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Post-World War II Flight Timeline

1951-1952 Flight Timeline

May 29, 1951 Charles Blair flies his Excalibur P-51 over the North Pole, from Northe­rn Norw­ay to Fairbanks, Alaska (3,375 miles), in 10 hours, 29 minutes.

May 31, 1951 Charles Blair flies from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Idlewild, New York, in 9 hours, 31 minutes.


June 11, 1951 Bill Bridgeman sets an unofficial speed and altitude record in a Douglas D-558-2: 1,200 miles per hour, 70,000 feet.

June 20, 1951 The Bell X-5 experimental aircraft, with variable geometry wings, makes its first flight.

June 20, 1951 The Martin B-61 Matador, a pilotless bomber (ground-launched cruise missile), is launched for the first time.

July 6, 1951 Lockheed RF-80 aircraft are refueled by a Boeing KB-29 tanker--the first air-to-air refueling in a combat zone.

July 20, 1951 The prototype Hawker Hunter, one of the most successful British jet fighters, makes its first flight.

August 1, 1951 The Vickers Swift swept-wing jet fighter makes its first flight. It is the first RAF swept-wing jet.

August 7, 1951 Bill Bridgeman flies a D-558-2 Skyrocket to 1,238 miles per hour.

August 15, 1951 Bill Bridgeman flies a Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket to 79,494 feet.

August 17, 1951 Colonel Fred Ascani sets a world speed record of 635.686 miles per hour for 100 kilometers in an F-86E during the National Air Races.

September 13, 1951 The first USAF guided missile squadron is formed with Matadors.

September 26, 1951 The de Havilland D.H.110 Sea Vixen two-seater all-weather fighter makes its first flight.

October 3, 1951 The Soviet Union explodes its second atomic bomb.

November 26, 1951 The Gloster Javelin, a twin-jet delta-wing interceptor, makes its first flight.

December 12, 1951 The de Havilland Otter makes its first flight.

December 16, 1951 The Kaman K-225, a gas-turbine helicopter, completes tests.

January 3, 1952 The Bristol Type 173 prototype helicopter makes its first flight.

January 5, 1952 Pan Am begins the first all-cargo transatlantic service with DC-6A aircraft.

April 15, 1952 The Boeing YB-52, powered by eight Pratt & Whitney J57 engines, makes its first flight.

May 2, 1952 The first scheduled jet airline service begins with de Havilland Comet flights from London to Johannesburg.

June 16, 1952 Soviet MiGs shoot down a Swedish Catalina on a rescue mission.

June 17, 1952 ZPN-1, the world's largest nonrigid airship, is delivered to the Navy by Goodyear Aircraft Company. It is 324 feet long and 35 feet high.

July 14-17, 1952 Fifty-eight Republic F-84s, led by Colonel David C. Schilling, fly with seven stops from Turner Air Force Base, Georgia, to Yokota, Japan.

July 15-31, 1952 Two Sikor-sky S-55s make the first helicopter crossing of the North Atlantic in 42 hours, 25 minutes, with four stops.

July 29, 1952 A North American RB-45C Tornado completes the first nonstop transpacific flight from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska to Yokota, Japan.

August 16, 1952 The Bristol Britannia makes its first flight.

August 22, 1952 The Saunders-Roe S.E.45 Princess, a ten-engine flying boat, makes its first flight.

August 30, 1952 The Avro Vulcan delta-wing bomber makes its first flight. It will be the mainstay of the RAF for the next three decades.

­September 6, 1952 A de Havilland D.H.110 breaks up in flight, killing 30 people in an air-show crowd.

October 6, 1952 A de Havilland Comet is severely damaged during a takeoff accident in Rome. ­