1957 Master Index 1959

1958 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

1958 Events

  • 1958 — Gulfstream Aerospace is founded in Savannah, Georgia, in the United States. [1]

  • 1958 — The Argentine Navy acquires its first aircraft carrier by purchasing HMS Warrior from the United Kingdom. [1]

  • 1958 — The Brazilian Navy acquires aircraft of its own for the first time since the 1941 creation of the Brazilian Air Force, purchasing two Bell 47-J and three Westland “Widgeon” helicopters. [1]

January 1958

  • January 1 — During a revolt against Venezuelan President Marcos Pérez Jiménez, rebel Venezuelan Air Force de Havilland “Venom”, de Havilland “Vampire”, and North American F-86 “Sabre” aircraft attack Miraflores Palace, the defense ministry, and other military targets in the Caracas area. [1]

  • January 14 — Qantas becomes the first foreign airline permitted to fly across the United States. [1]

February 1958

  • February 1 — United Airlines sets a record commercial Honolulu, Hawaii-to-Los Angeles, California, flight time of 6 hours 21 minutes. [1]

  • February 5 — Two United States Air Force aircraft … a Boeing B-47B “Stratojet” and an North American F-86 “Sabre” … collide in mid-air over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Georgia in the United States. The North American F-86 “Sabre” crashes after its pilot ejects, but the Boeing B-47B “Stratojet” remains airborne, jettisons a Mark 15 hydrogen bomb into Wassaw Sound off Tybee Island, Georgia, and makes an emergency landing at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. The bomb has not been recovered. [1]

  • February 6 — The British European Airways Airspeed “Ambassador” (G-ALZU) “Lord Burghley”, operating as Flight 609, crashes on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport in West Germany, killing 23, including eight Manchester United footballers. [1]

  • February 13 — A British Ministry of Defence White Paper makes Britain's nuclear weapons program public knowledge. [1]

  • February 25 — United Airlines sets a record commercial Honolulu, Hawaii-to-San Francisco, California, flight time of 5 hours 43 minutes. [1]

  • February 27 — The Silver City Airways Bristol 170 “Freighter” (G-AICS), travelling from Ronaldsway Airport, Ballasalla, on the Isle of Man to Ringway Airport in Manchester, England, crashes into Winter Hill, Rivington Moor, Lancashire, in North West England in bad weather, killing 35 of the 42 people on board and injuring all seven survivors. [1]

March 1958

  • March — South Vietnam's Vietnam Air Force takes delivery of its first helicopters. [1]

  • March 17 — Air Inter commences operations. [1]

April 1958

  • April — The Handley Page “Victor” strategic bomber begins to enter squadron service with the Royal Air Force. [1]

  • April 6 — Vickers “Viscount” (N7437), operating as Capital Airlines Flight 67, stalls and crashes into Saginaw Bay near Freeland, Michigan, while on approach to Freeland-Tri City Airport in Saginaw, Michigan. All 47 people aboard die. The cause is attributed to ice accretion on the horizontal stabilizer. [1]

  • April 21 — United Airlines Flight 736, a Douglas DC-7 bound for Denver, Colorado, collides at 21,000 feet (6,400 m) with a USAF North American F-100 “Super Sabre” fighter on a training mission near Las Vegas, Nevada. All 47 persons aboard the airliner and both North American F-100 “Super Sabre ” crew members are killed. [1]

May 1958

  • May 7 — USAF Major Howard C. Johnson of the 83rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron set a new world record for altitude, flying a Lockheed F-104 “Starfighter” to 27,813 meters (91,249 feet). [1]

  • May 16 — USAF Captain Walter W. Irwin sets a new world airspeed record of 1,404 mph (2,259 km/h) in an F-104 “Starfighter”, the first record over 2,000 km/h (1,242 mph). [1]

  • May 17 — Four McDonnell F3H “Demons” and four Vought F8U “Crusaders” make a non-stop crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. [1]

  • May 18 — In a Zero Length Launch (ZEL) experiment, a USAF North American F-100D “Super Sabre” becomes airborne with no runway or take-off roll at all, using its own engine in afterburner and boosted by a 130,000 lb. (58,967-kg)- thrust “Astrodyne” rocket. [1]

  • May 20 — Vickers “Viscount” (N7410) of Capital Airlines collides in mid-air with a Lockheed T-33 “Shooting Star" of the Air National Guard. All eleven on board the “Viscount" are killed when it crashes at Brunswick, Maryland, as is one of the two crew members of the Lockheed T-33 “Shooting Star”. [1]

  • May 22-23 — Flying a Douglas F4D-1 “Skyray”, United States Marine Corps Major N. LeFaivre breaks five world climb-to-height records, including 15,000 meters (49,221 feet) in 2 minutes 36 seconds. [1]

