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On This Day: May 4

Aviation events for May 4

1911: The U.S. War Department approves a suggestion that S.C.No.1 (the Wright Flyer accepted by the Army August 2, 1909) be put at the disposal of the Smithsonian Institution for exhibition purposes following refurbishment.
1924: The first helicopter flight in a closed circle is made in France by Etienne Oehmichen’s helicopter No.2. The previous month, it established a world record by flying 1,182 feet (360 meters).
1936: Amy Johnson sets a speed record of 3 days, 6 hours and 26 minutes on a flight from England to South Africa in a Percival Gull Six (G-ADZO).
1942: The Battle of the Coral Sea is fought between US Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carriers. It is the first battle between aircraft carriers in history and the first naval battle in history in which the opposing warships do not sight one another Read more...
1949: The Canadian Blue Devils aerobatic team is formed. Their fleet of RCAF de Havilland Vampire jets would grow to 6 before being disbanded after just over one year when the aircraft type was retired and the team disbanded, although they did perform one more time in August of 1951.
1949: The “Superga Air Disaster”, a crash of a Fiat G212CP (I-ELCE) carrying the Torino A.C. football (soccer) after a game in Lisbon, takes place. Low clouds force them to descend to fly visually and collide with a hill near Turin, Italy. All 31 occupants perish. Read more...
1959: First flight of the Pilatus PC-6. Read more...
1967: The Lunar Orbiter 4 launches on a 180-day mission to take photographs of The Moon for research purposes. It would take over 500 photos before striking the surface. Read more...
1972: Second series of three SR-71 HABU flights launched at Kadena. At 14:16, 14:18 and 15:22. These missions were coordinated sorties to lay down sonic booms over the Hanoi Hilton POW camp. These flight were designed to show solidarity with the prisoners.
1972: An Aeroflot Yakalov Yak-40 (CCCP-87778) crashes due to windshear at Bratsk, Russia, killing all 18 onboard.
1982: Argentinian Navy Super Étendard aircraft fatally damage the British destroyer Sheffield with an Exocet missile southeast of the Falkland Islands. Sheffield sinks on May 10.
1982: The British lose their first Sea Harrier of the Falklands War, shot down by ground fire during a bombing raid over Goose Green. The pilot is killed.
1989: Magellan, USA Venus Orbiter, launched. Magellan was released into Earth's orbit from a space shuttle and then injected into a transfer orbit to Venus by an upper stage. Its primary mission was to map Venus using synthetic aperture radar. The surface of Venus is obscured by thick clouds of carbon dioxide that makes the surface invisible to optical instruments. It arrived at Venus on August 10, 1990. Its radar imaging system was able to produce images at 300 meters/pixel resolution.
2002: EAS Airlines Flight 4226, a BAC-111 (5N-ESF) on a flight from Kano to Lagos, Nigeria, crashes half a mile away from the airport. Both engines fail due to the ingestion of dust and soil after the pilot overshoots the runway on its takeoff roll. A school, 23 houses and a mosque are destroyed, with fatalities including 71 of the 77 people on the aircraft and an additional 78 on the ground.
2003: Frontier Airlines increases service to Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Portland, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. Their regional operation Frontier JetExpress also adds regional jet service to Boise, Oklahoma City and Tucson, while discontinuing service to Oakland.
2004: Air France and KLM merge.
2004: US Airways becomes the 15th member of the airline coalition Star Alliance.
2006: Hawaiian Airlines announces service to the mainland destinations of San Diego, Seattle and Portland with their four additional Boeing 767-300 airliners.

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