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On This Day in Aviation History DECEMBER 24th 
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1847 - Birth of Henri Guyot, French helicopter pioneer and early aircraft designer.

1878 - Birth of Charles deForest Chandler, American military aviator, and the first head of the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps that later became the United States Air Force.

1882 - Birth of Georges Legagneux, French aviator and record setter.

1889 - Birth of Friedrich-Karl Burckhardt, German WWI flying ace 

1892 - Birth of Richard Plange, German WWI flying ace.

1894 - Birth of Adolf Schulte, German WWI flying ace.

1894 - Birth of Georges Guynemer, French WWI fighter ace.

1894 - Birth of Arthur Cyril Cooper, British WWI flying ace

1905 - Birth of Howard Robard Hughes, Jr.,  American business magnate, investor, aviator, engineer, film producer, director, and philanthropist

1908 - World's 1st aeronautical exhibition opens in Paris when the French president inaugurated the second half of the Annual Automobile Salon at the Grand Palais. 

1910 - Birth of William Hayward Pickering,  New Zealand born rocket scientist who headed Pasadena, California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for 22 years, senior NASA luminary and who pioneered the exploration of space.

1914 - 1st successful bombing attack on a target in the UK takes place. A Friedrichshafen FF29 floatplane of See Flieger Abteilung 1 (Seaplane Unit No.1) flown by Hans von Prondzynski dropped a single 22 pound bomb, which blew a crater 10 feet wide and 4 feet deep in the garden of a Dover resident.

1915 - Birth of Werner Thierfelder, German WWII fighter ace.

1916 - 1st flight of the LVG C.VI, German two-seat reconnaissance and artillery spotting aircraft.

1917 - Birth of Franco Lucchini, Spanish war and WWII italian fighter ace, called "Baracca della seconda guerra mondiale", one of the highest-ranking Italian ace.

1918 - Death of Ernest Harold Masters, British WWI flying ace, killed in a flying accident.

1918 - Birth of Joseph Myers, American WWII flying ace (credited with the 1st victory over a jet in WWII) and USAF High ranking officer.

1920 - Birth of Evgeniya Maksimovna Rudneva (also known as Zhenya Rudneva), Soviet WWII military air navigator and military aviation figure.

1924 - Imperial Airways de Havilland DH.34 crashed at Purley, Surrey, due to an unknown mechanical defect and subsequent stall whilst an emergency landing was being attempted, Killing all 8 on board. 

1930 - French André Paul Vercuyse set Distance over a closed circuit without landing C.Bis Class, 4th categorie seaplane of 550 km (342 mi, 297 nm) with the  Peyret-Mauboussin PMH X Bis

1936 - 1st flight of the Caudron C.712, French low wing monoplane light prototype aircraft, re-engined version of the C.710 designed for airspeed record.

1937 - 1st flight of The Macchi C.200 Saetta, Italian Fighter aircraft.

1942 - Death of Tezio Kanamaru, Japanese 2nd Sino-Japanese War and WWII japanese flying ace, killed in his Nakajima Ki-43 while trying to take off from Magwe as British bombers attacked, but one bomb struck his aircraft.

1942 - 1st flight of The Vickers Type 432, British twin engine high-altitude fighter prototype.

1944 - The people of the Philippines receive a surprise when airplanes of 43rd Bombing Group flew over to drop a million Christmas cards; each one contains the words: "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 1944 - General Douglas MacArthur." 

1946 - J. Wade and JG Twist, flying a Grumman Goose, rescued three men from an ice floe in the Gulf of St Lawrence after Canadian Pacific Air Lines D.H. 89A made a forced landing.

1952 - 1st flight of The Handley Page HP 80 Victor, British jet bomber aircraft, 3d and final of the V-bombers that provided Britain's nuclear deterrent. 

1953 - 1st flight of The Aero L-60 Brigadýr, Czech small, propeller-driven STOL high wing utility aircraft developed for both civil and military use which bears a strong resemblance to the Fieseler Fi 156 "Storch".

1955 - NORAD Tracks Santa for the 1st time in what will become an annual Christmas Eve tradition.

1958 - BOAC Bristol Britannia 312 crashed near Christchurch, Dorset on approach to approach to Hurn Airport (Now Bournemouth International) in poor weather killing 9 over 12. The crew misread the instrument believing that they were at 11,500 feet when they began descending, when in fact they were only at 1,500 feet. As a result they flew the aircraft into the ground which was obscured by fog at the time. 

1962 - 1st flight of the Nord-Aviation 262 'Frégate', French twin-prop high-wing airliner (Also known as the Max Holste MH.260, later developped as the Aerospatiale N.262), evolution of the Max Holste MH.250 Super Broussard.

1963 - New York International Airport is rededicated as John F. Kennedy Airport in honor of the murdered president

1964 - Max Conrad takes off from Cape town, South Africa, in a Piper Pa-30 Twin Comanche for St Petersburg florida for a new FAI class record.

1964 - Flying Tiger Flight 282 Lockheed Super Constellation cargo crashed shortly after take-off from San Francisco International Airport.

1966 - Luna 13 (Lunik 13), Soviet unmanned space mission to the moon, becomes the 3rd spacecraft to successfully soft-land on the surface of the Moon

1966 – While trying to land in heavy fog on Da Nang International Airport, a Flying Tiger Line Canadair CL-44 crashed into the village of Binh Thai, killing all four crew on board and 107 people on the ground.

1967 - Death of Roman Schneider, German WWI flying ace.

1968 - Allegheny Airlines Flight 736 Convair CV-580 crashed due to a binding snowstorm while attempting to land at Bradford Regional Airport in Bradford, Pennsylvania killing 20 over 47

1969 - Birth of Oleg Ivanovich Skripochka, Russian cosmonaut.

1971 - LANSA Flight 508 Lockheed L-188A Electra is struck by lightning while flying over Peru, igniting the fuel tank and leading to structural failure, killing 91 over 92. The  sole survivor was a 17 year old girl (Juliane Koepcke), who fell 2 miles (3 km) down into the Amazon rainforest strapped to her seat and remarkably survived the fall, and was then able to walk through the jungle for 10 days until she was rescued by local lumbermen.

1972 - Death of Clayton Lawrence Bissell, American WWI fighter ace and WWII High ranking officer. 

1973 - 1st flight of The Kamov Ka-27 'Helix', Soviet military helicopter for the Navy.

1975 - 1st flight of the RE-2 Citroën Marchetti, French 2 seat light helicopter prototype.

1979 – 1st European Ariane rocket is launched with navigation satellite CAT-1 'Obelix' (Capsule Ariane Technologique).

1980 – Witnesses report the 1st of several sightings of unexplained lights near RAF Woodbridge, in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England, an incident called "Britain's Roswell".

1993 - 1st flight of The Yakovlev Yak-54, Russian aerobatic and sports competition aircraft.

1994 - Air France Flight 8969 Airbus A300B2-1C is hijacked by the GIA  with the intention to crash it on the Eiffel tower in Paris.  When the aircraft reached Marseille, the GIGN, an intervention group of the French Gendarmerie, stormed the plane and killed all four hijackers.

1996 - Aircraft Charter Group, Inc. Learjet 35A with 2 people on board disappeared near Dorchester, New Hampshire while proceeding outbound in poor weather after a missed approach into Lebanon. The crash created the longest missing aircraft search in the state's history, lasting almost 3 years.

1998 - 1st flight (official) of the The Kamov Ka-60 Kasatka, Russian Air Force helicopter to be used for reconnaissance, for transporting air-assault forces, radio-electronic jamming, for special-operations missions and for various light-transport missions.