in 1917, enlisted in the Army; rose to
        the rank of Sergeant; was mortally wounded at the
        battle of Ourcq, France; awarded the French Croix
        de Guerre

In 1907, A. G. Bell's Cygnet, consisting of 3393 tetra cells
        covered with 184 square meters of silk and carrying
        Lt. Thomas Selfridge, achieved flight.  The kite was
        launched from a raft (in tow) with movable arms
        which lifted the kite into the air when the proper
        speed was attained. Towed by a laker steamer, much
        the same way a modern day glider is towed, the
        Cygnet rose to a height of 168 feet and remained
        aloft for 7 minutes above the Bras d'Or Lakes.

        Unfortunately the Cygnet's success was short lived.
        In all the excitement, the crew on the "Blue Hill"
        forgot they had to cut the line. The steamer slowed
        but not to a complete stop and the Cygnet lightly
        landed on its floats. Before the captain of the
        "Blue Hill" could do anything about it the steamer
        dragged the Cygnet through the water. The Cygnet
        flipped and broke up. Luckily Selfridge dove clear
        of the crash, escaped injury and was immediately
        rescued from the chilly waters.

In 1908, J.A.D. McCurdy flies the Silver Dart (a biplane of
        his own design) for the first time at Hammondsport,
        N.Y.  The Dart completed three trial flights of
        about 180 meters each.

In 1944, the first Heinkel He 162 "Salamander" prototype
        flew, less than three months after the project had
        begun. A total of 280 aircraft were built.

In 1946, Captain Victor D. Herbster, Naval Aviator No. 4,
        died at the Naval Hospital, St. Albans, N.Y. He
        served continuously in aviation from 8 November
        1911, when he reported for flight training at
        Annapolis, to his retirement on 1 July 1936. Upon
        his return to active service in August 1940, he
        again served in aviation until his final retirement
        on 29 March 1946.

In 1949, the USAF earmarked $50 million to build US Alaska
        radar defenses.

In 1950, establishment of Transonic flow in the Langley
        16-foot high-speed wind tunnel following
        installation of a slotted-throat test section.

In 1956, Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino was at the top of the
        record charts.

In 1957, the first flight of the Lockheed 188 Electra.

In 1959, Commander L.E. Flint piloting a McDonnell F4H-1
        Phantom II powered by two GE J-79 engines bettered
        the existing world altitude record by reaching
        98,560 feet over Edwards Air Force Base.

        This was the second YF4H-1 (142260). This record,
        set as a part of Project Top Flight, bettered the
        existing record of 94,658 feet, set by Major V.S.
        Ilyushin of the Soviet Union in a Su-T-43-1.

        To set this record, Commander Flint took his YF4H-1
        up to 47,000 feet and a speed of Mach 2.5. He then
        pulled the aircraft up into an angle of attack of 45
        degrees, and then climbed to 90,000 feet. He then
        shut down his engines and coasted up to 98,560 feet
        and went over the top and then began to fall back to
        earth. At 70,000 feet, he restarted his engines and
        made a normal landing.

In 1960, the first flight of the Sikorski S-61L helicopter.

In 1961, Astronauts Alan B. Shepard, Jr., commander, U.S.
        Navy, and Virgil I. Grissom, captain, U.S. Air
        Force, were awarded the first astronaut wings
        (almost identical design of a shooting star imposed
        on the traditional pilot's badge) in a joint
        ceremony by their respective services.

In 1963, the first flight of the Piper PA-32 Cherokee Six.

                 December 7

               Pearl Harbor Day

R.W. Sears:  born December 7, 1863
        Worked as a rail station agent; in 1886,
        founded the RW Sears Watch Company in Minneapolis,
        MN; turned his mail order jewelry buisness into
        Sears Roebuck.

In 1916, Lieutenant Commander H. C. Mustin reported that an
        Eastman Aero camera, tested at NAS Pensacola at
        altitudes of 600 to 5,100 feet, was by far the best
        camera tested up to that time, and produced
        photographs very satisfactory for military

In 1917, fighter-type aircraft development was initiated
        with the Secretary's authorization for the Curtiss
        HA, or "Dunkirk Fighter." This single-pontoon
        seaplane was equipped with dual synchronized machine
        guns forward and dual flexible machine guns in the
        rear cockpit.

In 1918, Ensign L.K. Requa received is Naval Aviator Wings
        in Key West, Florida.

In 1921, in its annual report, the NACA recommended
        establishment of a Federal airways system to include
        provision of extended weather service "indespensable
        to the success and safety of air navigation." It
        also recommended that Government policy be
        formulated "to sustain and stabilize the
        aeronautical industry."

In 1927, "Lucky Lindy" and the Spirit returned to Bolling
        Field in preparation for his Goodwill Flight to
        Mexico. Unfortunately, his plane developed engine
        trouble and a specialist was quickly summoned from
        New York to assist the field's mechanics in the
        heated engineering hangar.

        The aviator, meanwhile, took up residence with Major
        Harey S. Burwell, Bolling Field Commander. Among
        Colonel Lindbergh's many activities that week in
        Washington, one in particular involved a long day on
        the field with members of Congress, their wives and
        friends. In two Fokker transport planes, he
        personally treated more than 1,000 of these
        distinguished passengers to sightseeing tours over
        the city. The motors of these two planes were kept
        running continuously; while one machine was up in
        the air, the other was loaded up with more VIPs
        ready for Colonel Lindbergh to take the controls.

        Even though rain the day before his take-off had
        left Bolling Field soggy, the weather did nothing to
        dampen the colonel's spirits.  According to the
        Washington Post, he actually managed to enjoy the
        rain-soaked conditions during one inspection of the
        field with Major Burwell and aviation designer
        Grover Loening. Wading through the puddles of water
        in his heavy rubber boots was great fun for Colonel
        Lindbergh, but not for the other gentlemen. Each
        time the colonel came to a deep puddle, he would
        skim his heavy boots over its surface and shower the
        two men.  "The major and Loening employed some fancy
        footwork, but could not escape the effects of the
        pranks of their honored guest," reported the Post.

        "Once, 'Lindy' found a nice, big rock. He picked it
        up and, winding up like a big league baseball
        player, heaved it into a nice, big puddle of water. 
        He seemed much amused at the funny motions the
        Major and Loening made in an effort to avoid the
        accompanying spray."

In 1941, Japanese carrier aircraft launched a devastating
        attack on ships at Pearl Harbor and on the military
        and air installations in the area. The three
        aircraft carriers of the Pacific Fleet were not
        present.  Saratoga, just out of overhaul, was moored
        at San Diego. Lexington was at sea about 425 miles
        southeast of Midway toward which she was headed to
        deliver a Marine Scout Bombing Squadron. Enterprise
        was also at sea about 200 miles west of Pearl
        Harbor, returning from Wake Island after delivering
        a Marine Fighter Squadron there.

        Her Scouting Squadron 6, launched early in the
        morning to land at Ewa Airfield, arrived during the
        attack and engaged enemy aircraft.

Some details of the forces:

        IJN Carriers (6): Akagi, Hiryu, Kaga, Shokaku, Soryu, Zuikaku

        The USAAC credited the following pilots with shootdowns:

        2nd Lt. Harry W. Brown (1 victory)
        2nd Lt. Phillip M. Rasmussen (1 victory)
        1st Lt. Lewis M. Sanders (1 victory)
        2nd Lt. Kenneth M. Taylor (2 victories)
        2nd Lt. George S. Welch (4 victories)

As of 7th of December 1941, there were 223 USAAC aircraft based in Hawaii. 
Aircraft: - Total - Destroyed - Damaged - Combat Ready

B-17D 12 4 4 4
B-18A 33 12 10 11
A-20A 12 2 5 5
P-40C 12 5 5 2
P-40B 87 37 25 25
P-36A 39 4 19 16
P-26 14 0 0 14

Totals: 223 - 64 - 82 - 77

In 1945, first flight of the prototype Cessna 190 was made
        by Chief Test Pilot Carl Winstead, who was later
        killed in a 190. It is true that production of
        the 190/195 series did not begin until 1947. The
        190/195 series was an "evolution" of the 1930's
        and wartime 1940s "Airmaster".

In 1945, New Zealand National Airways Corp is founded by
        combining Union Airways, Air Travel and Cook
        Strait Airways.
In 1955, the first flight of XC-123D aircraft with boundary
        -layer control system in partial operation.

In 1960, X-15 (No. 2) flown on final contractor's test
        flight by Scott Crossfield, making two midair engine
        shutdowns and restarts.

In 1967, J. Wiley 2nd Lt reports to Webb AFB, Tx for USAF
        undergraduate pilot training.

In 1972, Apollo 17 is launched carrying Eugene Cernan,
        Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt.  This crew would
        make the most recent moon landing. Amazing that it
        was 31 years ago.

In 1980, Pan Am's Boeing 747 China Clipper arrives in Peking
        from New York via Tokyo to complete the first official
        flight between China and the USA since shortly before

                 December 8

William Crapo Durant:  born December 8, 1861
        Born in Boston, Mass; raised in Flint, Mich;
        first job was working in a lumber yard; first
        company was Durant-Dort Carriage Co; in 1904
        became president of Buick; in 1908, he
        incorporated General Motors;

Elzie Segar:  born December 8, 1894
        Born in Chester, Illinois; created "Popeye" in
        1929 as part of his comic strip "Thimble Theater";
        it is thought that the word Jeep first came from
        a Popeye cartoon in 1936.

In 1903, Langley constructed a full size plane powered by an
        engine built by assistant Charles Manly. Manly
        tried to fly this plane carrying Langley as a
        passenger. Their plan involved catapulting the plane
        off the top of a houseboat on the Potomac River.

        Manly was in his early twenties when he designed
        and built this engine which was years ahead of its
        time and its performance was not equalled for a long

In 1919, the Aeronautical Engineering Society was organized
        at MIT.

Sammy Davis Jr.:  born December 8, 1925
        Born in Harlem, NYC; Entertainer; enlisted in the
        Army during WW-II and went through basic training
        eight times; lost his eye in an auto accident in 1954

In 1946, the first successful powered (RMI XLR-11 rocket
        engine) flight of an XS-1, XS-1 #2 (46-063), flown
        by Chalmers "Slick" Goodlin, Bell test pilot,
        reached a speed of 550 mph. This was first U.S.
        aircraft designed for supersonic speeds.

In 1948, a B-36 completed a 9,400 mile non-stop flight
        without refueling.

In 1955, an XJ-79-GE-3 turbojet engine first powered an
        aircraft, an XF4-D. This engine became the primary
        powerplant of the B-58 and F-104.

In 1961, the landing field at NAS Anacostia was closed at
        0500 hours, all approach procedures were terminated
        and air traffic facilities ceased operation. Thus
        ended the career of a station unique for the variety
        of its operations and services and, in terms of
        continuous operations, the fourth oldest in the U.S.

In 1965, the first delivery / service of the DC-9 (-10)

In 1975, the first production prototype of Sikorsky's
        three-engine, multi-mission CH-53E transport
        helicopter made its first flight at the company's
        Connecticut plant. The flight of about 30 minutes,
        consisted of low-altitude hovering and limited

In 1976, the first development F-16 had its first flight.
        Built by General Dynamics, it was powered by one P&W
        (25,000lb s.t.) F-100PW-100(3) turbofan. Wing Span
        was 31-ft, length 47.5 feet, MGTOW 33,000lbs, max
        level speed 575-mph. Armament (Internal) (1) GE
        M61A-1 multi-barrel cannon. Two wing tip &
        6 underwing hardpoints for bombs and/or missiles.
        Max weight for external stores 15,200lbs.

