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On This Day: May 15

Aviation events for May 15

1918: The first regular air mail service begins with regular flights between Washington, D.C. and New York City. It is operated by the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
1919: The U.S. Post Office Department begins its first air mail service operations between Chicago and Cleveland, later extended to New York and San Francisco. A de Havilland D.H.4-A is carrying the mail.
1921: Laura Bromwell loops in New York State 199 times in I hour, 20 minutes, setting a new women’s record for consecutive loops.
1930: The first airline stewardess is Ellen Church, a nurse who flies on the Boeing Air Transport flight between San Francisco, California and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
1940: World War II: British bombers make their first runs over Germany.
1948: Tel Aviv is attacked by the Egyptian Air Force. The Israeli Air Force retaliates by striking Arab troops near Samakh.
1957: Over Malden Island in the south Pacific, a British Vickers Valiant piloted by Kenneth Hubbard drops the nation’s first nuclear bomb in a test called Operation Grapple. Designed to yield a one megaton explosion, the bomb fails to detonate properly and only disperses about 300 kilotons.
1958: The USSR launches Sputnik 3 for the second time, following a failed launch about 2 weeks earlier.
1960: The Soviets launch Sputnik 4.
1961: In testimony before House Appropriations Committee, Hugh L. Dryden revealed that simulated free-flight speeds just under 30,000 miles per hour had been achieved at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA.
1963: The spacecraft Faith 7 launches on Mercury-Atlas 9, the final mission of the U.S. Mercury program. Pilot Gordon Cooper becomes the first American to spend more than a day in space before splashing down 34 hours later.
1979: First flight of the Dassault Mirage 50.
1987: The USSR launches the Polyus spacecraft, designed to destroy American “Star Wars” satellites with high-powered lasers, but it fails to reach orbit.
2002: Air Astana commences operations.

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