1977 Master Index 1977

1976 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

January 1976

  • January 1 — Bell Helicopter becomes Bell Helicopter Textron. [1]

  • January 1 — A bomb explodes in the forward cargo compartment of Middle East Airlines Flight 438, a Boeing 720-023B, at an altitude of 11,300 meters (37,100 feet) over Saudi Arabia. The airliner breaks up and crashes northwest of Al Qaysumah, killing all 81 people on board. Responsibility for the bombing has never been established. [1]

  • January 21 — The world's first supersonic air passenger service begins, when the “Concorde” begins commercial passenger flights for both Air France and British Airways.

March 1976

  • March 17 — A Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 makes the first non-stop flight from Tokyo to New York, taking 11.5 hours for the 10,139 km (6,300 mi) journey. [1]

April 1976

  • April 5 — Howard Hughes dies aboard a Learjet, aged 70. [1]

  • April 27 — American Airlines Flight 625, a Boeing 727, crashes on approach to St. Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands, killing 37 of the 88 people on board. [1]

May 1976

  • May 3 — A Pan American World Airways Boeing 747SP makes a record around-the-world flight, taking 1 day 22 hours. [1]

  • May 24 — Three hijackers and seven hostages die as Filipino troops storm a hijacked Philippine Airlines Douglas DC-9. [1]

  • May 24 — Air France and British Airways simultaneously initiate transatlantic “Concorde” service with flights to Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia. [1]

June 1976

  • June 1 — Aeroflot Flight 418, a Tupolev Tu-154M, crashes into a mountain near Bioko, Equatorial Guinea, killing all 46 people on board. [1]

  • June 6 — A Sabah Air GAF “Nomad” crashes at Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, while on approach to Kota Kinabalu International Airport, killing all 11 people on board. Among the dead are eight Sabah officials, including Chief Minister Tun Fuad Stephens. [1]

  • June 27 — Two Palestinians of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - External Operations (PFLP-EO) and two West Germans - Wilfried Böse and Brigitte Kuhlmann - from the Revolutionary Cells group hijack Air France Flight 139, an Airbus A300B4-203 with 256 other people on board on a flight from Athens, Greece, to Paris, France, and force it to fly to Benghazi, Libya, where they release one passenger. On June 28, they force the plane to fly on to Entebbe International Airport near Entebbe in Uganda, where at least four more hijackers join them. Demanding the release of various prisoners in Israel, Kenya, France, Switzerland, and West Germany, they release 149 more hostages over the next week, but continue to hold 106 hostages in the transit hall at the airport. [1]

July 1976

  • July 1 — Clive Canning arrives in the United Kingdom, having flown from Australia in a Thorp T-18 homebuilt aircraft. [1]

  • July 1 — The National Air and Space Museum opens in Washington, D.C. [1]

  • July 4 — In “Operation Entebbe”, three Israeli Air Force Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” aircraft carrying about 100 Israeli commandos land at Entebbe International Airport at Entebbe, Uganda, to rescue the 106 passengers of Air France Flight 139 still being held hostage in a transit hall there by Palestinian and West German hijackers. The Israelis kill seven hijackers and between 33 and 45 Ugandan soldiers, destroy 11 Ugandan Air Force Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 “Fresco” fighters on the ground, and rescue 102 of the hostages; one Israeli commando is killed, three hostages die during an Israeli exchange of gunfire with the hijackers, and in retaliation for the raid Ugandan government forces murder the final hostage, who is being held at a hospital. [1]

  • July 28 — CSA Flight 001, an Ilyushin Il-18B, crashes into Zlaté Piesky lake after its crew inadvertently engages thrust reversal while attempting to land at M. R. Štefánik Airport in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, killing 76 of the 79 people on board and injuring all three survivors. [1]

October 1976

  • August 1-October 1 — After his 1973 round-the-world attempt was aborted by bad weather between Hokkaido and the Aleutian Islands, Don Taylor of California successfully circumnavigates the world eastbound in his Thorp T-18, beginning and ending at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in the United States. He becomes the first aviator to fly around the world with a homebuilt aircraft. [1]

  • August 15 — SAETA Flight 232, a Vickers “Viscount” 785D, crashes into Ecuador's highest mountain, the stratovolcano Chimborazo, at an altitude of 5,400 meters (17,700 feet), killing all 59 people on board. Its wreckage and the bodies of its crew and passengers will not be discovered until October 17, 2002. [1]

September 1976

  • September — IRI-Finmeccanica buys out Fiat to become sole owner of Aeritalia. [1]

