1972 Master Index 1974

1973 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

1973 Events

  • 1973 — Don Taylor attempts round-the-world trip in his homebuilt Thorp T-18, ended by a spate of really bad weather between northern Japan and the Aleutian Islands. His next attempt in the summer of 1976 is successful. [1]

January 1973

  • January 7 — In the United Kingdom, Cameron Balloons flies the world's first airship lifted by hot air. [1]

  • January 7 — Police in a borrowed United States Marine Corps Boeing-Vertol CH-46 “Sea Knight” helicopter exchange fire for several hours with spree killer Mark Essex, who is on the roof of a Howard Johnson's motel in downtown New Orleans. Essex eventually is killed by automatic weapons fire from the helicopter and police sniper fire from nearby roof tops. [1]

  • January 9 — In the Vietnam War, President Richard Nixon's administration permits American fighter aircraft to pursue North Vietnamese aircraft north of the 20th Parallel. [1]

  • January 12 — Flying a United States Navy McDonnell Douglas F-4 “Phantom II” fighter of Fighter Squadron 161 (VF-161) off USS Midway, Lieutenants V. T. Kovaleski (pilot) and J. A. Wise (radar intercept officer) score the 197th and final American air-to-air victory of the Vietnam War. It is the 61st kill of the war for American carrier-based aircraft. [1]

  • January 14 — A U.S. Navy McDonnell Douglas F-4B “Phantom II” of Fighter Squadron 161 (VF-161) off USS Midway flown by Lieutenant V. T. Kovaleski (pilot) and Ensign D. H. Plautz (radar intercept officer) becomes the last American aircraft lost over North Vietnam when it is shot down by antiaircraft artillery near Thanh Hoa while escorting an “Operation Blue Tree” reconnaissance mission. [1]

  • January 15 — President Richard Nixon's administration orders a halt to all bombing and shelling of North Vietnam and all mining of North Vietnamese harbors. [1]

  • January 18 — Results of the U.S. Air Force A-X fly-off are announced, with the Fairchild YA-10 selected over the Northrop YA-9. [1]

  • January 22 — An Alia Boeing 707-3D3C chartered by Nigeria Airways to fly Muslim pilgrims home to Nigeria from Saudi Arabia crashes after the right main landing gear leg collapses while the plane is attempting to land in high winds at Kano International Airport in Kano, Nigeria. The plane skids off the runway and catches fire, killing 176 of the 202 people on board and injuring all 26 survivors. It is the deadliest aviation accident in history at the time and will be the deadliest of 1973. [1]

  • January 27 — A U.S. Navy McDonnell Douglas F-4 “Phantom II” from USS Enterprise piloted by Lieutenant Commander Harley Hall is shot down over South Vietnam near the Demilitarized Zone. It is the last American fixed-wing aircraft lost in the Vietnam War. [1]

  • January 27 — The United States, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam agree in Paris to a cease fire in the Vietnam War, scheduling it to take effect on January 29. [1]

  • January 28 — A United States Air Force Boeing B-52 “Stratofortress” conducts the last “Operation Arc Light” strike of the Vietnam War. “Arc Light” had begun in 1965. [1]

  • January 29 — A cease fire agreement between the United States, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam takes effect, ending U.S. participation in the Vietnam War. Since January 1962, the United States Armed Forces have lost 3,339 fixed-wing aircraft in Southeast Asia, 2,430 of them in combat. American aircraft have shot down 200 enemy aircraft in exchange for 76 of their own lost in air-to-air combat. The United States has also lost 4,870 helicopters in Southeast Asia, 2,588 of them in combat. [1]

  • January 29 — An EgyptAir Ilyushin Il-18 crashes in the Kyrenia Mountains in Cyprus while on descent to land at Nicosia International Airport in Nicosia, Cyprus, killing all 37 people on board. [1]

  • January 31 — U.S. Air Force and Royal Lao Air Force aircraft have flown a combined 8,000 sorties against Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese forces in Laos since January 1. [1]

February 1973

  • February 21 — Two Israeli Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-4 “Phantom II” fighters shoot down Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114, a Boeing 727-224, after it strays off course over the Israeli-occupied Sinai Peninsula, killing 108 of the 113 people on board and injuring all five survivors. [1]

  • February 22 — A cease fire in Laos immediately ends all U.S. Air Force strikes there by tactical aircraft. Boeing B-52 “Stratofortress” strikes will end two months later. [1]

  • February 24 — United States Marine Corps helicopters begin clearing mines from North Vietnamese harbors. [1]

  • February 26 — A corporate Learjet 24 strikes a flock of cowbirds shortly after lifting off from a runway at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Chamblee, Georgia, in the United States and strikes the roof of an apartment building before crashing in a ravine. All seven people on board die, and one person in the apartment building suffers severe burns. The birds had been attracted to a landfill near the runway. [1]