In 1995, Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan passed away at the age
        of 88. Best known for his 1939 flight from Floyd
        Bennett Field to Baldonnell Field in Dublin,

                December 9

Clarence Birdseye:  born December 9, 1886
        Developed a food freezing process for his company -

Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper:  born December 9, 1906
        Military computer pioneer, worked on the Univac I.

In 1915, NACA Report No. 1 was issued, a two-part "Report on
        Behavior of Aeroplanes in Gusts," by Jerome C.
        Hunsaker and E. B. Wilson of MIT.

In 1924, the Civil Aeronautics Act, proposing to establish a
        Bureau of Civil Aeronautics in the Department of
        Commerce, was reintroduced in Congress.

In 1931, Langley completed 9 days of operations off the New
        England coast in which the cold weather operating
        capabilities of carrier deck gear and carrier
        aircraft, and the effectiveness of protective flight
        clothing were given a practical test.

In 1932, "The Dentist", a short movie starring W.C. Fields,
        was released in theaters in the US.

In 1941, the Secretary of the Navy authorized the Bureau of
        Ships to contract with the RCA Manufacturing Company
        for a service test quantity of 25 sets of ASB
        airborne search radar. This radar had been developed
        by the Naval Research Laboratory (under the
        designation XAT) for installation in dive bombers
        and torpedo planes.

In 1945, the first Stratovision flight test made at Middle
        River, Md., by Westinghouse Electric Corp. and Glenn
        L. Martin Co. Telecasts were made from the airplane
        flying in the stratosphere.

Michael Dorn:  born December 9, 1952
        Actor; Worf on "Star Trek, Next Generation"

In 1954, the contract for CIA funding for the U-2 was
In 1960, the X-15 made first flight with ball-shaped "hot
        nose," reaching 50,000 feet and 1,254 mph, NASA's
        Neil Armstrong making his second familiarization

In 1987, TR-1A #1084 crashes at RAF Alconbury, UK; USAF
          Pilot: Stormy Boudreaux survives
In 1988, the first flight of the Saab JAS-39 Gripen.

                December 10

Matthias William Baldwin:  born December 10, 1795
        born in Elizabethtown (Elizabeth), NJ; began
        his career as a silversmith / jeweler; his
        first locomotive was tested in Nov 1832 on
        the Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown
        RR and was not a success; the second engine
        was tested in 1834 on the South Carolina RR
        and became the design for standard Baldwin
        engines; founded Baldwin Locomotive Works

Melvil Dewey:  born December 10, 1851
        Librarian, created the Dewey Decimal System in
        1876; one of the founders of the American
        Library Association; born in Adams Center,
        Jefferson County, NY

In 1919, Captains Ross Smith and Keith Smith become the
        first Australians to fly directly between Australia
        and Great Britain. They covered 11,340 miles in
        135 hours 55 minutes, averaging 83 mph.

In 1926, financed by the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the
        Promotion of Aeronautics, a conference of
        representatives of MIT, New York University,
        Stanford University, California Institute of
        Technology, University of Michigan, and University
        of Washington was held at NACA to interchange ideas
        on educational methods, coordinating research work,
        and developing special courses in aeronautical

Dan Blocker:  born December 10, 1928
        Actor; Hoss Cartwright on Bonanza; born in Bowie
        County, TX; weighed 14 pounds at birth; served
        in the armed services in Korea

In 1938, the first static test of James Wyld's
        regeneratively cooled rocket thrust chambers, which
        achieved 90-pound thrust.

In 1938, ARS tested R. C. Truax's rocket thrust chamber at
        New Rochelle, N.Y., which achieved 20-pound thrust
        before burning through.

In 1954, Col. John P. Stapp, a flight surgeon, sustained the
        greatest G-forces (25 Gs with peaks to 40 Gs) ever
        induced in deceleration tests which included a 632-
        mph, rocket-propelled sled run at Holloman AFB, N.M. 
        These tests were being conducted to determine if a
        person could survive ejection from a supersonic

In 1958, the first domestic jet airline passenger service,
        by National Airlines between New York and Miami. 
        National Airlines used a Boeing 707 (-120) leased
        from PAA.

In 1960, the 300-pound capsule of DISCOVERER XVIII caught at
        14,000 feet by USAF C-119 crew, after making 48
        polar orbits. Capsule contained human eye-lid tissue
        and blood and bone marrow to study effect of
        radiation in space. This was the second DISCOVERER
        capsule catch by C-119 crew headed by Capt. Gene
        Jones, while precision of the entire operation
        beginning with launch 3 days previous was considered
        the most successful to date.

In 1961, the first flight of the X-15 #3 (56-6672) with
        Armstrong as the pilot.

                   December 11

In 1914, radio messages were received by an Army airplane at
        a distance of 10 miles.

In 1917, Katherine Stinson flies 606 miles from San Diego to
        San Francisco, setting a new American non-stop
        distance record.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:  born December 11, 1918
        Novelist, historian; born in Rostov-on-Don, Russia;
        graduated with degrees in Mathematics and Physics;
        served 4 years in the Soviet military attaining the
        rank of Captain in the artillary; awarded the Nobel
        Prize in 1970

In 1944, Chourre was commissioned as the first aviation
        repair ship of the U.S. Navy, Captain A. H. Bergeson

In 1945, the first flight of the Lockheed Model 49 Constellation.
        Designed specifically for Transcontinental and Western
        Airlines (TWA) in 1939, the Lockheed Model 49
        "Constellation" (formerly "Excalibur A") was first
        flown in 1943 and almost immediately commandeered by
        the US Army Air Force for use as a VIP transport.
        When first flown as the USAAF C-69, the four engine,
        40 ton Connie was faster than the Japanese Zero

In 1947, the Air Material Command was directed to cancel the
        Boeing contract for the B-52, but a protest from
        Boeing chairman William M. Allen persuaded Secretary
        of the Air Force Stuart Symington to grant a stay of
        execution. Nevertheless, in January of 1948
        Symington informed Boeing that the existing proposal
        was not suitable, but that no final decision would
        be made until other possibilities (such as the
        Northrop YB-49 flying wing) had been explored.

In 1947, the first flight of the SO30P Bretagne. Built by
        Sud Oest Aviation, this aircraft had a pressurized

In 1959, Captain J. Kittinger (USAF) flew EXCELSIOR II
        balloon from Holloman AFB to an altitude of 74,700
        feet and bailed out, establishing stable free fall
        for 55,000 feet.

In 1959, a new world speed record for a 100-km closed course
        set by Brig. Gen. J. H. Moore (USAF) in F-105B, at
        1,216.48 mph.

In 1967, Boeing delivered the first 727-200.  Northeast put
        it into service three days later.

In 1967, in the presence of over 1,100 guests, the first
        prototype Concorde was ceremonially rolled out in
        Toulouse, France.

In 1969, the first flight of the YF-12A with Col. J. Rogers
        as pilot and Major G. Heidlebaugh as engineer.
In 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 makes the most recent moon
        landing. Local legend has it the last words spoken on
        the surface of the moon were:

        "Let's get this mother out of here."

In 1986, the first flight of the F-15E.

In 1995, Whitemanites welcomed back the B-2, Spirit of
        Georgia (89-0129) after its naming ceremony at
        Robins AFB, Ga. Meanwhile, the Spirit of California,
        piloted by Brig. Gen. Marcotte, escorted Georgia
        back to Whiteman thereby making Georgia's flight the
        509th B-2 sortie flown by the 509th Bomb Wing.

                 December 12

Henry Wells:  born December 12, 1805
        Born in Thetford, VT; opened a school for the
        treatment of speech defects; worked as a freight
        agent on the Erie Canal; in 1850, formed the
        American Express Company with William Fargo;
        Founded Wells Fargo in 1852; built the first
        commercial telegraph lines in the US;
        founded Wells College for Women

In 1915, an all-steel frame, fabric-covered combat plane
        successfully flown, one designed by Grover C.
        Loening and built by Sturtevant Aeroplane Co. It
        was the Junkers J.1.

In 1918, in a test to determine the feasibility of carrying
        fighter aircraft on dirigibles, the C-1 lifted an
        Army JN-4 in a wide spiral climb to 2,500 feet over
        Fort Tilden, N.Y., and at that height released it
        for a free flight back to base. The airship was
        piloted by Lieutenant George Crompton, Dirigible
        Officer at NAS Rockaway, and the plane by Lieutenant
        A. W. Redfield, USA, commanding the 52d Aero
        Squadron based at Mineola.

In 1920, the first flight of the Bleriot SPAD S.33

In 1929, Langley Medals were presented to Adm. Richard E.
        Byrd for his flights over both poles and
        posthumously to Charles M. Manly for his pioneer
        development of airplane engines.

In 1935, Lt. Hugh F. McCaffery (USA) and crew of five set
        an amphibian distance record of 1,033.2 miles
        from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Chapman Field, Miami,
        flying a modified Douglas C-29 Dolphin.
        Lt. Col. McCaffery, who lost his life in an airplane
        accident on the west coast a few days after the Nation
        went to  war, was raised in Chester, PA and was a
        graduate of local schools, of Pennsylvania Military
        College and of the Law School of Notre Dame University. 
        He was an all-round athlete, especially proficient in
        swimming having captained swimming teams at Notre Dame
        and at the Penn Athletic Club. He later qualified for
        the Olympics held at Amsterdam in Holland.

        Instead of entering law practice as his friends
        expected McCaffery joined the United States Army in 1930
        as Second Lieutenant. He received training for the Air
        Corps at Kelly Field and Mitchel Field, then was assigned
        as an instructor to the training grounds at Aberdeen, Md.
        Later he was transferred to Langley Field, Va. for two
        years, then to Hawaii, where he also spent two years.

        On December 12, 1941, a B-18 (36-306) took off from
        Phoenix, Arizona, on a flight to Hamilton Field, San Rafael,
        California.  The airplane was not scheduled to land at
        March Field, Riverside, CA; the destination on the report
        lists Hamilton Field.  The airplane crashed at the 11,000 foot
        level near a place called Thumb Lake (also known as Kidd Lake)
        at a time after 1955 Pacific Time.  The airplane's last
        transmission was made about two miles south of Palmdale, CA,
        at about 1955 Pacific Time.  The wreckage was found on
        May 7, 1942 by the co-pilot's father, who was conducting
        his own search. 
        Capt. James G. Leavitt, Pilot
        1Lt. Homer Burns, co-pilot
        SSgt. Stephen W. Hoffman, engineer
        Pvt. Samuel J. Van Hamm, radio operator
        Major General Herbert A. Dargue, passenger
        Lt. Col. Charles W. Bundy, passenger
        Lt. Col. George W. Rickey, passenger
        Maj. Hugh F. McCaffery, passenger

In 1941, the Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) was
        established under the Chief of Naval Operations to
        provide rapid air delivery of critical equipment,
        spare parts, and specialist personnel to naval
        activities and fleet forces all over the world.

In 1951, the Kaman K-225 helicopter, equipped with a Boeing
        YB-502 turbine engine, made its first flight at
        Windsor Locks, Conn. This Navy sponsored development
        was the first demonstration of the adaptability of
        gas-turbine engines to helicopters.

