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B-45 Tornado

North American Aviation’s B-45 Tornado was the first American jet bomber to enter service with the U.S. Air Force, a distinction often mistakenly attributed to the Boeing B-47. Entering service in 1948, it was a front-line bomber of Strategic Air Command until 1959.

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CMC Leopard

The CMC Leopard-2 was the second prototype of a new aircraft intended to launch a new generation of business jets in Great Britain in the late 1990’s. But the world economy faltered just as the pricey plane was being perfected, and it became a footnote to aviation history.

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Dassault Super Mystere B.2

Piloted by Gérard Muselli, the Super Mystère B.2 went supersonic in level flight during its maiden flight at Melun-Villaroche, France on May 15, 1956 — without using its afterburner. It was the first jet fighter in Western Europe to achieve Mach 1.

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F-82 Twin Mustang

North American’s F-82 Twin Mustang downed the first enemy aircraft of the Korean War, when Lts. William Hudson and Carl Fraser shot down a Yak-11 on June 27, 1950, two days after the North Korean invasion.

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Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu

During the final months of World War II, Kawasaki’s Ki-45 Toryu (Allied code name “Nick”) was the Imperial Japanese Army’s only operational nightfighter…but it was first used as an attack aircraft against PT boats in the New Guinea campaign.

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Macchi Castoldi MC 72 SBS

On October 23, 1934 , piloted by Francesco Agello, an MC 72 set the absolute world speed record for a piston-powered seaplane of 440 mph — a record which still stands over 80 years later.

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Dassault Mirage III CJ (PR)

Mirage III CJ (PR) photo reconnaissance aircraft proved invaluable to the defense of Israel from their initial deployment in 1966, but particularly during the 1967 Six Day War.

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Yakovlev Yak-15

The Yak-15 was the product of a combination of Russian ambition and German jet technology confiscated in the final months of World War II. While it made a spectacular debut at the August 1946 Tushino Air Show, and entered service in 1947, it would soon be outclassed by the MiG-15.

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This Day in Aviation History

December 20, 1941

The first air battle of the American Volunteer Group, better known as the Flying Tigers, occurs in the skies over Kunming, China.

Curtiss P-40B’s of the Hells Angels squadron climb to intercept Japanese bombers somewhere over China.

 

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