1965 Master Index 1967

1966 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

1966 Events

  • 1966 — Puerto Rican International Airlines begin services. [1]

January 1966

  • January — The United States Army's helicopter assault-oriented 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) begins Operation Matador to destroy North Vietnamese Army forces in Pleiku and Kon Tum Province, South Vietnam. [1]

  • January 1 — The U.S. Military Air Transport Service is redesignated the Military Airlift Command. [1]

  • January 1-7 — The U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade and Australian troops carry out Operation Marauder, a combined helicopter and ground assault against Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam's Mekong Delta and the first time American units operate in the Delta. [1]

  • January 4 — Avianca Flight 4, a Douglas C-54 Skymaster, crashes into the Caribbean Sea just after takeoff from Cartagena-Crespo Airport in Cartagena, Colombia, killing 56 of the 64 people on board. [1]

  • January 8-14 — In Operation Crimp, a U.S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade helicopter and ground assault destroys a Viet Cong headquarters in the Ho Bo Woods in South Vietnam. [1]

  • January 17 — A Boeing B-52 Stratofortress collides with a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker during aerial refueling near Palomares, Spain, resulting in the 1966 Palomares Boeing B-52 Stratofortress crash. Seven crewmembers are killed in the crash, and two of the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress's nuclear weapons rupture, scattering radioactive material over the countryside. One bomb lands intact near the town, and another is lost at sea. It is later recovered intact five miles (8 km) offshore. [1]

  • January 22 — The U.S. Air Force completes Operation Blue Light, the largest airlift of troops and equipment into a combat zone in history. Since the operation began on December 27, 1965, the Air Force has flown 4,600 short tons (4,173 metric tons) of equipment and over 3,000 troops from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, to Pleiku, South Vietnam. [1]

  • January 24 — Operation Masher, later renamed Operation White Wing, a helicopter and ground assault by the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and South Vietnamese Army and South Korean Army units, begins against North Vietnamese Army forces in Binh Dinh Province, South Vietnam. The operation concludes on March 6. [1]

  • January 24 — The Boeing 707-437 Kanchenjunga, operating as Air India Flight 101, crashes on Mont Blanc in France, killing all 117 people on board. In 1950, Air India Flight 245 had crashed in almost exactly the same spot. [1]

  • January 28 — Lufthansa Flight 005, a Convair CV-440 Metropolitan, aborts its landing in heavy rain at Bremen Airport in Bremen, West Germany, then crashes doing a subsequent go around maneuver, killing all 46 people on board. Among the dead are actress Ada Chekhova, daughter of Olga Chekhova and mother of Vera Tschechowa, and seven swimmers of the Italian Olympic Team and their coach. [1]

  • January 31 — The United States resumes Operation Rolling Thunder over North Vietnam. [1]

February 1966

  • February — In the 1966 Defence White Paper, the British Labour government announces that Royal Navy's planned CVA-01 aircraft carrier will not be built because of its expense. It also declares that the traditional strike, reconnaissance, air defense, and airborne early warning functions of carrier-based aircraft can be carried out more cheaply by shore-based Royal Air Force aircraft, that the use of cruiser- and frigate-based helicopters would be a cheaper means of providing anti-submarine defense of ships, and that ship-launched anti-ship missiles could replace carrier planes in the anti-ship role. [1]

  • February 2 — Nicholas Piantanida sets unofficial world balloon altitude record. [1]

  • February 2 — Pakistan International Airlines Flight 17, a Sikorsky S-61, experiences an oil leak, strikes a vulture, and then loses power and crashes near Faridpur, East Pakistan (now in Bangladesh), killing 23 of the 24 people on board and injuring the lone survivor. [1]

  • February 4 — All Nippon Airways Flight 60 crashes into Tokyo Bay while on night approach to Tokyo's Haneda International Airport, killing all 133 people on board. It is the worst death toll in a single-aircraft accident in history at the time, and will remain so until 1969. [1]

  • February 8 — Freddie Laker founds Laker Airways. [1]