In 1951, Strategic Air Command aircraft and crews (B-29s,
        B-36s and B-50s) participated in the first Royal Air
        Force Bomber Command bombing competition. The SAC
        B-29 team placed first in the overall competition.

In 1953, Major Chuck Yeager flew a Bell X-1A, launched from
        a B-29, to Mach 2.44 (1,650 mph) at 75,000 feet at
        Edwards AFB, California. The plane experienced
        inertia coupling and fell 50,000 feet in a "sonic
        inverted spin" before Yeager could regain control.
        NACA wind tunnel testing had predicted this
        high-speed stability problem, and the flight testing
        had inadvertently verified the wind-tunnel data.

In 1958 (through December 16), SMALL WORLD balloon with four
        passengers failed in transatlantic attempt, lifting
        from Canary Islands and landing at sea northeast of

In 1971, Air Development Squadron Four reported on an
        extensive series of evaluations of the helmet
        mounted sight, of Visual Target Acquisition System,
        in the F-4 that had commenced in 1969. While the
        report cited a number of shortcomings, it concluded
        that the helmet sight was superior to operational
        equipment used by fighter pilots in air-to-air

In 1979, the development program for the LAMPS MK III SH-60B
        Seahawk helicopter reached a major milestone when
        the aircraft completed its first flight at the
        Sikorsky test facility in West Palm Beach, Florida.

In 1991, the F-18 HARV achieved the design point of 70
        degrees angle of attack with pilot Ed Schneider.

                   December 13

Alvin C. York:  born December 13, 1887
        born in a log cabin in Pall Mall, TN; raised as one
        of eleven children; worked as a day laborer on
        the railroad; was drafted into the Army in 1917 at
        the age of 29; completed basic training at Camp
        Gordon, GA; cited for heroism in Argonne; helped
        found the York Agricultural School in Jamestown,

In 1918, the first flight from England to India is made by
        A.S. MacLaren, Halley and McEwen in a Handley Page

In 1924, the NM-1, an all-metal airplane, was flown at the
        Naval Aircraft Factory. This aircraft was designed
        and built for the purpose of developing metal
        construction for naval airplanes and was intended
        for Marine Corps expeditionary use.

Dick Van Dyke:  born December 13, 1925
        Actor; born in West Plains, Missouri (Porter Waggoner's
        hometown); served in the USAAF during WW-II and did
        a radio program called "Flight Time"

In 1926, Rear Admiral J. M. Reeves, commanding Aircraft
        Squadrons, Battle Fleet, reported on the results of
        the first dive bombing exercise ("light bombing," as
        it was then called) to be conducted in the formal
        fleet gunnery competition. The Marine and Navy
        fighters made 45 degree dives from 2,500 feet and at
        an altitude of 400 feet, dropped 25 pound
        fragmentation bombs; observation squadrons similarly
        attacked from 1,000 feet. Pilots of VF-2, commanded
        by Lieutenant Commander F. D. Wagner and flying
        F6C's and FB-5's, scored 19 hits with 45 bombs on a
        target 100 feet by 45 feet.

In 1927, Lindbergh left Bolling Field to begin his Goodwill
        Flight to Mexico. "Rains that fell before my day of
        departure left numerous shallow pools half hidden by
        the grass," Colonel Lindbergh wrote in his
        Autobiogaphy of Values. "Those pools, pushing
        against tires and splashing against wings, fuselage
        and tail, would lengthen my take-off run
        considerably. The field's length was not great. Even
        though my plane carried a lighter fuel load than for
        its Paris flight, I wondered whether the elements of
        runway, weight and power would let me climb fast

        The morning of December 13, I walked back and forth
        over the section of Bolling that the wind decided I
        must use, kicking my heels into sod to test its
        firmness, hunting for a path between most of the
        pools, deciding on the last point at which I would
        either cut the throttle or commit myself to take

        After final inspection of his plane, Colonel
        Lindbergh thanked Major Burwell for his "100 percent
        cooperation," then left a message of gratitude for
        Bolling mechanic SSgt. Roy Hooe and his crew for
        their top-quality care of the Spirit of St. Louis

        The colonel then signaled for removal of the wheel
        blocks. Several of the field officers braced
        themselves against the struts of the Spirit of St.
        Louis and pushed. Wings wobbling, the plane lumbered
        along the field, past the white flag markers
        personally set by the colonel to indicate the point
        at which take-off would become dangerously close to
        impossible. The crowd watched anxiously as the plane
        lifted and dropped, then lifted and dropped again
        amidst cries of "He'll never make it!"
        Undaunted, Colonel Lindbergh managed the plane
        skillfully, and at 12:29 p.m. lifted off the ground
        just seconds before reaching the end of the runway
        and soared off over the Potomac. Major Burwell,
        whose tense anxiety was greater than that of any
        other, said, "My God, that boy has the stuff!"

In 1934, Helen Ritchey was the first documented and verified
        female pilot to be hired to fly as a pilot of a
        commercial scheduled passenger carrier when the U.S.
        carrier, Central Airlines, hired her. The pilots
        wouldn't allow her to join the all-male pilot union
        so she was forced to resign in October of 1935.

In 1944, in an AAF-NACA conference, Air Force
        representatives indicated strong preference for use
        of rocket engines instead of jets in X-1 research
        airplane project.

In 1960, a North American A3J Vigilante piloted by Commander
        Leroy A. Heath and with Lieutenant Henry L. Monroe
        as bombardier-navigator, climbed to 91,450 feet over
        Edwards Air Force Base while carrying a payload of
        1,000 kilograms. This performance established a new
        world altitude record with payload and surpassed the
        existing record by over 4 miles.

In 1960, Palaemon, a 180-foot barge built to transport the
        Saturn launch vehicle from MSFC to Cape Canaveral by
        water, was formally accepted by MSFC Director from
        Maj. Gen. Frank S. Besson, Chief of Army

In 1973, the YF-16 was completed.

In 1985, the X-29 became the first forward-swept-wing
        airplane in the world to exceed Mach 1 in level
        flight, and flight results showed that a highly
        unstable aircraft with forward-swept wings could be
        flown safely with excellent maneuverability and high
        G-loads. It could also be flown with good control
        response up to about 40 degree angle of attack. The
        flight research also added to engineers'
        understanding of advanced composites, used
        increasingly in aircraft construction, and of
        digital flight-control systems. The X-29 was a joint
        program involving the Defense Advanced Research
        Projects Agency, the Air Force, NASA, Grumman, and
        other contractors.

                    December 14

Michel de Notredame:  born December 14, 1503
        aka Nostradamus; Physician and astronomer;
        known for his predictions.

General James H. Doolittle:  born December 14, 1896
        Gen. Doolittle first came to MIT in the fall of 1923
        as an Army lieutenant, under a special program, to
        study "advanced aeronautical engineering," the first
        such university course in the country. When he received
        the Master of Science and Doctor of Aeronautical
        Engineering degrees in June of 1925, there were not 100
        men in the world who held comparable advanced degrees.
        His doctoral dissertation was, "Wind Velocity Gradient and
        Its Effect on Flying Characteristics."

        He was the first to fly across the US in less than 24
        hours in 1922; attempted the first outside loop in 1927;
        won the Schneider Trophy Race, Bendix Trophy Race and the
        Thompson Trophy Race; 30 Seconds Over Tokyo commemorates
        the flight of 16 B-25's that departed the USS Hornet for
        action in Japan in 1942 in which he participated - he was
        commander of the Tokyo Raid on 18 April 42 with the rank
        of LtCol.

In 1903, Wilbur Wright makes his first powered airplane
        flight of 105 feet in 3.5 seconds.  Since he crashed
        soon after takeoff, it was not regarded as sustained
        or controlled flight.

In 1924, a powder catapult was successfully demonstrated in
        the launching of a Martin MO-1 observation plane
        from the forward turret of the battleship
        Mississippi (BB 41) at Bremerton, Wash. The aircraft
        was piloted by Lieutenant L. C. Hayden with
        Lieutenant W. M. Fellers as passenger. Following
        this demonstration, the powder catapult was widely
        used on battleships and cruisers.

In 1927, Major General J.E. Fechet became Chief of the Air
        Corps. In 1917 was Commanding Officer of the Signal
        Corps Flying School at Belleville, Illinois and
        Arcadia, Florida; as Chief of the Air Service, he
        established Randolph Field in Texas; bio says he
        encouraged work on the first experimental monoplane
        bomber which led to the development of the
        Boeing B-9 and the Martin B-10.

In 1928, fourteen fighting-plane radio telephone sets,
        operating on a frequency of 3,000 to 4,000
        kilocycles and featuring an engine driven generator,
        were shipped to VB-2B Squadron aboard the Saratoga
        for service tests. This equipment had been designed
        at NAS Anacostia and manufactured at the Washington
        Navy Yard in order to provide early evaluation of
        radio equipment in single-seat aircraft.

In 1934, reinflation of the rigid airship Los Angeles (ZR-3)
        was completed, and she became airborne in the hangar
        at NAS Lakehurst after nearly three years of
        decommissioned status. Although not flown again, she
        continued in use as a test and experimental ship for
        another five years and, after having served that
        purpose, was stricken from the inventory on
        October 29, 1939. Dismantling was completed in
        7 weeks.

In 1945, AAF contracted with Bell for development of three
        supersonic flight research aircraft, powered by
        liquid rockets. Designated XS-2, and later X-2.

In 1950, Olive Ann Beech elected president of Beech
        Aircraft Corporation. 

In 1953, Sandy Koufax signed his first major league baseball
        contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In 1959, Lockheed F-104C piloted by Capt. J. B. Jordan
        (USAF) climbed to new world's record for jet
        aircraft of 103,389 feet.

In 1960, a USAF B-52G completed 10,000-mile nonstop flight
        without refueling in 19 hours and 45 minutes, at
        Edwards AFB, which broke world and jet distance
        records over a closed course without refueling.

In 1961, installation of the Pilot Landing Aid Television
         system (PLAT) was completed on Coral Sea, the first
        carrier to have the system installed for operational
        use. Designed to provide a video tape of every
        landing, the system was useful for instructional
        purposes and in the analysis of landing accidents
        making it a valuable tool in the promotion of
        safety. By early 1963, all attack carriers had been
        equipped with PLAT and plans were underway for its
        installation in antisubmarine carriers and at shore

In 1966, the first in-flight refueling of an HH-3 helicopter
        by an HC-130 tanker.

In 1984, the X-29 made its first flight from Edwards AFB,

In 1989, the Military Airlift Command approved a policy
        change to allow female aircrew members to serve on
        C-130 and C-141 airdrop missions.

                 December 15

In 1791, the Bill of Rights was put into effect.  These
         consisted of the first 10 amendments to the
         US Constitution; they were proposed by Congress
         on Sept 25, 1789.

Gustave Eiffel:  born December 15, 1832
        born in Dijon, France; Civil engineer, in
        addition to designing the Eiffel Tower, he designed
        the internal structure for the Statue of Liberty;
        also designed the Garabit Viaduct over the
        Truyere River in France, the highest bridge
        in the world at that time.

J. Paul Getty:  born December 15, 1892
        born in Minneapolis, MN; Founded Getty
        Gasoline Corp.

In 1900, Kungliga Svenska Aeroklubben (KSAK, the Royal
        Swedish Aero Club) or rather its predessor, SAS,
        abbreviation for Svenska Aeronautiska Sellskapet
        (the Swedish Aeronautical Society), was founded, as
        one of the first associations in the world. This was
        before the Royal Aero Club of London, but after the
        Aero-Club de France that dates back to 1898.  The
        first SAS chairman was Nils Ekholm, and the
        secretary was K A Amundson, also known as KABA.