  • February 27 — A U.S. Navy helicopter of Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM-12) flies the first air mine countermeasures mission in the main shipping channel at Haiphong, North Vietnam. [1]

  • February 28 — President Richard Nixon halts American mine sweeping of North Vietnamese harbors because of North Vietnamese delays in releasing American prisoners-of-war. [1]

March 1973

  • March 3 — Balkan Bulgarian Airlines Flight 307, an Ilyushin Il-18, crashes in the Soviet Union at Skhodnya while on final approach to Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport due to significant icing on its tailplane. All 25 people on board die. [1]

  • March 6 — American mine sweeping of North Vietnamese harbors resumes, primarily employing helicopters. [1]

  • March 17 — American air mine countermeasures helicopters sweep the harbors of Hon Gai and Cam Pha, North Vietnam. [1]

  • March 28 — The last U.S. Air Force aircraft withdraws from South Vietnam. [1]

April 1973

  • April 10 — Invicta International Airlines Flight 435, a chartered Vickers Vanguard 952 carrying mostly women who are members of the Axbridge Ladies Guild of Somerset, England, crashes into a snowy, forested hillside near Hochwald, Switzerland, and somersaults, killing 108 of the 145 people on board and injuring all but one of the 37 survivors. The crash leaves 55 children motherless. [1]

June 1973

  • June 1 — Jeanne M. Holm is promoted to Major General in the U.S. Air Force, the first woman in the United States Armed Forces to achieve the rank. Her date of rank is set retroactively at July 1, 1970. [1]

  • June 3 — The first production Tupolev Tu-144 SST supersonic airliner breaks up during a demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show and crashes at Goussainville, Val-d'Oise, France, striking 15 houses. The crash kills its entire crew of six, and also kills eight people - three of them children - and severely injures 60 on the ground. [1]

  • June 4 — Bonnie Linda Tiburzi (age 24) becomes the first woman pilot to earn her wings with a national American airline, American Airlines. [1]

  • June 7 — Bahamasair commences operations. [1]

  • June 20 — Aeroméxico Flight 229, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-15, crashes into a mountain while on approach to Lic. Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, killing all 27 people on board. [1]

July 1973

  • July 11 — A fire breaks out in a lavatory aboard Varig Flight 820, a Boeing 707-345C. Smoke fills the cabin, and many passengers already have died of smoke inhalation by the time the plane crashes in an attempt to make an emergency landing in a field in Orly commune in France. The fire, smoke, and crash kill 123 of the 135 people on board; among the dead are the president of the Senate of Brazil, Filinto Müller, and the Olympic sailor Jörg Bruder. The 12 survivors include 11 crew members, among them the captain; he will die in the disappearance of a Varig cargo plane in 1979. [1]

  • July 15 — A Thailand-based LTV A-7D “Corsair II” of the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing flies the last U.S. Air Force combat sortie of the war in Southeast Asia. Since February 2, 1962, the U.S. Air Force has flown 5.25 million sorties over Cambodia, Laos, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam, losing 2,251 aircraft - 1,737 to enemy action and 514 to other causes. [1]

  • July 22 — The Pan American World Airways Boeing 707-321B “Clipper Winged Racer”, operating as Flight 816, crashes into the Pacific Ocean 30 seconds after takeoff from Faa'a International Airport in Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia, killing 78 of the 79 people on board. [1]

  • July 23 — A member of the Japanese Red Army and four members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijack Japan Air Lines Flight 404, a Boeing 747-246B with 140 other people on board, shortly after it takes off from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands for a flight to Anchorage, Alaska, en route a final destination of Tokyo International Airport, Tokyo, Japan. One of the PFLP members is killed when her hand grenade explodes during the hijacking, also injuring the airliner's chief purser. The surviving hijackers force the plane to fly to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates; after a long stay there, they force it to fly to Damascus, Syria, and Benghazi, Libya, where they release the passengers and crew 89 hours after the hijacking began and blow up the airliner. [1]

  • July 23 — Ozark Air Lines Flight 809, a Fairchild Hiller FH-227, encounters windshear in a thunderstorm and crashes at Normandy, Missouri, while on approach to land at St. Louis International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, killing 38 of the 44 people on board. [1]

  • July 31 — Delta Air Lines Flight 723, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31, strikes a seawall with its landing gear and crashes while landing in fog and low clouds at Logan International Airport in Boston. The crash kills 87 of the 89 people on board immediately; the two survivors later die of their injuries. [1]

August 1973

  • August — During the month, Syrian surface-to-air missile forces reorganize and redeploy to areas south of Damascus. [1]

