World Aviation in 1956

1 January
The 5th Allied Tactical Air Force is established under the Allied Air Forces and includes American, French, Greek, Italian and Turkish airmen.

4 January
A licence to operate a flying boat service between Southampton and Las Palmas, Canary Islands is granted to Aquila Airways of London.

9 January
Air Austria Luftgahrts is founded.

10 January
The first United States built rocket engine, with a thrust in excess of 181,437 kilos (400,000 pounds), is run successfully for the first time.

17 January
The United States Department of Defense reveals the existence of the SAGE defence system to the public.

23 January
It is reported that a McDonnell F101A Voodoo flies faster than 1,050mph, six times and faster than 1,100mph at least once.

1 February
The Air Planning Group of the West German Ministry of Defence initiates a pilot training scheme, marking the first practical steps in the creation of the post war Luftwaffe.

18 February
Finnair inaugurates airline services to Moscow.

1 March
Turkish airline DHY adopts the name THY-Turkish Airlines.

8 March
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines orders twelve Lockheed Electras the first European order for American propeller-turbine engine airliners.

14 March
A new version of the Northrop Scorpion twin-jet all weather fighter is in production.

14 March
The first successful launch of a Chrysler Redstone, or Jupiter, is made from Cape Canaveral. This tactical bombardment missile is developed by a team headed by Dr Wernher von Braun the designer of Germany’s V2 rocket.

15 April
Cargo-carrying airline, Sadia SA Transportes Aeros, begins scheduled feeder-line services from Sao Paulo.

28 April
United States Military Assistance Advisory Group begins work in South Vietnam.

17 May
Douglas Aircraft Company announces that the DC7C, the first airliner with sufficient range for non-stop crossings of the North Atlantic or North Pacific, has been granted an airworthiness certificate.

18 May
The United States press highlights the ‘Colonel’s revolt’, revealing bitter interservice rivalry.

21 May
The first United States hydrogen bomb is released from an aircraft, a Boeing B52 Stratofortress eight-engined jet bomber, and exploded over Bikini atoll in the Pacific.

27 May
Performance figures for Russian Tu104 twin jet airliner are published at the Zurich airshow.

29 May
The formation of Air League of New Zealand is announced.

1 June
The Douglas DC7C long range piston-engined airliners goes into service on Pan American World Airways between the United States and Europe.

20 June
The United States Navy (USN) commissions its first helicopter assault carrier, the USS Thetis Bay.

26 July
Egypt seizes control of the Suez Canel from the privately owned Suez Canal Corporation.

21 August
A United States national speed record of 1,015mph is established by Commander Robert W. Windsor, flying a Chance Vought F8U Crusader jet fighter.

23-24 August
A specially prepared Hiller H21 (Flying Banana), twin rotor helicopter, of the United States Army becomes the first rotary-wing aircraft to complete a non-stop transcontinental flight from California to Washington DC.

7 September
The Bell X2 research aircraft is flown by Captain Iven C. Kincheloe to an altitude of 38,466 metres (126,200 feet)

15 September
The Tupolev Tu104 turbo-jet powered airliner enters service with Aeroflot.

24 September
The formation date of the post war German air force, the Luftwaffe der Deutschen Bundesrepublik.

27 September
The Bell X2 crashes after being dropped by from a Boeing B50 bomber and the pilot, Captain Milburn G. Apt, is killed. It is later reported that the aircraft reached a speed of 2,100mph before it crashed.

5 October
The Saab Aircraft Company announces that its J35 Draken (Dragon) double-delta wing interceptor, capable of sonic speed in level flight, has gone into quantity production for the Royal Swedish Air Force.

15 October
Contracts for the supply of Lockheed F104 Starfighters to the United States Air Force are announced.

31 October
British and French forces begin an offensive against Egyptian air bases and other military targets.

The first ten Douglas DC7C airliners ordered by the British Overseas Aircraft Corporation (BOAC) arrive at London Airport.

6 November
A cease-fire between Britain, France, Egypt and Israel is announced.

8 November
Ascending from Rapid City in South Dakota, Lieutenant Commander M.L. Lewis and Malcolm D. Ross establish a world altitude record for manned balloons of 23,165 metres (76,000 feet)

12 November
A Sikorsky S56 helicopter, in service with the United States Marine Corps (USMC), records a speed of 261kph (162mph)

19 November
The Moroccan Air Force is formed.

28 December
The first CL28, a maritime reconnaissance version of the Bristol Britannia, is completed by Canadair in Montreal.