Today in Aviation History

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I put this in the off-topic section because it can encompass aviation from all eras. I think it could spark up some interesting discussions though. All information in this thread is from This Day in Aviation - Important Dates in Aviation History, please feel free to check out the website. I do not own any of these pictures, and all information taken from the site, as well as pictures posted are sourced to the owner.

Today in Aviation History

October 17, 1974

Sikorsky Chief Pilot James R. (Dick) Wright and project chief test pilot John Dixson made the first flight of the prototype YUH-60A, 73-21650, at the company's Stratford, Connecticut, facility. This helicopter was the first of three prototypes.

Early flight testing revealed excessive vertical vibrations associated with the main rotor. Extensive engineering and flight testing determined that this was caused by air flow upward through the rotor system and around the transmission and engine cowlings. The purpose of the low-mounted main rotor was to aid in fitting inside transport aircraft with minimal disassembly. It was necessary to increase the height of the mast and reshape the cowlings to achieve an acceptable level of vibration.

After eight months of testing, the U.S. Army selected the YUH-60A for production over its competitor, the Boeing Vertol YUH-61A. In keeping with the Army's tradition of naming helicopters after Native Americans, the new helicopter was named Black Hawk, who was a 17th Century leader of the Sauk (or Sac) people.

The Sikorsky Model S-70 (YUH-60A) was designed to meet the requirements of the U.S. Army Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS). It had a 3-man crew and could carry an 11-man rifle squad. The helicopter could be transported by a Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
This Day in Aviation - Important Dates in Aviation History

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First flight, Sikorsky YUH-60A 73-21650 at Stratford, Connecticut, 17 October 1974. (Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company)
 
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October 17, 1922

Lieutenant Commander Virgil Childers ("Squash") Griffin, Jr., United States Navy, made the first takeoff from an aircraft carrier of the U. S. Navy when he flew a Chance Vought Corporation VE-7 fighter from the deck of USS Langley (CV-1) while the ship was anchored in the York River along the west side of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.

Rear Admiral Jackson R. Tate, U.S. Navy (Retired) described the first takeoff:
"We were operating just north of the Tongue of the Shoe, seaward of the main channel from Norfolk, Va. A trough about 6 feet long, set up on sawhorses was rigged at the aft end of the flight deck. When the tail skid of the VE-7 used in the test was placed in the trough, she was in the flight attitude.
"We had no brakes, so the plane was held down on the deck by a wire with a bomb release at the end. This was attached to a ring in the landing gear. 'Squash' Griffin climbed in, turned up the Hispano Suiza engine to its full 180 hp and gave the "go" signal. The bomb release was snapped and the Vought rolled down the deck. Almost before it reached the deck-center elevator it was airborne. Thus, the first takeoff from a U.S. carrier."

This Day in Aviation - Important Dates in Aviation History

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USS Langley (CV-1), 1922. (U.S. Navy)

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A Vought VE-7 takes off from USS Langley (CV-1). (National Naval Aviation Museum)
 
October 17, 1913

On the morning of a scheduled test flight at Flugplatz Johannisthal-Adlershof, an airfield south east of Berlin, Germany, Marine-Luftschiffes L2, the second rigid airship built for the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) by Luftschiffbau Zeppelin at Friedrichshafen, was delayed by problems with the engines. The morning sun heated the hydrogen contained in the airship's gas bags, causing the gas to expand and increasing the airship's buoyancy.

Once released, L2 rapidly rose to approximately 2,000 feet (610 meters). The hydrogen expanded even more due to the decreasing atmospheric pressure. To prevent the gas bags from rupturing, the crew vented hydrogen through relief valves located along the bottom of the hull.

In this early design, the builders had placed the relief valves too close to the engine cars. Hydrogen was sucked into the engines' intakes and detonated. L2 caught fire and a series of explosions took place as it fell to the ground.

