17 June 1937: Leg 19. “From Karachi on June 17 we flew 1,390 miles to Calcutta, landing at Dum Dum airdrome shortly after four in the afternoon. Low clouds hung about during the beginning of the flight, but these disappeared as we drew near the Sind Desert. Through this great barren stretch rough ridges extended almost at right angles to our course. A southerly wind whipped the sand into the air until the ground disappeared from view in regular ‘dust bowl’ fashion. We flew along until the ridges grew into mountains and poked their dark backs like sharks through a yellow sea. these acted as a barrier to the sand, and the air cleared somewhat, so we could again see what we were flying over – dry river beds, a few roads connecting villages, and then a railroad.” —Amelia Earhart
16 June 1984: Frontier Airlines Flight 244, a Boeing 737, flies from Stapleton Airport, Denver, Colorado (DEN) to Lexington, Kentucky (LEX). In the cockpit were Captain Emily H. Warner and First Officer Barbara Cook. This was the very first time that an all-woman flight crew flew a scheduled route for a major U.S. airline.¹ The cabin crew for the flight were Tim Griffin, Mark Becker and Ashley McQueen.
The Chicago Tribune reported:
Women pilot flight into airline history
DENVER—Frontier Airlines teamed the first woman pilot hired by a major airline with a woman copilot Saturday for a flight from Denver to Lexington, Ky., in what one official said was the first all-female crew in commercial airline history. A spokesman for Denver-based Frontier official said the airline did nothing special to bring Capt. Emily Warner of Denver together with First Officer Barbara Cook of Denver. “That’s just the way the rotation came up,” he said. Warner, who became the first woman hired by a major airline when she joined Frontier in 1973, said of the flight: “I feel good about it. I figured I’d be flying with a gal one of these days.”
—Chicago Tribune, Vol. 130, No. 109, Sunday 17 June 1984, Section 1, Page 17 at Column 1
[Note: First Officer Turi Widerøe made her first flight as a commercial airline pilot for the Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), 30 April 1969. —TDiA]
Emily Hanrahan Howell Warner was hired by Frontier Airlines as a second officer in 1973, and is considered to be the first woman to be hired as a pilot for a U.S. commercial airline. After her first revenue flight, she received a bouquet of red, white and blue flowers from Captain Turi Widerøe of Scandanavian Airlines System (SAS), who was the world’s first woman airline captain. In 1976, Emily Warner was promoted to captain, the first woman to hold that rank with an American airline.
The Boeing 737-200 series was a short- to medium-range, narrow body, twin-engine civil transports. The -200 first flew 8 August 1967. It had a flight crew of two and could carry a maximum of 136 passengers.
The 737-200 is 100 feet, 2 inches (30.531 meters) long with a wingspan of 93 feet, 0 inches (28.346 meters) and overall height of 36 feet, 10 inches (11.227 meters). Flight 243’s actual takeoff weight was 93,133 pounds (42,224 kilograms). (Its maximum certificated takeoff weight was 100,000 pounds (45,359 kilograms).
The airliner was powered by two Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9A low-bypass turbofan engines producing 14,500 pounds of thrust, each. The 737-200 had a cruise speed of 0.74 Mach (489 miles per hour, 787 kilometers per hour) and a maximum speed of 0.82 Mach (542 miles per hour/872 kilometers per hour). The service ceiling was 35,000 feet (10,668 meters).
1,010 Boeing 737–200s were built. The last one in service with an American airline was retired 21 March 2008.
¹ On 30 December 1977, Captain Emilie Jones and First Officer Lynn Ripplemeyer of Air Illinois, a commuter airline based at Carbondale, Illinois, flew a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter on six scheduled flights. In September 1983, Captain Ripplemeyer and First Officer Beverly Himelfarb of People Express Airlines flew a Boeing 737 from Newark, New Jersey, to Syracuse, New York. In 1984, Captain Ripplemeyer was the first woman to command a Boeing 747 on a transoceanic route.
16 June 1943: The Boeing B-17E, F and G Flying Fortress heavy bomber was produced by a consortium of three aircraft manufacturers: Boeing in Seattle, Washington; the Douglas Aircraft Company at Long Beach, California; and the Vega Aircraft Corporation (a subsidiary of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation) at Burbank, California. Exemplars of production B-17s were provided to Douglas and Vega.
The Flying Fortress that was sent to Vega was the ninth production B-17E, serial number 41-2401.