  • August 13 — Aviaco Flight 118, a Sud Aviation SE.210 “Caravelle”, crashes into an abandoned farmhouse in Montrove, Spain, while attempting to land at Alvedro Airport, now A Coruña Airport, in A Coruña, Spain, killing all 85 people on board and one person on the ground. [1]

  • August 15 — The U.S. Air Force flies its final mission over Cambodia. [1]

  • August 15 — In the Gulf of Tonkin off North Vietnam, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CVA-64) departs Yankee Station for the last time. She is the last aircraft carrier to operate at the station, where American aircraft carriers had deployed since 1964. [1]

September 1973

  • September 11 — Israeli aerial photography reveals that Syria is building up military forces in forward areas near the Israeli-Syrian border. [1]

  • September 11 — A JAT Yugoslav Airlines Sud Aviation SE-210 “Caravelle” 6-N crashes on Maganik mountain near Titograd, Yugoslavia, killing all 41 people on board. [1]

  • September 11 — An AVE “Mizar” flying car prototype breaks up in flight over Oxnard, California killing the company founder and the pilot. [1]

  • September 13 — A patrol of Syrian Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 “Fishbed” fighters attacks a flight of Israeli Air Force Dassault “Mirage” and McDonnell Douglas F-4 “Phantom II” aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Syria. One Dassault “Mirage” and 13 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 “Fishbeds” are shot down. [1]

  • September 20 — Singer-songwriter Jim Croce and four others are killed in the crash of a commercial Beechcraft E18S on takeoff from Natchitoches Regional Airport in Natchitoches, Louisiana. [1]

  • September 27 — Texas International Airlines Flight 655, a Convair 600, crashes into Black Fork Mountain in Arkansas, killing all 11 people on board. The wreckage is found on September 30. [1]

October 1973

  • October 3 — Israeli Air Force photography detects the Syrian deployment of armored division artillery near the Israeli-Syrian border. [1]

  • October 4 — Israeli Air Force photography reveals that Egypt has massed tanks, artillery, and equipment for crossing the Suez Canal behind its infantry divisions along the canal. [1]

  • October 6 — Egypt and Syria launch air strikes on Israel at 1405 local time, starting the Yom Kippur War, with the Syrian Air Force flying 42 strike sorties during the day and the Egyptian Air Force flying 130. The Israeli Air Force flies 197 sorties over the Sinai Peninsula, losing five aircraft before dark in combat with the Egyptians. [1]

  • October 6 — A Syrian airmobile operation assists in the capture of Mount Hermon from Israeli forces. [1]

  • October 6 — Egyptian helicopters carry commandos to the vicinities of Ras Sudar and Tel Farma and to points east of Tasa and north of Abu Rudeis in the Sinai Peninsula. [1]

  • October 7 — Shortly after beginning a planned daylong series of attacks on Egyptian air defenses along the Suez Canal, the Israeli Air Force cancels them and reverses its operations to blunt a threatening Syrian ground offensive that has almost reached the Jordan River. Although it suffers heavy losses to Syrian 2K12 “Kub” (NATO reporting name “SA-6 Gainful”) and Strela 2 (NATO reporting name “SA-7 Grail”) surface-to-air missiles, it halts the Syrian offensive and over the next two days assists Israeli ground forces in pushing the Syrians Back. [1]

  • October 7 — Twenty-four hours after the Yom Kippur War began, the Israeli Air Force has lost 30 aircraft in combat with the Egyptians. [1]

  • October 9 — The Israeli Air Force bombs Damascus, Syria, allegedly in retaliation for Syrian 9K52 “Luna-M” (NATO reporting name “FROG-7”) artillery rocket attacks on Israeli civilian targets. [1]

  • October 10 — The Soviet Union begins an airlift in support of Arab forces fighting in the Yom Kippur War with 21 Antonov An-12 “Cub” flights into Damascus, Syria. The Soviet airlift maintains a rate of about 30 sorties a day through October 12, after which it escalates to 100 per day. Before it ends, it will deliver 16,000 short tons (14,515 metric tons) of supplies and equipment in 935 sorties, with An-12 “Cubs ” making deliveries to Syria and Antonov An-22 “Cocks” flying to Egypt. [1]

  • October 10 — Aircraft of the Israeli airline El Al, their markings painted over to prevent recognition, begin an airlift of supplies and equipment from the United States to Israel, with the first flight departing Norfolk, Virginia. El Al will deliver a total of 5,500 short tons (4,990 metric tons) in 250 flights. [1]

