April 12 in aviation: World Aviation Day and Cosmonautics Day
On 12 April 1961, Yuri Gagarin was the first man to leave space. When the Russian cosmonaut first entered the Vostok rocket, his pulse ranged abnormally from 64 to 157 beats per minute. He knew he had only one chance of survival.
Other aviation events on April 12.
Pilatus PC-7's first flight.
On April 12, 1966, the first flight of the Pilatus PC-7 prototype took place, a low-wing training aircraft designed and manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft in Switzerland. The aircraft performs all the basic training functions, including acrobatics, instrument, tactics and night flight.
PC-7 was developed from Pilatus P-3. Introduced in the 1970s, it has been adopted by more than 20 air forces as an ab initio training aircraft, as well as by several civilian operators. More than a million hours have been flown by PC-7 aircraft around the world. In addition to the training operations, some aircraft were armed and used for combat missions (Chad, Iran and Mexico), often in breach of the relevant export agreement between the customer and the Swiss government.
Launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-1.
On April 12, 1981, the Columbia STS-1 Space Shuttle was launched at 12:00:03 UTC. It is the spacecraft's first reusable orbital flight and Columbia's first flight.
Launch of Space Shuttle Discovery STS-51-D.
On April 12, 1985, the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-51-D was launched at 13:59:05 UTC. It was the first flight of a politician in space, Jake Garn. EVA (extravehicular activity) of the Syncom F3 repair program (Leasat 3) was also implemented.
A Concorde aircraft loses the helm of the plane in flight.
On April 12, 1989, a British Airways Concorde aircraft lost much of its helm on a flight between Christchurch and Sydney.
Two aircraft collided on the ground at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
On April 12, 2011, the Air France Airbus A380 F-HPJD collided with a Comair Bombardier CRJ-700 N641CA aircraft belonging to Delta Air Lines at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The Airbus suffered minor damage, but the CRJ-700 was much more damaged.