12 December 1994 : Stuart Roosa, American astronaut, died (b. 1933). Roosa was a NASA astronaut, who was the command module pilot for the Apollo 14 mission. Throughout his career, Roosa logged more than 5,500 hours of flying time (5,000 hours in jets) and 217 hours in space.
12 December 1989 : ‘Canadian Aviation’ (Maclean Hunter Ltd, ISSN 0008-2953) Monthly general interest magazine published from June 1928 until the merger with ‘Aerospace & Defence Technology’ to form ‘Aviation & Aerospace’ (see above). Included the long running Ace McCool humorous series of articles. Last issue was Vol.62 No.12 December 1989. Published by the Aviation League of Canada 1928-1931; by the Canadian Flying Clubs Association, 1932-1936; by Aeronautical Publications, 1937-September 1939; by Maclean-Hunter, October 1939-December 1989. Titled Canadian Aviation Magazine 1945-1950+. 52 pages in each issue in the 1950s. Ceased publication.
12 December 1988 : First flight of the CMC Leopard G-BKRL
12 December 1985 : Arrow Air Flight 1285, a chartered Douglas DC-8-63CF, N950JW, crashes just after take-off from Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, killing 256 people, of whom 248 were soldiers in the United States Army 101st Airborne Division returning from overseas duty in the Sinai desert, Egypt. This remains the greatest peacetime loss of military personnel in US history.
12 December 1981 : Maxie Anderson and Don Ida launch from Luxor, Egypt, in the balloon Jules Verne to begin the first serious attempt at a circumnavigation of the world by balloon. They are forced to end their attempt on December 14 at Hansa, India, after a flight of 4,316 km (2,682 mi).
12 December 1979 : First flight of the Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk.
12 December 1979 : USAF General Dynamics F-111E-CF, 68-0045, c/n A1-63, of the 79th TFS, 20th TFW, based at RAF Upper Heyford, crashed in the sea off Wainfleet Range, UK, during night bombing practice, range staff witnessing it dive into the water before the crew could eject. Pilot Capt. R.P. Gaspard and Maj. F.B. Slusher KWF. Gale force conditions prevented discovery of any wreckage for two days.
12 December 1968 : Pan Am Flight 217, a Boeing 707, crashes near Caracas, Venezuela as a result of pilot error; all 51 on board died.
12 December 1961 : Mid-air collision of two BAF Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar at Chievres Air Base, Belgium. 15 died.
12 December 1957 : Major Adrian Drew sets a new world speed record, in a modified F-101 Voodoo, of 1,943 km (1,207 mi).
12 December 1957 : A U.S. Air Force Boeing B-52D-75-BO Stratofortress, 56-0597, crashes on takeoff at Fairchild AFB near Spokane, Washington. All crew members are killed except the tail gunner. The incident is caused by trim motors that were hooked up backwards. The aircraft climbed straight up, stalled, fell over backwards and nosed straight down. Among the dead crewmen was the commanding officer of the SAC bomb wing to which the aircraft was assigned. Wreckage was strewn over a radius of more than 1,000 feet (300 m) in a stubble field about a mile west of the airbase. Although the Air Force has never indicated whether or not nuclear weapons were aboard the aircraft, this crash was cited in a February 1991 EPA report as having involved nuclear materials.
12 December 1953 : Mach 2.5 (2 ½ times the speed of sound) is achieved for the first time by Major Charles “Chuck” Yeager in the Bell X-1 A. The rocket-propelled experimental aircraft reaches 1,650 mph (2,660 km/h) at 70,000 ft (21,000 m).
12 December 1951 : First flight of the de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter prototype CF-DYK-X
12 December 1951 : Alaska Air becomes the first airline to fly over the North Pole
12 December 1946 : First flight of the Westland Wyvern TS371