1984 Master Index 1986

1985 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

1985 Events

  • 1985 —This is a list of aviation-related events from 1985. It remains the worst year in history for aviation disasters: among the crashes were Japan Airlines Flight 123, killing 520 people; Air India Flight 182, killing 329; Arrow Air Flight 1285, killing 256; Aeroflot Flight 7425, killing 200; Iberia Airlines Flight 610, killing 148; Delta Air Lines Flight 191, killing 137; Galaxy Airlines Flight 203, killing 70; and British Airtours Flight 28M, killing 55. A collision between Aeroflot Flight SSSR-65856 and a Soviet Air Forces transport plane kills 94, a hijacking of Egyptair Flight 648 results in 60 fatalities, and various crashes and other incidents kill fewer than 50 people each. August 1985 remains the worst single month for commercial aviation fatalities in history.

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  • 1985 —Ryanair founded initially as a full-service carrier. [1]

January 1985

  • January 1 —In the Iran-Iraq War, the Iraqi Air Force begins the year with a strength of 500 operational aircraft and 40,000 men including air defense troops, while the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force has 40,000 men but only 60 to 80 operational aircraft. [1]

  • January 1 —Flying at night in poor weather, Eastern Air Lines Flight 980, a Boeing 727, crashes into Bolivia's Mount Illimani at an altitude of 19,600 feet (6,000 meters), killing all 29 people on board. Its wreckage will not be discovered until 2006. [1]

  • January 18 —A Chinese Antonov An-24 turbo-prop airliner flying from Shanghai to Beijing via Nanjing crashes while making an emergency landing at Jinan, China, south of Beijing. Thirty-eight people of the 41 people on board die. [1]

  • January 21 —Galaxy Airlines Flight 203, a Lockheed L-188 “Electra”, crashes just after takeoff from Reno-Cannon International Airport in Reno, Nevada, killing 70 of the 71 people on board and damaging a store and seven recreational vehicles parked at a dealership. The lone survivor is a 17-year-old boy who is thrown from the aircraft and lands upright on a city street, still strapped into his seat. [1]

February 1985

  • February —Trans World Airlines is the first airline to operate a twin-engine jet on scheduled trans-Atlantic services, with the Boeing 767. [1]

  • February 19 —Iberia Flight 610, a Boeing 727-256 named “Alhambra de Granada”, strikes a television antenna on the summit of Mount Oiz in Biscay, Spain, and crashes, killing all 148 people on board. [1]

  • February 19 —China Airlines Flight 006, a Boeing 747 with 284 people on board, miraculously survives a 30,000-foot (9,146 m) plunge over the Pacific Ocean near San Francisco after an engine failure. Twenty-four people are injured, two of them seriously. [1]

  • February 24 —Returning to West Germany from Antarctica, where in December 1984 it had become one of the first two German planes ever to land at the South Pole, “Polar 3”, a Dornier Do.228 operated as a survey and research airplane by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, is shot down over Western Sahara south of Dakhla by Polisario Front guerrillas, killing its entire three-man crew. [1]

March 1985

  • March —In the Iran-Iraq War, Iraqi Air Force aircraft carry out 158 sorties in strikes against Iranian cities over a three-day period. [1]

  • March 10-11 —Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force aircraft conduct the first Iranian air raid against Baghdad in months. The Iraqi Air Force responds with a raid on Tehran. [1]

  • March 15 —American Eagle Airlines, a commuter subsidiary of American Airlines, begins service. [1]

  • March 11-18 —A fully committed Iraqi Air Force flies 150 to 200 sorties a day as Iraq turns Back an Iranian offensive out of the Hawizeh Marshes. [1]

  • March 19-23 —Iraqi strike aircraft and helicopters join artillery in employing mustard gas to halt an Iranian offensive in the Majnoon area. [1]

  • March 31 —Iraq claims to have hit about 30 ships in air attacks in the Persian Gulf since January 1, while Iran has hit seven over the same time period. Some estimates place the number of Iraqi attacks since March 1984 at 65 and Iranian attacks over the same period at 25. [1]

