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On This Day: March 15

Aviation events for March 15

1938: De Havilland D. H. 88 Comet racer G-ACSS begins a record-breaking flight from England to New Zealand and back for what some regard as the most notable success of the Comet’s achievement: a return flight time of 10 days 21 hours 22 minutes.
1941: Philippine Airlines begins service with a Beechcraft Model 18 NPC-54 with flights from Manila to Baguio.
1957: A U.S. Navy ZPG-2 nonrigid airship sets a new unrefueled endurance record when it lands, having remained aloft for 264 hours (11 days) 12 minutes, beating the record set by the Graf Zeppelin in 1929.
1962: 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.
1963: A Lloyd Aereo Boliviano Douglas DC-6B (CP-707) crashes into a mountain in Peru, killing all 39 aboard. The pilots were flying VFR (Visual Flight Rules) while operating in IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) conditions.
1967: Air Southwest is incorporated by Herb Kelleher and Rollin King. They would go on to grow it into low-cost juggernaut Southwest Airlines.
1967: Piedmont leases two Boeing 727s to use pending delivery of their Boeing 737s. This also marks the day that Piedmont places the Fairchild FH-227 into service.
1972: NASA selects 3 part configuration for Space Shuttle.
1974: A Sterling Airways Caravelle (OY-STK) caught fire while taxiing to depart in Tehran, Iran. The right main gear collapses, rupturing the fuel line, resulting in the deaths of 15 of the 96 people on the plane.
1979: Pluto again becomes outermost planet when its orbit carries it past Neptune. It lost this status in 2006 when the IAU decided that Pluto is not a planet.
1985: American Eagle Airlines, a commuter subsidiary of American Airlines, begins service.
1985: Pan Am puts the Airbus A300B airliner into service, on its route from Miami, Florida to Mexico City.
1996: Aircraft manufacturer Fokker shuts down after 84 years in business.
2002: An Aerotaxi Antonov AN-2 crashes in Baez, Cuba, killing all 16 passengers. The aircraft plunges into a pond after a wing separated.
2012: A Royal Norwegian Air Force C-130J Super Hercules crashes into Mount Kebnekaise, killing all five people on board and triggering an avalanche.

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