  • May 25 — A Dan-Air Avro 685 “York C.1” cargo aircraft suffers an in-flight engine fire and crashes during a forced landing near Gurgaon, Haryana, India, killing four members of the five-person crew. [1]

  • May 26 — The Short SC.1 experimental VTOL aircraft makes its first (tethered) vertical flight, in the United Kingdom. [1]

June 1958

  • June 9 — London Gatwick Airport opens after two years of extensive reconstruction. It is the first multimodal airport in the world, with direct rail connections from the main terminal to London and Brighton. [1]

  • June 26 — A Grumman TF-1 “Trader” of U.S. Navy Air Transport Squadron 21 (VR-21) carries a Westinghouse J34 jet engine from San Diego, California, on a 300-mile (483-km) flight to the anti-submarine warfare carrier USS Yorktown (CVS-10), then at sea in the Pacific Ocean. It is the first delivery of an aircraft engine via carrier onboard delivery. [1]

  • June 28 — The 22-year operational career of the Avro “Anson” comes to an end with a six-plane formation fly-past over their base by the Southern Communications Squadron at Bovington, Hampshire, in the United Kingdom. [1]

July 1958

  • July 3 — The “Telecopter,” a Bell Model 47 rented by television station KTLA in Los Angeles, California, and outfitted with a television camera, makes the world's first flight by a television news helicopter. Its inventor, John D. Silva, is aboard. When the television station reports that it is receiving no video, Silva exits the helicopter's cockpit to climb onto its landing skid while it hovers at 1,500 feet (457 m) so that he can investigate the microwave transmitter bolted to its side, where he discovers that a vacuum tube has failed due to vibration and hot weather. After Silva fixes the problem overnight, the Telecopter makes its first successful news flight the following day. [1]

  • July 15-16 — Aircraft from the United States Navy aircraft carrier USS Essex (CVA-9) cover United States Army and U.S. Marine Corps landings in Lebanon in Operation Blue Bat, the American intervention in the 1958 Lebanon crisis. Air support begins with a flight by 50 Essex jets over Beirut on July 15. [1]

  • July 29 — President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the National Aeronautics and Space Act, disestablishing the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) and creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), both effective October 1, 1958. [1]

1958 August

  • August 9 — A Central African Airways Vickers “Viscount” crashes near Benina International Airport outside Benghazi, Libya, killing 36 of the 54 people on board. It is the deadliest aviation accident in Libyan history at the time. [1]

  • August 14 — The KLM Lockheed “Super Constellation Hugo de Groot” (PH-LKM) crashes in the Atlantic Ocean 180 km (112 mi) west of Shannon Airport, Ireland, perhaps due to mechanical failure, killing all 99 on board. [1]

  • August 23 — The Second Taiwan Strait Crisis begins with People's Republic of China artillery shelling the Nationalist Chinese-held islands of Quemoy and Matsu. During the crisis, the U.S. Navy attack aircraft carriers USS Midway (CVA-41) and USS Lexington (CVA-16) patrol nearby, and Vought F8U “Crusader” fighters from them make 1,000-knot (1,150-mph; 1,852-km/hr) sweeps along the coast of China. [1]

  • August 23 — President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, dissolving the Civil Aeronautics Administration and Civil Aeronautics Board and transferring all authority over aviation operations in the United States to the newly created Federal Aviation Agency (FAA, later renamed Federal Aviation Administration). [1]

September 1958

  • September 2 — An Independent Air Travel Vickers VC.1 “Viking” cargo aircraft carrying a cargo of two Bristol “Proteus” turboprop engines suffers engine trouble soon after takeoff from London Heathrow Airport. While attempting to reach Blackbushe Airport for an emergency landing, the “Viking” crashes into a row of houses in Southall, London, England, killing its entire crew of three and a mother and three children on the ground. [1]

  • September 6 — The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that U.S. Navy forces be given permission for more aggressive action the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, including carrier air strikes against the territory of the People's Republic of China, but President Dwight D. Eisenhower rejects the idea. [1]

  • September 24 — During the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, a dogfight breaks out between 32 Republic of China Air Force North American F-86F “Sabres” and over 100 People's Republic of China MiG aircraft. During the engagement, guided air-to-air missiles are employed in combat for the first time when the North American F-86 “Sabres” use AAM-N-7 “Sidewinder IA” … later known as AIM-9B “Sidewinder IA” … missiles to down several Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 “Fagot” fighters and at least ten Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 “Frescos”. [1]

  • September 30 — Britain's last flying boat is withdrawn from commercial service when Aquila Airways terminates its service on the Southampton-Funchal (Madeira) route. [1]

October 1958

  • October 1 — In the United States, in accordance with the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) is dissolved and its successor, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), begins operations. [1]

  • October 4 — BOAC de Havilland “Comet 4” (G-APDB) makes the first commercial transatlantic crossing by a jet airliner, from London Heathrow Airport to New York International Airport, Anderson Field via Gander. [1]