All 28 persons on board were either killed immediately or died of their injuries shortly thereafter.
At the time of the accident, L2 had made ten flights, for a total of 34 hours, 16 minutes.
This Day in Aviation - Important Dates in Aviation History

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Zeppelin L2 (LZ 18). The smoke is coming from the forward engine car. (© Ullstein Bild)

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L2 leaves a trail of smoke as it crashes to the ground, 17 October 1913. (Zeppelin-Luftschiffe.com)

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Wreckage of the L2 at Flugplatz Johannisthal-Adlershof, Germany, 17 October 1913. (Gebrüder Haeckel, Berlin 3227/2)
 
October 16, 1963

Operation Greased Lightning. Major Sidney J. Kubesch, Major John Barrett and Captain Gerard Williamson flew from Tokyo, Japan, to London England, non-stop, in 8 hours, 35 minutes, 20.4 seconds. Their airplane was a Convair B-58A-20-CF Hustler, serial number 61-2059, named Greased Lightning. It was assigned to the 305th Bombardment Wing, 19th Air Division, at Bunker Hill Air Force Base, Indiana.

Five inflight refuelings were required to complete the flight. The bomber had to slow from its supersonic cruise to rendezvous with the tankers. The B-58's average speed was 692.71 miles per hour (1,114.81 kilometers per hour). The time from Tokyo to Anchorage, Alaska was 3 hours, 9 minutes, 42 seconds at an average speed of 1,093.4 miles per hour (1,759.7 kilometers per hour); and Anchorage to London, 5 hours, 24 minutes, 54 seconds at 826.9 miles per hour (1.330.8 kilometers per hour).

This Day in Aviation - Important Dates in Aviation History

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Convair B-58A-20-CF Hustler 61-2059, Greased Lightning. (U.S. Air Force)

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Major Sidney J. Kubesch, U.S. Air Force, with his wife, Joanna Alice Cole Kubesch, at RAF Greenham Common, 16 October 1963. (Kokomo Tribune)

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Major Sidney J. Kubesch, Aircraft Commander, Major John Barrett, Navigator and Captain Gerard Williamson. (Kokomo Tribune)
 
Ah crap, I accidentally went back to the 16th. Today is the 17th. Oh well, you guys got a bonus. I will update this thread daily. Hopefully, it brings some good conversation.
 
October 18, 1984

The first production Rockwell International B-1B Lancer, serial number 82-0001, a supersonic four-engine strategic bomber with variable sweep wings, made its first flight from Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California.

Rockwell test pilot Mervyn Leroy Evenson (Colonel, U.S.Air Force, retired) was the aircraft commander, with co-pilot Lieutenant Colonel Leroy Benjamin Schroeder; Major S.A. Henry, Offensive Systems Officer; Captain D.E. Hamilton, Defensive Systems Officer.

After 3 hours, 20 minutes, the B-1B landed at Edwards Air Force Base where it would enter a flight test program.
This Day in Aviation - Important Dates in Aviation History
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Rockwell International B-1B Lancer 82-0001 takes off for the first time at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California. (U.S. Air Force)
 
October 18, 1922

At Selfridge Field, near Mount Clemens, Michigan, Assistant Chief of the Air Service Brigadier General William Mitchell set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Absolute Speed Record flying a Curtiss R-6 biplane, Air Service serial number A.S. 68564, over a 1 kilometer course at a speed of 358.84 kilometers per hour (222.973 miles per hour).

This was the same airplane with which Lieutenant Russell L. Maughan had won the Pulitzer Trophy just three days earlier.