Captain John Miller: born December 15, 1905
        Saw Glenn Curtiss fly on May 19, 1910; was stuck
        on aviation ever since. First flight was 5 minutes as
        a passenger in 1923.  Later repaired that airplane by
        replacing all fabric and overhauling the engine, all by
        himself just using the knowledge he had obtained from
        books.  He was 17 at the time.
        First soloed on his 18th birthday, 12/15/23.  He literally
        taught himself to fly that day. On his third solo, on the
        same day as his first, he became a commercial pilot when
        he charged a farmer $1.50 for a flight over Poughkeepsie, NY.
        Saw Charles Lindbergh depart on his famous trans-Atlantic
        flight. During (approximately) 1929-1932 he did extensive
        barnstorming throughout the U.S.  He has been described
        as the most financially successful barnstormer, ever.

        In 1931 he purchased the first U.S.-produced rotary-wing
        aircraft, a Pitcairn PCA-2 autogiro, for $15,000.

        Among his many first:
        First to fly a rotary-wing aircraft from coast-to-coast,
        First to loop a rotary-wing aircraft.
        First to land an aircraft on the roof of a building. 
        In a regularly scheduled airline service, he flew an
        autogiro between the roof of the Philadelphia Post Office
        and the Camden, NJ, airport.
        Was a test pilot during World War II and tested hundreds
        of amphibians. His log books show he has flown three of
        the airplanes on exhibit at the National Air & Space
        Museum, Washington, DC.
        Flew Boeing 247Ds for United Air Lines. Flew 22,000
        hours in DC-2, DC-3, DC-4, DC-7, Constellation, Lockheed
        Electra, and DC-8 aircraft for Eastern Airlines.  He
        retired from Eastern Airlines in 1965. Had more than
        35,000 hours as a pilot. He was a CFII, A&P, flew 
        coast-to-coast, solo. He owned a Beech Baron 56 TC,
        and a Beechcraft Bonanza 35, both were based at
        Poughkeepsie, NY, where he lived his entire life.

        He was President of the United Flying Octogenarians - UFOs.
        He was the featured cover article in the October 1984
        AOPA Pilot. His business card said, "From Jennys to
        Jets."  He claimed, "Aviation is a youth preservative . .
        if you live through it."

In 1917, U.S. Navy airplane design placed under Lt.
        Commander W. Starling Burgess, Bureau of
        Construction and Repair.

Tim Conway:  born December 15, 1933
        born in Willoughby, Ohio; did a tour of duty
        in the US Army; Actor; Comedian; "Dorf"

In 1934, the Secretary of the Navy approved acceptance of
        the XO3C-1, a single-engine biplane observation
        seaplane; subsequently converted to the XSOC-1.
        Aircraft of this type were operated from battleships
        and cruisers from late 1935 and during World War II.
        When accepted for service it was desiganted as the
        SOC-1 or... Curtiss "Seagull".

In 1939, "Gone With the Wind" opened at the Loew's Grand
        Theater in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1955, first powered flight of the Bell X-1E, Joseph A.
        Walker, NACA test pilot, at Edwards AFB (after
        preliminary glide flight by Walker on December 12).

In 1959, Convair F-106A broke straightaway course record at
        1,525.95 mph, piloted by Maj. J. W. Rogers (USAF).

In 1969, the first C-5 was delivered to the Military Airlift

                    December 16

In 1773, the Boston Tea Party. A group of Colonists, disguised
        as Mohawk Indians dumped 342 chests of tea into
        Boston Harbor.

In 1907, the Chief Signal Corps officer called for bids on a
        lighter than air airship.

Josephine "Fifi" O'Connor Agather: born December 16, 1919
        She was born in Garden City, New York to Judge
        Eugene F. O'Connor and Merrilee D. O'Connor. She
        attended St. Mary's School and Sarah Lawrence College.
        She was married in 1940 and moved to Washington D.C.
        where her husband was stationed. After WWII she and
        Victor moved back to Garden City and gave birth to their
        first daughter Merrilee. Shortly after she and Victor
        moved to Mexico City where they remained for forty eight
        years where Anne, Neils, and John were born and raised.
        She spent the last thirteen years in San Antonio. She led
        a long life, rich in experiences which included meeting
        Charles Lindbergh at the Spirit of St. Louis the night
        before his flight to Paris, the Beatles following their
        appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, and the Apollo 11
        astronauts six weeks after their walk on the moon. She
        was extremely well read, and known for her wit, sharp
        intellect, and sense of fairness.

        The last airworthy B-29 Superfortress is named "FIFI" in
        honor of her.

        A 1996 note from Randy: "Any mention of Col. Agather would not
        be complete without mentioning in the same breath his long
        suffering wife and partner, Fifi.  These two people made
        this project successful.  When I first brought this airplane
        home we had painted Confederate Air Force on its fuselage
        sides, just in case it would be a one-time effort.  We had
        no idea if we would ever be permitted to fly it again since
        the USAF was attaching insurance requirements on it that would
        make our operation impossible. 

        After Col. Agather's personal appeal to Senator Goldwater
        this matter was forcefully resolved and we were successful
        in removing the military imposed no-fly clause.  The
        airplane was finally available for nationwide historical
        tours.  At that point we were faced with what paint
        scheme it should wear in honor of our nation's veterans. 
        When the CAF was first organized our machines were painted
        red, white and blue.  In the late sixties we decided we
        could more adequately teach history and honor our veterans
        if all of our historical artifacts were painted in
        representative, but generic, military paint jobs.  To this
        end we finally decided that we would use the black A square
        tail for Agather in honor of the leadership, drive and
        personal commitment that enabled this dream to be finalized.

        Further, the machine would bear the name "Fifi" in Mrs.
        Agather's honor.  Both she and the airplane represent the
        epitome of class and are synonymous with lady in the CAF. 
        Today both Vic and Fifi, although not in the best of health,
        continue to maintain a vital interest in "Fifi" and the
        CAF as well as a concern for the well being of all the

In 1921, Wright, a seaplane tender and balloon carrier, was
        commissioned the AZ-1 at New York, with Captain A.
        W. Johnson in command.

In 1938, the K-2 airship was delivered to the NAS Lakehurst
        for trials. This was the prototype for the World War
        II K Class patrol airships, of which 135 were

In 1938, the first successful test of NACA high-speed
        motion-picture camera developed by C. D. Miller,
        conducted at Langley Laboratory, later used
        extensively in photographic analysis of combustion
        and operated up to rates of 40,000 photographs
        per second.

In 1941, Lt. Boyd "Buzz" Wagner becomes the first American
        USAAF Ace of WW-II by getting his fifth victory over
        the Philippines.

        Wagner, then a 1/Lt, operated out of Nichols Field (Manila)
        and was the CO of the 17th Pursuit Squadron. He got four
        kills (all fighters) on 12 December 41 .. then his 5th victory
       (a Nate) on 16 December 41. The 17th PS operated the P-40E. He
       returned to the "States" in mid-1942 and was killed in a flying
       accident 25-miles north of Eglin Field, Flordia while test
       flying a P-40K-15 - Serial 42-10271. He was then a LtCol with
       a total of 8 combat victories. His last three victories (A6M2's)
       were in the vicinity of Salamaua on 30 April 42; he was flying a
       P-39D with the 5th FC at the time.

In 1946, R.A. "Bob" Hoover piloted the #2 X-1 aircraft on
        the first NACA powered flight to a speed of Mach
        0.84. On March 10, 1948, Hoover would become the
        first civilian pilot to break the sound barrier,
        achieving a speed of Mach 1.065.
In 1948, first flight of tailless X-4 (No. 1) research
        airplane completed, Northrop test pilot Charles
        Tucker as pilot. Two X-4's were built by Northrop
        and some 60 research flights were made by NACA at
        Muroc with the X-4 (No. 2) after about a dozen Air
        Force flights.

In 1951, Navy Kaman K-225, modified as the first
        turboshaft powered helicopter, successfully
        completed flight test. The helicopter was modified
        as the first turboshaft helicopter with installation
        of a Boeing 502 engine.

In 1952, the Tactical Air Command activated the first Air
        Force helicopter squadron, the 644th Troop Carrier
        Squadron (Assault Rotary Wing), Sewart AFB, Tenn.

In 1955, U-2A #6678 delivered
In 1958, MATS C-133 Cargomaster lifted 117,900 pounds of
        cargo to 10,000 feet, a weight-lifting record, at
        Dover AFB, Del.

In 1965, Wasp recovered Captain Walter M. Schirra and Major
        Thomas P. Stafford, USAF, in their Gemini 6A
        spacecraft 1 hour after their landing in the western
        Atlantic about 300 miles north of Puerto Rico. The
        astronauts had completed a 1-day flight during which
        they made rendezvous with Gemini 7 and kept station
        with it for three and one-half orbits.

                 December 17

Ludwig van Beethoven:  born December 17, 1770
        Composer; born in Bonn, Germany; lived in Vienna;
        it was planned that he would study under Mozart but
        Mozart died before it could happen;  instead, he
        studied under Joseph Haydn

        He did get to meet Mozart at age 14...the encounter
        is portrayed in the movie Amadeus, very subtly and
        with no explication, as an esoteric treat for
        music lovers. It takes place at the party where Mozart
        is playing a piano while lying drunk under it. The
        camera shows a group of kids on the periphery giggling
        at the spectacle, then does a brief closeup of one boy
        staring with a look of hero worship. That's Beethoven.

In 1903, the first sustained, controlled powered flight by
        the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. 
        Two (2) flights for Orville and two (2) flights
        for Wilbur (they alternated) were recorded. It
        was Wilbur that made the last and longest flight
        of 852 feet in 59 seconds.

In 1913, Captain Mark L. Bristol reported to the Navy
        Department for special duty as officer in charge of
        aviation, thereby relieving Captain W. I. Chambers
        of that duty.

In 1925, pioneer Col. William Mitchell found guilty by Army
        General Court-Martial of violating the 96th Article
        of War (conduct of a nature to bring discredit on
        the military service) as is sentenced to a five year
        suspension of rank, pay and command.

In 1928, international pilgrimage made to Kitty Hawk, N.C.,
        to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first
        airplane flight.

In 1930, German Army Ordnance Office, after reviewing work
        of Goddard and others, decided to establish rocket
        program and to equip artillery proving ground at
        Kummersdorff to develop military missiles.

        At that time, Goddard had barely managed to scrape
        together $100K in private investment (with Charles
        Lindbergh's help), and ran his project in a vacuum;
        he was averse to sharing his data with anybody, and
        the Army wasn't interested enough to press him.
        Meanwhile the Germans were watching him, actively spying
        on him, and spending a boatload of money building on
        what they saw.

In 1935, the first flight of the Douglas DC-3, DST (Douglas
        Sleeper Transport).

        The DC-3 was an outgrowth of the DC-2, which first flew
        in 1934 for Transcontinental and Western Airlines (TWA).
        American Airlines, a competitor of TWA, had longer routes
        and needed a plane where passengers could stretch out and
        sleep. It had been using the Curtiss Condor because it
        was large enough for sleeping berths, but it was slow. The
        DC-2 was faster but it was too narrow for berths.

