||Jan. 30: Boeing signs a contract to build the Ground-to-Air Pilotless Aircraft (GAPA).
Feb. 15: The military prototype of the Douglas DC-6, the YC-122, makes its first flight.
March 21: The Strategic Air Command (SAC) and the Tactical Air Command (TAC) are created.
April 29: North American is awarded the contract for the Navaho missile program.
June 5: The Army Air Forces announces it has ordered two prototypes for a new multi-engined, jet-powered bomber, the Boeing XB-47.
June 28: Boeing signs a contract to design the B-52, a long-range heavy bomber.
July 7: The Hughes XF-11 long-range reconnaissance aircraft makes its first flight, piloted by Howard Hughes. The plane crashes and Hughes is badly injured.
July 21: During trials aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, the McDonnell XFD-1 prototype FH-1 Phantom makes the first carrier take off and landing by a U.S. jet aircraft.
Sept. 11: The North American FJ-1 Fury jet fighter makes its first flight.
Oct. 4: The B-29 Pacusan Dreamboat sets a world nonstop, unrefueled distance record of 9,500 miles on a flight from Honolulu to Cairo, Egypt.
Dec. 23: The first production-model Boeing Stratofreighter rolls out; employees participate in the first post-war inauguration of a new airplane.
||Jan. 11: The McDonnell F2H Banshee makes its first flight.
Feb. 28: A North American P-82B Twin Mustang sets a nonstop distance record for fighters flying 4,968 miles from Honolulu, Hawaii, to New York in 14 hours and 31 minutes at an average speed of 341.9 mph.
March 17: North American's XB-45 four-engine bomber makes its first test flight at Muroc, Calif.
March 28: In a dual ceremony, the first two Douglas DC-6 commercial airliners are delivered to American Airlines and United Air Lines.
July 8: First flight of the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser airliner.
July 13: First flight of the Boeing L-15 Scout liaison-observation aircraft.
July 16: The National Security Act is passed, creating the independent U.S. Air Force. It replaces the U.S. Army Air Forces.
Aug. 11: The last of the famous Douglas Skymasters to be built, DC-4 number 1,242, is delivered by Douglas Aircraft to South African Airways.
Aug. 25: The official world air speed record is broken by Maj. Marion Carl, USMC, flying the Douglas D-558 Skystreak, a high-speed research aircraft, with an average speed of 650.7 mph.
Aug. 29: The world's first ramjet helicopter, the McDonnell XH-20 Little Henry, makes its first flight. The ramjet-driven rotor eliminates the need for a torque-compensating tail rotor.
Oct. 1: North American's XP-86 Sabre Jet makes its first flight.
Nov. 2: The Hughes H-4 Hercules (HK-1 Flying Boat), also known as the "Spruce Goose," makes its first and only flight, making it the largest aircraft ever flown.
December: North American leases the Downey, Calif., plant to build the AJ-1 Navy Bomber, AT-6G trainer and the T-28 trainer.
Dec. 17: Boeing test pilot Bob Robbins takes the XB-47 Stratojet on its first flight from Boeing Field, Seattle, to Larson Air Force Base at Moses Lake, Wash.
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||March 23: The F3D Skyknight, Douglas' first jet-powered fighter, makes its first flight.
April 15: Newspapers all over the world publish pictures of a Boeing B-47 using jet-assisted takeoff.
April 26: The XP-86 prototype for North American's Sabre Jet breaks the sound barrier for the first time. The production version P-86A makes its first flight May 20.
May: The first all-jet squadron aboard the USS Saipan is operational with production versions of McDonnell's FH-1 Phantom.
June: General Motors sells its shares of North American Aviation and J.L. Atwood becomes NAA president; Dutch Kindelberger becomes chairman and CEO.
June 17: Boeing Plant II in Wichita, Kan., is reactivated to modify B-29s and B-50s for in-flight refueling.
Aug. 23: The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin, a parasite fighter, first flies.
October: The Boeing "flying boom" in-flight refueling system is publicized. It will be featured on future aerial tankers.
October: The Piasecki HUP-1 tandem-rotor helicopter makes its first flight.
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||Jan. 24: A Douglas-manufactured missile, the "Bumper WAC," establishes new speed and altitude records. The WAC Corporal second stage is lofted or "bumped" to an altitude of 250 miles at speeds up to 5,000 miles per hour.
Feb. 8: The Boeing B-47 sets a transcontinental speed record, covering 2,289 miles in 3 hours and 46 minutes, at an average speed of 607.8 mph.
Feb. 26: The Boeing B-50 Lucky Lady II begins the first 94-hour nonstop aerially refueled flight around the world from Fort Worth, Texas.
March 1: North American's B-45 Tornado bomber sets an unofficial speed record of 675 miles per hour.
April 15: During the Berlin Airlift's "Operation Vittles," hundreds of Douglas-built C-47s and C-54s deliver a record 12,940 tons of supplies in a 24-hour period.
June 16: The first C-97A Stratofreighter is delivered to the Air Force.
June 24: The Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket research aircraft exceeds Mach 1. On Jan. 26, 1951, it reaches a top speed of Mach 1.28 at 38,890 feet; it reaches Mach 1.88 on Aug. 7 and a maximum altitude of 74,494 feet on Aug. 15.
Sept. 24: North American's T-28 Trojan trainer makes its first flight.
Nov. 29: The Douglas C-124 Globemaster II, a heavy strategic cargo transport, makes its first flight.
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||March 2: The first full-thrust test of the 75,000-pound liquid rocket engine for the Navaho (XLR43-NA-1) is conducted by North American at Santa Susana, Calif.
April: Boeing announces it has built the world's first gas-turbine-powered truck. The company will market gas turbine engines extensively in an effort to diversify.
June 9: Boeing submits a proposal for Bomarc, the company's first production missile, to the Air Force.
Sept. 24: The first Boeing Stratofreighter Command Transport (VC-97D) is delivered to SAC.
Dec. 17: Lt. Col. Bruce Hinton, flying a North American F-86 Sabre over Korea, is the first pilot to shoot down a MiG.
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||Jan. 23: The Douglas F4D Skyray carrier-based interceptor makes its first flight.
February: The Navy orders its version of North American's F-86 fighter. It will be designated the FJ-2 Fury.
April 26: Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed announce they will combine resources to produce the B-47 bomber.
Aug. 7: The McDonnell F3H Demon naval jet fighter makes its first flight.
Aug. 23: The U.S. Navy announces that McDonnell F2H Banshees are in action against communist forces in Korea. This marks the first time that McDonnell-built planes have engaged in combat operations.
Nov. 29: The first Boeing B-52 bomber is secretly rolled out in darkness at the Seattle plant.
October: Douglas AD Skyraiders enter service over the Korean Peninsula.
November: The Douglas-built Nike-Ajax surface-to-air missile makes its first target-drone hit. The name Nike is that of the Greek goddess of victory.
Dec. 7: The Air Force orders North American's NA-188 Super Sabre.
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