1969 Master Index 1971

1970 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

1970 Events

  • 1970 — The Egyptian Air Force has lost 60 fighters in air-to-air combat with the Israeli Air Force since the end of the Six-Day War with Israel in June 1967. Over the same period, the Israeli Air Force has lost only six fighters to all causes. [1]

January 1970

  • January 1 — Nord-Aviation, Sud-Aviation, and SEREB merge to form SNIAS (the future Aérospatiale). [1]

  • January 22 — Pan American World Airways begins the world's first wide-body airliner service, introducing the first Boeing 747 into service on the New York-London route. [1]

  • January 31 — The Soviet aerospace engineer Mikhail Mil, founder of the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant dies, aged 61. [1]

February 1970

  • February — The last flight of an active U.S. Navy antisubmarine Lockheed P-2 “Neptune” takes place, with Rear Admiral Tom Davies at the controls. The Lockheed P-2 “Neptune“ had been in active U.S. Navy service since March 1947, and Adm. Davies had set a world distance record in the Lockheed “Neptune Truculent Turtle” in September 1946. [1]

  • February 4 — the Avro 748-105 Srs. 1 “Cuidad de Bahia Blanca”, operating as Aerolíneas Argentinas Flight 707, encounters severe turbulence and crashes near Loma Alta in Chaco Province, Argentina, killing all 37 people on board. [1]

  • February 5 — a Dominicana de Aviación McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 crashes into the Caribbean Sea two minutes after takeoff from Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic following engine failure, killing all 102 people on board. [1]

  • February 15 — Hugh Dowding (born 1882), commander of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, dies. [1]

  • February 17-18 — United States Air Force Boeing B-52 “Stratofortresses” attack Laos. [1]

  • February 21 — A bomb explodes in the cargo compartment of Swissair Flight 330, a Convair CV-990, nine minutes after takeoff from Zürich International Airport in Zürich, Switzerland. The flight crew attempts to return to Zürich, but have difficulty seeing their instruments because of smoke in the cockpit; the aircraft finally suffers an electrical failure and crashes near Lucerne, Switzerland, killing all 47 people on board. Responsibility for the bombing is never determined. [1]

  • February 24 — the Royal Navy recommissions the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal after a ¬£UK 30 million refit of the ship. [1]

  • February 27 — Hawker Siddeley begins buying Back surplus Hawker “Hunters” from the Royal Air Force to remanufacture for new customers. [1]

  • February 27 — The British light aircraft manufacturer Beagle Aircraft goes into voluntary liquidation. [1]

March 1970

  • March — The United States confirms that SA-2 “Guideline” surface-to-air missiles are deployed in Laos. [1]

  • March 6 — BEA opens its charter service, BEA Airtours. [1]

  • March 17 — An Eastern Air Lines Douglas DC-9 is hijacked. The hijacker is overpowered and the aircraft lands safely in Boston, Massachusetts, although the co-pilot is killed in the struggle. [1]

  • March 28 — A United States Navy McDonnell Douglas F-4J “Phantom II” fighter of Fighter Squadron 142 (VF-142) shoots down a North Vietnamese Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 “Fishbed” fighter. It is the only American air-to-air kill in the Vietnam War between September 1968 and January 1971. [1]

  • March 31 — In what becomes known in Japan as the Yodogo Hijacking, nine members of the Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction, a predecessor of the Japanese Red Army, hijack a Boeing 727-89 operating as Japan Airlines Flight 351 with 129 other people on board on a flight from Tokyo to Fukuoka, Japan. After releasing their hostages at Fukuoka and at Kimpo Airport in Seoul, South Korea, they proceed to Mirim Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, and surrender to North Korean authorities, who grant them asylum. Notable passengers on the flight include Mori Wakabayashi of the rock band Les Rallizes Dénudés; future Roman Catholic archbishop and Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao; Japanese pop singer Mita Akira; and Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, who would become one of the world's longest-serving physicians and educators. [1]

April 1970

  • April — When three Haitian Coast Guard ships rebel against President François Duvalier and shell the presidential palace at Port-au-Prince, loyal Haitian Air Force pilots whose bombs had been confiscated out of fear that they also might rebel instead use 55-gallon drums of gasoline (petrol) to attack the ships. They score no hits. [1]