        During the summer of 1934, American decided that it needed
        a plane that could fly non-stop between New York and Chicago
        with both the roominess of the Condor and also the DC-2's
        performance. It approached Douglas about providing a plane
        to meet these requirements.

        This new plane would appear in two versions: a 14-berth
        sleeper version, the Douglas Sleeper Transport (DST), and
        a day version, called the DC-3. The DST, initially called a
        "wide-body DC-2", was wider and longer and had more powerful
        engines than the DC-2. Its modified tail gave the plane better
        directional stability and reduced the tendency to fishtail
        found in the DC-2. Its original design used 85 percent of the
        parts used on the DC-2. Douglas realized, however, that
        reliance on the DC-2 limited use of the new plane in a wide
        variety of roles and the plane was substantially redesigned.
        Thus, the DC-3 would use only 15 percent of the parts and
        components from the DC-2.

        Interestingly, Douglas built this new plane because American
        had come to Douglas, which was known for its outstanding
        engineering skill, with a requirement. Some say that this
        approach of designing aircraft only in response to a
        customer's requirements rather than by anticipating the
        airliner market indicated poor marketing skills and would
        eventually lead to the demise of the company. But the
        practice was common, and Douglas designed the DC-2 to
        meet TWA's requirements, the DC-3 in response to
        American's, and would continue this pattern with later

        Construction began in December 1934, before a firm
        contract had even been written. On July 8, 1935,
        American's president confirmed the initial order of
        10 Douglas Sleeper Transports at a cost of $79,500 each.
        The first DST debuted on December 17, 1935, exactly 32
        years after the first flight of the Wright brothers.

        After testing and completing all certification
        requirements, it received the first of eight U.S.
        Approved Type Certificates on May 21, 1936. It began
        scheduled service with American on June 25, 1936.   
        Service with the DC-3 began in September 1936.  

In 1936, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy made their debut
        on the Rudy Vallee Show.

In 1937, the XPTBH-2, a twin-float seaplane designed by Hall
        Aluminum Aircraft Company, Inc. for patrol and
        torpedo attack, was accepted by the Navy. This was
        the last twinfloat torpedo plane developed for the

In 1938, Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, National Bureau of Standards,
        delivered second Wright Brothers Lecture at Columbia

In 1941, the Naval Research Laboratory reported that flight
        tests in a PBY of radar utilizing a duplexing
        antenna switch had been conducted with satisfactory
        results. The duplexing switch made it possible to
        use a single antenna for both transmission of the
        radar pulse and reception of its echo; thereby, the
        necessity for cumbersome "yagi" antenna no longer
        existed, a factor which contributed substantially to
        the reliability, and hence the effectiveness, of
        World War II airborne radar.

In 1941, seventeen SB2U-3 Vindicators of VMSB-231, led by a
        PBY of Patrol Wing 1, arrived at Midway Island from
        Oahu, completing the longest mass flight by single-
        engine aircraft then on record in 9 hours, 45
        minutes. It was the same squadron that was en route
        to Midway on 7 December aboard Lexington when
        reports of the attack on Pearl Harbor forced the
        carrier to turn back short of her goal.

In 1947, USAF Boeing XB-47 Stratojet made first flight from
        Seattle to Moses Lake, first medium turbojet bomber
        and the first with engines (six) mounted on pylons.
        This was Boeing Model 450 with Bob Robbins - AC,
        Scott Ostler - C/P. 

        <<<Bob commented that he had an fire warning (#5, 
           we *think*) and got it stopped, then first
           flight.  No JATO on takeoff.  Scott was later
           killed testing, they can read Bob's "Profile"
           at >>>
           Thanks Randy

In 1948, the 45th anniversary of powered flight is
        commemorated by the relocation of the original Wright
        Flyer to the Smithsonian Institution.

In 1956, the WF-2 Tracer, a carrier early warning plane
        adapted from the TF-1 design, made its first flight
        at the Grumman plant, Peconic River, Long Island.
        Takeoff climb and land at 95, Cruise at 105. Max
        rate of climb on a hot day (30 C) with one feathered
        and the gear up was about -100 fpm. That's with two
        R1820's putting out some 3000 hp at takeoff.

In 1958, Project Mercury announced as name of U.S. man-in
        -space program by NASA.

In 1963, the first flight of the C-141A Starlifter jet cargo
        transport, Dobbins AFB, Ga.

In 1964, Commander T. G. Ellyson, Naval Aviator No. 1, was
        enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame at
        Dayton, Ohio--first naval officer to be so honored.

In 1968, the last research flight of the XB-70 was flown by
        Fitz Fulton and Air Force Lt. Col. Ted Sturmthal,
        reaching mach 2.53.

In 1969, the C-5 Galaxy entered operational service with the
        Military Airlift Command.

In 1969, the secretary of the Air Force announced the
        termination of Project Blue Book, the Air Force
        program for the investigation of unidentified flying

In 1969, Vicki Budinger married Tiny Tim

In 1979, the first two-seater F/A-18 Hornet arrived at NATC
        Patuxent River for armament and stores separation
        testing. During 1979 NATC had conducted 416 flights
        in the F/A-18 for a total of 555 hours testing the
        new fighter/attack plane. On 12 December NATC
        completed a successful live firing of a Sidewinder
        missile from the F/A-18.

In 1993, amid much fanfare, the wing's first B-2, tail
        #80329, arrived at Whiteman shortly after 2 p.m.
        Piloted by Gen. John Michael Loh, ACC Commander, and
        Lt. Col. John Bellanger, the aircraft flew from
        Edwards AFB, Calif., to Whiteman. The aircraft was
        summarily dubbed the Spirit of Missouri.

In 1996, the wing's thirteenth B-2 was named The Spirit of
        Kitty Hawk during ceremonies at Seymour Johnson AFB,

In 2003, Rutan's SpaceShipOne fired its rocket for the first
        time and reached 68,000 feet and Mach 1.2 today. The
        flight was conducted at Edwards AFB.

        Rutan's craft is one of only a few non-government
        developed aircraft to exceed Mach 1.

In 2003, more than a hundred airplanes with Hungarian markings
        flew in beautiful sunshine over the important milestone
        places in Hungarian aviation. The formation was somewhat
        "loose" but the experience was unforgettable. I (an old
        WWII vet of the Puma Squadron, George Punka)flew in the
        "D" group's Li-2 (a Russian DC-3) in company of news

        Behind us on both sides were two L-410, some
        Cessnas, Pipers, from the faster family or airplanes, and
        of course Peter Bessenyei with the Extra (P.B. was
        aerobatic world champion several times). Peter had a
        photog in the front office, flew up our armpits for the
        pixs on the left and right, for the better lighting
        conditions of the pixs. When he saw the lenses in our
        windows, he went "knife-edge" and posed for some photos
        for us.

        Above Ferihegy (BUD) airport three Albatrosses (L-39)
        joined us from Kecskemet NATO base, who were on
        "reconnaisance mission" and who "fumbled" into our
        flightpath. It was cold outside, the wind hit 5-7 but
        everything was simply wonderful.

        Then we landed - one more squadron flew low across
        Budaers (sp?) with the two L-410's in pursuit, then only
        one task remained: open the bubbly! It was a great

                  December 18

In 1909, Defries Colin, in Sydney's Victoria Racecourse,
        flew 300 yards at 2 to 15 feet uncertainly. His hat
        blew off and he reached out to grab it and forced
        landed with some damage. This was not considered
        controlled flight however. Fred Custance did it
        better on 17 March, 1910.

In 1912, French aviator Rolland Garros flies his Bleriot
        monoplane from North Africa to Europe.

Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr.:  born December 18, 1912
        Born in Washington, he became the first black
        US Air Force General.

        Davis was the son of an Army cavalry officer. At
        age 14, following a flight with a barnstorming
        pilot at Bolling Field, he decided he wanted to fly.

        In 1932 he enrolled at West Point. He received his
        diploma and commission in 1936, the fourth black cadet
        to graduate, ranking 35th in a class of 276.

        He was assigned to the infantry as the commander of a
        segregated service company at Fort Benning, Ga. Two years
        later, he became an ROTC instructor at the all-black
        Tuskegee Institute of Alabama. He served briefly at
        Fort Riley, Kan., as aide to his father, Brig. Gen.
        Benjamin O. Davis Sr., the first black to earn a
        general's star.

        When President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the creation
        of a flight training program for blacks at Tuskegee,
        then-Capt. Davis was selected to lead the first class
        of 13 student pilots -- thereby becoming the first
        Tuskegee Airman.

        Davis and the four others who graduated March 7, 1942,
        from Tuskegee's first class, formed the nucleus of the
        99th Pursuit Squadron. With Davis in command, the 99th
        completed its combat training, then waited until the
        spring of 1943 before a warfighting command would
        accept the unit. The 99th flew its first combat
        mission June 2, 1943, with then-Lt. Col. Davis in the
        cockpit of the lead P-40 Warhawk.

        Promoted to colonel, Davis returned to the United States
        to form and take command of the 332nd Fighter Group.
        The 332nd, which ultimately consisted of the 99th,
        100th, 301st and 302nd squadrons, became known as
        the "Red Tails" and achieved a combat record unmatched
        in World War II -- no Allied bombers under their
        protection were downed by enemy fighters.

        By war's end, the 332nd was credited with 111 downed
        enemy aircraft, another 150 destroyed on the ground,
        600 boxcars and other rolling stock destroyed or
        disabled, and a German navy destroyer and 40 other
        boats and barges sunk.

        Lt. Gen. Ira Eaker, deputy commanding general of the
        Army Air Forces, selected Davis to command the 447th
        Medium Bombardment Group as it prepared for action
        against the Japanese. Shortly after Davis took
        command, the 447th became a composite group, as two
        of its B-25 Mitchell squadrons disbanded and were
        replaced by fighter squadrons.

        In the years following, Davis ultimately rose to the
        rank of lieutenant general, retiring from active duty
        Feb. 1, 1970.  Following his military retirement,
        Davis served as safety director for Cleveland,
        commanding the city's police and fire departments. He
        later became director of civil aviation security and
        was named by President Richard Nixon as assistant
        secretary of transportation.

        President Bill Clinton and Elnora Davis McLendon
        pinned a fourth star on the epaulets of retired
        Gen. Benjamin O. Davis during a White House ceremony
        Dec. 9, 1998.

In 1912, Lieutenant J. H. Towers reported completion of a
        series of tests beginning 26 October, to determine
        the ability to spot submarines from the air. He gave
        general conclusions that the best altitude for
        observation was at about 800 feet; that submarines
        could be detected when running a few feet below the
        surface, but that the waters of Chesapeake Bay were
        too muddy for a fair test; and suggested that
        additional trials be held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In 1922, Dr. George de Bothezat flew a four rotor helicopter
        to a height of six feet for a distance of some 500
        ft. - downwind.  Later flights were to altitudes as
        high as 20 ft.  Unlike previous models, it had
        sufficient horsepower and once flew with four
        assistants hanging from the outriggers. The real
        contribution of this model was that it was the first
        to have variable pitch rotors.  Control was obtained
        by varying the pitch of each of the four rotors.

        The DeBothezat helicopter was built by the
        Engineering Division of the Air Service at McCook

In 1923, Christmas aileron patent claim was settled when
        U.S. Government bought the patent rights for

In 1925, competitive trials of Consolidated, Curtiss and
        Huff Daland aircraft, designed as land, sea gunnery
        and training planes were completed at NAS Anacostia.
        These trials led to the procurement of the
        Consolidated NY series of training planes which
        continued in use into the 1930's.

