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On This Day: December 23

Aviation events for December 23

1907: The chief signals officer of the U.S. Army, Brig. Gen. James Allen, issues specification no. 486, the first military aircraft specification for which commercial tenders were invited. The specification is written around the capabilities of the Wright Flyer and, though published for bids to conform to army requirements, only the Wrights are expected to respond by the closing date of February 1, 1908.
1939: Anthony Fokker dies in New York at the age of 49.
1940: The first U.S. all-cargo air service is inaugurated by United Air Lines when at 11:30 P.M. a flight leaves New York for Chicago, where it arrives at 3:40 A.M. local time the following morning after stopping in Cleveland.
1966: First flight of the Dassault Mirage F1.
1972: Andrei Tupolev dies at the age of 86.
1972: Braathens Flight 239, a Fokker F-28 Fellowship registered LN-SUY, crashes in Asker, Norway. the aircraft was on approach to Fornedu Airport at night and in low visibility when they hit the ground, killing 40 of the 45 on-board.
1974: The Rockwell B-1 Lancer strategic bomber makes its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base. Still in service, the long-range bomber is now the only swept-wing aircraft still in active duty for the United States.
1978: Alitalia Flight 4128, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 registered I-DIKQ, crashes while on approach to Palermo International Airport. the pilots had descended prematurely, thinking they were closer to the airport than they were. They leveled off at 150- feet above the Tyrrhenian Sea when a change in wind speed caused the right wing to clip the water. Fishing boats retrieved the 21 survivors out of the water, whereas 108 people died.---Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 162, a tire on an L-1011 exploded, penetrating the passenger cabin. The L-1011 lost cabin pressure and two passengers fell out of the aircraft.
1982: First flight of the Short C-23 Sherpa G-BKMW.
1986: First non-stop flight around the planet without refueling - the Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, on a distance of 26,366 statute miles (the FAI accredited distance is 40,212 km).
2002: The first engagement of a conventional aircraft on an unmanned drone occurs when an Iraqi MiG-25 shoots down an MQ-1 Predator that was performing recon over the No-Fly Zone. The Predator fired a Stinger air-to-air missile at the MiG, which missed and was responded to with a missile from the Iraqi jet, destroying the drone.
2005: Azerbaijan Airlines Flight 217 crashes five minutes after a night-time departure out of Baku in poor weather. The Antonov An-140-100 registered 4K-AZ48 had experienced some sort of systems failure, and the flight crew became disoriented, striking the ground on the shore of the Caspian Sea.

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