Sources vary as to the speed General Mitchell attained, e.g., 222.96 m.p.h., 222.97 m.p.h., 224.28 m.p.h., and 224.4 m.p.h. A contemporary news magazine listed the officially recognized speed as 224.58 miles per hour (361.43 kilometers per hour).
This Day in Aviation - Important Dates in Aviation History

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Curtiss R-6, serial number A.S. 68564, at Selfridge Field, 14 October 1922. (San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)

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Brigadier General Billy Mitchell at Selfridge Field, Michigan, 1922. This airplane may be a Thomas-Morse MB-3 fighter. (U.S. Air Force)
 
October 18, 1909

Charles Alexandre Maurice Joseph Marie Jules Stanislas Jacques Count de Lambert, the first student to successfully complete Wilbur Wright's aviation school at Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, flew his Wright Model A Flyer from Port Aviation (Juvisy-sur-Orge), Viry-Châtillon (in the outskirts of Paris), the World's first airport, to the Eiffel Tower.

The Comte de Lambert departed Port Aviation at 4:36 p.m. He circled the Tower at an altitude of 400 meters (about 1,300 feet) and then returned to Pau, located on the northern edge of the Pyrenees.

The flight covered approximately 48 kilometers (30 miles) with an elapsed time of 49 minutes, 39 seconds.

Comte de Lambert's flight coincided with an evening banquet celebrating a two-week "Grande Quinzaine de l'Aviation de Paris". L'Aéroclub de France awarded him a Gold Medal for his achievement, and France appointed him Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur.
This Day in Aviation - Important Dates in Aviation History

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"The Comte Charles de Lambert flies around the Eiffel Tower in Paris in his Wright aeroplane during his circular tour from Juvisy – Paris – Juvisy." (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

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de Lambert, immediately after landing at Pau, 18 October 1909. (Collection of Gerard J. van Heusden)

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Charles, Comte de Lambert (1865–1944)
 
October 19, 1908

From the grounds of the Château de Bagatelle, Paris, France, Eugène Welferinger (1872–1936) made the first flight of the Société d'aviation Antoinette monoplane, the Antoinette IV. A single-place, single-engine airplane, the Antoinette IV was one the first successful monoplanes. American Machinist described it as a "purely racing machine." The airplane and its V-8 engine were designed by Léon Levavasseur. It was modified a number of times, as was its sister ship, the Antoinette V.
This Day in Aviation - Important Dates in Aviation History

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Eugène Welferinger à bord de l'Antoinette IV : [photographie de presse] / [Agence Rol]

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"Left front view of Société Antoinette 'Antoinette IV' on the ground. This version is of 'Antoinette IV' is fitted with two large in-line wheels, substantial mid-wing skids, and a paddle-type propeller. Designer Léon Levavasseur stands at left (bearded man wearing dark vest and cap). Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris, France, November 1908." (M. Rol & Cie, 4 Rue Richer, Paris/Library of Congress)

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Antoinette IV, right front quarter view. (Phototeque chronorama)

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Two-view drawing of an early configuration of Léon Levavasseur's Antoinette Monoplane. (Flight, Vol. I, No. 43, 23 October 1909, at Page 663)
 
October 19, 1895

Alfred Gilmer Lamplugh was born in Garton on the Wolds, East Riding of Yorkshire, England.

"Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect."

Probably every pilot, or aspiring pilot, has read these words in some form. The statement was made by Captain Alfred G. Lamplaugh, Principle Surveyor for The British Aviation Insurance Co., Ltd.

Captain Alfred Gilmer Lamplugh, C.B.E., F.R.Ae.S, M.I.Ae.S., M.C.A.I., F.R.G.S.—nicknamed "Lamps"— was well known and respected in aviation circles in the United Kingdom. He was one of the great (though largely unknown) personalities of the aviation world.

He was the first of three children of Sydney Augustus Lamplugh and Ellen Cecile Gilmer Lamplugh. His younger brother, Air Mechanic 1st Class Sidney Clifford Lamplugh, was killed 6 March 1917, when the airplane on which he was an observer entered a spin and crashed shortly after takeoff. His sister, Joan Frances Mary Elinor Lamplugh, M.B., Ch.B., was a physician and surgeon who ran two medical missions in Rhodesia.

Alfred Lamplugh had apprenticed with the Austin Motor Company. He learned to fly in 1913, and he received Air Ministry B License No. 155.