        The Huff Daland aircraft was Delta's first "puffer".
        One hangs in their musuem near the DC-3, N-28341.

In 1943, the Chief of Naval Operations directed that,
        effective 1 January 1944, a helicopter pilot
        training program be conducted by the U.S. Coast
        Guard at Floyd Bennett Field, under the direction of
        the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air).

In 1955 the Beech Model 73A, Jet Mentor, was first flown by
        T. G. Gillespie.  It was Beech's first jet. 

In 1957, the first full-scale production of electricity for
        commercial use by civilian nuclear power station, at
        Shippingport, Pa.

In 1961, the USAF awarded an additional $52 million contract
        to North American Aviation for development of a
        prototype B-70 bomber, bringing to $267 million the
        amount allocated for the B-70.

In 1961, DOD summary statement on the X-15 program stated
        that to that date there had been 45 flights of the
        X-15, with planned performance achieved on 42 and
        the prime research objectives achieved on 40. The
        98-percent launch success record of the X-15 was
        attributed to (1) use of alternate modes for
        subsystems and (2) the presence of a pilot to detect
        malfunctions in subsystems. This compared to a
        43-percent launch record for an unmanned missile
        with no alternate modes in subsystems.

In 1965, helicopters of HS-11 recovered Lieutenant Colonel
        Frank Borman, USAF, and Commander James A. Lovell,
        in the western Atlantic about 250 miles north of
        Grand Turk Island and delivered them to Wasp. During
        their 14-day flight in Gemini 7, the astronauts
        carried out many experiments in space, including
        station keeping with Gemini 6A, and established a
        new duration record for manned space flight.

In 1970, the Airbus Industrie consortium was formally

In 1989, a self repairing flight control system is
        demonstrated for the first time on the F-15 HiDEC
        (Highly Integrated Digital Electronic Control)
        research aircraft with Jim Smolka the pilot.  The
        system identifies control surface failures or
        damage, then automatically repositions other control
        surfaces to allow the pilot to continue the mission
        or land safely.

                 December 19

In 1908, the first aerodrome, Port Aviation, is opened 12
        miles outside of Paris.

In 1912, President Taft, acting on a recommendation made by
        the Secretary of the Navy, created a "Commission on
        Aerodynamical Laboratory" to determine the need for
        and a method of establishing such a laboratory.

Jack O. Bennett: born December 19, 1914
        An American civilian pilot who became a hero of the
        Berlin Airlift; He was credited with making the
        airlift's first flight, with a load of potatoes.

        Born in Edensburg, PA, started flying at age 14 and
        was a guest student at the Technical University in
        Berlin before the war. After the war he returned to
        Germany and worked in Frankfurt for American Overseas

        Bennett flew the first trip in a DC-4.  The Allies
        would fly some 278,000 flights around the clock and
        deliver 2.3 million tons of supplies to the city. 

        Bennett, who lived in Berlin then, continued flying in
        and out of the city for Pan Am until 1974. He wrote a
        book, "40,000 Hours In The Sky", about his experiences.

In 1928, the first autogiro flight in the United States was
        made by Harold F. Pitcairn, Willow Grove, Pa.
        Pitcairn had flown a Cierva C-8 Autogiro in England.
        He brought it to America and made updates to the

In 1960, unmanned Project Mercury spacecraft launched by
        modified Redstone booster (MR-1) in a suborbital
        trajectory, impacting 235 miles downrange after
        reaching an altitude of 135 miles and a speed of
        near 4,200 mph. Capsule was recovered about 50
        minutes after firing.

In 1961, NASA announced that Ira H. Abbott, Director of
        Advanced Research and Technology, would retire in
        January after 32 years service with NACA and NASA.
        Beginning with the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory
        in 1929, Abbott became internationally known for his
        aerodynamic research, in more recent years as
        supervisor of X-15, supersonic transport, nuclear
        rocket, and advanced reentry development programs.

In 1961, a technical conference on problems of runway slush
        in winter jet operations was held in Washington
        under joint sponsorship of the Federal Aviation
        Agency and NASA. The conference, open to aviation
        representatives, reviewed the extensive research
        flight tests conducted at FAA's National Aviation
        Facilities Experimental Center and other
        experimental and theoretical work done at NASA's
        Langley Research Center. 

        Interest in all experiments centered on the adverse
        effects of runway slush on takeoff and landing
        characteristics of jet aircraft. Research findings
        were that on both takeoff and landing in heavy slush
        jetliners tend to act like "a sailboat without a
        keel" that at takeoff speeds heavy slush causes
        jetliners to lose the effect of nose wheel steering
        and most of their braking power.

        Recommendations included the devising of a quick and
        accurate means of measuring runway slush and
        suspension of jet operations when slush reached a
        depth of 1 inch.

In 1962, an E-2A piloted by Lieutenant Commander Lee M.
        Ramsey was catapulted off the Enterprise in the
        first shipboard test of nose-tow gear designed to
        replace the catapult bridle and reduce launching
        intervals. Minutes later the second nosetow launch
        was made by an A-6A.

In 1972, HC-1 helicopters, aboard Ticonderoga, recovered the
        Apollo 17 crew after splashdown. The Apollo 17 crew
        consisted of Naval Aviators Captain E. Cernan and
        Commander R. Evans and geologist H.H. Schmitt. This
        recovery marked the end of NASA's Apollo lunar
        program. Naval aviation squadrons and naval surface
        units performed all the recovery operations for the
        11 Apollo missions.

In 1978, the first solar powered aircraft, Solor One, makes
        its first successful flight in England.

               December 20


In 1820, the state of Missouri began taxing unmarried men
        between the ages of 21 and 50, $1 per year.  I
        don't know why but I couldn't pass this one up <G>.

Robert Jemison Van de Graaff:  born December 20, 1901
        Developed the Van de Graaff generator; born in
        Tuscaloosa, Alabama

In 1911, experiments with airborne wireless transmission
        were conducted at Annapolis by Ensign C. H. Maddox
        in the A-1 airplane piloted by Lieutenant Towers.
        The trailing wire antenna, reeled out after take-
        off, was found to be too weak, and no definite
        results were obtained.

In 1916, Army Balloon School established at Fort Omaha,

In 1928, Australian George Wilkins and Lt. Carl Eielson make
        the first flight over Antartica using a Lockheed
        Vega for the 10 hour flight.

In 1931, former Sgt. Benjamin D. Foulois assumed command of
        the Air Corps.

In 1939, a contract was issued to Consolidated for 200 PBY
        type aircraft to support an increase in patrol plane
        squadrons growing out of Neutrality Patrol
        requirements. This was the largest single order for
        naval aircraft since the end of World War I.

In 1941, the American Volunteer Group (Claire Chennault's
        Flying Tigers), entered combat for the first time,
        in action over Kunming, China.

In 1941, the prototype XTBU-1 Sea Wolf had its first flight.
        In 1939 the U. S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics requested
        proposals for a new carrier based torpedo bomber and
        in April 1940 chose Vought-Sikorsky to develop the
        aircraft that they had proposed. The prototype first
        flew two weeks after Pearl Harbor. Named the Sea Wolf
        in an employee contest, the three man bomber was
        powered by a 1,800 hp. Pratt & Whitney R-2800-6 had
        a top speed of 311 mph. It had much better performance
        than the existing Grumman made TBF Avenger and the
        Navy planned to purchase 1,000 of them.

        The development program however, was long and tortuous.
        On March 30, 1942 it went to Naval Air Station Anacostia
        for Navy evaluation and test. During arrested landings,
        the arresting hook caught and ripped the aft end off the
        aircraft. The two sections were returned to Stratford
        and the experimental shop worked day and night for four
        weeks to rebuild the aircraft, to catch up on a lagging
        flight test schedule. The day they finished, as they
        pushed it across Main Street to the hangar, a Navy cadet
        lost control of his trainer and drove it into the rear
        of the Sea Wolf, badly damaging the tail assembly.

        Rebuilt again, the XTBU-1 was finally accepted by the
        Navy and a production contract was agreed upon. By now,
        however, the Stratford plant was fully committed and
        at the peak of Corsair production. There was no way to
        start another line. So Consolidated Aircraft was
        contracted to produce the Sea Wolf as the TBY at an
        unused bus factory in Allentown PA.

        The first production TBY-2 (there was no TBY-1) was
        delivered in November 1944. There were 180 aircraft
        delivered before the Navy cancelled the contract,
        realizing that the war would be over before the aircraft
        could be deployed. The delivered aircraft became utility
        aircraft and some were assigned to reserve squadrons.
        The Sea Wolf's time was not to be.

        The XTBU-1 had a wingspan of 56.9 feet, a length 39 feet
        and a height of 18.6 feet. The crew of three was composed
        of the pilot, a radio operator and a gunner. The single
        engine was a Pratt & Whitney R-2800-6 of 1,800 horsepower
        (later and R-2800-22 of 2,200 horsepower) which drove a
        13.3 foot diameter propeller. Maximum speed was 211 mph
        (Various sites list the top speed from 210mph to 311mph
        so who knows?)

        During the XTBU-1 development program, Pratt and Whitney
        Aircraft expressed a need for a high altitude engine test
        aircraft. It made sense to develop that aircraft using the
        maximum components from an existing aircraft. The Vought
        engineers selected the XTBU-1, designed a pressurized
        cabin which the experimental shop incorporated into a
        modified XTBU-1 that was designated the V-326. With that
        pressurized cabin for the flight test crew and provisions
        for a variety of test engine, the aircraft was sent to
        East Hartford where it was used for engine tests at
        Renschler Field.

In 1943, Commander Frank A. Erickson, USCG, reported that
        Coast Guard Air Station, Floyd Bennett Field had
        experimented with a helicopter used as an airborne
        ambulance. An HNS-1 helicopter made flights
        carrying, in addition to its normal crew of a
        pilot and a mechanic, a weight of 200 pounds in a
        stretcher suspended approximately 4 feet beneath the
        float landing gear.

        In further demonstrations early the following year,
        the stretcher was attached to the side of the
        fuselage and landings were made at the steps of the

In 1955, two P2V Neptunes and two R5D Skymasters of VX-6
        forged the first air link with the continent of
        Antarctica with a flight from Christchurch, New
        Zealand, to McMurdo Sound.

In 1956, John B. McKay flew the last research flight of the
        D-558-2 Skyrocket (#2 BuAer 37974) for NACA.

In 1960, the Martin Co., founded in 1912 by Glenn. L.
        Martin, delivered its last airplane, a P5M-2, to the
        Navy, having produced more than 12,000 aircraft and
        entering the missile-space business with the NRL
        Viking research rocket in 1948.

In 1961, X-15 No. 3 made first flight, a successful test of
        new automated control system, NASA's Neil A.
        Armstrong as pilot in his first flight of XLR-99-
        engined X-15. At half throttle, X-15 reached speed
        of 2,502 miles per hour and an altitude of 81,000

In 1973, two women physicians, Lieutenants Jane O.
        McWilliams and Victoria M. Voge, graduated from the
        Naval Flight Surgeon Training Program, to become the
        first women naval flight surgeons.

