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On This Day: March 18

Aviation events for March 18

1906: Trajan Vuia, a Rumanian, first tests a monoplane in France. Although it only hops and does not fly, Louis Bleriot (1872-1936) decides that its monoplane design is superior to his biplane.
1938: Only seven months after its first flight, the prototype Heinkel He 115 V1 begins a series of flights breaking eight seaplane speed records by carrying loads between 1,100 lb. and 4,400 lb. over distances of 1,000 km (621 miles) and 2,000 km (1,242 miles) at an average speed of 204 mph. The He 115 is the Luftwaffe’s most successful seaplane.
1939: Three months after its first flight, a Boeing 307 Stratoliner crashes on Mount Rainier during a test-flight. The crash kills 10 people, including Boeing’s Chief Engineer.
1945: Douglas XB2D-1, prototype of the AD Skyraider.
1952: Two USAF F-84 Thunderjets land in Neubiberg, Germany after the longest sustained jet flight; they flew 2,800 miles from the USA in 4 hours 48 minutes, without refueling.
1957: A Lloyd Aereo Boliviano Douglas DC-3 (CP-535) crashes in Sayari, Bolivia, killing all of its 19 passengers and crew
1958: Austrian Airlines takes off on its first flight, with a Vickers Viscount from Vienna to London with a stop in Zurich.
1962: The Convair CV-990 enters service with American Airlines.
1963: The Dassault Balzac becomes the first VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft to go from switch back and forth between vertical and horizontal flight.
1965: USSR launches Voshkod 2; Alexei Leonov makes 1st spacewalk (20 mins).
1966: United Arab Airlines Flight 749 crashes outside Cairo, Egypt , killing all 25 passengers and 4 crew. The Antonov AN-24 (SU-AOA) was on approach from Nicosia Airport in Cyprus when unexpected weather forced the aircraft into IFR conditions for which the flight crew was not prepared for. That, along with a crack in a cockpit window and discrepancies between the two altimeters is thought to lead to the crash.
1980: Vostok rocket exploded on launch pad while being refueled, killing 50.
1989: 27th space shuttle mission, STS-29 (Discovery 8), returns to Earth.
1994: Space shuttle STS-62 (Columbia 16), lands.
1997: Stavropol Airlines Flight 1023, an Antonov AN-24 (RA-46516) crashes half an hour after takeoff in Cherkessk, Russia. Separation of the tail-section due to poor maintenance and metal fatigue are blamed in the death of all 50 occupants.
1998: A Formosa Airlines Saab 340 (B-12255) crashes into the sea, killing all 13 aboard. The Captain decides to depart, despite the known failure of the right-hand main bus. This has a domino effect on several systems, including navigation and flight instruments. With that, the right engine anti-ice start bleed valve being in the open position lead to a 13% torque split between the two engines and a yaw-effect when not compensated for. Poor weather conditions and pilot fatigue (the Captain flew several flights throughout the day already) led to spatial disorientation. Add it all up and the result is a right bank after departure that the pilots do not notice until it is unrecoverable.
1999: An ALIANSA Colombia Douglas DC-3 (HK-337) disappears on a flight from Cucuta to El Yopal. After four days, the crash site is found on a hill, along with its 8 deceased passengers and crew.
2008: Delta Air Lines offers voluntary severance to 30,000 employees, which is half of their workforce.

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