1986 Master Index 1988

1987 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

January 1987

  • January/February —During January and February, the United States Navy conducts proof-of-concept tests of “Pioneer” (later RQ-2 “Pioneer”) unmanned aerial vehicles aboard the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) in the Caribbean to see if they can spot effectively for naval gunfire. Although four of the five “Pioneers” are lost during the tests, they demonstrate their ability to detect targets for USS Iowa's 16-inch (406-mm) guns. [1]

  • January 1 —United States Coast Guard Aérospatiale/Eurocopter HH-65 “Dolphin” and United States Navy Sikorsky H-3 “Sea King” helicopters help rescue people trapped inside the Dupont Plaza hotel in Puerto Rico after a fire breaks out there late on December 31, 1986. [1]

  • January 3 —Varig Flight 797, a Boeing 707-379C, develops engine trouble after departing Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. It crashes while attempting to return to the airport, killing 50 of the 51 people on board. [1]

  • January 7 —French Air Force jets attack the Libyan Air Force base in Ouadi Doum to avenge a raid by Libya against the French military three days before. [1]

February 1987

  • February —British Airways is privatized. [1]

  • February 1 —Peoplexpress Airlines ceases operations. [1]

March 1987

  • March —Grumman delivers the last of 712 Grumman F-14 “Tomcat” fighters produced to the United States Navy. Production has included 557 Grumman F-14A “Tomcats”(of which 18 later were converted into Grumman F-14Ds), 38 Grumman F-14A+ (later redesignated Grumman F-14B), and 37 Grumman F-14D aircraft for the U.S. Navy and 80 Grumman F-14As for the Imperial Iranian Air Force, of which 79 were delivered to Iran and one retained by the United States after the 1979 Iranian Revolution. [1]

  • March 10 —The Pan American World Airways Boeing 747-121 “Clipper Ocean Pearl”, operating as Flight 125 with 245 people on board, experiences pressurization problems during climbout from London Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom, and returns to the airport. An investigation finds that latching problems had allowed the forward cargo door to come ajar. A similar door problem will lead to a fatal accident aboard United Airlines Flight 811 in February 1989. [1]

  • March 29 —The United States Navy disbands United States Naval Reserve Light Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron 206 (VFP-206), its last squadron equipped with specialized photographic reconnaissance aircraft and the last equipped with any version of the Vought F-8 “Crusader”. [1]

April 1987

  • April —After purchasing and merging with Canadian Pacific Airlines and Nordair, Pacific Western Airlines announces that the name of the new combined airline will be Canadian Airlines International. [1]

  • April 2 —A Royal Air Force Vickers VC-10 sets a new record time between the United Kingdom and Australia, landing in Perth, Australia, after a flight of 16 hours 1 minute. [1]

  • April 4 —Garuda Indonesia Flight 035, a Douglas DC-9-32, strikes a pylon and crashes on approach to Medan-Polonia Airport in Medan on Sumatra in Indonesia. A fire following the crash kills 23 of the 45 people on board; all 22 survivors are injured. [1]

  • April 10 —Johan Åhling of Sweden introduces the “Mosquito”, a foot-launched powered hang glider harness. [1]

May 1987

  • May 4 —American Eagle Flight 5452, a CASA C-212 “Aviocar ” operated by Executive Airlines, crashes on landing at Eugenio María de Hostos Airport in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, killing both pilots. The other four people on board, all passengers, survive with minor injuries. [1]

  • May 9 —The LOT Polish Airlines Ilyushin Il-62M “Classic/Tadeusz Kosciuszko”, operating as LOT Flight 5055 bound for New York City, catches fire due to an engine failure soon after take-off from Okecie Airport and crashes into the Kabaty Woods nature reserve on the outskirts of Warsaw, Poland, killing all 183 persons on board. [1]

  • May 17 —In the USS Stark incident, an Iraqi Air Force Dassault “Mirage F1” jet hits the United States Navy guided-missile frigate USS Stark (FFG-31) with two “Exocet” anti-ship cruise missiles, badly damaging her and killing 37 and wounding 21 of her crew. [1]

  • May 29 —To create an “imaginary bridge” between the Western world and the Communist Bloc and defuse tensions between the two, Mathias Rust, a 19-year-old West German pilot, makes an unauthorized flight from Helsinki-Malmi Airport in Helsinki, Finland, through supposedly impregnable Soviet air defenses and lands his rented Reims Cessna F172P adjacent to Red Square in Moscow in the Soviet Union. He is arrested. His flight results in the firing of many senior Soviet military personnel, including the Minister of Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union Sergei Sokolov, and the Commander-in-Chief of the National Air Defense Forces, Chief Marshal Alexander Koldunov. [1]

