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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.

February 23, 2018 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

February 22 in Aviation History

On this day in aviation history we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first flight of what is now one of the most iconic airliners in aviation history.  On February 22, 1987, the Airbus A320 took to the skies for the very first time.  The A320 was developed as a direct competitor for the wildly successful Boeing 737 and McDonnel Douglas DC-9.  The plan from the very beginning was to have a multiple variant family of aircraft to challenge in this highly competitive market, which would be realized in the later development of the A321, A319, and A318.

The A320 was the first airliner to utilize fly-by-wire technology meaning the aircraft controls would be manipulated electronically rather than by cables, pulleys, or hydraulic systems.  It also utilizes a side joystick control as opposed to the traditional yoke seen on other aircraft.

In recent years, the A320 has found increased efficiency through the offering of a new engine option, or NEO, as well as blended winglets known as sharklets, which have also been retrofitted on older aircraft.

Apparently February 22 is a great day for an aircraft to take its first flight as the A320 shares the date of its maiden voyage with the McDonnell Douglas MD-90 in 1993, the Sukhoi Su-25 in 1975, the Convair R3Y Tradewind in 1954, and the de Havilland DH.60 Moth in 1925.  This was also the date of the launch of OPS 5111, a name you may not recognize but would now find it hard to live without.  OPS 5111, also known as NAVSTAR-1, was the first satellite launched as part of the Global Positioning System on February 22, 1978


February 21, 2018 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.