The first scheduled trans-Atlantic airmail service between Berlin, Germany, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is inaugurated by Luft Hansa. The journey is made in four stages.
The US Army’s Eighth Air Force launches Operation Thunderclap: 1,000 B-17 bombers raid Berlin, killing 3,000 and leaving 120,000 homeless.
Pan American inaugurates the first commercial use of Lockheed Model 049 Constellation with the aircraft’s first scheduled service between New York and Bermuda.
All 145 pilots and co-pilots at National Airlines go on strike, grounding the carrier’s 22 aircraft. The dispute is mainly over air safety.
The Day the Music Died: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson are killed when the 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza 35 they had chartered from Dwyer Flying Service to fly from Clear Lake, Iowa to Moorhead, Minn. crashes about five minutes after takeoff. The inexperience of the young pilot, who was also killed, along with poor weather conditions would be blamed for the crash.
The US Air Force Strategic Air Command commences Operation Looking Glass, a continuous airborne alert intended to provide continuity of nuclear command in the event that the USSTRATCOM Global Operations Center at Offut AFB, Nebraska, the Raven Rock Military Complex in Pennsylvania and the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon were destroyed. EC-135 Looking Glass aircraft were was in the air 24 hours a day for over 29 years until July 24, 1990, several months after the fall of
The Federal Aviation Agency launches Operation Bongo Mark 2 to investigate the effects of supersonic flight; over the coming months, a Convair B-58 will fly through the sound barrier at low altitude over Oklahoma City.
Orbiting Solar Observatory 2 launches into Earth orbit (552/636 km).
Luna 9, an unmanned Soviet spacecraft, makes the first successful landing on the Moon.
1st operational weather satellite, ESSA-1 launched US.
A Mil Mi-26 helicopter sets a world record in the U.S.S.R., lifting 125,153.8 lb. to a height of 6,562 feet.
Space Shuttle Challenger lifts off from Cape Caneveral on mission STS-41B, Challenger‘s fourth launch and the 10th shuttle mission overall. The mission would feature the first ever untethered spacewalk and the crew would deploy two communications satellites.
STS-60 (Discovery) launches into orbit.
STS 63 (Discovery 19), launches into orbit.
Looking Glass duties were transferred to US Navy E-6B aircraft.
The Cavalese cable car disaster: A US Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler jet on a low-altitude training flight slices through a cable supporting a ski gondola in Italy’s Dolomite mountains, sending 20 people aboard a tram plunging 250 feet to their deaths.
Kam Air Flight 904, a Boeing 737-200 (EX-037), crashes into the Pamir Mountains during a snowstorm while on approach to Kabul from Kerat, Afghanistan, killing all 96 passengers and 8 crewmembers.
First flight of the Embraer KC-390.