World Aviation in 1951

5 January
An advance party of No.421 Squadron, No.1 Fighter Wing of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) arrives at London airport.

A Military aid agreement between the United States and Portugal is reached.

16 January
Six consolidated Vultee B36D bombers of the United States Air Force (USAF) land at Lakenheath, Suffolk on a training flight from their base at Carswell Fort Worth Texas.

23 January
United States Air Force (USAF) Republic Thunderjet fighters shoot down four Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG15s.

31 January
Captain Charles Blair flies a Mustang piston engine fighter non-stop from New York to London covering 3,500 miles in 7 hours 48 minutes.

5 February
The USA and Canada announce their intention to set up a Distance Early Warning (DEW) system for North America.

6 February
The United States Air Force (USAF) announces that it lost 223 aircraft in Korea, mostly through accidents, up to January 1951. The United States Navy (USN) and Marine aircraft losses were 182.

6 March
The United States Air Force (USAF) approves licence production of the English Electric Canberra by the Glenn L. Martin Company, under the designation ‘B57’. It is the first operational aircraft of non-United States design to be accepted into service with the USAF since the 2nd World War.

13 March
Qantas Consolidated Catalina ‘Frigate Bird II’ (VH-ASA) begins a survey flight from Sydney to Chile via Ester Island and makes the airline’s first flight across the South Pacific.

15 March
The Boeing B47 jet bomber is successfully refuelled in flight by a Boeing KC-97A piston engined tanker.

21 March
The conclusion of a Franco-American civil aviation agreement is announced.

28 March
The Federal Bureau of Statistics in Bonn announces figures relating to German casualties at home and on the battle fronts in the Second World War. These total over 5 million (3,200,000 in action or missing, 500,000 civilians during bombing raids and 200,000 disabled war veterans) but they state that the exact numbers will never be known and the figures are probably higher.

1-2 April
United States Air Force (USAF) Boeing Superfortresses bomb bridges and carrier-borne aircraft attack enemy communications in North Korea.

3 April
United States Air Force (USAF) Superfortresses bomb Pyongyang and three Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG15s are shot down by North American F86 Sabres.

15 April
It is announced that production of RB45 Tornado four-engined jet bombers by North American Aviation Inc is to cease.

18 April
An Aerobee research rocket carrying a monkey in a special capsule for a space biology experiment is launched from Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

20 May
Captain James Jabara of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing of the United States Air Force (USAF) in Korea, an F86 Sabre pilot, becomes the first jet pilot to score five unconfirmed victories over jet aircraft, by destroying two Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG15s.

29 May
The first solo trans-Polar flight is made by American C. Blair, flying a North American P51 Mustang from Bardufoss in Norway to Fairbanks in Alaska. He covers 3,375 miles in 10 hours 29 minutes.

31 May
Captain Charles F. Blair lands at Idlewild Airport in New York after flying non-stop in a Mustang from Fairbanks in Alaska, covering 3,450 miles in 9 hours 31minutes. This is the first solo flight across the North Pole in a single engined aircraft.

12 June
The 16th Independent Parachute Brigade Group arrive in Cyprus using the aircraft carriers Warrior and Triumph.

15 June – 1 July
The 19th International Air Exhibition is held in Paris.

17 June
United States Air Force (USAF) Superfortresses bomb Pyongyang and Sariwon airfields. Air fighting between USAF North American Sabre jet fighters and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG15s results in one enemy aircraft being shot down.

18 June
An agreement is signed between the United States and Saudi Arabia giving the United States special rights to use Dharan airfield on the Persian Gulf for the next 5 years.

In air fighting over Korea between Sabre and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG15 aircraft, five North Korean aircraft are destroyed.

20 June
North Korea loses ten planes, including four Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG15s, in air fighting over North West Korea.

6 July
Four United States RF80As are refuelled by a KB29 tanker over North Korea. This is the first in-flight refuelling under combat conditions

1 August
An American and Canadian agreement, leading to the development and construction of an early warning system, is ratified.

Japan Air Lines is formed.

7 August
The United States Navy’s ‘Viking’ single-stage rocket reaches a height of 135 miles at 4,100mph after launching at White Sands in New Mexico. Major William Bridgeman, test pilot for Douglas flies the United States Navy’s Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket research aircraft reaching 1,238mph.

15 August
Major William Bridgeman, test pilot for Douglas, flies the United States Navy’s Douglas D558-2 Skyrocket research aircraft to a height of 79,494 feet. This is the greatest height reached to date by a human being.

17 August
A world record of 635mph, over a 100 kilometre closed course, is achieved by Colonel Fred J. Ascani in a North American F86E Sabre jet fighter during the National Air Races at Wayne Major Airport in Detroit.

21 August
It is announced that the Australian Commonwealth Government has approved money to be spent on improving the airfield on Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean and providing facilities for Qantas Empire Airways passenger service Perth to Johannesburg via Cocos Island and Mauritius.

24 August
The first Congressional Medal of Honour to be given to a United States Air Force member during the Korean War is posthumously awarded to Major Louis J. Sebille, who was killed on 5 August 1951.

27 August
The first United States Air Force (USAF) Sabre jet F86 to be sent to Britain arrives at Shepherd’s Grove.

31 August
A Belfast to Gander point to point record is set by Wing Commander R.P. Beaumont flying an English Electric Canberra jet from Aldergrove in Northern Ireland and covering 2,072 miles in 4 hours 18 minutes.

5 September
The United States Air Force (USAF) places an order with the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation to build an airframe for an atomic powered aircraft.

8 September
Japan signed a peace treaty with the United States and 47 other countries at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco.

13 September
The impending formation of the United States Air Force’s first guided-missile squadron is announced. The squadron will be equipped with Matador B61s, a surface-to-surface jet powered pilotless bomber.

13 September
The first helicopter troop transport operation takes place when United States Marines of 1st Division are flown into Inje Punch Bowl battle zone in Korea.

20 September
Greece and Turkey become members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

The United States Air Force (USAF) make a successful recovery of animals launched into space. The monkey and 11 mice are recovered with apparently no ill-effects.

3 October
Squadron HS1, the United States Navy’s first Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopter squadron is commissioned at Key West in the Florida Keys.

The explosion of a 2nd atomic bomb in the Soviet Union is announced by President Truman.

12 October
Advance parties of a Canadian air division disembark at Liverpool and Southampton. It includes three squadrons of North American F86 Sabre jet fighters.

22 October
A 3rd atomic explosion in the Soviet Union is announced by the White House.

24 October
A proclamation is signed, terminating the state of war between the United States and Germany.

The first space flight by a living creature takes place when four monkeys, code-named Albert 1, 2, 3, & 4 are launched 85 miles into the stratosphere from White Sands in New Mexico. The mission is known as Operation Albert and all four monkeys return safely to earth.

5 December
It is announced that eleven airlines have agreed to introduce a Tourist Class service on the North Atlantic route.

15 December
Air France and British European Airways (BEA) state their intention to introduce Tourist Class services on the London-Paris route.

17 December
The United States Air Force (USAF) claims that its 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing in Korea has destroyed 130 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG15s over the last 12 months, with the loss of only fourteen Sabres.