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On This Date

Dec. 25, 1914: Legendary “Christmas Truce” takes place on the battlefields of World War I between British and German troops. Instead of fighting, soldiers exchange gifts and play soccer.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Dec. 25, 1999: Space Shuttle Discovery’s astronauts finished their repair job on the Hubble Space Telescope and released it back into orbit.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dec. 26, 1956: The Convair YF-106A Delta Dart made its first flight. Convair’s chief test pilot, Richard L. “Dick” Johnson, took the delta-winged interceptor to Mach 1.9 at 57,000 feet.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dec. 27, 1950: The Douglas XF4D-1 Skyray arrived for evaluation of the stability and control of the Navy’s first delta-winged fighter.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dec. 27, 1968: Apollo 8 returns to earth.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dec. 28, 1909: Frenchman Albert Kimmerling made the first airplane flight in Africa, taking off at the Nahoon Racetrack at East London, South Africa, in a Voisin biplane. He was also involved in the first airplane crash in South Africa on Jan. 1, 1910, when the flight was repeated. The incident was fairly minor.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dec. 29, 1939: First flight of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber prototype
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dec. 29, 1940: German aircraft dropped 10,000 bombs on London in one of the worst nights ever during the Battle of Britain. The nearly four months-long Second World War aerial conflict had been predicted in the summer of that year by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in one of his most famous speeches. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dec. 31, 1934: Helen Richey, the first female commercial airline pilot, flew her fist regular civil flight with Central Airlines, flying a Ford Trimotor from Washington, D.C., to Detroit. She was eventualy forced to step down from the cockpit by the all-male pilots union.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dec. 31, 1958: The Zero-Length Launch Program using an F-100, was completed.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dec. 31, 1968: The Tupolev Tu-144 made its first flight. The Tu-144 was a Soviet supersonic passenger airliner designed by Tupolev in operation from 1968 to 1999. The Tu-144 was the world’s first commercial supersonic transport aircraft with its prototype’s maiden flight from Zhukovsky Airport, two months before the British-French Concorde. Sixteen aircraft were manufactured, and the aircraft conducted 102 commercial flights, of which only 55 carried passengers, at an average service altitude of 52,000 feet, and cruised at a speed of around 1,400 mph (Mach 2) The Tu-144 first went supersonic on June 5, 1969, four months before Concorde, and on May 26, 1970, became the world’s first commercial transport to exceed Mach 2.
 
 
 

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