April 1985

  • April 22 —Pan American World Airways reaches a deal with United Airlines, which buys Pan Am's Pacific Ocean routes for US$750 million. [1]

  • April 24 —LOT Polish Airlines resumes flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. [1]

  • April 29 —In a ceremony at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the United States Navy accepts its first IAI “Kfir” fighters into service for use as Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 “Flogger” simulators in air-to-air combat training. The Israeli-built Kfir is one of only two foreign-designed aircraft to see service in significant numbers in the United States Armed Forces during the Cold War, the other being the British-designed McDonnell Douglas AV-8B “Harrier II”. Designated the F-21A in American service, the IAIF-21A “Kfirs” will be operated by Fighter Squadron 43 (VF-43), a U.S. Navy “adversary” squadron. [1]

May 1985

  • May 3 —Due to air traffic control errors, a Tupolev Tu-134 “Crusty”operating as Aeroflot Flight SSSR-65856 with 79 people on board and a Soviet Air Forces Antonov An-26 “Curl” with 15 people on board collide at 13,000 feet (3,962 m) near Zolochev in the Soviet Union's Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, killing all 94 people on board the two planes. Among the dead are the Estonian table-tennis player Alari Lindmäe, two Soviet Army generals, and Nikolai Dmitrijev, a Hero of Socialist Labor and one of the Soviet Union's most decorated civil airline pilots who had been the captain of the Tupolev Tu-134 “Crusty”. [1]

  • May 30 —The Iraqi Air Force makes its first successful strike against the Iranian oil terminal at Kharg Island since June 1984. It will not attack Kharg Island again until mid-August. [1]

June 1985

  • June 14 —Two Amal guerrilla gunmen hijack Trans World Airlines Flight 847, a Boeing 727-231 with 151 other people on board, during a flight from Rome, Italy, to Athens, Greece. They divert the plane to Beirut International Airport in Beirut, Lebanon, where they release 19 passengers in exchange for fuel. They then force the plane to fly to Algiers in Algeria, release 20 more passengers, then return to Beirut, where they beat and murder United States Navy diver Robert Stethem, remove seven American passengers with what they believe are “Jewish-sounding” names to be held hostage in Beirut, and are joined by nearly a dozen more gunmen. They then force the plane to fly to Algiers again on June 15, release 65 more passengers, and then order then plane to fly Back to Beirut on June 16. There they release Greek pop singer Demis Roussos in exchange for hijacking accomplice Ali Atwa on June 17, but remove 40 more people from the plane to be held hostage in Beirut. The remaining 39 passengers and crew remain on the plane until June 30, when Israel agrees to free 700 Shiite prisoners. Flight attendant Uli Derickson plays a key role in maintaining calm aboard the airliner and negotiating with the gunmen. [1]

  • Mid-June —The Iraqi Air Force carries out its fiftieth raid on Tehran since the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War in September 1980. [1]

  • June 21 —A drunken Stein Arvid Huseby hijacks Braathens SAFE Flight 139, a Boeing 737-205 with 121 people on board, during its flight from Trondheim Airport in Værnes, Norway, to Oslo Airport in Fornebu, Norway, demanding that he be allowed on arrival at Fornebu to make a political statement and meet with Norwegian Prime Minister Kåre Willoch and Minister of Justice Mona Røkke. After the aircraft runs out of beer at Fornebu, Huseby trades his weapon for more beer and Norwegian police storm the plane and arrest him. It is the first aircraft hijacking in Norwegian history. [1]

  • June 23 —A bomb explodes at Narita International Airport in Japan amongst luggage intended for Air India Flight 301 to Bangkok, Thailand, killing two baggage handlers and injuring four. Fifty-five minutes later, Air India Flight 182, a Boeing 747, explodes off the Irish coast, killing all 329 on board; a terrorist bomb is suspected, but never confirmed. [1]

July 1985

  • July 10 —Aeroflot Flight 7425, a Tupolev Tu-154B-2 “Careless”, crashes near Uchkuduk in the Soviet Union's Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic after stalling at 11,600 m (38,057 feet) and going into a flat spin. All 200 people on board die; it remains the deadliest air disaster in the history of the Soviet Union, Russia, and Uzbekistan, as well as the deadliest involving a Tupolev Tu-154 “Careless”. [1]