  • September 6 — Viktor Belenko of the Soviet Union defects to the West, landing his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 “Foxbat” in Japan. [1]

  • September 10 — In the worst mid-air disaster up to this time, all 176 people aboard the two aircraft die when a British Airways Hawker Siddeley “Trident” and an Inex Adria Douglas DC-9 collide over Zagreb, Yugoslavia. [1]

  • September 10 — Five members of the Croatian National Resistance hijack Trans World Airways Flight 355, a Boeing 727 with 36 other passengers on board flying from LaGuardia Airport in New York City to O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, and divert it to land at Mirabel International Airport in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. They then force it to fly to Gander, Newfoundland (now Newfoundland and Labrador), where they release 35 of the passengers. From there, they order the plane flown to Reykjavík, Iceland, and finally to Paris, France, where they release their remaining hostages and surrender. [1]

  • September 14 — A U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A “Tomcat” rolls off the deck of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) and sinks in international waters. A major salvage operation is launched to retrieve the fighter lest it fall into Soviet hands. [1]

  • September 18 — The legendary test pilot Albert Boyd dies. [1]

  • September 19 — During a night approach to a landing at Antalya Airport in Antalya, Turkey, with the captain out of the cockpit, the first officer of Turkish Airlines Boeing 727-2F2 Antalya, operating as Flight 452, mistakes a long straight highway filled with truck traffic north of Isparta for the runway at Antalya, which is 97 km (60 mi) away to the south-southeast. The captain reenters the cockpit and attempts an emergency climb from an altitude of 150 m (490 ft), but the plane crashes into a hill, killing all 154 people on board. It remains the deadliest aviation accident on Turkish soil. [1]

October 1976

  • October 6 — Two time bombs planted by members of the Cuban anti-Castro Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations group explode aboard Cubana Flight 455, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8, at 18,000 feet (5,486 m) shortly after takeoff from Seawell Airport at Bridgetown, Barbados. The plane crashes into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 78 people on board. It is the deadliest terrorist attack on an airliner in the history of the Western Hemisphere at the time. [1]

  • October 17 — U.S. Air Force Colonel Ralph S. Parr retires from military service as one of the most decorated Air Force officers in history. Seeing action in World War II, the Korean War (during which he scores ten kills), and the Vietnam War, he has received over 60 decorations, including a Silver Star, a Bronze Star Medal, the Air Force Cross, 10 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and 41 Air Medals. [1]

December 1976

  • December 19 — A Piper “Cherokee” buzzes Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, minutes after the conclusion of a National Football League playoff game between the Baltimore Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers and crashes into the stadium's upper deck. There are no serious injuries, and the pilot is arrested for violating air safety regulations. [1]

  • December 25 — EgyptAir Flight 864, a Boeing 707-366C, crashes in an industrial complex in Bangkok, Thailand, while on approach to land at Bangkok's Don Mueang International Airport, killing all 52 people on board and 19 people on the ground. [1]

1976 Aircraft First Flights

  • February 4 — Rolladen-Schneider LS3. [1]

  • May 19 — Utva 75. [1]

  • June 16 — Practavia “Sprite”. [1]

  • July 30 — HAL “Kiran Mk.II” (U738). [1]

  • August 9 — Boeing YC-14 (AF 72-1873). [1]

  • August 12 — Aermacchi MB-339 (I-NOVE). [1]

  • August 13 — Bell 222 (N9988K). [1]

  • August 27 — PZL-Mielec M-18 “Dromader”. [1]

  • October 10 — Embraer EMB 121 “Xingu” (PP-ZXI). [1]

  • October 12 — Sikorsky S-72 (NASA 545). [1]

  • November 7 — Dassault “Falcon 50” (F-WAMD). [1]

  • December 1 — Ahrens AR 404 (N404AR). [1]

  • December 8 — Production single-seat General Dynamics F-16A “Fighting Falcon”. [1]

  • December 16 — Boeing 747SCA (Shuttle Carrier Aircraft) (NASA905). [1]

  • December 22 — Ilyushin Il-86 (SSSR-86000). [1]

1976 Aircraft Entering Service

  • 1976 — Bell OH-58B with the Austrian Air Force. [1]

  • January 21 — “Concorde”, with British Airways and Air France. [1]

  • June — Beechcraft “Baron” Model 58TC. [1]

  • August 24 — Shorts 330 with Time Air. [1]

  • November — Hawker Siddeley “Hawk T1” with RAF. [1]

Works Cited

  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 1976 in Aviation

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