On This Date

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Nov. 20, 1953: Scott Crossfield, a National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) test pilot, flew a Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket research plane to Mach 2.01 (1,272 mph) at an altitude of 62,000 feet to establish a new unofficial world’s speed record.
 
 
 
 

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Nov. 20, 2000: The second Bell-Boeing CV-22 Osprey arrived at the Flight Test Center for the start of developmental flight testing.
 
 
 
 
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Nov. 21, 1952: The new XB-52 Stratofortress made its first arrival at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for engine calibration and thrust measurement prior to Phase II evaluation. The new intercontinental bomber had made its first flight on April 15, 1952, in Seattle, Wash.
 
 
 
 
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Nov. 22, 2002: The second Boeing X-45A unmanned combat air vehicle successfully completed its first flight, a 30-minute autonomous sortie. After the completion of the flight test program, both X-45As were sent to museums, one to the National Air and Space Museum, and the other to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where it was inducted on November 13, 2006
 
 
 
 
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Nov. 22-23, 2010: An RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle accomplished a 32-hour flight test powered by the Fischer-Tropsch Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene fuel along with regular JP-8 fuel. The 412th Test Wing’s Global Vigilance CTF’s Block 20 Global Hawk lifted off at 4:30 p.m., 22 November, and became the first UAV to fly using the Fischer-Tropsch Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene fuel.
 
 
 
 
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Nov. 23, 1909: Wright Brothers form million dollar corporation to manufacture airplanes. The Wright Company was established in conjunction with several prominent industrialists from New York and Detroit. Company headquarters were in New York City, and its factory was in Dayton, Ohio. In 1929, it merged with the company founded by Glenn Curtiss, to become Curtiss-Wright, a business still in existence today.
 
 
 
 
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Nov. 23, 1942: President Roosevelt signed legislation authorizing the establishment of a women’s coast guard auxiliary, called the SPARS. The organization relieved officers and men for duty at sea by replacing them with women in shore establishments.
 
 
 
 
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Nov. 24, 1959: The Hiller X-18 V/STOL (vertical/short takeoff and landing) test vehicle made its first actual flight (above 14’), a conventional takeoff piloted by George L. Bright and Bruce Jones. The X-18 was a tilt-wing proof-of-concept vehicle powered by two Allison VT40-A-14 turboprop engines driving contra-rotating propellers. It was designed to explore V/STOL properties in cargo-type aircraft.
 
 
 
 
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Nov. 25, 1940: The B-26, with Martin test pilot William K. “Ken” Ebel at the controls, made its first flight. The Martin B-26 Marauder was an American twin-engined medium bomber that saw extensive service during World War II. The B-26 was built at two locations: Baltimore, Md., and Omaha, Neb., by the Glenn L. Martin Company. First used in the Pacific Theater of World War II in early 1942, it was also used in the Mediterranean Theater and in Western Europe.
After entering service with the United States Army aviation units, the aircraft quickly received the reputation of a “widowmaker” due to the early models’ high accident rate during takeoffs and landings. This was because the Marauder had to be flown at precise airspeeds, particularly on final runway approach or when one engine was out. The unusually high 150 mph speed on short final runway approach was intimidating to many pilots who were used to much slower approach speeds, and whenever they slowed to speeds below those stipulated in the manual, the aircraft would often stall and crash.
The B-26 became a safer aircraft once crews were re-trained, and after aerodynamics modifications (an increase of wingspan and wing angle-of-incidence to give better takeoff performance, and a larger vertical stabilizer and rudder). The Marauder ended World War II with the lowest loss rate of any U.S. Army Air Force bomber.
A total of 5,288 were produced between February 1941 and March 1945; 522 of these were flown by the Royal Air Force and the South African Air Force. By the time the United States Air Force was created as an independent military service separate from the United States Army in 1947, all Martin B-26s had been retired from U.S. service. After the Marauder was retired the unrelated Douglas A-26 Invader then assumed the “B-26” designation which led to confusion between the two aircraft.
 
 
 
 
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Nov. 25, 1940: First flight of the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, a British twin-engined, shoulder-winged multirole combat aircraft, took place. Introduced during the World War II, the aircraft was unusual in that its frame was constructed mostly of wood, it was nicknamed the “Wooden Wonder.” Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Aircraft Production, nicknamed it “Freeman’s Folly”, alluding to Air Chief Marshal Sir Wilfrid Freeman, who defended Geoffrey de Havilland and his design concept against orders to scrap the project. In 1941, it was one of the fastest operational aircraft in the world.
 
 
 
 
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Nov. 26, 1954: AFFTC Commander Brig Gen J. Stanley Holtoner flew the Bell X-1B and became the U.S. Air Force’s first general officer to fly any X-series rocket research craft.
 
 
 
 
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Nov. 26, 1975: NASA test pilot Tom McMurtry flew the X-24B on its last powered flight, completing a successful 27-month, 36-flight program. This photograph shows X-24B pilots (from left) Einar Enevoldson, John Manke, Richard Scobee, Tom McMurtry, Bill Dana and Michael Love.
 
 
 
 
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Nov. 27, 1901: The U.S. Army War College is established at Washington Barracks, later renamed Fort McNair in Washignton, D.C. The college was established form the principles learned during the Spanish-American War. The college closed during World War II. In 1950, it reopened at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, before moving a year later to its present location in Carlisle, Penn.
 
 
 

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