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On This Day: 1962

Aviation events for 1962

January 9: First flight of the Hawker Siddeley Trident.
 
January 10: A B-52 Stratofortress sets a new distance record of 12,532 miles on a flight from Okinawa to Madrid.
 
January 17: A NASA civilian pilot Neil Armstrong takes X-15 to 40,690 m.
 
January 24: Two United States Navy F-4 Phantom IIs are seconded to the United States Air Force as the Air Force plans to adopt the type.
 
January 26: NASA launches the Ranger 3 moon probe aboard an Atlas-Agena rocket. After a series of malfunctions, the spacecraft would miss the moon by 22,000 miles.
 
February 2: 8 of 9 planets align for 1st time in 400 years (Note: In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) decided that Pluto is not a planet, reducing the number of known planets in our solar system to 8.).
 
February 5: A Sikorsky HSS-2 Sea King of the US Navy sets a world helicopter speed record of 210.6 mph, in the course of a flight between Milford and New Haven, Connecticut.
 
February 5: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn within 16 degrees.
 
February 10: American U-2 pilot Gary Powers, shot down and arrested in the U.S.S.R. in May 1960, is released in exchange for Soviet spy Colonel Rudolf Abel.
 
February 20: Piedmont retires the last of its DC-3 aircraft on the 15th anniversary of its first scheduled flight.
 
February 20: John Glenn becomes the first US astronaut to orbit the earth in Mercury Atlas 6 program on the “Friendship 7” spacecraft.
 
March 1: Los Angeles Airways sets up the world’s first commercial service using turbine-powered, multi-engine helicopters, the Sikorsky S-621L, which could accommodate up to 28 passengers.
 
March 1: American Airlines Flight 1, a Boeing 707, crashed shortly after takeoff from Idlewild airport due to a maintenance error causing rudder failure. All 95 people onboard were killed. At the time, it was the nation's highest death toll involving a single commercial airplane.
 
March 4: Caledonian Airways Flight 153, a Douglas DC-7 (G-ARUD) crashes just after takeoff from Douala International Airport in Cameroon. An elevator trim jam causes the plane to plummet into a swamp in the jungle, killing all 111 on-board. Because of the terrain, it would take rescuers 6 hours to reach the wreck.
 
March 5: A Convair B-58 (serial no. 59-2458) of the Forty-third Bombardment Wing breaks three records during a round trip between New York and Los Angeles in 4 hours 41 minutes 14.98 seconds. The fastest trans-continental crossing between Los Angeles and New York is accomplished in 2 hours 58.71 seconds at an average speed of 1,214.65 mph. The third record notches the fastest time between New York and Los Angeles.
 
March 7: Launch of OSO 1, 1st astronomy satellite (solar flare data).
 
March 15: Flying Tigers Flight 739 crashes into the Philippine Sea. The Lockheed L-1049H (N6921C) disappears while flying from Guam to Manila, killing all 107 souls on-board.
 
March 16: 1st launching of Titan 2-rocket.
 
March 18: The Convair CV-990 enters service with American Airlines.
 
March 27: A Cubana de Aviacion Ilyushin IL-14 (CU-T819) crashes into the sea about a mile from Santiago, Cuba, killing all 22 aboard.
 
April 23: Ranger 4 - USA Lunar Hard Lander launched. First US lunar impact of the Moon.
 
April 24: 1962/April/24 - First A-12 (924) engine test runs completed, high speed taxi tests. Pilot Lou Schalk. Accidental lifts off for a few seconds (first actual flight but not considered official).
 
April 26: In utmost secrecy at the remote airfield in Groom Dry Lake, Nevada, the first Lockheed A-12 makes its first flight. It is the first of a family of top-secret spyplanes.
 
April 30: OXCART’s first “official” flight, A-12 (924). Witnessed by a number of CIA and AirForce representatives. Pilot Lou Schalk. 340 knots, 30,000 feet, 59 minutes. This flight was just under oneyear later than originally planned. Bill Parks joins the pilot program. (Q)
 
May 9: First flight of the Sikorsky CH-54 Tahre (SkyCrane).
 
June 3: Air France Flight 007, a 707-300, crashed while attempting to takeoff from Paris's Orly Airport. The crash killed 130 people aboard; two stewardesses survived. It was, at the time, the worst single-plane disaster.
 
June 13: Capt. Richard H. Coan, USAF, sets a new closed-circuit distance record for helicopters when he flies a Kaman H-43B Huskie a distance of 656.258 mi. This beats the previous record of 625.464 mi. set by a Soviet Mil Mi-1.
 
June 29: First flight of the Vickers VC-10.
 
July 7: Colonel Georgi Mossolov sets a new world absolute speed record for airplanes, flying the Mikoyan Ye-166 at 1,665.89 mph.
 
July 17: Major Robert M. White (USAF), pilots the North American X-15 to a record altitude of 314,750 feet (59 miles, 96 km).
 
August 11: Andrian G. Nikolayev becomes the third Russian in space, flying aboard Vostok 3.
 
August 14: East German Ilyushin Il-62 crashes on takeoff from East Berlin, killing 156.
 
August 30: First flight of the YS-11, Japan’s first aircraft since WW2.
 
October 14: U2 flight over Cuba discovers Soviet ballistic missile base.
 
October 26: The last B-52 Stratofortress off the production line, serial number 61-0040, is delivered to the US Air Force. As of last check, the plane nicknamed the "Spirit of Minot" is still in service with the 5th Bomb Wing, 23d Bomb Squadron stationed at Minot Air Force Base, South Dakota.
 
October 27: U2 was shot down by a SAM over Cuba. The pilot, Rudolph Anderson was killed. The OXCART program goes into high gear.
 
November 17: President John F. Kennedy dedicates the Dulles International Airport in Herndon, Virginia.
 
December 3: By the end of 1962, only two A-12s were engaged in flight tests. Full test speeds couldnot be reached since the J-58 engines were not fully available and were experiencing problems. CIADirector, McCone wrote to the President of United Aircraft Corporation (the parent company of Pratt &Whitney) and made a clear case by stating “I have been advised that the J-58 engine deliveries have beendelayed again due to engine control problems. . . by the end of the year it appears we will have barelyenough J-58 engines to support the flight test program adequately. . . Furthermore, due to various enginedifficulties we have not yet reached design speed and altitude. Engine thrust and fuel consumptiondeficiencies at present prevent sustained flight at design conditions which is so necessary to completedevelopment”. By the end of January 1963, ten engines were available and the first flight with two J-58engines occurred on January 15.
 
December 7: First flight of the Aérospatiale Super Frelon.
 
December 22: First flight of the Lockheed A-12.
 
December 28: Began weapons system developments for the AF-12. Kelly Johnson obtained approval to design a Mach 3 Blackbird fighter / bomber.
 
 
 

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