The U.S. Army Air Corps asked Vega convert 41-2401 by installing liquid-cooled Allison V-12 engines. By replacing the air-cooled Wright Cyclone R-1820-65 nine-cylinder radial engines it was hoped that more streamlined configuration would produce better performance in the same way as had modifying the Curtiss P-36 to the Allison-powered P-40.
Engine coolant radiators were placed in the leading edge of each wing between the inboard and outboard engines. The engines were the same variant as used for the starboard engine of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.
The Vega XB-38 was powered by four liquid-cooled, turbosupercharged 1,710.597-cubic-inch displacement (28.032 liter) Allison Engineering Company V-1710-F-17R (V-1710-89) single overhead cam (SOHC) 60° V-12 engines. These had a continuous power rating of 1,100 horsepower at 2,600 r,p.m., to 30,000 feet (9,144 meters), and a takeoff/military power rating of 1,425 horsepower at 3,000 r.p.m. The engines drove three-bladed full-feathering constant-speed propellers through a 2.00:1 gear reduction. The engines were 7 feet, 1.34 inches (2.168 meters) long, 3 feet, 0.75 inches (0.933 meters) high, 2 feet, 5.28 inches (0.744 meters) wide, and weighed 1,350 pounds (612 kilograms).
The converted airplane was designated Vega XB-38. It made its first flight in the new configuration on 19 May 1943 with Vega’s Chief Pilot Bud Martin in the cockpit.
The XB-38 made its ninth test flight on 16 June 1943, with Bud Martin and former Naval Aviator George Archibald MacDonald on board. Flying over California’s San Joaquin Valley, the experimental bomber’s number three engine (inboard, starboard wing) caught fire.
When they were unable to extinguish the fire, Martin and MacDonald bailed out. MacDonald’s parachute failed to open and he was killed. Martin’s parachute opened improperly and he was severely injured when he hit the ground.
The Vega XB-38 crashed near Tipton, California, a small farming community on the valley floor, west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The bomber was destroyed.
Although the complete flight test program of the XB-38 was not completed, it was found that its performance increased only slightly over the B-17E. The project was cancelled.
George Archibald MacDonald was born 7 August 1901 at Anaconda, Montana. He was the second son of Erwin H. MacDonald, a mining engineer, and Shuberta M. Swan MacDonald.
MacDonald served as an ensign in the United States Navy. In 1926, Ensign MacDonald was designated Naval Aviator #4331.
George Archibald MacDonald was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.
Bud Martin recovered from his injures and remained with Lockheed. On 3 December 1943, he took the PV-2 Harpoon for its first flight. He flew the first production C-130A Hercules at Marietta, Georgia, 7 April 1955.
16 June 1937: After flying nearly 2,000 miles (3,220 kilometers) the previous day, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan lay over at Karachi, India (now, Pakistan). The Lockheed Electra 10E Special, NR16020, is fueled and serviced in preparation for the next leg of the Around-the-World flight.
“Landward from Karachi there is desert. To the north is the thirsty hilly landscape of Kohistan, the limestone spurs of the Kirthir range, breaking down southwards into sandy wastes. Southerly is a monotonous expanse riddled by creeks and mangrove swamps reaching to the coast, and further south the great Indus River, born one thousand miles north in Afghanistan, flows into the Arabian Sea. The city’s population is close to 300,000, its seaport serving a huge hinterland which embraces the whole of Sind, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, the Punjab, and beyond. Karachi airdrome is, I think, the largest that I know. It is the main intermediate point on all the traffic from Europe to India and the east. Imperial Airways flies frequent schedules all the way to Australia, and K.L.M. to the Dutch East Indies. In military aviation it is, I suppose, the most important headquarters in India, strategically located in relation to the mountain country of the Northwest Frontier, with its troublesome tribes.
“In our hurried scheme of things, with the problems of our own special transport uppermost, most of or time ‘ashore’ was spent in and around hangars. More important far than sightseeing was seeing to it that our faithful sky steed was well groomed and fed, its minute mechanical wants cared for. So the geography of our journey likely will remain most clearly memorized in terms of landing-field environments, of odors of baking metal, gasoline and perspiring ground crews; of the roar of warming motors and the clatter of metal-working tools. Such impressions competed, perforce, with the lovely sights of the new worlds we glimpsed; the delectable perfumes of flowers, spices and fragrant country side the sounds and songs and music of diverse peoples. . . . Of all those things, external to the task at hand, we clutched what we could.”—Amelia Earhart
15 June 1969: At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the second Lockheed C-5A Galaxy transport, 66-8304, set several records, including the heaviest takeoff weight, 762,800 pounds (346,000 kilograms), and the heaviest landing weight, 600,000 pounds (272,155 kilograms).