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On This Day: 1954

Aviation events for 1954

January 10: BOAC Flight 781, a de Havilland DH-106 Comet registered G-ALYP, crashes into the Mediterranean Sea, killing all 35 on-board. The aircraft suffered explosive decompression while flying from Rome, Italy to London, England due to premature metal fatigue.
February 26: Piedmont Airlines carries its one millionth passenger after 6 years of scheduled service
March 4: First flight of the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter.
March 13: A BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) Lockheed L-749A (G-ALAM) crashes in Kallang Singapore, killing 33 of the 40 on-board. Pilot fatigue is blamed for the aircraft falling short of the runway and striking a concrete wall.
March 25: Aeronaves de Mexico Douglas DC-3 (XA-GUN) crashes into Friar’s Peak while descending in Monterrey, Mexico, killing all 18 aboard.
April 1: BEA and Air France introduce "Tourist Class" fares.
April 3: Quantas introduces tourist-class services on its Kangaroo route from Sydney to London.
April 8: A de Havilland Comet 1, operating South African Airways Flight 201 from Rome to Cairo and Johannesburg, disintegrates in mid-air over the Mediterranean Sea near Naples following fatigue failure, killing all 14 passengers and seven crew. Read more...
April 13: Robert Oppenheimer accused of being a communist.
May 1: The Myasishchev M-4, the first Soviet bomber designed to reach the United States and return to the Soviet Union, is displayed to the public for the first time.
May 25: First flight of the North American YF-100A Super Saber.
June 30: A SNCASO S.O. 4000 (prototype of the Sud Vautour fighter-bomber) becomes the first European aircraft to exceed the speed of sound in a shallow dive.
July 1: The responsibility for air traffic control over West Germany is transferred from the Allies to German authorities.
July 3: The first tethered flight by the Rolls-Royce Thrust Measuring Rig VTOL aircraft takes place.
July 15: Boeing 367-80, prototype of the Boeing 707 and Boeing C-135 families.
July 23: Cathay Pacific VR-HEU, a Cathay Pacific Douglas DC-4 (VR-HEU) from Bangkok to Hong Kong was shot down by the People's Liberation Army Air Force in the South China Sea near Hainan Island. Ten people died, leaving eight survivors. After the incident, Cathay Pacific received an apology and compensation from the People's Liberation Army Air Force. It was apparently mistaken for a Nationalist plane.
August 4: English Electric P.1, prototype of the English Electric Lightning. Read more...
August 23: First flight of the Lockheed YC-130 Hercules.
September 21: North Korean pilot No Kum-Sok defects, bringing his MiG-15 with him to Seoul and collecting a $US 100,000 reward.
September 29: First flight of the McDonnell F-101A Voodoo, flown by test pilot Robert C. Little.
October 3: First flight of the Douglas XF4D-1.
October 10: An RAF English Electric Canberra wins the Christchurch Centenary air race, flying 11,792 miles (18,976 km) from England to New Zealand in 23 hours 50 minutes.
November 2: the VTOL Convair XFY transitions from vertical to horizontal flight and back.
December 9: The CIA signs a contract to buy the first batch of twenty Lockheed U-2A’s.
December 20: The Convair YF-102A Delta Dagger makes its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base.

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