  • October 13 — The United States begins to transfer aircraft to the Israeli Air Force. The total of aircraft transferred will reach 36 McDonnell Douglas F-4 “Phantom IIs”, 20 McDonnell Douglas A-4 “Skyhawks”, and 12 Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” during the Yom Kippur War. [1]

  • October 14 — A massive U.S. Air Force airlift to Israel begins, including the delivery of tanks by Lockheed C-5A “Galaxy” transports. Making 14,000-mile (22,544-km) round trips, they will deliver 22,400 short tons (20,321 metric tons) of supplies and equipment in 564 sorties. [1]

  • October 24 (October 25 in the Middle East) — In response to a Soviet threat to intervene militarily against Israel in the Yom Kippur War, President Richard Nixon puts the United States Armed Forces on alert at Defense Readiness Condition (DEFCON) 3, which includes a minimal redeployment of Boeing B-52 “Stratofortresses” and other bombers as a preliminary preparation in case of a strategic nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. [1]

  • October 25 — A cease fire ends the Yom Kippur War. Israel has lost 103 fighters and six helicopters during the 18 days of fighting. [1]

November 1973

  • November 3 — The number three engine of National Airlines Flight 27, a Douglas DC-10-10, explodes while the aircraft is over New Mexico. Fragments penetrate the fuselage, causing one passenger to be sucked from the plane; his body is found two years later. The aircraft lands safely. [1]

  • November 23 — An improvised explosive device detonates aboard Argo 16, an Italian Air Force Douglas C-47 “Dakota” used by the Italian Secret Service and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for electronic surveillance over the Adriatic Sea and to interfere with Yugoslavia's radar network, causing the aircraft to crash at Marghera, Italy, killing all four people on board. [1]

  • November 25 — Three young members of the Arab Nationalist Youth Organization hijack the KLM Boeing 747-206B “Mississippi”, operating as Flight 861 with 264 people on board, over Iraq. The plane first flies to Malta, where the hijackers release eight female flight attendants and most of the passengers, then proceeds with 11 passengers on board to Dubai, where the hijacking ends without further incident. [1]

  • November 27 — Delta Air Lines Flight 516, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, crashes short of the runway at Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport in Chattanooga, Tennessee, injuring 26 of the 79 people on board. [1]

December 1973

  • December 17 — Between six and 10 Palestinian terrorists attack the terminal building at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy, with automatic firearms and grenades, killing two people. They then throw grenades through the open doors of the Pan American World Airways Boeing 707-321B “Clipper Celestial”, operating as Flight 110 with 177 people on board, just as it is preparing to taxi for departure; 30 people aboard the plane die and 20 are injured. Five other gunmen storm a Lufthansa Boeing 737, bringing aboard 10 hostages and taking the crew of four on board hostage as well. On December 18, after 16 hours on the ground, during which time they murder one and injure another hostage, they dump the injured hostage and the body of the murdered one off the 737 and order it to fly to Athens, Greece; the plane then spends another 16 hours on the ground in Athens before proceeding to a landing at Damascus, Syria. Finally, the 737 flies to Kuwait, where the five hijackers release the 12 remaining hostages and are given free passage off the plane. [1]

1973 First Flights

  • mid-1973 — AVE “Mizar”. [1]

  • January 4 — Gates “Learjet 26” (N26GL). [1]

  • October 7 — Cameron D96 Hot-Air Airship (G-BAMK). [1]

  • February 7 — McDonnell Douglas C-9B “Skytrain II”. [1]

  • April 10 — Boeing T-43 (AF 71-1403). [1]

  • April 17 — PZL-106 “Kruk”. [1]

  • >May 11 — Dassault “Falcon 30” (F-WAMD). [1]

  • May 30 — WSK-Mielec M-15 “Belphegor”. [1]

  • June — IAI “Kfir”. [1]

  • July 26 — Sikorsky XH-59A (AF 71-1472). [1]

  • August 1 — Martin Marietta X-24B. [1]

  • August 5 — Trident “Trigull” (CF-TRI-X). [1]

  • August 21 — Aerosport “Scamp”. [1]

  • August 22 — Learjet 35. [1]

  • September — Air Tractor AT-301. [1]

  • September 21 — Beechcraft YT-34C, prototype of the T-34C “Turbo-Mentor”. [1]

  • September 25 — MBB Bö 106 (D-HDCI). [1]

  • October 8 — RFB “Fanliner” (D-EJFL). [1]

  • October 26 — Dassault-Breguet/Dornier “Alpha Jet”. [1]

  • November 23 — AIDC T-CH-1. [1]

  • December 23 — Aero Boero 260AG. [1]

1973 Aircraft Entering Service

  • April 16 — Embraer EMB 110 “Bandeirante” with Transbrasil. [1]

Works Cited

  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 1973 in Aviation

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