  • February 28 — NASA Northrop T-38 Talon crash at Lambert Field in St. Louis kills astronauts Elliot See and Charles Bassett, the prime crew for Gemini 9, scheduled for early June. [1]

March 1966

  • March — U.S. Navy Douglas A-4 Skyhawk bombers become the first aircraft to use the AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missile in combat, targeting guidance radars at surface-to-air missile sites in North Vietnam.. [1]

  • March 4 — Canadian Pacific Airlines Flight 402, a Douglas DC-8, strikes the approach lights and a seawall during a night landing attempt in poor visibility at Tokyo International Airport in Japan and crashes on the runway, killing 64 of the 72 people on board. [1]

  • March 5 — After taxiing past the wreckage of Canadian Pacific Airlines Flight 402 at Tokyo International Airport, Boeing 707-436 (G-APFE), operating as BOAC Flight 911, disintegrates in severe clear-air turbulence and crashes near Mount Fuji in Japan shortly after take-off, killing all 124 people on board. The two crashes kill a combined 188 people, a record total at the time for aviation accidents in a 24-hour period. [1]

  • March 5 — For the first time, the United States employs the Alpha section (listing major fixed ground targets in North Vietnam) of a U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Rolling Thunder order. [1]

  • March 7 — France withdraws from the military structure of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, although it remains a political member of the alliance. [1]

  • March 10 — In order to rescue a downed U.S. Air Force Douglas A-1E Skyraider pilot, U.S. Air Force Major Bernard F. Fisher of the 1st Air Commando Squadron lands his own Douglas A-1E Skywriter on an airstrip in South Vietnam's A Shau Valley after the airstrip had been overrun by North Vietamese troops. Fisher later receives the Medal of Honor for this action. [1]

  • March 31 — The U.S. Air Force's Strategic Air Command retires its last Boeing B-47 Stratojet. The first all-jet strategic bomber, the Boeing B-47 Stratojet had served since 1951. [1]

April 1966

  • April — The U.S. Navy moves Yankee Station northward in the Gulf of Tonkin. [1]

  • April — Pan American World Airways signs a contract with the Boeing Company for the construction of 25 Boeing 747 airliners. It is the world's first order for wide-body airliners. [1]

  • April 12 — U.S. Air Force Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses strike targets in North Vietnam for the first time. [1]

  • April 13 — President of Iraq Abdul Salam Arif dies in the crash of a Royal Iraqi Air Force de Havilland DH.104 Dove 1 in southern Iraq. [1]

  • April 19 — U.S. Navy aircraft strike the coal port of Cam Pha, North Vietnam, only 35 miles (56 km) from North Vietnam's border with the People's Republic of China. [1]

  • April 23 — American aircraft encounter Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG fighters in large numbers over North Vietnam. [1]

May 1966

  • May — Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbeds start to appear in the skies over Vietnam. [1]

  • May 1 — Nicholas Piantanida is fatally injured while attempting to break the world parachute altitude record. (Piantanida dies on August 29.). [1]

  • May 23-26 — Round-the-world demonstration flight by a new Learjet 24 to exhibit its capabilities; flight time was 50 hours and 20 minutes. [1]

June 1966

  • June — The Indian Air Force begins re-arming to replace losses from the previous year's war with Pakistan. [1]

  • June — The U.S. Army begins testing the Remote Image Intensifier System, a low-light-level television system on Bell UH-1C Iroquois attack helicopters known as "Batships" in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam, hoping to improve night capabilities against Viet Cong forces. The test will conclude in November with the system found to be unreliable. [1]

  • June 3 — A Hawker Siddeley Trident 1C on its first test flight crashes at Felthorpe, Norfolk, England, killing the entire four-man crew. [1]

  • June 7 — Robert and Joan Wallick set a round-the-world flight record. [1]

  • June 8 — A U.S. Air Force North American XB-70 Valkyrie bomber prototype is destroyed in a mid-air collision with a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter chase plane. [1]

