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On This Day: February 1

Aviation events for February 1

1920: South African Air Force is established as an independent air arm.
1923: Danish Army Flying Corps established.
1934: South African Airways is founded.
1942: The U.S. Navy aircraft carriers USS Enterprise (CV-6) and USS Yorktown (CV-5) launch air strikes against Japanese bases in the Marshall Islands. It is the first offensive operation by American forces in World War II.
1945: The U.S. Navy's first recorded use of JATO, utilized to lift a PBM-5 Mariner off of a stretch of the Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona after being forced down.
1949: 200" (5.08-m) Hale telescope 1st used.
1953: Chance Vought delivered last propeller-driven fighter, the Navy F4U Corsair, the 12,571st built since first one flew in 1940.
1956: Army activated the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala., to weaponize the Redstone and to develop the Jupiter IRBM.
1957: The Bristol Britannia enters service with BOAC.
1961: X-15 (No. 1) flown to 49,780 feet by John B. McKay, NASA test pilot, at Edwards, California.
1961: USAF Minuteman successful on first test launch from AFMTC, a three-stage solid-propellent ICBM with full guidance, all tested on its first launching.
1961: The space surveillance system (Spasur) was formally commissioned at the Naval Weapons Laboratory, Dahlgren, Va., under the operational control of the North American Defense Command.
1964: President Lyndon Johnson publicly acknowledges the existence of the Lockheed A-12 Mach 3+ spy plane program and shows a picture that is actually an YF-12A.
1964: The Boeing 727 enters service with Eastern Airlines.
1971: Apollo 14 - USA Lunar Manned Lander (January 31 to February 8, 1971) Crew: Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Edgar D. Mitchell, Stuart A. Roosa. Shepard and Mitchell landed on the moon on February 5, 1971, in the Fra Mauro highlands, located at 3°40' S and longitude 17°28' E. They collected 42.9 kilograms of lunar samples and used a hand-held cart to transport rocks and equipment.
1981: Donald Douglas, founder of the Douglas Aircraft Company, dies at age 88.
1983: Boeing announces it will stop producing the 727. The 1,832nd, and final 727, would roll off the line in 1984.
1985: TWA is the first airline to operate a twin-engine jet on scheduled trans-atlantic services, with the Boeing 767.
1987: People’s Express Airlines ceases operations.
1989: Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 at perihelion.
1989: Highest air pressure, 31.85 mm Hg, for North America recorded in Alaska.
1992: British Aerospace’s latest Hawk demonstrator, Hawk Mk 102D, ZJ 100, takes to the skies for the first time. It is an enhanced two-seater ground-attack version with a modified wing and incorporates many improvements to its onboard sensors and weapons system.
2003: Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates over Texas during its descent to earth on mission STS-107, killing all seven astronauts on board. Heat shield tiles, which suffered damage during the shuttle’s launch, fail during reentry, allowing hot gases to enter the left wing and eventually cause it to break off, quickly leading to the destruction of the entire spacecraft.
2006: UAL. Corp, United Airlines' parent company emerges from bankruptcy after being in such position since December 9, 2002, the longest such filing in history.

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