1976 Master Index 1978

1977 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

January 1977

  • January 5 — Colin Richard Foreman, a disgruntled former employee of Connellan Airways (Connair), steals a Beechcraft “Baron 58” and crashes it into a building in the Connair complex at Alice Springs Airport at Alice Springs, Australia, killing himself and four people on the ground and injuring four others. [1]

  • January 15 — Linjeflyg Flight 618, a Vickers “Viscount 838”. crashes in Kälvesta, Sweden just outside Stockholm killing all 22 on board. [1]

  • January 18 — Prime Minister of Yugoslavia Džemal Bijedic and six others are killed in the crash of a Learjet 25 near Kreševo, Yugoslavia. [1]

February 1977

  • February — Beechcraft produces its 10,000th “Bonanza”, a “Bonanza Model 35”. The "Bonanza” is entering its 31st year of production. [1]

  • February 18 — A Space Shuttle is airborne for the first time when the Space Shuttle “Enterprise” is taken up for a flight atop a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. “Enterprise” does not detach from the carrier aircraft during the flight. [1]

March 1977

  • March 27 — Attempting to take off in fog from Los Rodeos Airport, (now Tenerife North Airport), at Tenerife in the Canary Islands, the KLM Boeing 747-206B “Rijn”, operating as Flight 4805, collides with the Pan American World Airways Boeing 747-121 “Clipper Victor”, operating as Flight 1736, which is taxiing across the runway. All 248 people aboard the KLM aircraft die, as do 335 of the 396 people aboard the Pan Am plane; all 61 Pan Am survivors are injured. With a combined total of 583 people killed, the crash remains the worst air disaster in history. [1]

April 1977

  • April — Comair, owned by Delta Air Lines, starts operations. [1]

  • April 4 — Southern Airways Flight 242, a Douglas DC-9-31, enters a severe thunderstorm which breaks the plane's windshield; the aircraft's engines ingest so much water and hail that they both flameout. The plane glides to a crash landing on a rural highway, killing 62 out of 85 people aboard - including rhythm and blues singer Annette Snell - and eight people on the ground; all 22 survivors are injured. [1]

  • April 27 — An Aviateca Convair 240 crashes near Guatemala City, Guatemala, due to a maintenance error, killing all 28 people on board. [1]

  • April 29 — The British government nationalizes the British Aircraft Corporation, Hawker Siddeley Aviation, Hawker Siddeley Dynamics, and Scottish Aviation and merges them to form British Aerospace. They retain their individual identities at first, but eventually become divisions of British Aerospace. [1]

May 1977

  • May 10 — An Israeli Air Force Sikorsky CH-53 “Sea Stallion” helicopter crashes in the Jordan Valley during a military exercise, killing all 54 people on board. [1]

  • May 27 — An Aeroflot Ilyushin Il-62M airliner strikes power lines in bad weather and crashes 1 km (0.62 mile) from José Martí International Airport at Havana, Cuba, while on final approach, killing 68 of the 70 people on board and one person on the ground. [1]

  • May 29 — The keel of the first aircraft carrier to be built in Spain, Principe de Asturias, is laid at Ferrol. [1]

  • May 31 — The Vietnam People's Air Force is separated from the Vietnamese Air Defense Force. [1]

June 1977

  • June — The Bell 212 becomes the first helicopter certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for single-pilot instrument flight rules operation with fixed floats. [1]

  • June 30 — President of the United States Jimmy Carter cancels the United States Air Force's Rockwell B-1A “Lancer” bomber program. [1]

July 1977

  • July 21 — The Libyan-Egyptian War begins. Egyptian Air Force planes shoot down two Libyan Air Force aircraft. [1]

  • July 22 — The Egyptian Air Force makes a full-scale attack on a major Libyan Air Force base at El Adem, reportedly killing three Soviet military advisers. [1]

  • July 23 — After threats of shutting down transatlantic air traffic, the U.S. and British governments reach the Bermuda II accord, giving British airlines additional ports of entry in the United States and removing American airlines' rights to carry passengers beyond London and Hong Kong. [1]

  • July 23-24 — Further Egyptian Air Force attacks destroy large numbers of Libyan aircraft before a cease fire ends the war. Egypt admits the loss of two planes during the last two days of the war. [1]

August 1977

  • August 1 — Francis Gary Powers - the American CIA Lockheed U-2 pilot shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960 and held captive there until 1962 - dies when the KNBC television news Bell 206 “Jet Ranger” helicopter he is piloting runs out of fuel and crashes in the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area in Los Angeles, California. [1]

  • August 12 — The Space Shuttle “Enterprise” makes its first flight, a test glide in the atmosphere after detaching from a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. [1]

  • August 23 — Piloted by racing cyclist Bryan Allen, the “Gossamer Condor” becomes the first human-powered aeroplane, flying a figure-eight course around two pylons 0.8 km (0.5 mile) apart at Shafter, California, to demonstrate sustained, controlled flight. The flight wins its designer, Dr. Paul McCready, the £50,000 Kremer Prize. [1]

  • August 31 — A Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 “Foxbat” sets the current world altitude record for air-breathing aircraft of 123,524 ft. (37,650 m). [1]

September 1977

  • September 9 — Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo, and Ed Yost depart Marshfield, Massachusetts, in the balloon “Double Eagle” in an attempt to make the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon. They fail when they are forced to abort the flight on September 13 off Iceland. [1]

  • September 26 — Laker Airways inaugurates its no-booking “Skytrain” service between London and New York. [1]

  • September 27 — On approach to land at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Malaysia, Japan Airlines Flight 715, a Douglas DC-8, crashes into a hill 6.5 km (4 mi) short of the airport near the Ladang Elmina estate. Thirty-four of the 79 people on board die, and all 45 survivors are injured. [1]

