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On This Day: 1963

Aviation events for 1963

January 2: First flight of the Aero Commander 1121 Jet Commander.
January 7: Aeroflot launches its service from Moscow to Havana (Cuba), using Tu-114 turboprop aircraft.
January 7: First flight of the Short Skyvan.
January 9: First flight of the Yakovlev Yak-36.
January 15: First A-12 flight with dual J-58 engines. At speeds of Mach 2.4-2.8 the aircraft experienced such severe roughness that it was looking as if the program could not move forward. The trouble was diagnosed as being in the air inlet system of the engines. After a considerable period of experimentation the problem was solved.
February 5: Soviet lunar probe failure.
February 9: First flight of the Boeing 727.
February 12: A Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 705, a 720B, suffered an in-flight break-up over the Florida Everglades approximately 12 minutes after leaving Miami, bound for Chicago. All 35 passengers and eight crew died. The cause of the crash was determined to be an unrecoverable loss of control due to severe turbulence.
February 13: Pacific Southwest Airlines becomes a public corporation.
February 14: The Indian Air Force receives its first batch of Soviet fighters, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21s.
February 14: U.S. launches communications satellite Syncom 1.
February 18: Air Force authorizes the initial construction of the first six SR-71s. These aircraft were designated R-12s. The project code name was SENIOR CROWN.
February 20: Austrian Airlines receives the first of five Sud-Aviation SE.210-VIR Caravelles, their first jet aircraft.
February 25: First flight of the Transall C.160.
March 5: Country music star Patsy Cline and three others are killed in the crash of a Piper Comanche near Camden, Tennessee.
March 15: A Lloyd Aereo Boliviano Douglas DC-6B (CP-707) crashes into a mountain in Peru, killing all 39 aboard. The pilots were flying VFR (Visual Flight Rules) while operating in IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) conditions.
March 18: The Dassault Balzac becomes the first VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft to go from switch back and forth between vertical and horizontal flight.
March 30: An Itavia Douglas DC-3 (I-TAVI) crashes into a mountain in Sora, Italy while trying to navigate through poor weather. Low ceilings force the aircraft to descend to maintain visual contact, which then becomes lost. All 11 occupants on the aircraft are killed.
April 2: Luna 4 - USSR Lunar Probe launched. Lunar 4 was intended to be a lunar lander but missed the Moon. It is now in an Earth Moon orbit.
May 1: Jacqueline Cochran takes off from Edwards Air Force Base, California, to set a 100-km (62-mile) closed-circuit world speed record for women of 1,203.7mph in a Lockheed Starfighter.
May 12: American flyer Betty Miller lands in Brisbane, Australia, to complete the first transpacific flight by a woman; she left Oakland, California, on April 30.
May 15: 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.
May 24: First loss of a Blackbird. A-12 (926) was lost due to instrument failure. Pilot Ken Collinsejected and was unharmed. The crash occurred 14 miles south of Wendover, Utah. The wreckage was recovered in two days. Local residents signed secrecy agreements and the press was told that an F-105 had crashed.
May 27: First flight of the McDonell Douglas F-4C Phantom II (USAF version).
June 5: President Kennedy announces that his administration would seek funds for the sponsored development of a supersonic transport aircraft.
June 8: The National Museum of Naval Aviation opens at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Pensacola, Florida.
June 29: First flight of the Saab 105.
July 1: Air Force authorizes the construction of an additional 25 SR-71s.
July 19: Joe Walker flies a North American X-15 to a record altitude of 106,010 metres (347,800 feet) on X-15 Flight 90. Exceeding an altitude of 100 km (62.1 statute miles, 54 nautical miles), this flight qualifies as a human spaceflight under international convention.
July 20: First A-12 Mach 3 flight. Pilot Lou Schalk.
July 29: First flight of the Tupolev Tu-134.
August 20: First flight of the BAC 1-11.
October 7: First flight of the Learjet 23 prototype, the very first Learjet built.
November 29: Trans-Canada Air Lines Flight 831, a Douglas DC-8-54CF airliner (registered CF-TJN) enroute to Toronto, crashes after takeoff from Dorval Airport in Montreal, killing all 118 on board. Investigators would be unable to determine a cause due to the plane’s extreme damage.
December 9: Alia –Royal Jordanian is founded.
December 15: Alia- Royal Air Jordanian commences flight operations.
December 17: First flight of the Lockheed C-141A Starlifter.
December 21: First flight of the Hawker Siddeley Andover.
December 24: New York International Airport is rededicated as John F. Kennedy Airport in honor of the murdered president.

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