                 December 21


In 1861, the first Medal of Honor was established -- for the
         Navy. (On July 12, 1862 a medal was established for
         the Army. The Air Force medal was created April 14,

Francis Thomas Bacon:  born December 21, 1904
        Engineer; developed the first practical Hydrogen -
        Oxygen fuel cells; born at Ramsden Hall, Billericay,
        Essex, England; Pratt and Whitney and United
        Aircraft used Bacon's patent to provide power for
        the Apollo missions.

In 1934, flight test of the NS-1, Stearman biplane trainer,
        was completed at NAS Anacostia.

In 1944, General Henry "Hap" Arnold becomes General of the
        Army, the first airman to hold five star rank. On
        July 26, 1947 his title was changed to General of
        the Air Force (Honorary).

In 1956, Maj. Arnold I. Beck (USAF) "soared" to a simulated
        altitude of 198,770 feet, the highest on record, in
        an Air Research and Development Command altitude
        chamber at Dayton, Ohio.

In 1959, the first Hound Dog air-to-ground missile was
        assigned to the Strategic Air Command.

In 1964, the maiden flight of the General Dynamics F-111A,
        the nation's first variable swing-wing fighter,
        Carswell AFB, Texas.  This flight was made using the
        Pratt & Whitney JTF10A (TF-30 military designation)
        turbofan, its first use.

In 1968, Apollo 8 is launched carrying Frank Borman, James
        Lovell and William Anders. It would be the first
        manned mission to orbit the moon.

In 1970, the F-14A aircraft, piloted by Grumman test pilots
        Robert Smyth and William Miller, made its first
        flight at Grumman's Calverton, Long Island Plant.

In 1988, the first flight of the prototype Antonov AN-225

In 1993, the first flight of Dryden's remotely piloted
        aircraft, Perseus.

                 December 22
                Winter Solstice

Grote Reber:  born December 22, 1911
        In 1937, he built the first radio telescope in
        Wheaton, Illinois, in his own backyard with his
        own money; it was a 32 foot diameter parabolic
        dish; he now lives in Tasmania; no the neighbors
        didn't force him out <G>

In 1917, the addition of an Aerography School to the
        training program at MIT was marked by the start of
        classes with one student enrolled. A major portion
        of the new school's instruction program was carried
        out at the Blue Hill Observatory, Harvard
        University, but some classes were also held at the
        Aerographic Laboratory on the MIT campus.

        Of 55 men enrolled in the school, 54 qualified as
        aerologists by the end of the war.

In 1930, the Tupolev ANT-6 makes its first flight.

In 1939, 17 year old Gloria Jacobs became the first woman to
        win the world pistol championship with a score of
        299 out of 300.

In 1945, the first flight of the prototype Beech Model 35
        V-tailed Bonanza. Test pilot was V. L. Carstens.

In 1949, North American YF-86D completed first flight test
        at Edwards AFB.

In 1950, A. Scott Crossfield flew the D-558-2 (#3 BuAer
        37975) Skyrocket on its first NACA flight. 

In 1960, helicopters of HS-3 and HU-2 from Valley Forge
        rescued 27 men from the oiler SS Pine Ridge as she
        was breaking up in heavy seas 100 miles off Cape

In 1964, Lockheed got approval to start development for the
        Air Force on the CX-HLS transport, which would
        become the C-5A.

In 1964, the Lockheed SR-71A "Blackbird" exceeded an
        altitude of 45,000 feet and a speed of 1,000 mph on
        its first flight.

In 1966, the first flight of the HL-10.  It was air launched
        from a modified Boeing B-52 Stratofortress and
        piloted by Bruce Peterson.

In 1974, the Dassault Breguet Mirage F1-E makes its first
        flight. Pilot was Guy Mitaux-Maurourard.

In 1976, the first flight of the Ilushin II - 86.

In 1982, the first delivery / service of the Boeing
       757 (-200).

In 1993, the first B-2 sortie generated from Whiteman AFB
       took place.

                 December 23

In 1907, the Signal Corps published Specification No. 486
        for a heavier-than-air flying machine. Written by
        Maj. George O. Squier and based on information
        provided by Wright, the document called for a
        machine able to carry two men and travel at a
        minimum speed of forty miles an hour for at least
        sixty minutes. An additional specification required
        that instruction be provided for two pilots.

In 1910, the first naval officer to undergo flight training,
        Lieutenant T. G. Ellyson, was ordered to report to
        the Glenn Curtiss Aviation Camp at North Island, San

In 1934, endowment given IAS by Sylvanus Albert Reed for
        annual award to be given "for notable contribution
        to the aeronautical sciences resulting from
        experimental or theoretical investigations, the
        beneficial influence of which on the developmenet of
        practical aeronautics is apparent."

In 1937, Vickers Wellington RAF bomber made its first
        flight. This was the Type 285 Wellington Mark I pre
        production prototypeype. The Type 271, initial
        prototype flew 15 June 1936.

        The prototype serial "K4049" was designed to
        satisfy Ministry specification B.9/32 and first flew
        as a Type 271 from Brooklands on 15 June 1936 with J.
        Summers as pilot; initially the type was named

        J. Summers, quite apart from being an outstanding pilot
        was very much a character without trying to be one. Mutt,
        as he was called was the only man he'd ever met who flew
        aeroplanes wearing a 'british warm' (a heavy felt officer's
        coat) and a bowler hat.

        And the Wellington was also interesting in that it built
        using a geodetic, or geodesic construction which was almost
        impossible to damage but extremely difficult to construct.

In 1937, a successful unmanned radio-controlled flight was
        made with a JH-1 drone, at the Coast Guard Air
        Station, Cape May, N.J. Take-off and landing were
        made using a landbased radio set; for flight
        maneuvers, control was shifted to an airborne TG-2.

In 1940, the first all cargo service is initiated. A United
        Airlines plane left New York at 11:30 PM and arrived
        in Chicago, via Cleveland.

In 1947, invention of the transitor made public. 

In 1953, the B-47 breaks its own transAtlantic record,
        averaging 650.5 statute mph.

In 1954, NACA-USAF-USN Memorandum of Understanding signed
        for "Joint Project for a New High Speed Research
        Airplane," which covered what became the X-15
        program. Design competition was opened by the USAF
        during this month.

In 1954, Lt. Col. Frank K. Everest, Jr., USAF, piloted the
        D-558-2 Skyrocket (#3 BuAer 37975) on a pilot
        checkout in clean configuration in preparation for
        Bell X-2 program.

In 1954, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" was released in
        theaters in the US.

In 1957, USAF awarded B-70 Mach 3 bomber development
        contract to North American Aviation.

In 1974, the first flight of the Rockwell International B-1
        intercontinental bomber.

In 1986, Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager became the first pilots
        to fly around the world without refueling.  They
        left Edwards AFB in Voyager on December 14th and
        returned to Edwards on this day.  Total flight time
        was 216 hours.

              December 24

             Christmas Eve

Franz Gruber:  born December 24, 1818
        He composed the music for a peom that was
        written by Josef Mohr.  The song became "Silent

In 1907, the Aerial Experiment Association moved their
        headquarters to Curtiss' shop in Hammondsport, New
        York in order to take advantage of the milder
        climate.  The group consisted of Dr. Bell, Thomas
        Selfridge, Casey Baldwin, Douglas McCurdy and Glenn

In 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 sent this message as they
        orbited the Moon:

William A. Anders:
We are now approaching lunar sunrise. And, for all the
people back on earth, the crew of apollo 8 have a
message that we would like to send to you.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the
earth. And the earth was without form, and void;
and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the
Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and
God divided the light from the darkness. "
James A. Lovell, Jr.:
"And God called the light Day, and the darkness he
called Night. And the evening and the morning were
the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament
in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the
waters from the waters. And God made the firmament,
and divided the waters which were under the firmament
from the waters which were above the firmament:
and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven.
And the evening and the morning were the second day."
Frank Borman:
"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be
gathered together unto one place, and let the dry
land appear: and it was so. And God called the
dry land Earth; and the gathering together of
the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it
was good."
And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close, with
good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God
bless all of you, all of you on the good earth.

              December 25

             Christmas Day

Humphrey Bogart:  born December 25, 1899
        Actor; born in New York City; enlisted in the
        US Navy in 1918; some say his trademark scar (and
        lisp) was the result of shrapnel during the
        shelling of his ship, the Leviathan

Rod Serling: born December 25, 1924
        "Twilight Zone" creator; born in Syracuse, NY;
        grew up in Binghamton, NY; enlisted in the
        US Army 11th Airborne Paratroopers Division;
        wounded in combat in the Philippines

Jimmy Buffett:  born December 25, 1946
        Mayor of Margaritaville! Songwriter, Sailor, Pilot,
        Entrepreneur, Restauranteur and one of five people
        to write NYT #1 bestselling books in both fiction and

In 1949, the Air Force revealed development of stupalith, a
        ceramic which contracts when heated and expands when
        cooled, and which can stand heat of 2,000 degrees,
        used on jet and rocket engines.

In 1960, Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced selection of
        Blaw-Knox Equipment, Hughes Aircraft, North American
        Aviation, and Westinghouse Electric to study
        feasibility of a large space-tracking antenna.

                  Merry Christmas everyone!

                December 26

                 Boxing Day

              Kwanzaa Begins

In 1862, four nuns who were volunteer nurses on board the
        Red Rover were the first female nurses on a U.S.
        Navy hospital ship.

In 1911, search for a shipboard launching device continued
        as Captain Chambers reported that the Bureau of
        Ordnance was interested in experimenting with a
        catapult for launching aeroplanes somewhat after the
        manner of launching torpedoes.

In 1917, the first test-run of altitude laboratory
        constructed at the Bureau of Standards for the NACA,
        one capable of testing engine performance at up to
        one-third an atmosphere.

In 1918, Ensign T. E. Maytham, piloting a B-type airship,
        completed a flight from Key West to Tampa, Cape
        Sable, Palm Beach, and return that covered
        approximately 690 miles. This bettered his earlier
        endurance mark of 32 hours with a continuous flight
        of 40 hours 26 minutes. Although recognized only as
        an American record, this time surpassed by more than
        25 hours the existing world mark.

In 1943, the Seventh Amphibious Force lands 1st Marine
        Division on Cape Gloucester, New Britain.

In 1982, the first flight of the Antonov AN-124.

               December 27

In 1777, floating mines intended for use against British
        Fleet were found in the Delaware River.

In 1814, the destruction of the schooner Carolina, the
        last of Commodore Daniel Patterson's make-shift
        fleet that fought a series of delaying actions
        that contributed to Andrew Jackson's victory at
        the Battle of New Orleans. After loss of craft,
        the naval guns were mounted on shore to continue
        the fight.

In 1919, the first flight of the Boeing B-1 flying boat, the
        company's first commercial design.

In 1925, Daniel Guggenheim created the $2,500,000 Daniel
        Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics to
        speed development of civil aviation in the United

In 1929, based upon scores obtained with the new Norden
        gyrostabilized MARK XI bombsight during fleet
        exercises, the Bureau of Ordinance reported that the
        sight gave about 40 percent more hits than earlier

In 1935, US Army planes diverted a lava flow in Hawaii using
        aerial bombardment.

In 1942, Richard (Dick) Bong who was to become the leading
         U.S. Ace during WWII scored his first two aerial
         victories in the vicinity of Dobodura, New Guinea,
         while flying with the 9th Fighter Squadron of the
         49th Fighter Group.