  • April 18 — Two Soviet Navy Tupolev Tu-20 “Bear D” reconnaissance/missile-targeting aircraft land at José Martí International Airport outside Havana, Cuba, the first time that any variant of the “Bear” has landed outside the Soviet Bloc. The visit begins periodic flights by “Bear D” and Tupolev Tu-142 “Bear F” aircraft between the Soviet Union and Cuba that continue until the Soviet Union's collapse two decades later. [1]

  • April 24 — The United States begins “Operation Patio”, involving air strikes up to 18 miles (29 km) inside Cambodia. [1]

May 1970

  • May — President Richard M. Nixon's administration announces that recent American attacks on North Vietnam, primarily targeting communications and air defense facilities, are the Vietnam War's largest since 1968. [1]

  • May 1 — Boeing B-52 “Stratofortress” strikes and helicopter assaults against North Vietnamese forces are part of the first day of the American and South Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. The last U.S. Army helicopter will not leave Cambodia until June 29. [1]

  • May 2 — After several unsuccessful attempts to land at Princess Juliana International Airport on St. Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles due to poor weather, ALM Antillean Airlines Flight 980, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-33F, runs out of fuel and ditches in the Caribbean Sea, killing 23 of the 63 people on board and injuring 37 of the 40 survivors. [1]

  • May 9 — U.S. Navy attack helicopters are the first American aircraft to reach Phnom Penh during the American and South Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. [1]

  • May 18 — National Airlines ends a 108-day strike by offering ground crews a 33% pay increase. [1]

  • May 26 — “Operation Menu”, the 14-month-long covert American bombing campaign by Boeing B-52 “Stratofortresses” against North Vietnamese Army sanctuaries in Cambodia, comes to an end. The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress have flown 3,800 sorties and dropped 108,823 tons (98,723,578 kg) of munitions during the campaign. [1]

  • May 26 — The Soviet Tupolev Tu-144 SST exceeds Mach 2 in level flight, the first commercial aircraft to do so. [1]

June 1970

  • June 6 — The commander of the U.S. Air Force's Military Airlift Command, General Jack J. Catton, accepts the first operational Lockheed C-5 “Galaxy” into service. The Lockheed C-5 “Galaxy ” is the largest airplane in the world at the time. [1]

  • June 15 — The Soviet MVD arrests a group of 12 Soviet “refuseniks” at Smolny Airport outside of Leningrad before they can board a 12-seater Aeroflot Antonov An-2 “Colt” for a flight to Priozersk. Pretending to be a wedding party, they had purchased all 12 tickets available for the flight and intended to hijack the plane as a means of escaping to the West. [1]

July 1970

  • July 1 — Melbourne opens its new international airport. [1]

  • July 3 — A Dan-Air de Havilland DH.106 “Comet Series 4” crashes on the slopes of the Sierra del Montseny near Arbucias (Gerona) in Catalonia in northern Spain, killing all 112 people on board. [1]

  • July 3 — The Canadian Armed Forces decommission Canada's last aircraft carrier, HMCS Bonaventure (CVL 22), at Halifax, Nova Scotia. [1]

  • July 5 — While landing, Air Canada Flight 621, a Douglas DC-8-63, hits the runway at Toronto International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with such force that its number four engine and pylon break off the right wing. The pilot manages to lift off again for a go around, but a series of explosions in the right wing break off the number three engine and pylon and then destroy most of the wing before the pilot can make a second landing attempt. The plane crashes in Brampton, Ontario, killing all 109 people on board. [1]

  • July 17 — Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport commences passenger screening to help prevent hijackings, the first airport to do so. [1]

  • July 30 — The Egyptian Air Force loses five Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG fighters and their pilots in a single day of combat with the Israeli Air Force. [1]

August 1970

  • August 7 — After over three years of fighting, a cease fire brings the War of Attrition between Egypt and Israel to a close. [1]

  • August 9 — LANSA Flight 502, a Lockheed L-188A “Electra”, crashes shortly after takeoff from Quispiquilla Airport near Cusco, Peru, killing 99 of the 100 people on board and two people on the ground. It is the deadliest air accident in Peruvian history at the time. [1]

  • August 12 — China Airlines Flight 206, a NAMC YS-11, crashes into a bamboo grove on the top of Yuan Mountain in fog during a severe thunderstorm while on approach to land at Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan, killing 14 of the 31 people on board. [1]