August 1985

  • August 1985 —Remains commercial aviation's deadliest month for passenger plus crew (to distinguish from non-passenger fatalities of September 2001 attacks) in history. [1]

  • August 2 —Delta Air Lines Flight 191, a Lockheed L-1011 “TriStar”, crashes within inches of the runway at Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, exploding and killing 137 people, including a motorist whose car had been struck by the plane just before it exploded. [1]

  • August 12 —Japan Airlines Flight 123, a Boeing 747 flying from Tokyo to Osaka, suffers a bulkhead explosion 12 minutes into its flight that renders it uncontrollable; it crashes 32 minutes later on Mount Takamagahara, killing 520 of 524 people on board. Among the dead are singer Kyu Sakamoto and the father of violinist Diana Yukawa. Rescuers are later shocked and saddened to find farewell notes that the passengers had written for their family and friends, next to the bodies. It remains the worst single-aircraft air disaster and second-worst air disaster in history. [1]

  • August 14 —The Iraqi Air Force begins a series of air raids on the Iranian oil terminal at Kharg Island, seriously damaging a main offshore loading point there. [1]

  • August 21 —Sir Freddie Laker accepts UK£8 million in a settlement with British Airways. Laker had sued twelve airlines for conspiring to drive Laker Airways out of business. [1]

  • August 22 —The flight crew of British Airtours Flight 28M, a Boeing 737-236, aborts their takeoff at Manchester International Airport in Manchester, England, and find an engine on fire after taxiing to a stop. The fire spreads to the cabin, killing 55 people, 48 of them killed by toxic smoke; the other 82 people on board escape. [1]

  • August 25 —A major Iraqi Air Force raid on Kharg Island apparently temporarily cuts the oil terminal's oil export capacity by about 30 percent. [1]

  • August 25 —Bar Harbor Airlines Flight 1808, a Beechcraft Model 99, crashes at Auburn, Maine, while on final approach to Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport, killing all eight people on board; among them is 13-year-old Samantha Smith, an American school girl who had become famous as a “Goodwill Ambassador” to the Soviet Union and who had been cast on the television show Lime Street. [1]

  • August 26 —Jordan Cahill and associates purchase Trans World Airlines. [1]

September 1985

  • September 1 —The Iraqi Air Force has made its fourth large raid against the Iranian oil terminal at Kharg Island since mid-August. The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force responds by increasing raids against commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf and threatening to attack ships visiting ports in the southern Persian Gulf; by early September, Iran and Iraq have carried out a combined 130 attacks on shipping since March 1985. [1]

  • September 6 —Midwest Express Airlines Flight 105, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-14, crashes just after takeoff from General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after a catastrophic failure of its right engine. All 31 people on board die. [1]

  • September 12 —The Iraqi Air Force launches its ninth major raid on the Iranian oil terminal at Kharg Island since mid-August. [1]

  • September 13 —Flying an McDonnell Douglas F-15A “Eagle” about 200 miles (322 km) west of Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, United States Air Force Major William D. Pearson Jr. becomes the first pilot to destroy a space object. Flying at 38,000 feet (11,583 meters), he launches an ASM-135 anti-satellite missile which ascends into space and destroys the P78-1 “Solwind” satellite at an altitude of 345 miles (556 km) over the Pacific Ocean. [1]

  • September 19 —A major Iraqi air raid on Kharg Island cuts its export production by as much as 50 percent. [1]

  • September 27 —Iraqi aircraft again damage loading terminals at Kharg Island. [1]

  • September 30 —The first Italian aircraft carrier, Giuseppe Garibaldi, is commissioned. [1]

October 1985

  • October 3 —An Iraqi Air Force raid on the Iranian oil terminal at Kharg Island damages loading terminal facilities there. [1]

