World Aviation in 1950

Test pilot, Jacqueline Auriol qualifies at Brétigny in France. She goes on to hold the women’s world speed record five times between 1951 and 1964 and becomes one of the first test pilots to fly Concorde.

23 January
The United States Air Force (USAF) Research & Development Command is established.

28 January
President Truman announces that the Atomic Energy Commission has been directed to continue its work on all forms of atomic energy weapons including the hydrogen or super-bomb. Restricted areas for flying around American atomic installations and off the coast will be established.

1 February
Eight Grumman F9F Panthers land on the USS Valley Forge, completing the first aircraft carrier night-landing trials by jets.

8 February
A Lockheed Neptune of the United States Navy establishes a distance record for carrier-launched aircraft flying 5,156 miles in 25 hours 59 minutes, non-stop from the Atlantic to San Francisco.

22 March
The first of the 70 Boeing B29 Superfortress bombers allocated to Britain under the United States military aid programme lands at Marham Norfolk for No. 149 Squadron.

24 March
Three Douglas DC-3 Dakotas of the Czechoslovakian State airline, on a flight from Prague to Brno, are seized and landed in the United States zone of Germany. The crew seek political asylum. Some of the passengers of the hijacked aircraft follow suit, while others return to Czechoslovakia. 

8 April
Russian fighters shoot down an unarmed United States Navy (USN) aircraft over the Baltic, killing ten airmen.

8 May
South African Airways receives its first Lockheed Constellation ZS-DBR, ‘Cape Town’.

17 May
Transcontinental & Western Air changes its name to Trans World Airlines (TWA), to reflect its world-wide operations.

31 May
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is to send a squadron of Douglas Dakota transport aircraft to assist British forces in Malaya.

25 June
The Korean War begins, with North Korean forces invading South Korea – Yak fighters attack Kimpo airfield.

27 June
President Truman announces that the United States Air Force (USAF) will assist South Korea. The first enemy aircraft, a Yak 9 is shot down by Lieutenant William G. Hudson, USAF, flying an F82 Mustang.

28 June
A Lockheed RF80A surveys North Korean troops completing the United States Air Force’s first reconnaissance mission by a jet.

30 June
It is announced that American ground forces have left Japan for operations in Korea and that No.77 Fighter Squadron Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), with American Mustang fighters, has been offered for service in Korea.

3 July
The first United States naval jet fighters are involved in air combat, including Grumman F9F2 Panthers flown from the carrier USS Valley Forge.

24 July
The first rocket is launched at Cape Canaveral test range.

6 August
A French memorandum on rearmament and defence is given to the United States Ambassador in Paris.

26 August
At Logan Airport in Boston, General Hoyt S. Vandenberg presents the Bell XI research aircraft to the National Air Museum. It is the first aeroplane to fly faster than the speed of sound.

25-27 August
The North Atlantic treaty Organisation (NATO) holds its first large-scale air exercise over Europe. It is called Cupola.

4 September
The first helicopter rescue of a downed pilot, behind enemy lines, takes place in Korea.

5 September
It is announced that heavy bombs have been dropped from B45 Tornado jet bombers at speeds of over 500mph.

29 September
Captain Richard V. Wheeler makes a parachute jump of 12,938 metres (42,449 feet) at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

1 October
The Danish Air Arm becomes the Royal Danish Air Force.

10 October
The Royal Ceylon Air Force is formed, with British aid.

20 October
The first parachute assault of the Korean War takes place when over 3,000 men of United States 11th Airborne Division drop at Sukchon and Sunchon from C119 and C47 aircraft.

7 November
Air fighting between United States Air Force (USAF) piston-engined Mustangs and Russian jet fighters takes place over North Korea.

8 November
A Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG15 of the Chinese People’s Republic Air Force is shot down by a United States Air Force (USAF) Lockheed F80C Shooting Star flown by Lieutenant Russell J. Brown. This is the first air fighting between jet aircraft in the Korean War.

1 December
United States Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) units receive unarmed Bell 47 helicopters equipped for carrying casualties.

6 December
Greek transport aircraft take part in operations in Korea for the first time assisting in the evacuation of American casualties.

9 December
It is announced that No.77 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) using North American Mustang piston-engined fighters in Korea will be re-equipped with Gloster Meteor VIII jet fighters.

17 December
A National Emergency is declared in the United States, with plans to speed up production of military equipment.

18 December
United States Air Force (USAF) F86 Sabre jet fighters are in action against Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG15s over Korea. It is announced that aircraft from the carrier ‘Theseus’ have been in action during the last 10 days in North Korea.