  • August 24 — Two U.S. Air Force Sikorsky HH-53C “Sea Stallion” helicopters complete a nine-day, seven-stop flight of 9,000 miles (14,493 km) from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, to Da Nang, South Vietnam. The trip has included the first transpacific flight by helicopters, a 1,700-mile (2,738-km) non-stop segment on August 22 from Shemya Island in the Aleutian Islands to Misawa Air Base, Japan, with in-flight refueling by Lockheed HC-130 “Hercules” tanker aircraft. [1]

September 1970

  • September — The Bellanca Sales Company acquires the assets of the Champion Aircraft Company, creating the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation. [1]

  • September 3 — Air France places the first orders for the Airbus A300. [1]

  • September 6 — Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijack three airliners bound for New York City. The hijackings of Trans World Airlines Flight 741 - a Boeing 707 flying from Frankfurt-am-Main, West Germany, with 155 people on board including rabbi Yitzchok Hutner - and Swissair Flight 100 - a Douglas DC-8 with 155 passengers on board flying from Zürich-Kloten Airport in Switzerland - proceed without injury to anyone, and the airliners are flown to Dawson's Field, an abandoned former Royal Air Force airstrip in a remote desert area of Jordan near Zarka. The hijacking of El Al Flight 219, a Boeing 707 with 158 people on board, fails when hijacker Patrick Argüello is shot and killed after injuring one crew member and his partner Leila Khaled is subdued and turned over to British authorities in London; two other PFLP members prevented from boarding El Al Flight 219 instead hijack Pan American World Airways Flight 93, a Boeing 747 flying from Brussels, Belgium, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with 153 people on board, which they force to fly to Beirut, Lebanon, and then on to Cairo, Egypt. [1]

  • September 9 — To pressure British authorities into releasing Leila Khaled, a PFLP sympathizer hijacks BOAC Flight 775, a Vickers VC.10 flying from Bahrain to Beirut with 114 people on board, and forces it to land at Dawson's Field in Jordan. [1]

  • September 12 — After removing all hostages from them, PFLP members use explosives to destroy the four empty airliners at Dawson's Creek and Cairo hijacked on September 6 and 9. By September 30, all hostages from the four planes will be recovered unharmed. [1]

October 1970

  • October — In its Supplementary Statement on Defence Policy, the new British Conservative government only partially reverses the preceding Labour government's plans to phase out all Royal Navy aircraft carriers by the end of 1971, instead rescheduling the decommissioning of HMS Eagle for 1972 and of HMS Ark Royal for the late 1970s, with the Royal Navy to have no large, fixed-wing aircraft carriers after Ark Royal's retirement. [1]

  • October 2 — A Golden Eagle Aviation Martin 4-0-4 carrying the stating players, coaches, and boosters of the Wichita State University football team crashes on a mountain west of Silver Plume, Colorado, killing 31 of the 40 people on board. [1]

  • October 15 — The first successful aircraft hijacking in the Soviet Union takes place, when the Lithuanian nationalist Pranas Brazinskas and his son Algirdas seize Aeroflot Flight 244, an Antonov An-24, over the Soviet Union, after a shoot-out on board with guards in which a flight attendant is killed and several other crew members are wounded. The hijackers force the plane to fly to Trabzon, Turkey, where they surrender to Turkish authorities. [1]

  • October 19 — Hindustan Aeronautics completes its first licence-built Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed. [1]

  • October 21 — An explosion in the lavatory blows the tail off of Philippine Airlines Flight 215, a Hawker Siddeley HS.748-209 Series 2, while it is flying over the Philippine Islands at 10,500 feet (3,200 m) during a flight from Cauayan City to Manila; the aircraft crashes, killing all 40 people on board. A bomb is suspected. [1]

  • October 28 — The U.S. Air Force completes “Operation Fig Hill”, an airlift begun on September 27 to bring medical personnel, equipment, and supplies to Jordan in the aftermath of combat between the country's armed forces and the Palestine Liberation Organization. During the airlift, transport aircraft have delivered 200 medical personnel, two field hospitals, and 186 short tons (169 metric tons) of supplies, equipment, vehicles, tents, and food. [1]