  • September 28 — Five Japanese Red Army (JRA) members hijack Japan Airlines Flight 472, a Douglas DC-8 with 151 other people on board, after takeoff from Bombay, India. The hijackers force the plane to land in Dhaka, Bangladesh, were they demand US$6 million and the release of nine imprisoned JRA members in Japan. On October 1, the Japanese government releases six of the prisoners and exchanges them for 118 of the hostages aboard the plane on October 2. On October 3, the plane flies to Kuwait City, Kuwait, and Damascus, Syria, where the hijackers release 11 more hostages. Ultimately, the plane flies to Algeria, where it is impounded and all the remaining hostages are released. [1]

October 1977

  • October 13 — Four members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine calling themselves the “Commando Martyr Halime” hijack the Lufthansa Boeing 737-230 “Adv Landshut”, operating as Flight 181 with 91 other people on board, over the Mediterranean Sea south of France. The aircraft lands first at Rome, Italy, for refueling, then at Larnaca, Cyprus, and then early on October 14 at Bahrain. On October 17 it flies to Aden, South Yemen, where the terrorist leader murders the aircraft's captain, and then on to Mogadishu, Somalia. There, in “Operation Feuerzauber” (“Fire Magic”), the West German counter-terrorism unit GSG 9 storms the plane on October 18 and frees the hostages, killing three of the hijackers and wounding and capturing the fourth. [1]

  • October 17 — The American ban of the “Concorde” is lifted when the Supreme Court of the United States declines to overturn a lower court's ruling rejecting the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's efforts to continue the ban. [1]

  • October 20 — A chartered Convair CV-240 carrying 26 people including members of the rock band “Lynyrd Skynyrd” runs out of fuel and crashes in a forest at Gillsburg, Mississippi. Among the six dead are three band members and a manager, and the rest of the band members are injured. [1]

  • October 26-31 — A Pan American World Airways Boeing 747SP circumnavigates the world over the two poles. [1]

  • October 31 — First British all-female airline flight crew made the inaugural British Air Ferries service from Southend to Düsseldorf with Handley Page “Dart Herald” (G-BDFE). The crew comprised Captain Caroline Frost, First Officer Lesley Hardy and stewardesses Liz Howard and Hildegard Donbavand. [1]

November 1977

  • November 19 — On its third attempt to land in heavy rain, strong winds, and poor visibility at Madeira Airport in Funchal in Portugal's Madeira Islands, TAP Portugal Flight 425, a Boeing 727-282 Adv, overruns the runway and crashes, killing 131 of the 164 people on board. [1]

December 1977

  • December 4 — After apparently being hijacked by an unknown party, Malaysia Airlines Flight 653, a Boeing 737-2H6, crashes at Tanjung Kupang, Johor, in Malaysia. All 100 people on board die, including the Malaysian Agricultural Minister, Dato' Ali Haji Ahmad; Malaysian Public Works Department Head Dato' Mahfuz Khalid; and Cuban Ambassador to Japan Mario García. It is Malaysia Airlines' first fatal incident, and still its deadliest. [1]

  • December 13 — A National Jet Services Douglas DC-3 charter plane crashes on takeoff from Evansville, Indiana, en route to Nashville International Airport (BNA), killing all 29 on board, including all but one player and all of the coaches of the University of Evansville men's basketball team. Not long afterwards, the lone player who was not on the flight dies in an automobile accident. [1]

  • December 17 — United Airlines Flight 2860, a Douglas DC-8-54AF “Jet Trader” cargo aircraft, crashes into a mountain in the Wasatch Range near Kaysville, Utah. The entire crew of three is killed. [1]

  • December 18 — SA de Transport Aérien Flight 730, a Sud Aviation SE-210 “Caravelle 10R”, crashes into the Atlantic Ocean while on approach to Madeira Airport at Funchal in Portugal's Madeira Islands, killing 36 of the 57 people on board. Many of the dead drown when they are trapped in the airliner's sinking wreckage. It is the second fatal air crash at Funchal in a month, the first having been TAP Portugal Flight 425, which had crashed on November 19. [1]

1977 Aircraft First Flights

  • January 6 — HAL HPT-32 (X2157). [1]

  • January 31 — Cessna “Citation II”. [1]

  • February — Bell 214ST. [1]

  • May 3 — Bell Model 301 (NASA702). [1]

  • May 20 — Sukhoi T-10 (prototype of Sukhoi Su-27). [1]

  • May 26 — NDN “Firecracker” (G-NDNI). [1]

  • June 27 — CASA C.101 “Aviojet”. [1]

  • July 25 — Aero Design DG-1 (N10E). [1]

  • August 12 — Space Shuttle “Enterprise” (glide test). [1]

  • August 15 — Embraer EMB-111. [1]

  • August 24 — Learjet 28. [1]

  • September 5 — Aérospatiale SA.331, prototype of the Aérospatiale SA.332 “Super Puma”. [1]

  • October 6 — Mikoyan MiG-29 “Fulcrum”. [1]

  • October 20 — General Avia F15F (I-PROL). [1]

  • October 27 — RFB “Fantrainer” (98+30). [1]

  • November 22 — Antonov An-72 (SSSR-19774). [1]

  • December 1 — Lockheed “Have Blue”. [1]

  • December 14 — Mil Mi-26. [1]

  • December 22 — Aérospatiale “Epsilon”. [1]

  • December 22 — Antonov An-72 (“Coaler”). [1]

1977 Aircraft Entering Service

  • September 26 — Mitsubishi F-1 with Japan Air Self-Defense Force. [1]

  • November — Beechcraft T-34C “Turbo-Mentor” with United States Navy Naval Air Training Command. [1]

  • November 1 — Tupolev Tu-144. [1]

Works Cited

  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 1977 in Aviation

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