He enlisted in the 4th Hussars, British Army, on 1 September 1914 and on 22 January 1915 received a commission as a Temporary Second Lieutenant, 8th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment. Infantry. He was transferred ("seconded") to the Royal Flying Corps 12 August 1916. He was trained to fly at the Military School, Birmingham, in a Maurice Farman biplane. Lieutenant Lamplugh received an aviator's certificate from the Royal Aero Club, 8 December 1916.

He was assigned to the 5th Reserve Squadron. (The R.F.C. became the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918.) Lieutenant Lamplaugh was deployed to Mesoptamia and according to one source, served as a pilot for T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia").He was promoted to captain 2 August 1919. On 24 October 1919, Captain Lamplugh was appointed Flying Officer, Royal Air Force.

Flying Officer Alfred Lamplugh married Miss Marie Emily Hugo at King's Norton, Worcestershire, in December 1919. They would have two sons, Alfred Brian Hugo Lamplugh and Beric Clifford Gordon Lamplugh.

On 29 January, Lamplugh, then employed as an insurance manager, saild aboard S.S. Adriatic from Southampton to New York, arriving there 8 February 1920. He crossed the North American continent by railroad, then sailed across the Pacific to Hong Kong. Mrs. Lamplugh joined him later. They returned to England with their son Brian aboard S.S. Carnarvonshire, arriving 6 March 1923.

In 1922, Flying Officer Lamplugh was transferred to the Reserve of Air Force Officers, in which he remained until relinquishing his commission 30 December 1938. He was permitted to retain his rank.

In the King's Birthday Honours, 13 June 1946, Lamplugh was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Alfred Lamplugh died at Marylebone, London, England, 15 December 1955. The following day, he was posthumously appointed Officier de l'Ordre de Leopold II by Belgium.
This Day in Aviation - Important Dates in Aviation History

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Lieutenant Alfred Gilmer Lamplugh, Royal Flying Corps. (Moseley Society History Group)
 
I must say what always astonished me about the first pioneers of aviation is that they not only had to figure out how an airplane was to work (propeller, flaps, ailerons etc.) , they had to figure out power plants as well. Internal combustion engines were in their fledgling stage to say the least, and not just that, look at those radiator lines on the side of "Antoinette IV".

Those guys were creating a technology out of whole cloth and it didn't matter which country was doing it, they were ALL amazing in my book.
 
I must say what always astonished me about the first pioneers of aviation is that they not only had to figure out how an airplane was to work (propeller, flaps, ailerons etc.) , they had to figure out power plants as well. Internal combustion engines were in their fledgling stage to say the least, and not just that, look at those radiator lines on the side of "Antoinette IV".

Those guys were creating a technology out of whole cloth and it didn't matter which country was doing it, they were ALL amazing in my book.

I agree completely. It really is amazing what they did. Look at how far we have come in a little over 100 years too.

Missed yesterday, so I will start with yesterday today and just continue.
 
October 20, 1956

The Huey is born. The rest is history.

Bell Aircraft Corporation Chief Pilot Floyd W. Carlson and Chief Experimental Test Pilot Elton J. Smith made the first flight of the Bell Model 204 (designated XH-40-BF serial number 55-4459 by the United States Army) at Bell's helicopter factory in Hurst, Texas.

The XH-40 is a six-place, turboshaft-powered light helicopter, designed with a primary mission of battlefield medical evacuation. Operated by one or two pilots, it could carry four passengers, or two litter patients with an attendant. The prototype's fuselage was 39 feet, 3.85 inches (12.294 meters) long. The overall length of the helicopter with rotors turning was 53 feet, 4.00 inches (16.256 meters). The height (to the top of the tail rotor arc) is 14 feet, 7.00 inches (4.445 meters). The empty weight of the XH-40 was 3,693 pounds (1,675 kilograms), with a maximum gross weight of 5,650 pounds (2,563 kilograms).

