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On This Day: March 26

Aviation events for March 26

1859: 1st sighting of Vulcan, a planet thought to orbit inside Mercury.
1922: One of the first small commercial transport aircraft built upon experience from passenger flying and the requirements of airline operators, makes its first flight from Edgware, near London. The 10-seat passenger D. H. 34, with a top speed of 128 mph and a cruising speed of 105 mph has a range of 365 miles.
1931: Swissair is formed after a merger between Balair and Ad Astra Aero, and would last for just over 73 years.
1934: Piloted by John Lankester Parker and with three passengers on board, the first landplane derivative of the Short Kent flying boat takes off to the air for the first time. Named Scylla (G-ACJJ), the big biplane is followed by Scyrinx (G-ACJK) for the busy Imperial Airways routes into continental Europe.
1936: 200" telescope lens shipped, Corning Glass Works, New York-Cal Tech.
1938: Arthur Clouston and Victor Ricketts land their D. H. 88 Comet Australian Anniversary at Gravesend in Kent, England to complete a 26,500-mile flight from England to New Zealand and back in a record 10 days 21 hours.
1950: A North American B-25 Mitchell that was converted to an executive transport configuration and being flown around the country to promote possible sales, breaks-up in midair, presumably due to severe weather conditions. All 6 people on the aircraft perish.
1950: First flight of the Douglas XA2D Skyshark.
1955: Pan am Flight 845/26 ditches into Pacific Ocean off of the Oregon coast after its #3 engine failed. The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser (N1032V) experiences the difficulty after departing Portland International, and floats in the water for two hours, until the USS Bayfield arrives for rescue. Of the 19 on-board, 4 die.
1958: The United States launches its third satellite, Explorer III.
1969: Soviet weather satellite Meteor 1 launched.
1971: A JamAir Douglas DC-3 (VT-ATT) collides with terrain after failing to follow the prescribed flight plan, killing all 15 occupants. The crash site is located after 6 days.
1971: First flight of the CASA C.212 Aviocar.
1979: An Interflug Ilyushin IL-18 (DM-STL) overruns the runway in Luanda, Angola, killing all 10 occupants after slamming into the ILS localizer antenna.
1987: NASA launches Fltsatcom-6, it failed to reach orbit.
1989: Binter Canarias commences operations.
1989: Austrian Airlines begins international flights for the first time in almost two decades on a flight from Vienna to New York’s JFK on an Airbus A310 (OE-LAA), aptly named “New York”.
1991: Singapore Airlines Flight 1117, an Airbus A310 (9V-STP), is hijacked by four male passengers, who demand the release of Asif Ali Zardari, who today is the Pakistani President. After 8 hours and saying they are five minutes away from killing a hostage every ten minutes, commandos storm the aircraft and kill all four hijackers with no other fatalities.
1992: First flight of the Saab 2000.
1996: Pace Airlines is founded after approval from the FAA and the US Dept. of Transportation. Their operation would last until they suspend operations on September 11, 2009.
2001: A Merpati Nusantara Airlines Fokker F-27 (PK-MFL) crashes on landing during a training flight after completing 8 touch-and-go’s throughout the day. The aircraft mysteriously banks to the right and struck the ground moments from touching down.
2005: West Caribbean Airways Flight 9955, crashes a few hundred feet from the end of the runway after departure from Providencia-El Embrujo Airport in Colombia, killing 9 of the 14 aboard. The Let 410 Turbolet’s #1 engine failed near V1 speed, and the aircraft impacts the ground at a 40-degree inverted angle after failing to climb.
2006: Hooters Air (operated by Pace Airlines) ends service to both Orlando and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
2009: An Arrow Air McDonnell Douglas DC-10 loses engine parts while flying over Manaus, Colombia. Twelve houses are damaged and the aircraft safely lands at El Dorado International Airport. No fatalities or injuries are reported.

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