  • June 12 — Escorting Douglas A-4 Skyhawks from the attack aircraft carrier USS Hancock (CVA-19) during a bombing raid northwest of Haiphong, North Vietnam, U.S. Navy Commander Harold L. Marr of Fighter Squadron 211 (VF-211) scores the first kill by an LTV F-8 Crusader, shooting down a North Vietnamese Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 Fresco with an AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile in a LTV F-8E Crusader. [1]

  • June 20 — Sheila Scott completes a solo round-the-world flight. [1]

  • June 29 — The U.S. Air Force bombs Hanoi for the first time. [1]

  • June 29 — For the first time, President Lyndon B. Johnson's administration authorizes attacks on industrial targets in northeastern North Vietnam and on North Vietnam's entire petroleum, oil, and lubricants system. [1]

July 1966

  • July 1 — U.S. Navy aircraft from the aircraft carriers USS Constellation (CVA-64) and USS Hancock (CVA-19) sink three North Vietnamese torpedo boats. [1]

  • July 14 — In response to Fatah commando attacks launched from inside Syria, Israeli Air Force jets strike Syrian tractors and mechanical equipment in the Golan Heights southeast of Almagor, Israel. The equipment had been engaged in diverting the flow of water from the Baniyas springs away from the Jordan River. [1]

August 1966

  • August 1-25 — The U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) conducts Operation Paul Revere II, a helicopter and ground assault against enemy forces in the Pleiku area of South Vietnam. [1]

  • August 3 — With enough land-based aircraft now available to support forces in the area, the U.S. Navy ends aircraft carrier deployments to Dixie Station off South Vietnam. [1]

  • August 5 — The Soviet Union protests damage to one of its merchant ships in a North Vietnamese port due to American air attacks. [1]

  • August 6 — Braniff Flight 250, a BAC 1-11-203AE, encounters severe turbulence when it enters an active squall line and crashes near Falls City, Nebraska, after losing its right wing, right stabilizer, and tailfin. All 42 people on board die. [1]

  • August 15 — Syrian forces open fire on an Israeli patrol boat that has run aground on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, leading to combat between the Israeli and Syrian air forces. Israel claims two Syrian jets shot down. [1]

  • August 28 — The Soviet Union announces that it is training North Vietnamese Air Force pilots. [1]

September 1966

  • September 9 — The Concorde's Rolls-Royce Olympus engine begins flight tests underneath an Avro Vulcan bomber. [1]

  • September 19 — Using Bell UH-1B Iroquois helicopters borrowed from the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy's first attack helicopter unit begins operations, supporting U.S. Navy riverine forces operating in South Vietnam's Mekong Delta. [1]

  • September 22 — Ansett-ANA Flight 149, a Vickers Viscount Type 832, experiences an in-flight engine fire which spreads to the left wing, causing much of the wing to break off. The plane crashes near Winton, Queensland, Australia, killing all 24 people on board. [1]

  • September 24 — Marina Solovyeva sets a new women's airspeed record of 2,044 km/h (1,270 mph) in the Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-76. [1]

October 1966

  • October — The U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) joins the U.S. 4th and 25th Infantry Divisions in Operation Paul Revere IV, a helicopter and ground assault against enemy forces in the area around Pleiku, South Vietnam. [1]

  • October — Operation Attleboro begins, the largest combat operations for American ground forces thus far in the Vietnam War. The U.S. Army's airmobile 173rd Airborne Brigade participates. Heavy fighting against North Vietnamese Army forces will ensue until November 24. [1]

  • October 1 — West Coast Airlines Flight 956, a Douglas DC-9-14, crashes near Wemme, Oregon, killing all 18 people on board. [1]

November 1966

  • November — The American military command in Vietnam establishes control of all air operations throughout Indochina. [1]

  • November — U.S. Navy attack helicopters in South Vietnam begin using flight-deck-equipped tank landing ships operating in the Mekong Delta as bases. [1]

  • November 1 — Air Canada begins the first North American air services to the Soviet Union. [1]

  • November 11 — A U.S. Air Force 551st Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing Lockheed EC-121H Warning Star crashes in the Atlantic Ocean off Nantucket, Massachusetts, killing the entire 19-man crew. [1]

