Aviation in 1956
The 5th Allied Tactical Air Force is established under the
Allied Air Forces and includes American, French, Greek,
Italian and Turkish airmen.
A licence to operate a flying boat service between
Southampton and Las Palmas, Canary Islands is granted to
Aquila Airways of London.
Air Austria Luftgahrts is founded.
The first United States built rocket engine, with a thrust in
excess of 181,437 kilos (400,000 pounds), is run successfully
for the first time.
The United States Department of Defense reveals the existence
of the SAGE defence system to the public.
It is reported that a McDonnell F101A Voodoo flies faster
than 1,050mph, six times and faster than 1,100mph at least
The Air Planning Group of the West German Ministry of Defence
initiates a pilot training scheme, marking the first
practical steps in the creation of the post war Luftwaffe.
Finnair inaugurates airline services to Moscow.
Turkish airline DHY adopts the name THY-Turkish Airlines.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines orders twelve Lockheed Electras the
first European order for American propeller-turbine engine
A new version of the Northrop Scorpion twin-jet all weather
fighter is in production.
The first successful launch of a Chrysler Redstone, or
Jupiter, is made from Cape Canaveral. This tactical
bombardment missile is developed by a team headed by Dr
Wernher von Braun the designer of Germany's V2 rocket.
Cargo-carrying airline, Sadia SA Transportes Aeros, begins
scheduled feeder-line services from Sao Paulo.
United States Military Assistance Advisory Group begins work
in South Vietnam.
Douglas Aircraft Company announces that the DC7C, the first
airliner with sufficient range for non-stop crossings of the
North Atlantic or North Pacific, has been granted an
The United States press highlights the 'Colonel's revolt',
revealing bitter interservice rivalry.
The first United States hydrogen bomb is released from an
aircraft, a Boeing B52 Stratofortress eight-engined jet
bomber, and exploded over Bikini atoll in the Pacific.
Performance figures for Russian Tu104 twin jet airliner are
published at the Zurich airshow.
The formation of Air League of New Zealand is announced.
The Douglas DC7C long range piston-engined airliners goes
into service on Pan American World Airways between the United
States and Europe.
The United States Navy (USN) commissions its first helicopter
assault carrier, the USS Thetis Bay.
Egypt seizes control of the Suez Canel from the privately
owned Suez Canal Corporation.
A United States national speed record of 1,015mph is
established by Commander Robert W. Windsor, flying a Chance
Vought F8U Crusader jet fighter.
A specially prepared Hiller H21 (Flying Banana), twin rotor
helicopter, of the United States Army becomes the first
rotary-wing aircraft to complete a non-stop transcontinental
flight from California to Washington DC.
The Bell X2 research aircraft is flown by Captain Iven C.
Kincheloe to an altitude of 38,466 metres (126,200 feet)
The Tupolev Tu104 turbo-jet powered airliner enters service
The formation date of the post war German air force, the
Luftwaffe der Deutschen Bundesrepublik.
The Bell X2 crashes after being dropped by from a Boeing B50
bomber and the pilot, Captain Milburn G. Apt, is killed. It
is later reported that the aircraft reached a speed of
2,100mph before it crashed.
The Saab Aircraft Company announces that its J35 Draken
(Dragon) double-delta wing interceptor, capable of sonic
speed in level flight, has gone into quantity production for
the Royal Swedish Air Force.
Contracts for the supply of Lockheed F104 Starfighters to the
United States Air Force are announced.
British and French forces begin an offensive against Egyptian
air bases and other military targets.
The first ten Douglas DC7C
airliners ordered by the British Overseas Aircraft
Corporation (BOAC) arrive at London Airport.
A cease-fire between Britain, France, Egypt and Israel is
Ascending from Rapid City in South Dakota, Lieutenant
Commander M.L. Lewis and Malcolm D. Ross establish a world
altitude record for manned balloons of 23,165 metres (76,000
A Sikorsky S56 helicopter, in service with the United States
Marine Corps (USMC), records a speed of 261kph (162mph)
The Moroccan Air Force is formed.
The first CL28, a maritime reconnaissance version of the
Bristol Britannia, is completed by Canadair in Montreal.