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On This Day: 1946

Aviation events for 1946

January 10: The unofficial altitude record for a helicopter is made at 21,000ft in a Sikorsky R5.
January 10: The US Army's Signal Corps successfully bounces the first radar waves off the Moon.
January 19: First flight of the Bell X-1 (unpowered).
January 26: Col William Councill sets a new US transcontinental speed record of 4 hours 13 minutes in a Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star.
February 3: Pan American inaugurates the first commercial use of Lockheed Model 049 Constellation with the aircraft’s first scheduled service between New York and Bermuda.
February 5: TWA begins transatlantic service with the Lockheed Constellation flying the New York-Gander-Shannon-Paris route.
February 6: A TWA Lockheed Constellation lands at Orly airport, Paris, from LaGuardia, New York, to complete the airline’s first scheduled international flight.
February 11: The United States and United Kingdom sign an agreement in Bermuda setting out the principles by which air rates and frequencies of international services should be set. The Bermuda Agreement becomes a standard upon which air agreements would be based in the future.
February 14: Philippine Airlines resumes service after a 5-year hiatus during World War II.
February 15: First flight of the Douglas DC-6.
February 28: First flight of the Republic XP-84 Thunderjet 45-54975.
March 4: American Airlines begins using the Douglas DC-4 cross country on trips that lasted 13-to-14-hours.
March 8: The Bell 47 receives the first type certificate awarded to a commercial helicopter.
March 21: The Strategic Air Command of the United States Army Air Force is formed.
March 27: An air agreement is signed by France and the US giving Air France the right to serve the cities of Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
April 4: Sears, Roebuck & Company begins a new, regular weekly overnight shipment of women’s clothing from New York to the West Coast by airplane.
April 8: Ethiopian Airlines commences flight operations.
April 24: First flights of the first Soviet designed and built jet aircrafts, MiG-9 and Yak-15, are made. A member of the company test team for the Yak-15, Olga Yamschikova, is probably the first woman to fly a turbojet-powered aircraft when she flies in 1947.
April 24: Winged Cargo Inc. opens an unusual freight service in which goods are carried in a Waco CG-4A glider towed by a DC-3.
May 21: Royal Dutch Airlines, KLM, inaugurates a scheduled service to New York. It is the first European airline to open post-war flights to New York.
May 22: First flight of the de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk.
May 31: London Heathrow Airport is officially opened.
June 15: The US Navy's newly formed Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, gives its first public performance at Jacksonville-Craig Field, Florida.
June 25: First flight of the Northrop XB-35 flying wing bomber 42-13603.
June 26: The U.S. Army Air Force and Navy adopt the “knot” and “nautical mile” as standard aeronautical units for speed and distance. A nautical mile is about 6.080 ft. (1,853 m), and knot is the equivalent of one nautical mile per hour.
July 21: a McDonnell XFD-1 Phantom executes the first intentional and controlled landing by a purely jet-powered aircraft aboard a US aircraft carrier, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt.
July 24: Bernard Lynch becomes the first person to be “shot” out of an airplane. Lynch was involved in the first airborne test of a British “ejection seat.”
July 26: Aloha Airlines commences operations.
August 1: British European Airways (BEA) is established under the Civil Aviation Act of 1946, which makes the entire British air transport industry nationalized. Read more...
August 1: Scandinavian Air System (SAS) is founded. Read more...
United States Air Force Convair B-36J Peacemaker (52-2827) at  Tucson - Davis-Monthan AFB, United States
August 8: The Convair B-36 takes its first flight. To this day, the six-engined bomber remains the largest piston-engined aircraft ever mass-produced. Its 230 ft wingspan is also the longest ever on a combat aircraft. Read more...
August 12: President Harry Truman signs a bill authorizing an appropriation of $50,000 to establish a National Air Museum in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. The small museum eventually becomes the National Air and Space Museum - the most visited museum in the world.
August 17: The first person to be ejected from an airplane by means of its emergency escape equipment is Sergeant Lambert at Wright Field in Ohio.
September 1: The Vickers Viking enters service with British European Airways (G-AHOP). Read more...
September 7: Royal Air Force Gloster Meteor established a new world absolute air speed record of 615.65 mph (990.79 km/h) flown by Group Captain E.M. Donaldson off the coast of West Sussex, England.
September 11: North American XFJ-1, prototype of the FJ Fury, the first jet aircraft to enter service with the US Navy.
September 17: Scandinavian Air System (SAS) commences flight operations.
September 19: TAP Portugal commences flight operations.
September 24: Cathay Pacific is founded.
September 27: Geoffrey de Havilland Jr is killed when the de Havilland DH.108 breaks up in mid-air.
September 29: a United States Navy Lockheed P2V Neptune sets a new distance record of 11,235 miles (18,082 km).
November 23: An Avro Lancastrian powered with Rolls-Royce Nene turbojets is credited with the first international passenger jet flight from London to Paris. The flight time was just 41 minutes.
December 2: First flight of the Beechcraft T-34 Mentor.
December 9: The first powered flight by the Bell X-1 took place.
December 25: Today is nicknamed “Black Christmas” as three airlines crash trying to land in bad weather, killing 72 people. It is the worst day so far in the history of Chinese civil aviation.

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