         He brought down a Val Dive Bomber and a Mitsubishi
         Zero between 1210 and 1234 hours, local time. He was
         flying P-38F-5, Serial 42-12644 #15. He ended the
         war with 40 confirmed kills and had been awarded,
         "The Medal of Honor" [presented by General MacArthur]
         ... "A Distinguished Service Cross" ... 2 "Silver Stars"
         ... 7 "Distinguished Flying Crosses" ... and
         15 "Air Medals."

In 1942, the first flight of the Northrop N9M.  This was a
        60-foot wingspan (about one-third the size of the
        proposed B-35) N9M flying wing test aircraft to
        train pilots in handling flying-wing aircraft and to
        see if the general concept was feasible. They were
        of mixed wood and metal construction, with the
        center section being of welded steel tubing. The
        covering was of wood and metal panels, with the
        outer wing panels being of wood with metal wing
        slots and wing tips.
        They were initially powered by a pair of 290 hp
        Menasco C65-4 six-cylinder air-cooled engines each
        driving a pusher two-bladed propeller by means of an
        extension shaft via a fluid-drive coupler. The
        engines were cooled by air admitted by large under-
        wing scoops. Provisions were made for a pilot and
        one passenger, both housed underneath a single
        transparent bubble canopy. It was provided with a
        retractable tricycle landing gear, and a rear
        outrigger tail wheel was fitted. This aircraft flew
        with neither civil registration nor military
        serial. The design details worked out in the N9M
        were incorporated into the design of the XB-35.

In 1945, the official rollout of the X-1 #1.  The #1 and #2
        aircraft were initially painted saffron (yellow-
        orange) to aid aerial visibility. The #1 aircraft
        had a "Glamorous Glennis" logo added in the fall of
        1947. Bell Aircraft developed the X-1 largely based
        on specific NACA design criteria. The aircraft
        measured 30 feet 11 inches in length and 10 feet
        10 inches in height. Wing surface area was 130
        square feet. Total gross weight empty was 6,784 lbs.
        and loaded, 13,034.

In 1947, Howdy Doody debuted on NBC

In 1968, helicopters of HS-4 hovered over Apollo 8 after it
        ended its historic flight around the moon with a
        predawn splashdown in the Pacific within 3 miles of
        Yorktown. At first light, astronauts Frank Borman,
        James A. Lovell, and William A. Anders were picked
        up by helicopters and carried to the ship.

               December 28

In 1867, the U.S. claims Midway Island, the first territory
        annexed outside Continental limits.

In 1905, a tetrahedral cell kite (named the Frost King)
        built by A.G. Bell carried Neil McDermid (a Baddeck
        native) into the air on a rope ladder. Beinn
        Bhreagh, N.S.

In 1913, Georges Legagneux reaches 20,079 feet in a Nieuport
        Type IIN at Saint Raphael, France, and becomes the
        first pilot to use Oxygen in flight.

In 1941, the Alaskan Air Command was constituted.

In 1941, the Chief of Bureau of Yards and Docks requests that
        construction battalions (SeaBees) be recruited.

In 1948, twelve USAF pilots were rescued from the Greenland
        icecap on a C-47 using rocket boosters.

In 1949, the USAF reported that a 2-year investigation had
        found that there was no such thing as a "flying
        saucer" and that Project Saucer at Wright-Patterson
        AFB had been discontinued.

        Air Force Regulation 200-2, "Unidentified Flying Objects
        Reporting," for example, prohibits the release to the
        public and the media of any data about "those objects
        which are not explainable." An even more restrictive
        procedure is outlined in the Joint Army Navy Air Force
        Publication 146, which threatens to prosecute anyone
        under its jurisdiction - including pilots, civilian
        agencies, merchant marine captains, and even some
        fishing vessels - for disclosing reports of sightings
        relevant to US security.

In 1957, U.S. Army Capt Bowman sets a world helicopter altitude
       record of 30,355 feet in a Cessna YH-41.

In 1967, the first delivery / service of the Boeing
        737 (-100)

In 1982, the recommissioning of USS New Jersey (BB-62), the first
        of four Iowa-class battleships that were returned to
        service in 1980s.

In 1985, the first flight of the Fokker 50.

In 1990, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and USS America
        (CV-66) Carrier Battle Groups deploy from Norfolk, VA, for
        Middle East to join Operation Desert Shield.

                December 29

In 1798, the first annual report by Secretary of the Navy,
        sent by Benjamin Stoddert.

In 1812, the USS Constitution (Captain William Bainbridge)
        captures HMS Java off Brazil after a three hour battle.

In 1911, the aviators at Annapolis were ordered to transfer
        with their equipment to North Island, San Diego, to
        set up an Aviation Camp on land offered for the
        purpose by Glenn H. Curtiss.

In 1913, Lt. J.E. Carberry and Lt. F. Seydal won the second
        Mackay Trophy for aerial reconnaissance.

In 1919, the American Meteorological Society was founded at
        St. Louis, Missouri, for the development and
        dissemination of knowledge of meteorology in all its
        phases and applications.

In 1921, a world endurance record of 26 hours 18 minutes 35
        seconds set at Roosevelt Field, N.Y., by Edward
        Stinson and Lloyd Bertaud in a Junkers-Larsen JL-6
        with a 185 HP BMW IIIa engine. The flight was not
        completed until the 30th of December at 11:18 AM.

In 1939, the Consolidated B-24 Liberator made its
        first flight at San Diego. It flew for 17 minutes
        from Lindbergh Field with company pilot Bill
        Wheatley at the controls. It became the
        Consolidated-Vultee B-24 in March of 1943 when
        the two companies merged. 

In 1943, the USS Silversides (SS-236) sinks three Japanese
        ships and damages a fourth off Palau.

In 1960, Dr. T. Keith Glennan offered his resignation as
        Administrator of NASA, to be effective January 20,

In 1966, the first flight of the Beech Model 60 Duke. Test
        pilot was R. S. Hagan.

In 1967, the first delivery / service of the Boeing
        737 (-200)

In 1980, the space shuttle Columbia was moved from the
        vehicle assembly building to launch complex 39A in
        preparation for the first shuttle mission: STS-1.

In 1986, the first all female flight crew in a 727 with
        Beverly Bass from Arlington, Texas, as pilot.

In 1988, the first operational dual-role (air superiority
        and deep interdiction) McDonnell Douglas F-15E
        fighter was delivered to the Air Force.

               December 30

In 1914, the Signal Corps accepted the first Burgess-Dunne
        armored plane.

In 1918, Lieutenant T. C. Rodman, piloting an H-16 flying
        boat at Pensacola, scored the Navy's first win in
        the Curtiss Marine Trophy Race, an annual
        competition set up by Glenn H. Curtiss in 1915 to
        encourage seaplane development. The contest was on
        the basis of miles traveled in 10 hours of
        flight, with extra mileage credit for passenger
        load. In winning, Rodman carried 11 passengers 670
        statute miles, credited as 970.

In 1928, the Knoll KN-1 makes its first flight (Wichita, Ks.)

In 1938, a special committee on "Future Research Facilities
        of NACA" recommended creation of another laboratory;
        resulted in Ames Aeronautical Laboratory at Moffett

In 1942, the second XB-29 (41-0003) flew for the first time,
        but this flight was cut short by an engine fire,
        which caused a suspension of further tests until the
        engines could be replaced.

In 1959, the commissioning of first fleet ballistic missile
        submarine, USS George Washington (SSB(N)-598), at
        Groton, CT.

In 1961, an HSS-2 helicopter flown by Commander P. L.
        Sullivan and Captain D. A. Spurlock, USMC, at
        Windsor Locks, Conn., bettered its old 3-kilometer
        world record at 199.01 m.p.h.

In 1969, the Boeing 747 was certified by U.S. Federal
        Aviation Administration for commercial service.
In 1993, the first delivery / service for the Airbus
        A-330 (-300)

In 1994, the 509th's fifth B-2, the Spirit of South
        Carolina, arrived at Whiteman.

                December 31

               New Year's Eve

In 1862, the USS Monitor founders in a storm off Cape
        Hatteras, NC.

In 1917, the First Aviation Squadron of the Marine Corps,
        commanded by Captain William M. McIlvain,
        transferred from Mineola to Gerstner Field, Lake
        Charles, La., for advanced training in landplanes.

In 1918, altitude laboratory at Bureau of Standards
        completed a full year of detailed analysis of
        various engine performances up to 30,000-foot
        altitutdes, which yielded many results of basic

In 1919, notable technical achievements of the year
        according to McCook Field were: development of
        leakproof tanks; reversible and variable-pitch
        propellers; a siphon gasoline pump; fins and floats
        for emergency water landings; and the
        turbocompressor or supercharger developed by Sanford
        A. Moss of General Electric.

In 1927, Victor Roos leaves Cessna-Roos Aircraft Company,
        the organization is reincorporated as The Cessna
        Aircraft Company.

In 1927, Victor Roos leaves Cessna-Roos Aircraft Company,
        the organization is reincorporated as The Cessna
        Aircraft Company. 

In 1929, Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of
        Aeronautics ended its activities.

In 1934, Helen Richey made the Newpaper Headlines in Detroit.
        They featured her on that date as the woman airline
        pilot who flew in the mail from Washington, D.C. to
        Detroit, Michigan.  Helen flew a Ford Trimotor for
        Central Airlines.  She resigned 10 months later when
        the all-male pilots' union refused to accept her.

        Helen Ritchey was the first documented and verified
        female pilot to be hired to fly as a pilot of a
        commercial scheduled passenger carrier when the U.S.
        carrier, Central Airlines, hired her on December 13,

        Currently being investigated are two other woman that
        may take Helen's place in history, Betty Russell -
        purported to be flying for Royle and Andrews Flying
        Service in 1930 out of Alameda, California, and Marga
        von Etzdorf, purported to have flown Junkers F-13's
        for Lufthansa in 1927.

        Additional sources indicate Marga von Etzdorf got
        the B-license and a "Verkehrs Fliegerschein"
        (commercial pilot license) in 1928 and became the
        first female copilot of Luft Hansa in 1929.

In 1938, the first flight of the Boeing Model 307

In 1942, after pointing out that the need for airborne radar
        was so apparent and urgent that peacetime methods of
        procurement and fleet introduction could not be
        followed, the Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics
        requested the Naval Research Laboratory to continue
        to provide personnel capable of assisting fleet
        units in the operation and maintenance of radar
        equipment until a special group of trained personnel
        could be assembled for that purpose. 

In 1942, the commissioning of USS Essex (CV-9), first of new
        class of aircraft carriers, at Norfolk, VA

In 1959, Mercury astronauts completed basic and theoretical
        studies in their training program and started
        practical engineering studies.

In 1959, more than 100 drop tests of boilerplate Mercury
        capsules had been completed from aircraft to test
        and develop the parachute system.

In 1968, the first test flight of the Tupolev TU-144. It
        was powered by four Kuznetsov NK-144 turbofans.

In 1980, on December 32, the first flight of the Lear Fan 2100
        Futura. This was a two engine, pusher prop plane made
        almost entirely from composites. The engines were
        Pratt and Whitney PT6B-35F turboshaft engines.

        As a testament to the efforts to complete the
        aircraft by its 1980 deadline, the British government,
        which helped fund the project, declared the Lear Fan's
        first-flight date "December 32, 1980." Envelopes
        carried aboard the flight were cancelled with this
        same date, and the U.S. Post Office honored the