  • October 10 —United States Navy Grumman F-14 “Tomcat” fighters of Fighter Squadrons 74 and 103 from the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-60) intercept an EgyptAir Boeing 737-200 flying from Egypt to Tunisia carrying members of the Palestinian Liberation Front who had hijacked the passenger ship MS Achille Lauro. They force it to land at Naval Air Station Sigonella on Sicily, where Italian authorities arrest the hijackers. [1]

November 1985

  • November —The delivery of French AS-30 air-to-ground missiles to Iraq is confirmed, although they may have been in use by the Iraqi Air Force by mid-August. [1]

  • Mid-November —The total of Iraqi Air Force strikes against the Iranian oil terminal at Kharg Island reaches 37. [1]

  • November 18 —General Dynamics purchases Cessna. [1]

  • November 18 —The first Space Shuttle “Enterprise”, is flown to Washington Dulles International Airport atop a Boeing 747 SCA (Shuttle Carrier Aircraft) and transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to the Smithsonian Institution for eventual museum display. Although lacking engines and a heat shield and never having flown in space, it has been used for shuttle portability, gliding, vibration, and launch pad tests and on publicity tours. [1]

  • November 23 —Omar Rezaq and two other members of the Abu Nidal Organization calling themselves the “Egypt Revolution” hijack EgyptAir Flight 648, a Boeing 737-200 - the same aircraft U.S. Navy fighters had intercepted in October - with 95 other people on board, during a flight from Athens, Greece, to Cairo, Egypt. An Egyptian security agent on board soon kills one of the hijackers before himself being wounded along with two flight attendants. The surviving hijackers force the plane to fly to Malta International Airport on Malta, where they kill two passengers and wound three others before Egyptian commandos storm the plane on November 24. The Egyptian raid kills 56 of the remaining 88 passengers as well as two crew members and one hijacker; Rezaq is arrested. In the end, only 38 passengers and crew survive the hijacking. [1]

  • November 25 —South African Special Forces use a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile to shoot down a Soviet Antonov An-12 “Cub ” carrying 21 people 43 km (27 miles) east of Menongue, Angola. All aboard the aircraft die. [1]

December 1985

  • December 12 —Arrow Air Flight 1285, a chartered McDonnell Douglas DC-8-63CF, crashes shortly after takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland (now Newfoundland and Labrador), while taking 248 soldiers of the United States Army's 101st Airborne Division from West Germany to the United States for Christmas, killing all 256 people on board. [1]

  • December 27 —Using assault rifles and hand grenades, four men attack the ticket counter El Al and Trans World Airlines share at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport outside Rome, Italy, and a few minutes later three others attack the El Al ticket counter at Vienna International Airport in Vienna, Austria, killing a combined total of 19 people and wounding about 140 at the two airports. Police kill three of the Rome attackers and one of the attackers in Vienna, and the rest are arrested in both cities. The Abu Nidal Organization claims credit for the attacks. [1]

  • December 31 —The Iraqi Air Force claims to have flown 20,011 sorties against Iran, to have made 77 destructive hits on the Iranian oil terminal at Kharg Island, and to have hit 124 “hostile maritime targets” in the Persian Gulf; Iraq will declare 1985 “The Year of the Pilot.” Some reports indicate that Iran has carried out a total of 60 air raids against Kharg Island, and the Iraqi Air Force has attacked more than 200 ships in the Persian Gulf since beginning such attacks in May 1981, with over 150 of those attacks occurring since March 1985. [1]

  • December 31 —American singer-songwriter and actor Ricky Nelson and six others die in the crash of a Douglas DC-3 near DeKalb, Texas. [1]

1985 Aircraft First Flights

  • February 3 —Atlas “Alpha XH-1”. [1]

  • February 12 —Valmet L-90 “Redigo” prototype (OH-VBB). [1]

  • March 11 —ARV “Super 2”. [1]

  • July 29 —Kawasaki T-4. [1]

  • August 30 —Bell D-292 (AF 85-24371). [1]

  • October 15 —Fairchild Republic T-46. [1]

  • December 11 —Changhe Z-8. [1]

1985 Aircraft Entering Service

  • December 3 —ATR-42 with Air Littoral. [1]

Works Cited

  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 1985 in Aviation

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