  • November 13 — All Nippon Airways Flight 533, a NAMC YS-11, crashes into the Seto Inland Sea off Matsuyama Airport, killing all 50 people on board. [1]

  • November 13 — Four Royal Jordanian Air Force Hawker Hunter aircraft attack an Israeli Army unit engaged in blowing up buildings in as-Samu, Jordan, that Fatah has used for staging commando attacks into Israel. Israeli Air Force aircraft respond, shoot down one Hunter, and drive off the other three. One Israeli pilot loses an eye during the dogfight. [1]

  • November 14 — A U.S. Air Force 86th Military Airlift Squadron Lockheed C-141 Starlifter piloted by Captain Howard Geddes becomes the first jet aircraft to land in Antarctica, touching down on the ice at McMurdo Sound after a 2,200-mile (3,543-km) flight from Christchurch, New Zealand. [1]

  • November 15 — The Pan American World Airways Boeing 727-21 cargo aircraft Clipper München, operating as Flight 708, crashes during initial approach to Tegel Airport in West Berlin, killing all three crew members. [1]

  • November 18 — Captain William J. Knight flies the North American X-15 to a record speed of Mach 6.33 (4,250 mph, 6,840 km/h). [1]

  • November 24 — TABSO Flight 101, an Ilyushin Il-18B, crashes in the foothills of the Little Carpathians two minutes after takeoff from Bratislava Airport in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, killing all 82 people on board. Among the dead are the Honduran writer and journalist Ramón Amaya Amador and flight attendant Svetla Georgieva, who 18 days earlier had married the Bulgarian sports official Ivan Slavkov. It remains the deadliest aviation accident in the history of Slovakia. [1]

December 1966

  • December — U.S. Navy aircraft conduct their first strikes near Hanoi. [1]

  • December 6 — The West German Luftwaffe grounds its fleet of Lockheed F-104 Starfighters to investigate continuing accidents with the type. [1]

  • December 25-26 — The United States conducts a 48-hour stand down of air operations over Vietnam for the Christmas holiday. [1]

1966 First Flights

  • January 10 — Bell Model 206 JetRanger. [1]

  • January 24 — Learjet 24. [1]

  • January 27 — Fairchild FH-227. [1]

  • February — Antonov An-12 "Cub" (civil version) with Aeroflot. [1]

  • February 23 — Dornier Do 28D Skyservant (D-INTL). [1]

  • February 25 — Alon A-4. [1]

  • March 5 — Lockheed D-21 Drone. [1]

  • March 17 — Bell X-22. [1]

  • March 18 — Wassmer WA-50. [1]

  • April 12 — Pilatus PC-7. [1]

  • April 29 — Neiva Universal (PP-ZTW). [1]

  • June 12 — Dassault Mirage F2. [1]

  • June 22 — Dassault Mirage IIIV second prototype, experimental VTOL fighter design. [1]

  • July — Beechcraft Model 99. [1]

  • July 12 — Northrop M2-F2. [1]

  • August 2 — Sukhoi Su-17 prototype Su-7IG. [1]

  • August 12 — Learjet 25. [1]

  • August 31 — Hawker Siddeley Harrier. [1]

  • October 21 — Yakovlev Yak-40. [1]

  • November 7 — Pilatus PC-11. [1]

  • December 6 — ChangKong-1. [1]

  • December 21 — Martin X-23 PRIME. [1]

  • December 23 — Dassault Mirage F.1. [1]

  • December 27 — Aeritalia G.91Y. [1]

  • December 29 — Beechcraft Duke. [1]

1966 Aircraft Entering Service

  • Early 1966 — Beechcraft King Air Model A90. [1]

  • January 7 — Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird with the US Air Force. [1]

  • January 20 — Short Belfast with No. 53 Squadron RAF. [1]

  • July — Vickers VC.10 with No. 10 Squadron RAF. [1]

  • July 1 — Fairchild FH-227 with Mohawk Airlines. [1]

  • September — Hawker Siddeley Andover with No. 46 Squadron RAF. [1]

Works Cited

  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 1966 in aviation. [1]

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