World Aviation in 1949

4 February
The United States Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) authorises the use of Ground-Controlled Approach (GCA) radar as a primary landing aid in bad weather.

24 February
Termination of the Arab-Israeli war is confirmed by an Armistice signed on Rhodes.

26 February – 2 March
The first non-stop round the world flight is made by the United States Air Force (USAF) B50 ‘Lucky Lady II’, piloted by Captain James Gallagher. The aircraft is refuelled in flight four times during its 94 hour 1 minute flight and covers a distance of 37,742 kilometres (23,452 miles).

30 March
A Bill in the USA authorises the establishment of a permanent radar defence network.

4 April
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is established, following the signature of twelve nations at Washington DC. It becomes effective on 24 August 1949.

16 April
The peak day of the Berlin Airlift – 1,398 sorties carry 12,940 tons of supplies in a 24 hour period.

26 April
A flight-refuelled world endurance record is completed in the United States, when Bill Barris and Dick Reidel, flying an Aeronca Chief lightplane ‘Sunkist Lady’, stay airborne for 1,008 hours 1 minute (one minute over six weeks). Fuel and food is hauled up daily from a Jeep speeding below.

1 May
The Air Arm, Hong Kong Defence Force is established with Royal Air Force (RAF) assistance. Its adopts the title Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force in 1970.

12 May
The Soviet Union ends the blockade of Berlin, but the Allied airlift continues until 30 September 1949 to build up stocks in the city.

18 May
The first New York helicopter station is established at Pier 41 East River.

21 May
A Sikorsky S52 helicopter establishes a new helicopter altitude record of 6,468 metres (21,220 feet) over Stratford in Connecticut.

26 June
The first anniversary of the Berlin Airlift – 1.8 million tons of supplies has been airlifted in.

9 August
The first use in the United States of an ejection seat for an emergency escape from an aircraft. Lieutenant J.L. Fruin of the United States Navy (USN) ejects from a McDonnell F2H-1 Banshee flying in excess of 925kph (575mph) near Walterboro in South Carolina.

10 August
The first jet airliner air mail is flown in a Canadian Avro Jetliner from Toronto to New York.

23 September
The Soviet Union detonates its first atomic bomb and ends the United States nuclear monopoly.

30 September
The Allied Berlin Airlift ends. During 15 months of operation, 2.25 million tons of supplies and equipment has been flown into Berlin.

18 November
A C74 Globemaster I of the United States Air Force (USAF) Military Air Transport Service (MATS) lands at Marham in Norfolk after a non-stop flight from the United States. It carries a total of 103 passengers and crew, which is a record at the time for people crossing the North Atlantic in a single flight.