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Today in Aviation History MAY 11 th 
 
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1875 - Birth of Harriet Quimby, early American aviator and movie screenwriter, 1st woman to gain a pilot's license in the US and 1st woman to fly across the English Channel.

1881 - Birth of Theodore von Kármán,  Hungarian-American mathematician, aerospace engineer and physicist, responsible for many key advances in aerodynamics, notably his work on supersonic and hypersonic airflow characterization. He is regarded as the outstanding aerodynamic theoretician of the 20th century.

1892 - Birth of Walter Ewers, German WWI flying ace

1896 - Birth of Paul Wilhelm Bäumer, German WWI fighter ace.

1896 - Birth of Heinrich Henkel, German WWI flying ace

1897 - Birth of Robert Ellsworth Gross, American businessman involved in the field of aviation.

1903 - Richard Pearse is claimed to have made a flight of around 1,000 yards (900 m), landing in the semi-dry bed of the Opihi River.

1906 - Birth of Jacqueline Cochran, pioneer American aviator, considered to be one of the most gifted racing pilots of her generation. She was an important contributor to the formation of the wartime Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP)

1911 - Édouard de Nié Port, a racing cyclist before he went into aircraft construction(co-founder with his brother Charles of the eponymous Nieuport aircraft manufacturing company), sets a new speed record of 74.4mph flying his "Nieuport  type II-N," monoplane powered by a 28-hp engine. 

1917 - Death of Edmund Nathanael, German WWI fighter ace, killed in action in his Albatros D.III by a SPAD VII.

1918 - Death of Kurt Nachod, Austro Hungarian WWI flying ace, from injuries after the crash of his Hansa-Brandenburg C.I 2 days before

1919 - French Aviator Joseph Sadi Lacointe sets a new altitude record with a Spad Herbemont (8 155m).

1921 - Death of Stefan Stanislaw Stec, Polish flying ace, WWI and Polish-Ukrainian War military pilot, one of the pioneers of the Polish aviation credited as the designer of the Polish Air Force's insignia, the checkerboard, Killed in a crash.

1926 - Amundsen and 15 other men (including Ellsworth, Riiser-Larsen, Oscar Wisting, and the Italian air crew led by aeronautical engineer Umberto Nobile) made the 1st crossing of the Arctic in the airship Norge designed by Nobile.

1927 - Charles Lindbergh lands his new Ryan airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, in St. Louis after a record non-stop overnight flight from San Diego of 14 hours, 25 minutes

1928 - Death of Ulrich Neckel, German WWI fighter ace

1934 - 1st flight of The Douglas DC-2, American 14-seat, twin-engine airliner.

1935 - 1st flight of The Tipsy S.2, production version of the Belgian Tipsy S, single seat, low wing sports monoplane.

1935 - 1st flight of the Miles M.4A Merlin, British 5-seat cabin monoplane prototype.

1936 - 1st flight of The Bristol Type 138 High Altitude Monoplane, British high-altitude research aircraft, single-engine, low-wing monoplane with a fixed, tailwheel undercarriage.

1939 - Death of Anatoly Kostantinovich Serov, Soviet test pilot, Fighter ace of the Spanish war and the Soviet–Japanese war, Killed during a long-range training flight in UTI-4 trainer, together with the female pilot Mayor Polina Denissovna Ossipenko


1939 - 1st flight of the SNCAC NC-150, French twin-engined monoplane, with a third engine driving a supercharger, high-altitude bomber aircraft prototype

1944 - Death of Walter "Gulle" Oesau , German spanish war and WWII fighter ace, Killed in action in his Bf 109 G

1945 – Off the coast of Okinawa, the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill (CV-17), is hit by two kamikazes, killing 346 of her crew. Although badly damaged, the ship is able to return to the U. S. under her own power.

1953 – INS Garuda becomes the 1st Indian naval air station, serving as the base for the Indian Naval Air Arm, located near Kochi, in the state of Kerala.

1953 - Death of Alexey Dmítrievich Perelet, Soviet test pilot for military aircraft prototypes, killed in the crash of the 1st prototype Tupolev TU-95 'Bear' strategic bomber.

1957 - Birth of Luca Urbani, Italian Air Force flight surgeon and ASI astronaut.

1957 - Death of Victor Herbert Strahm, American WWI flying ace, who served in WWII and was chief test pilot for the USAAF.

1960 - A United States Army Signals Corps balloon ascends to an altitude of 43,890 metres (144,000 feet) before bursting setting a record breaking night time altitude ascent.

1964 - A USAF Boeing C-135B-BN Stratolifter crashed on landing at Clark Air Force Base, Philippines, during a rainstorm. Sliding across a road, it hit a taxi killing the driver. 79 over 84 on board died.

1964 - Death of Maurice Roch Gond, French WWI flying ace

1964 - Jackie Cochran sets a new women's airspeed record of 1,429 mph (2,300 km/h) in a TF-104G Starfighter

1964 - A Bell 533 modified with 2 small sweptback fixed wings to convert the aircraft into a compound helicopter, flew at 357km/h.

1969 - A Royal Navy F-4 Phantom of 892 Naval Air Squadron set a new world air speed record between New York and London in 4 hours and 46 minutes, winning the Daily Mail Trans-Atlantic Air Race. It flew from the Floyd Bennet Naval Air Station to Wisley Aerodrome and was refuelled by a Handley Page Victor aerial tanker over the Atlantic.

1970 - Death of William Howard "Hank" Stovall, American WWI flying ace, Businessman and High Ranking officer in WWII.

1973 - 1st flight of the Aérospatiale SA-342K 'Gazelle', french 5 seat version of the SA 341F built for Kuweit.

1973 - Death of Herbert "Bubi" Boy, German WWI flying ace.

1973 - 1st flight of the Dassault Falcon 30, French business jet prototype.

1984 - Death of Bernhard Hohmann, German Glider pilot, test pilot of the Me-163 rocket fighter during WWII, Chief of Flight Development Section at Wright Field, He worked on both Mercury and Gemini programs.

1987 - 1st Flight of The Learjet 31, American 10 seat (2 crew and 8 passengers) twin-engined, high speed business jet. Manufactured by Learjet (a subsidiary of Bombardier) 

1995 - Death of John Geoffrey Sadler Candy, British WWI flying ace who served during WWII.

1996 – After the aircraft's departure from Miami, Florida, a fire started by improperly handled oxygen canisters in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592 causes the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades killing all 110 on board.

2007 - After 50 years of service, the English Electric Canberra was finally retired by the IAF.

2009 - Launch of STS-125, or HST-SM4 (Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission 4), It was the 5th and final space shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.

2010 - Death of Walker Melville "Bud" Mahurin, American WWII and Korean war fighter ace, (only USAF pilot to score in both the European and Pacific Theaters and the Korean War).

2011 - Swiss “Jetman” Yves Rossy completed an eight-minute flight along the Grand Canyon, Flying his jet-propelled wing attached to his back,  and steering only by moving his body.

2011 - University of Maryland Gamera I, Human-powered helicopter with Judy Wexler at controls, became airborne a few inches above the ground for at least 4 seconds. The flight is officially sanctioned to be the first flight of a human-powered helicopter by a female.