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On This Day: August 12

Aviation events for August 12

1888: The first gas-powered aircraft flies. Built by the German experimenter, Wolfert, the powered airship (dirigible) fitted with a 2 hp Daimler benzene engine running two propellers, flies for 2 ½ miles from Seelberg to Kornwestheim, Germany.
1908: Controlled by Thomas Baldwin and Glenn Curtiss, the Signal Corps’ Dirigible Balloon No.1, known as SC-I, the first Army dirigible, begins flight trials at Fort Meyer near Washington, D.C.
1946: President Harry Truman signs a bill authorizing an appropriation of $50,000 to establish a National Air Museum in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. The small museum eventually becomes the National Air and Space Museum - the most visited museum in the world.
1960: NASA launches Echo 1A, the world’s first communications satellite. Essentially a metal balloon, it is used to bounce signals from one ground station to another.
1966: First flight of the Learjet 25.
1976: First flight of the Aermacchi MB-339 I-NOVE.
1977: Space Shuttle Enterprise makes its first atmospheric test flight.
1985: Japan Air Lines Flight 123, a 747-100SR flying from Tokyo to Osaka, crashes into Mount Takamagahara in Japan following an explosion of the rear bulkhead, which tears off the vertical stabilizer and knocks out all four of the aircraft’s hydraulic systems. All 520 on board are killed, and it remains the deadliest single-aircraft crash in history. It is believed a tail-strike eight years earlier caused the damage which led to the accident.
2008: Gemini Air Cargo ceases operations.

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