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On This Day: 1948

Aviation events for 1948

January 17: BOAC begins to replace its Boeing 314 flying boat with the Lockheed Constellation on the Baltimore (USA)--Bermuda route.
January 28: A DC-3 flight chartered by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service crashes into hills west of Coalinga, California, killing 32. The crash became the impetus of the Woody Guthrie song “Deportee.”
January 30: Orville Wright, one of the two Wright Brothers that were the first in powered flight, dies at the age of 76.
January 30: A British South American Airways Avro Tudor IV, Star Tiger, disappears without a trace en route from the Azores to Bermuda with 31 on board. The loss of the aircraft along with that of BSAA Avro Tudor Star Ariel in 1949 remain unsolved to this day, with the resulting speculation helping to develop the Bermuda Triangle legend.
February 3: 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.
March 4: The first American civilian to fly at supersonic speeds is Herbert Henry Hoover in Bell X-1 in Muroc, California.
March 10: NACA test pilot Herbert Henry Hoover becomes the first civilian to exceed the speed of sound when he flies the No. 2 Bell XS-1 to a speed of 703 mph (Mach 1.065).
March 10: VF-5 becomes the first US Navy carrier squadron to be equipped with jets.
March 12: Northwest Airlines Flight 4422, a Douglas DC-4 (NC95422) returning to the United States from Shanghai, China, crashes into Mount Sanford in Alaska, killing all 30 on-board. Though the crash was witnessed by several locals, it became buried in snow and lost for near half a century. Removal of wreckage was only allowed by Parks Departments officials in 1999, and remains found of one passenger was also found and positively identified through DNA testing.
March 22: First flight of the Lockheed T-33.
March 23: Test pilot Gp. Capt. John Cunningham sets a new Federal Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) ratified world altitude record of 18,118 m (59446 ft.) during tests with the third production D. H. 100 Vampire (serial no. TG278).
March 28: United States Air Force B-29 Superfortresses undergo aerial refueling tests, demonstrating the viability of this technique to extend the range of strategic bombers.
April 3: Alitalia launches its first postwar service from Italy Rome-Ciampino to the UK LondonNortholt Aerodrome.
April 25: A North American F-86 Sabre becomes the first jet-powered aircraft to break the sound barrier.
April 28: The first non-stop Paris/New York flight is made by an Air France sleeper Constellation; the journey from Orly airport, near Paris, takes 16 hours, 1 minute.
May 15: Tel Aviv is attacked by the Egyptian Air Force. The Israeli Air Force retaliates by striking Arab troops near Samakh.
June 2: The Consolidated B-36 Peacemaker enters service with the United States Air Force (7th Bomb Wing (Heavy)).
June 8: Air-India commences a regular Bombay-London service by Lockheed Constellation.
June 24: The Soviet Union instituted a blockade of Berlin. This gave birth to the Berlin Airlift.
June 26: the Berlin Airlift begins, with USAF, Royal Air Force, and British civil transport aircraft carrying supplies into West Berlin.
June 29: The Air Parcel Post Bill becomes U.S. law, establishing domestic air parcel post and raising first class postage rates for air mail from five cents to six cents.
July 8: First flight of the Ilyushin Il-28 (NATO: Beagle)
July 14: Six Royal Air Force (RAF) Vampires land after completing the first transatlantic flight made by jet aircraft.
July 16: First flight of the Vickers Viscount.
July 20: Sixteen Lockheed Shooting Stars complete the first west to east transatlantic flight by jet aircraft.
July 31: President Harry S. Truman formally dedicates Idlewild Field, aka New York International Airport (now known as John F. Kennedy International Airport). Along with the ceremonial opening (service actually began July 9th) comes the International Air Exposition, complete with an armada of over 1,000 planes, including bombers and other military aircraft. Over 100,000 spectators drove or took special LIRR trains to Aqueduct race track, where they could take a shuttle bus to the air field to view what is said to have been the greatest display of U.S. air power ever displayed up until that time.
August 16: First flight of the Northrop Northrop XF-89 Scorpion.
August 23: First flight of the McDonnell XF-85 Goblin.
September 1: First flight of the Saab J-29, Sweden's first jet. Read more...
September 5: A US Navy Martin JRM Mars sets a new cargo record of 62,262 lb (28,242 kg).
September 6: A de Havilland DH.108 breaks the sound barrier, the first British aircraft to do so.
September 18: The 1st flight of a delta-wing jet airplane is made with the Convair XF-92A.
September 29: First flight of the Vought F7U Cutlass.
October 2: The Bukken Bruse disaster takes place in Norway as the Short S.25 Sandringham 5 flying boat (registration LN-IAW) flips over while landing in bad weather, killing 19 of the 43 people on board.
November 15: El Al becomes operational and the official flag carrier of Israel.
December 26: I. V. Fedorov becomes the first Soviet pilot to break the sound barrier. He achieves the necessary speed by diving his Lavochkin La-176 jet, powered by a Rolls-Royce Nene engine, at full throttle.

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