The two blade semi-rigid, under-slung main rotor had a diameter of 44 feet, 0.00 inches (12.294 meters), and turned counter clockwise when viewed from above. (The advancing blade is on the helicopter's right.) The blades used a symmetrical airfoil. They had a chord of 1 foot, 3.00 inches (0.381 meters) and 10° negative twist. The main rotor hub incorporated pre-coning. At 100% NR, the main rotor turned 324 r.p.m. The two blade tail rotor assembly had a diameter of 8 feet, 6.00 inches (2.591 meters). It was mounted on the left side of the pylon in a pusher configuration and turned counter-clockwise as seen from the helicopter's left. (The advancing blade is above the axis of rotation.)

The prototype XH-40 was powered by a Lycoming LTC1B-1 (XT53-L-1) free-turbine (turboshaft). The engine uses a 5-stage axial-flow, 1-stage centrifugal-flow compressor with a single-stage gas producer turbine and single-stage power turbine. A reverse-flow combustion section with 12 burners allows a significant reduction in the the engine's total length. The XT53L-1 had a Maximum Continuous Power rating of 770 shaft horsepower, and Military Power rating of 825 shaft horsepower. It could produce 860 shaft horsepower at 21,510 r.p.m. At Military Power, the XT53-L-1 produced 102 pounds of jet thrust (0.454 kilonewtons). The power turbine drives the output shaft through a 3.22:1 gear reduction. The T53-L-1 is 3 feet, 11.8 inches (1.214 meters) long and 1 foot, 11.25 inches (0.591 meters) in diameter, and weighs 460 pounds (209 kilograms).

The XH-40 had a maximum speed of 133 knots (153 miles per hour/246 kilometers per hour) at 2,400 feet (732 meters), and 125 knots (144 miles per hour/232 kilometers per hour) at 5,000 feet (1,524 meters). The in-ground-effect hover ceiling (HIGE) was 17,300 feet (5,273 meters) and the service ceiling was 21,600 feet (6,584 meters). The helicopter's fuel capacity was 165 gallons (625 liters), giving it a maximum range of 212 miles (341 kilometers).

Three XH-40 prototypes were built, followed by six YH-40 service test aircraft. The designation of the XH-40 was soon changed to XHU-1.
This helicopter was the prototype of what would be known world-wide as the "Huey." The helicopter was designated by the U.S. Army as HU-1, but a service-wide reorganization of aircraft designations resulted in that being changed to UH-1. Produced for both civil and military customers, it evolved to the Model 205 (UH-1D—UH-1H), the twin-engine Model 212 (UH-1N), the heavy-lift Model 214, and is still in production 62 years later as the twin-engine, four-bladed, glass-cockpit Model 412EPI and the UH-1Y.
This Day in Aviation - Important Dates in Aviation History

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Bell XH-40 55-4459 with stabilizer bar, cowlings and rear doors installed. (U.S. Army)

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Bell XH-40 first flight. (U.S. Army)

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The first prototype Bell XH-40, 55-4459, hovers in ground effect. (U.S. Army)

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The Bell XH-40 prototype hovering in ground effect at the Bell Aircraft Corporation helicopter plant at Hurst, Texas. The helicopter's cowlings and doors are not installed in this photograph. (U.S. Army)
 
October 20, 1952

At Edwards Air Force Base, California, Douglas Aircraft Company test pilot William Barton ("Bill") Bridgeman made the first test flight of the X-3 twin-engine supersonic research airplane. During a high-speed taxi test five days earlier, Bridgeman and the X-3 had briefly been airborne for approximately one mile over the dry lake bed, but on this flight he spent approximately 20 minutes familiarizing himself with the new airplane.