November 1970

  • November — The Israeli Air Force has lost 20 fighters in combat with Egyptian forces since June thanks to the Egyptian deployment of S-125 Neva/Pechora (NATO reporting name “SA-3 Goa”) surface-to-air missiles and the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21J “Fishbed” fighters. [1]

  • November 11 — The British government agrees to fund development of the Rolls-Royce RB211 turbofan, rescuing the project from Rolls-Royce's bankruptcy. [1]

  • November 12-13 (overnight) — The 1970 Bhola cyclone strikes East Pakistan, submerging the airports at Chittagong and Cox's Bazar under 1 meter (3.3 feet) of water for several hours. [1]

  • November 14 — Southern Airways Flight 932, a Douglas DC-9, crashes near Ceredo, West Virginia, killing all 75 on board. Among the dead are 37 members of the Marshall University football team, eight of its coaches, 25 team boosters, and the crew of five. [1]

  • November 21 — In “Operation Ivory Coast”, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army assault the North Vietnamese prison camp at Son Tay, North Vietnam, to free prisoners-of-war thought to be there, supported by 59 U.S. Navy and 57 U.S. Air Force aircraft, 28 of them directly assigned to the immediate assault area. No prisoners are found at the camp, but the attackers kill 42 North Vietnamese guards in exchange for two Americans injured and one Sikorsky HH-3E “Jolly Green” helicopter deliberately crash-landed in the prison courtyard and left behind. Large air raids are conducted over the night of November 20-21 to divert North Vietnamese attention from the assault, including the largest U.S. Navy night aircraft carrier operation of the Vietnam War; one U.S. Air Force Republic F-105 “Thunderchief” is shot down during these raids, but its crew ejects safely. [1]

  • November 21 — American aircraft begin the first major bombing campaign over North Vietnam since 1968, as 300 aircraft attack the Mu Gia and Ban Gari passes. [1]

December 1970

  • December 15 — Soviet aircraft designer Artem Mikoyan dies, aged 65. [1]

  • December 16 — U.S. Air Force Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” and Lockheed C-141 “Starlifter” transports complete an airlift begun November 18 to bring relief supplies and equipment to East Pakistan after the devastating 1970 Bhola cyclone. The aircraft have delivered a total of 140 short tons (127 metric tons) of supplies and equipment, some of them making flights of almost 10,000 miles (16,100 km). [1]

  • December 30 — The Grumman YF-14A, prototype of the Grumman F-14 “Tomcat”, is destroyed in a crash during its second flight due to hydraulic failure. Its two-man crew ejects and parachutes safely. [1]

  • December 31 — With pre-tax losses of $US 130 million, the year ends as the worst ever for U.S. airlines. [1]

1970 Aircraft Fist Flights

  • January 17 — Sukhoi T-6-2IG (prototype of Sukhoi Su-24 “Fencer”). [1]

  • February 19 — Canadair CL-84 (CX8401). [1]

  • March — Martin-Marietta X-24. [1]

  • May — Spencer S-12 “Air Car”. [1]

  • May 28 — Boeing Vertol Model 347. [1]

  • July 16 — Aérospatiale “Corvette”. [1]

  • July 18 — Aeritalia G.222. [1]

  • August 20 — Sikorsky S-67 “Blackhawk”. [1]

  • August 22 — Aermacchi MB-326K. [1]

  • August 29 — McDonnell Douglas DC-10. [1]

  • September 1 — Dassault “Falcon 10”. [1]

  • November 12 — Nihon XC-1. [1]

  • November 14 — Aerosport “Rail” (N43344). [1]

  • November 16 — Lockheed L-1011 “ TriStar ”. [1]

  • December 21 — Grumman YF-14A, prototype of the Grumman F-14 “Tomcat”. [1]

1970 Aircraft Entering Service

  • 1970 — Antonov An-26 “Curl”. [1]

  • 1970 — Nanchang Q-5 with Chinese People's Liberation Army. [1]

  • January 22 — Boeing 747 with Pan American World Airways and Transworld Airlines. [1]

  • June 6 — Lockheed C-5 “Galaxy” with the U.S. Air Force' Military Airlift Command. [1]

  • September — Beechcraft C90 “King Air Model”. [1]

  • October 2 — Bell UH-1N “Iroquois (Twin Huey)” with the United States Air Force's Special Operations Center at Hurlburt Field, Florida[. [1]

Works Cited

  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 1970 in Aviation

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