Today in Aviation History; February 23: Canadian National Aviation Day, Model 10 Electra, Iwo Jima

The AEA Silver Dart piloted by John A McCurdy.

Happy National Aviation Day…Canada!  On February 23, 1909 John A. McCurdy flew the Aerial Experimental Association’s Silver Dart biplane 40 feet over a frozen lake marking the first heavier than air flight in Canada.  In honor of that momentous occasion, Canada now celebrates National aviation day to honor the aviation pioneers that went before, as well as the bright future that lies ahead for aviation in Canada.

Amelia Earhart in front of her Model 10 Electra during her round the world flight attempt.
Photo: Underwood & Underwood (active 1880 – c. 1950)

February 23 also marks the anniversary of the first flight of the Lockheed Model 10 Electra which found success after the US banned the use of single engine aircraft for passenger use.  The development team included Clarence Johnson who would later go on to head Lockheed’s famous SkunkWorks program.  The Model 10 is probably best known as the aircraft that Amelia Earhart piloted on her fateful attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

The island of Iwo Jima today. Once home to three airfields, and the refueling stop for the Enola Gay.

On a more personal note from my Marine past, February 23 is the anniversary of the raising of the American Flag on the tiny island of Iwo Jima.  While the battle itself is very well known, the island’s airfield also had a significant role in aviation history.  Almost six months after the flag was raised on Mt. Suribachi, the Enola Gay landed on Iwo Jima after making her historic flight over Hiroshima securing its spot in aviation history.