Bill Bridgeman had been a Naval Aviator during World War II, flying the Consolidated PBY Catalina and PB4Y (B-24) Liberator long range bombers with Bombing Squadron 109 (VB-109), "The Reluctant Raiders." Bridgeman stayed in the Navy for two years after the war, then he flew for Trans-Pacific Air Lines in the Hawaiian Islands and Southwest Airlines in San Francisco, before joining Douglas Aircraft Co. as a production test pilot. He checked out new AD Skyraiders as they came off the assembly line at El Segundo, California. He soon was asked to take over test flying the D-558-2 Skyrocket test program at Muroc Air Force Base (now, Edwards AFB.) With the Skyrocket, he flew higher—79,494 feet (24,230 meters)—and faster—Mach 1.88—than any pilot had up to that time.

The Douglas X-3, serial number 49-2892, was built for the Air Force and NACA to explore flight in the Mach 1 to Mach 2 range. It was radically shaped, with a needle-sharp nose, very long thin fuselage and small straight wings. The X-3 was 66 feet, 9 inches (20.345 meters) long, with a wing span of just 22 feet, 8.25 inches (6.915 meters). The overall height was 12 feet, 6.3 inches (3.818 meters). The X-3 had an empty weight of 16,120 pounds (7,312 kilograms) and maximum takeoff weight of 23,840 pounds (10,814 kilograms).

It was to have been powered by two Westinghouse J46 engines, but when those were unsatisfactory, two Westinghouse XJ34-WE-17 engines were substituted. This was an axial flow turbojet with an 11-stage compressor and 2-stage turbine. It was rated at 3,370 pounds (14.99 kilonewtons) of thrust, and 4,900 pounds (21.80 kilonewtons) with afterburner. The XJ34-WE-17 was 14 feet, 9.0 inches (4.496 meters) long, 2 feet, 1.0 inch (0.635 meters) in diameter and weighed 1,698 pounds (770 kilograms).

The X-3 had a maximum speed of 706 miles per hour (1,136 kilometers per hour) and a service ceiling of 38,000 feet (11,582 meters).
This Day in Aviation - Important Dates in Aviation History

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Douglas X-3 49-2892. Rogers Dry Lake is in the background. (NASA)

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Douglas X-3 parked on Rogers Dry Lake, 1956 (NASA)
https://www.thisdayinaviation.com/15-october-1952/screen-shot-2018-10-14-at-16-13-22/
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William Barton "Bill" Bridgeman, 1916–1968. (LIFE Magazine)
 
October 20, 1934

As a part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the city of Melbourne, in Victoria, Australia, Sir Macpherson Robertson sponsored the MacRobertson International Air Races ¹ from the newly-opened Royal Air Force station, Mildenhall Aerodrome, in Suffolk, England, to the Flemington Racecourse at Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The distance was approximately 11,300 miles (18,185 kilometers). The winner of the race would receive a prize of £10,000 (Australian), which was approximately £7,500 (British Pounds Sterling) or $5,700 U.S. dollars. All competitors who finished the course within the 14-day race would receive an 18-carat gold medallion.

The course included five mandatory stops: at Baghdad, Kingdom of Iraq; Allahabad, Indian Empire; Singapore, Straits Settlements; Darwin, Northern Territory, and Charlevile, Queensland, both in the Commonwealth of Australia. Fuel was provided at these and more than 20 other locations along the route.

The race was scheduled to start at 6:30 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time, 1 minute before sunrise on Saturday, 20 October. Competitors were scheduled to depart at 45-second intervals. There had been "more than seventy" airplanes entered, but only 20 actually started the race.

The first to take off were James Allen Mollison and Amy Johnson Mollision, C.B.E., in their black and gold de Havilland DH.88 Comet racer, Black Magic (#63, registered G-ACSP). The race included three airliners: a modified Boeing 247D, Warner Brothers Comet, flown by Roscoe Turner and Clyde Pangborn; a Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij N.V. (KLM) Douglas DC-2 named Ulver (Stork), with a flight crew of 4 and 3 passengers; and a De Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide.