  • October 10 — A Fairchild C-123B “Provider” serving as a maintenance support aircraft for the United States Air Force “Thunderbirds” air demonstration team flies into a flock of birds and crashes near Payette, Idaho, killing the entire flight crew of five and all 14 maintenance personnel on board. It remains the worst accident in “Thunderbirds” history. [1]

  • October 15 — The first North American X-15 is rolled out at North American Aviation's facility at Los Angeles, California. [1]

  • October 19 — A People's Republic of China-owned Tupolev Tu-104 crashes at Kanash in the Soviet Union during a regular flight between Beijing and Moscow, killing all 65 passengers and crew members. Among those killed are 16 Chinese government officials, one Briton, four East Germans and the son of the Cambodian ambassador to China. [1]

  • October 22 — The Vickers “Viscount 701” (G-ANHC), operating as British European Airways Flight 142, collides with an Italian Air Force North American F-86E “Sabre” over Anzio, Italy. Both aircraft crash; the North American F-86E “Sabre” pilot ejects and survives, but all 31 people aboard the Vickers “Viscount” die. [1]

  • October 25 — The Short SC.1 experimental VTOL aircraft makes its first free vertical flight. [1]

  • October 26 — Snowy Mountains Scheme worker Tom Sonter accidentally discovers the wreckage of the Australian National Airways Avro 618 “Ten Southern Cloud”, which had disappeared without trace in bad weather over the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, Australia, with the loss of all eight people on board on March 21, 1931, in Australia's first airline disaster. [1]

  • October 26 — The first commercial flight by a Boeing 707 jet airliner takes place, on Pan American World Airways transatlantic service from New York City to Paris. [1]

November 1958

  • November — Trans-Pacific Airlines changes its name to Aloha Airlines. [1]

  • November 25 — The English Electric P.1B, the first fully developed prototype of the English Electric “Lightning”, exceeds Mach 2 for the first time. [1]

December 1958

  • December — An operational Royal Navy fighter squadron fires air-to-air missiles for the first time, when three de Havilland “Sea Venoms” of No. 893 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, embarked aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious fire “Firestreak” missiles at target drones off Malta, scoring 80 percent hits. [1]

  • December 24 — During a test flight to renew its certificate of airworthiness, the BOAC Bristol “Britannia 312” (G-AOVD) crashes near Sopley and Winkton, England, killing nine of the 12 people on board and injuring all three survivors. [1]

1958 Aircraft First Flights

  • March — Aerfer “Ariete”. [1]

  • March 5 — Yakovlev Yak-28. [1]

  • March 25 — Avro CF-105 “Arrow” (RL201) at Malton, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. [1]

  • April 17 — LIPNUR “Belalang”. [1]

  • April 22 — Boeing Vertol 107-II.. [1]

  • April 30 — Blackburn “Buccaneer” (XK486). [1]

  • May 12 — Dassault “Mirage III”. [1]

  • May 27 — McDonnell XF4H-1, prototype of the F-4 “Phantom II”. [1]

  • June 2 — Vought XF8U-3 “Crusader III”, the “Super Crusader”. [1]

  • June 9 — Agusta AZ8-L. [1]

  • July 30 — de Havilland Canada DHC-4 “Caribou” (CF-KTK-X). [1]

  • August 14 — Grumman “Gulfstream I”. [1]

  • August 28 — Beechcraft “Queen Air” Model 65. [1]

  • August 31 — North American A3J-1 “Vigilante”. [1]

  • September 16 — North American NA265-40 “Sabreliner”. [1]

  • November — Adams-Wilson “Hobbycopter”. [1]

  • November 6 — Downer “Bellanca 260”. [1]

  • December 4 — Baade B-152 V1 Prototype. [1]

1958 Aircraft Entering Service

  • January 26 — Lockheed F-104 “Starfighter” with the United States Air Force's 83rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Hamilton Air Force Base, California. [1]

  • April 9 — Handley Page “Victor” with No. 10 Squadron RAF at RAF Cottesmore. [1]

  • April 21 — Vertol Model 44 with New York Airways. [1]

  • May 26 — Republic F-105B the “Thunderchief” with the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron USAF at Eglin AFB. [1]

  • August — Boeing 707 with Pan American World Airways. [1]

  • November — de Havilland “Sea Vixen” to 700 Naval Air Squadron. [1]

  • December — Lockheed L-188 “Electra” with American Airlines. [1]

1958 Aircraft Retiring from Service

  • 1958 — Curtiss P-40, by the Brazilian Air Force. [1]

  • April 16 — Convair R3Y “Tradewind” by United States Navy Transport Squadron 2 (VR-2). [1]

  • June 28 — Avro “Anson” by the Southern Communications Squadron. [1]

Works Cited

  1. Timeline in History: Wikipedia. 1958 in aviation

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