Thursday, September 8th, 1966; Star Trek the original series first aired from 8:30 to 9:30 as part of an NBC "sneak preview" block (The Original Series) debuted in the U.S. on NBC, beginning the voyage of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) and her crew.
Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) best remembered for creating the original Star Trek television series, was also in fact, a pilot.
Gene Roddenberry obtained his pilot's license through the United States Army Air Corps-sponsored Civilian Pilot Training Program. He enlisted with the USAAC on December 18, 1941; then posted to Bellows Field, Oahu, to join the 394th Bomb Squadron, 5th Bombardment Group, of the Thirteenth Air Force, which flew the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.
On August 2, 1943, while flying out of Espiritu Santo, Roddenberry's B-17 overshot the runway by 500 feet and impacted trees, crushing the nose, and starting a fire, killing two men. The official report absolved Roddenberry of any responsibility. After wartime, Gene became a plane crash investigator for the US military.
In 1945 Roddenberry began his civilian career flying for Pan American World Airways, including routes from New York to Johannesburg or Calcutta, the two longest Pan Am routes at the time.
On June 18, 1947. Gene's Clipper Eclipse was forced to crash land in the Syrian desert. After impact, Roddenberry managed to drag injured passengers out of the burning aircraft and led the group to get help. Fourteen people died in the crash; eleven passengers needed hospital treatment, and eight were unharmed.
Gene Roddenberry resigned from Pan-Am on May 15, 1948, deciding to pursue his dream of writing, with particular interest in the new medium of television, and Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
"Star Trek says that it has not all happened, it has not all been discovered, that tomorrow can be as challenging and adventurous as any time man has ever lived."