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On This Day: 1951

Aviation events for 1951

January 21: The United States Air Force F-84 Thunderjet makes its first kill, when F-84 pilot Lieutenant Colonel William E. Bertram shoots down a MiG-15 during the Korean War.
January 21: Westinghouse J-40 jet engine (7,500 pounds dry thrust) completed 150-hour Navy qualification test.
January 26: First flight of Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket supersonic research aircraft is made. It is launched from underneath its B-29 mother-ship and exceeds Mach 1 (the speed of sound) in a dive.
February 5: The United States and Canada announce the establishment of the Distant Early Warning (DEW), the air defense system that uses more than 30 radar stations located across the northern portion of the continent.
February 21: An English Electric Canberra becomes the first jet to make a crossing of the Atlantic without refueling, taking 4 hours 37 minutes.
February 23: First flight of the Dassault Mystère.
March 6: the Martin aircraft company gains production rights to the English Electric Canberra as the B-57.
March 13: The Australian airline Qantas begins a survey flight from Rose Bay, Sydney to Valparaiso, Chile with a Catalina (VH - ASA).
March 21: Flying a U.S. Navy F9F Panther of Fighter Squadron 191 (VF-191) from the aircraft carrier USS Princeton (CV-37), Ensign Floryan "Frank" Sobieski is blinded by enemy ground fire over Korea. Guided and encouraged by his wingman, Lieutenant junior grade Pat Murphy, and assisted by Princeton's landing signal officer, Sobieski lands safely aboard Princeton wihout being able to see. He later recovers full vision.
March 27: A Douglas Dakota DC-3, being operated by Air Transport Charter crashes shortly after takeoff from Ringway Airport in Manchester, England. Ice forms on the carburetor after the Captain fails to properly use the heat controls, making the engines unable to gain enough power to climb. Of the 6 aboard, 4 die.
March 29: Flight Safety Inc. begins operations at the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport, New York with just one secretary and rented late night hours on a Link trainer simulator.
April 12: Korean War: 48 US B-29 Superfortresses bomb the Sinuiju Railway Bridge spanning the Yalu River.
May 18: First flight of the Vickers Valiant.
May 20: U.S. Air Force Captain James Jabara becomes the first fighter ace to score his five victories in a jet (an F-86 Sabre) against jets (Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15s).
May 29: Capt. Charles Blair lands in his F-51 piston-engined Mustang after making the first solo flight across the North Pole in a single-engined aircraft, from Bardufoss, Norway to Fairbanks, Alaska, covering 3,375 miles in 10 hours, 29 minutes.
June 1: BEA commences helicopter services between London and Birmingham.
June 20: The first flight of aircraft with variable-sweep wings is made as the research aircraft Bell X-5, flies for 30 minutes at Edwards, California.
June 21: First flight of the Handley Page HP.88.
July 6: The first in-flight refueling under combat conditions is made by four US RF-80 A’s, refueled by a KB-29 tanker.
July 20: First flight of the Hawker Hunter prototype WB188
August 1: Japan Airlines founded. Read more...
August 7: First flight of the McDonnell F3H Demon 125444. Read more...
August 15: Powered by a Roll Royce Dart, a DC-3 of British European Airways becomes the first turboprop aircraft operated on a freight run.
August 15: Test pilot Bill Bridgeman reaches a record altitude of 79, 494 ft. in the #2 Douglas D-558-II rocket research aircraft, although this does not qualify for FAI (Federal Aeronautique Internationale) recognition.
September 21: The United States Marine Corps makes the world's first mass combat deployment by helicopter, landing 228 U.S. Marines on a hilltop near Kansong, Korea, using 12 Sikorsky HRS-1 helicopters.
September 26: First flight of the de Havilland Sea Vixen WG326.
October 25: Japan Airlines commences operations.
October 25: Japan Airlines commences operations.
November 26: First flight of the Gloster Javelin prototype WD804.
December 1: F/O Bruce Gogerly of 77 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), flying a Gloster Meteor, shoots down a Soviet-piloted MiG-15, the first of four air-to-air kills for RAAF pilots during the Korean War.
December 10: First flight of the Kaman K-225, first turbine-powered helicopter.
December 12: Alaska Air becomes the first airline to fly over the North Pole.
December 16: The first helicopter powered by a gas-turbine engine flies successfully. The Kaman K-225 uses a turbine that makes for a lighter, simpler, more powerful engine compared to a conventional piston engine.
December 17: The Lockheed Super Constellation enters service with Eastern Air Lines.
December 31: This year, for the first time, air passenger miles flown (10.6 million) have exceeded passenger miles traveled in Pullman cars on the railroad (10.2 million).

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