March 15 in aviation: the first flight of the Sikorsky MH-53 helicopter, the launch of American Eagle Airlines.
On March 15, 1938, a Havilland DH 88 Comet Gacer-G-ACSS aircraft made a record flight from England to New Zealand and back. It was what some consider the most notable success of the Comet aircraft, the return flight being performed in 10 days 21 hours 22 min.
de Havilland Comet DH.88 is a two-seater British twin-engine aircraft built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company. It was specially developed to take part in the 1934 MacRobertson flight from the United Kingdom to Australia. The development of the aircraft was seen both as a prestigious project and as an introduction to modern techniques. It was designed according to the requirements of the race. Despite being made of wood, it was the first British aircraft to incorporate all the elements of modern fast monoplanes into a single frame.
Other events took place in aviation on March 15.
The first flight of the Sikorsky MH-53 helicopter took place.
On March 15, 1967, the first flight of the Sikorsky MH-53 helicopter, the long-range SAR version of the CH-53 A for the USAF, took place.
Flight 296 of Sterling Airways crashed in the United Arab Emirates.
On March 15, 1972, Sterling Airways Flight 296 crashed near Kalba in the United Arab Emirates. The flight had taken off from Colombo for Copenhagen (Denmark), with a stopover in Dubai. The South Aviation Caravelle aircraft, registered OY-STL, had 112 passengers and crew on board. All died in the crash, which was attributed to a pilot error. It was the largest plane crash in the history of the United Arab Emirates.
A Sterling Airways Caravelle aircraft caught fire as it prepared to take off.
On March 15, 1974, an OY-STK Sterling Airways Caravelle caught fire while traveling by taxi to take off for Tehran, Iran. The right main stage collapsed, breaking the fuel line, killing 15 of the 96 people on board the aircraft.
American Eagle Airlines has been launched.
On March 15, 1985, American Eagle Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines, was launched.
Envoy Air Inc. (formerly American Eagle Airlines) is an American regional airline based in Irving, Texas. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group which, together with several out-of-group carriers, supplies the American Airlines route network under the American Eagle brand. The company operates over 1000 flights a day, serving 150 cities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Aircraft manufacturer Fokker has filed for bankruptcy.
On March 15, 1996, aircraft manufacturer Fokker filed for bankruptcy.
Fokker was a Dutch aircraft manufacturer named after its founder, Anthony Fokker. The company operated under several names, starting in 1912. It was headquartered in Schwerin (Germany), moving to the Netherlands in 1919. During the most successful period between 1920 and 1930, the company dominated the civil aviation market. Fokker went bankrupt in 1996, and its operations were sold to competitors.
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-119 has been launched.
On March 15, 2009, the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-119 was launched at 23:43 UTC. The main missions of the spacecraft were the assembly flight of ISS 15A: S6 Truss and the installation of solar panels.