On This Date

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Jan. 8, 1945: One of the two Mitsubishi J8M1 rocket-fighter prototypes was towed aloft at Nagoya, Japan, with water ballast added in place of the fuel tank and rocket engines to test its aerodynamics. The flight confirmed the aircraft’s design, a derivation of the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Jan. 8, 1964: The Air Force Cross was posthumously awarded to Maj. Rudolf Anderson, Jr., the only causality of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Anderson died when his unarmed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft was shot down over Cuba. He was the first recipient of the award – the U.S. military’s and Air Force’s second-highest award and decoration for valor.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 9, 1793: Frenchman Jean Pierre Blanchard, using a hot-air balloon, flew from Philadelphia to Woodbury, N.J. Watching the flight were President George Washington, and future presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. Blanchard left the United States in 1797.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 9, 1916: The World War I Battle of Gallipoli ended after eight months with an Ottoman Empire victory, as Allied forces withdrew.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 9, 1923: The first flight of a practical gyroplane or rotorcraft is made by Juan de la Cierva’s C-3 “Autogiro,” which is flown by Spenser Gomes in Madrid, Spain.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 9, 1941: The Avro Lancaster made its maiden flight at RAF Ringway in Cheshire, England. The Lancaster is a British Second World War heavy bomber. A long, unobstructed bomb bay meant that the Lancaster could take the largest bombs used by the RAF, including the 4,000-pound, 8,000-pound and 12,000-pound blockbusters, loads often supplemented with smaller bombs or incendiaries. The “Lanc”, as it was known colloquially, became one of the most heavily used of the Second World War night bombers, “delivering 608,612 long tons of bombs in 156,000 sorties.” The versatility of the Lancaster was such that it was chosen to equip 617 Squadron and was modified to carry the Upkeep “bouncing bomb” designed by Barnes Wallis for Operation Chastise, the attack on German Ruhr valley dams. Although the Lancaster was primarily a night bomber, it excelled in many other roles, including daylight precision bombing, for which some Lancasters were adapted to carry the 12,000-pound Tallboy and then the 22,000-pound Grand Slam earthquake bombs (also designed by Wallis). This was the largest payload of any bomber in the war.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 9, 1943: The first flight of the Lockheed XC-69 took place from Burbank, Calif., to Muroc Army Air Field. It was piloted by company test pilots Edmund Allen and Milo Burcham. The four-engine, propeller-driven aircraft was designed by Kelly Johnson and was developed from the Lockheed L-049 Constellation airliner.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 9, 1945: During World War II, American forces began landing on the shores of Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines as the Battle of Luzon got underway, resulting in an Allied victory over Imperial Japanese forces.During World War II, American forces began landing on the shores of Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines as the Battle of Luzon got underway, resulting in an Allied victory over Imperial Japanese forces.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 10, 1989: The Strategic Systems Combined Test Force conducted the first free-flight launch of a Tacit Rainbow missile, at the China Lake test range. The missile was launched from a rotary launcher on a B-52 and successfully homed-in on and attacked a radar emitter. The AGM-136A Tacit Rainbow was designed to clear a path for aircraft entering hostile territory by destroying enemy radar installations. In the event of a target radar being turned off, the missile had the ability to loiter in the vicinity for up to an hour.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 11, 1935: Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman pilot to fly solo between Hawaii and the United States. She takes off from Wheeler Field, Oahu, Honolulu, to fly her Lockheed “Vega” across the eastern Pacific to Oakland, Calif. Earhart lands after 18 hours 15 minutes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 12, 1990: The first test sortie of the Vought YA-7F was conducted at Edwards AFB. The aircraft was an updated version of the Vietnam-era A-7D, modified with a longer fuselage to accommodate a Pratt & Whitney F100-220 engine and additional fuel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 13, 1942: The Sikorsky XR-4, the U.S. Army Air Force’s first helicopter, made its initial flight with its creator, Igor Sikorsky at the controls. The R-4 was a two-seat helicopter designed by Igor Sikorsky with a single, three-bladed main rotor and powered by a radial engine. The R-4 was the world’s first large-scale mass-produced helicopter and the first helicopter used by the United States Army Air Forces, the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. In U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard service, the helicopter was known as the Sikorsky HNS-1. In British service it was known as the Hoverfly.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 14, 1943: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and French General Charles de Gaulle opened a wartime conference in Casablanca.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 14, 1957: The U.S. Air Force signed at $74 million contract for Convair F-102A “Delta Dagger” supersonic all-weather fighters.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 15, 1943: The first flight of the XP-54 took place, flown by Vultee Aircraft Corporation test pilot Frank Davis. Informally nicknamed the Swoose Goose, the aircraft was a sleek twin-boom, inverted gull-wing aircraft with tricycle landing gear whose performance never lived up to its appearance.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 15, 1943: Work was completed on the Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of War, now the Department of Defense.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jan. 15, 1966: An F-111A arrived from the General Dynamics factory for Category II testing at Edwards AFB.
 
 
 

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