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Sept. 12, 1946: The North American prototype XFJ-1 Fury made its first flight, piloted by Maj. “Wally” Lien. Ordered in late 1944 as the XFJ-1 in competition with proposals from Douglas and Vought, the Fury began as a straight-wing, tricycle gear fighter with a single turbojet passing through the fuselage. The wing, empennage, and canopy strongly resembled that of the piston-engined P-51D Mustang, North American Aviation’s highly successful World War II fighter, enclosing a relocated cockpit accommodation further forward in relation to the Mustang’s design, to ensure good forward pilot visibility for carrier operations.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Sept. 12, 1992: Space shuttle Endeavour blasted off on mission STS-47. Endeavour carried with it Mark Lee and Jan Davis, the first married couple in space; Mae Jemison, the first Black woman in space; and Mamoru Mohri, the first Japanese national to fly on a U.S. spaceship. Pictured in the photograph are (left to right, front) Mission Specialist Jerome Apt and Pilot Curtis L. Brown, Jr., and (left to right, rear) Jan Davis, Mark C. Lee, commander Robert L. Gibson, Mae C. Jemison, and Mamoru Mohri.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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(Courtesy photo)

Sept. 13, 1950: Accelerated Service Tests began on three F-94 interceptors. The three Starfires were flown continuously by relays of pilots, with maintenance men also working in round-the-clock shifts. The project involved 24 pilots and 100 crewmen. The aircraft were flown 150 hours in six weeks, the equivalent to six months of operational flying.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sept. 13, 1961: The first sortie was flown on a T-37B spin evaluation program. Air Force Flight Test Center and Air Training Command pilots embarked on a program to analyze the trainer’s flight manual spin procedures and develop a more simplified spin recovery technique for the benefit of student pilots.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sept. 13, 1985: Then Maj. Wilbert D. “Doug” Pearson zoom-climbed a specially configured F-15A to 80,000 feet and launched a Vought ASM-135A anti-satellite missile against an orbiting Solwind P78-1 satellite. The missile’s miniature kinetic-kill vehicle intercepted and destroyed the target satellite marking the first time a satellite had been destroyed by an aircraft.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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(Courtesy photo)

Sept. 14, 1962: Maj. Fitzhugh L. “Fitz” Fulton flew the Convair B-58A Hustler to an altitude of 85,360.8 feet with a 5,000-pound payload, establishing an official world altitude record for a payload of that size. The record stood for 35 years and was certified by the National Aeronautics Association and the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. At an altitude of 35,000 feet, he accelerated to 1,300 mph and made a 35-degree climb to maximum altitude.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sept. 15, 1942: Contractor personnel were removed from the Materiel Center Flight Test Site prior to the arrival of the secret XP-59, and a group of 11 Bell Aircraft Corp. employees took over the site.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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(Courtesy photo)

Sept. 15, 1959: The first silo launch of a tethered, full-scale Minuteman ICBM (LGM-30) took place at the Rocket Engine Test Station on Leuhman Ridge, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The test missile was fitted with dummy second and third stages, and carried only a few second’s fuel in the first stage. The purpose of the test was to determine if a solid-fuel ICBM could be launched from within a silo.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sept. 15, 1991: The McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster III made its first flight. The wide-bodied heavy lifter, designed to use short and unimproved runways, resulted from the DOD Cargo Experimental (C-X) program started in 1979. Douglas test pilot William Casey (pilot) and Lt. Col. George London (co-pilot) flew the new transport from the Douglas facility in Long Beach, California, to Edwards Air Force Base.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sept. 16, 1994: During NASA mission STS-64, two astronauts from the Space Shuttle Discovery – Mission Specialist Mark Lee and Mission Specialist Carl Meade — went on the first untethered spacewalk in 10 years.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sept. 16, 1999: NASA’s airborne launch aircraft, Boeing RB-52B Stratofortress #52-008, completed its 1,000 flight. This historic aircraft took part in some of the most significant projects in aerospace history to include the X-15 program. Today, this aircraft is part of the Air Force Flight Test Museum inventory.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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(Courtesy photo)

Sept. 17, 1908: First Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge of the U.S. Army Signal Corps became the first person to die in the crash of a powered aircraft, the Wright Flyer, at Fort Myer, Va., just outside Washington, D.C. Selfridge Air National Guard Base (which dates back to 1917) and, until 1971, was known as Selfridge Air Force Base, in Michigan is named for Lieutenant Selfridge.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sept. 17, 1959: Scott Crossfield flew the X-15 (s/n 6671) on its first powered flight. The aircraft was temporarily fitted with two XLR-11 engines. It reached Mach 2.11 and an altitude of 52,341 feet before landing on Rogers Dry Lake.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sept. 18, 1948: Convair’s experimental XF-92A Dart was flown for the first time, piloted by Ellis D. “Sam” Shannon. The XF-92(originally designated XP-92) was an early American delta wing aircraft, and was originally conceived as a point-defense interceptor. The design was later used purely for experimental purposes. However, it led Convair to use the delta-wing on a number of designs, including the F-102 Delta Dagger, F-106 Delta Dart, B-58 Hustler and the U.S. Navy’s F2Y Sea Dart, as well as the VTOL FY Pogo.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sept. 18, 1990: The Northrop/McDonnell Douglas YF-23A went supersonic for the first time. The YF-23 is an American single-seat, twin-engine stealth fighter aircraft technology demonstrator designed for the U.S. Air Force. The design was a finalist in the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition, battling the Lockheed YF-22 for a production contract. Two YF-23 prototypes were built, nicknamed “Black Widow II” and “Gray Ghost.” In the 1980s, the Air Force began looking for a replacement for its fighter aircraft, especially to counter the Soviet Union’s advanced Sukhoi Su-27 and Mikoyan MiG-29. Several companies submitted design proposals, and the Air Force selected proposals from Northrop and Lockheed. Northrop teamed with McDonnell Douglas to develop the YF-23, while Lockheed, Boeing and General Dynamics developed the YF-22. After a four-year development and evaluation process, the YF-22 was announced the winner in 1991 and entered production as the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. The U.S. Navy considered using the production version of the ATF as the basis for a replacement to the F-14, but these plans were later canceled.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

Sept. 18, 2000: The X-32A, Boeing’s Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) concept demonstrator, landed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., after making its first flight. Boeing JSF chief test pilot Fred Knox flew the aircraft during the 20 minute flight which began at Boeing’s facility at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sept. 18, 2000: The first CV-22 Osprey arrived at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., from the Bell Helicopter Research Center in Arlington, Texas, to begin a two-year test program with the CV-22 Integrated Test Team. Maj. Tom Currie piloted the revolutionary twin-rotor aircraft, which was designed to combine the best features of helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft.
 
 
 

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