Jackie Cochran and Wesley L. Smith flew the "Lucky Strike Green" Granville Miller DeLackner Gee Bee R-6H, Q.E.D., race number 46. Difficulties with the airplane forced the pair to abandon the race at Budapest.

First place went to Flight Lieutenant Charles William Anderson Scott, A.F.C., and Captain Tom Campbell Black in the DH.88 Grosvenor House. Their elapsed time was 2 days, 23 hours, 18 seconds, with a total 71 hours, 0 minutes flight time. Placing second was the KLM Douglas DC-2 at 81 hours 10 minutes air time, and in third place were Turner and Pangborn's Boeing 247D. Only nine of the competitors finished the race, with the final finisher, the Dragon Rapide, arriving on 3 November.

In 1941, the MacRobertson Trophy was donated to the Red Cross "to be melted down for the war effort."

¹ The race was named after Sir Macpherson's business, MacRobertson's Steam Confectionary Works at Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia. The race is also known as the "MacRobertson Trophy Race," the "1934 MacRobertson London-to-Melbourne Air Race," or "The Melbourne Centenary Air Race."
This Day in Aviation - Important Dates in Aviation History

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Poster by Percival Alerbert Trompf (Australian National Travel Association/State Library of new South Wales a928613)

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Map of MacRobertson International Air Races from Pilot's Brochure. (State Library of NSW, call number 93/889)

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Two de Havilland DH.88 Comets and a Gee Bee at Mildenhall Aerodrome prior to the 1934 MacRobertson Race. The airfield had opened 4 days earlier. In the foreground is the Mollisons' "Black Magic." (BAE Systems)

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Turner and Pangborn's Boeing 247D, "Warner Brothers Comet."

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KLM Douglas DC-2 PH-AJU (National Library of Australia 144684167)

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O. Cathcart Jones and K.F. Waller, de Havilland DH.88 Comet G-ACSR, #19.

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Jim and Amy Mollison with their DH.88 Comet.

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Flight Lieutenant C.W.A. Scott, A.F.C., circa 1931 (Scott Family Collection)

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The MacRobertson Trophy.
 
October 20, 1922

1st Lieutenant Harold Ross Harris, Air Service, United States Army, the Chief, Flight Test Branch, Engineering Division, at McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio, was test flying a Loening Aeronautical Engineering Company PW-2A monoplane, a single-engine, single-seat fighter. The PW-2A, serial number A.S. 64388, had experimental balance-type ailerons. During this flight, Lieutenant Harris engaged in simulated air combat with Lieutenant Muir Fairchild (future Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force) who was flying a Thomas-Morse MB-3.

While banking the PW-2A into a right turn, Harris' control stick began to vibrate violently from side to side and the airplane's wings were "torn apart." With the Loening diving uncontrollably, Harris jumped from the cockpit at approximately 2,500 feet (762 meters). After free-falling about 2,000 feet (610 meters), he pulled the lanyard on his parachute which immediately deployed. Harris then descended with his parachute providing aerodynamic deceleration, coming safely to earth in the back yard of a home at 335 Troy Street. He suffered minor bruises when he landed on a trellis in the garden.

Harris' PW-2A crashed into a yard at 403 Valley Street, three blocks away. It was completely destroyed.

This was the very first time a free-fall parachute had been used in an actual inflight emergency. Lieutenant Harris became the first member of the Irvin Air Chute Company's "Caterpillar Club."
This Day in Aviation - Page 2 of 306 - Important Dates in Aviation History

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1st Lieutenant Harold Ross Harris, Air Service United States Army. (San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)

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Loening Aeronautical Engineering Company PW-2A, A.S. 64388. This is the airplane from which Lieutenant Harold R. Harris "bailed out" over Dayton, Ohio, 20 October 1922. (San Diego Air and Space Museum)

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Crash scene at 403 Valley Street, Dayton, Ohio, 20 October 1922. (U.S. Air Force)

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Harold Ross Harris, circa 1950. (San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)
 

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