June 1987

  • June 4 —In “Operation Poomalai”, five Indian Air Force Antonov An-32 “Cline” transport aircraft airdrop supplies by parachute into the city of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, to aid Tamil Tiger rebels who have been besieged there by Sri Lankan government forces during the Sri Lankan Civil War. Five Dassault “Mirage 2000” fighters escort the Antonov An-32 “Clines”, but the Indian aircraft meet no opposition. [1]

  • June 21 —Air France pilot Partick Fourticq and friend Henri Pescarolo once again enter the record books, completing an around-the-world flight aboard a Lockheed Model 18 “Lodestar” in 88 hours 19 minutes. [1]

  • June 27 —Philippine Airlines Flight 206, a Hawker Siddeley HS.748, crashes into Mount Ugu near Itogon, Benguet, in the Philippines, killing all 50 people on board. It is the second-worst aviation accident in Philippine history at the time. [1]

July 1987

  • July 3 —Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand become the first people to complete a transatlantic flight in a hot-air balloon, aboard the balloon “Virgin Atlantic Flyer”. [1]

August 1987

  • August 16 —A McDonnell Douglas MD-82 of Northwest Airlines operating as Flight 255 crashes on takeoff from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, Michigan. The crash kills all but one of the 155 people on the aircraft, as well as two on the ground in a car were killed for a total of 156 fatalities; only a seriously injured four-year-old girl survives. Among the dead is National Basketball Association player Nick Vanos. It remains the deadliest aviation accident with a sole survivor in American history.[1,2]

  • August 30 —Israel's government cancels the IAI “Lavi” program. [1]

  • August 31 —Thai Airways Flight 365, a Boeing 737-2P5, crashes into the Andaman Sea while on approach to Ko Phuket in Phuket Province, Thailand, killing all 83 people on board. [1]

September 1987

  • September 15 —A Eurocopter “Panther” sets new time-to-altitude records for helicopters in its class. [1]

October 1987

  • October 20 —Attempting to make an emergency landing at Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis, Indiana, a United States Air Force LTV A-7D-4-CV “Corsair II” crashes into the nearby Airport Ramada Inn. The pilot survives, but nine people in the hotel die. [1]

  • October 23 —The last Lockheed F-104 “Starfighter” is phased out of German Air Force service. [1]

  • October 31 —British Airways accepts the airline's first women pilots. [1]

November 1987

  • November 14 —Air Transat began airline operations. [1]

  • November 15 —Continental Airlines Flight 1713, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-14 with 82 people on board, crashes while taking off from Stapleton International Airport in Denver, Colorado, during a snowstorm. Twenty-eight people lose their lives and all 54 survivors are injured, 28 of them seriously. [1]

  • November 28 —South African Airways Flight 295, the Boeing 747-244BM “Combi Helderberg”, suffers a catastrophic in-flight fire in the cargo area and crashes into the Indian Ocean east of Mauritius, killing all 159 people on board. [1]

  • November 29 —A bomb planted by North Korean agents explodes over the Andaman Sea aboard a South Korean Boeing 707-3B5C operating as Korean Air Flight 858, destroying the airliner and killing all 115 people on board. [1]

December 1987

  • December 7 —David Burke, an angry former employee of USAir, the parent company of Pacific Southwest Airlines, shoots both pilots of Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771, a BAe 146, while it is cruising at 22,000 feet (6,706 m) over the central California coast. No longer under control, the plane pitches forward and accelerates, crashing into the ground at a speed of around 700 mph (1,100 km/hr) near Cayucos, California, killing all 43 people on board. [1]

  • December 8 —A Peruvian Naval Aviation Fokker F27 “Friendship” chartered by the Peruvian association football club Alianza Lima crashes into the Pacific Ocean off the Ventanilla District of Callao, Peru, killing 43 of the 44 people on board. Among the dead are José Casanova, Luis Antonio Escobar, José González Ganoza, Alfredo Tomassini, Johnny Watson, and 11 other players; head coach Marcos Calderon and nine other coaches and team staff; eight cheerleaders; three referees; two Peruvian Navy passengers; and five crew members. The pilot is the only survivor. [1]

1987 Aircraft First Flights

  • February 13 —Fokker 50. [1]

  • February 22 —Airbus A320. [1]

  • March 9 —Yakovlev Yak-141. [1]

  • April 30 —Promavia “Jet Squalus”. [1]

  • June 10 —Boeing Vertol Model 360. [1]

  • June 24 —Grob/E-Systems/AlliedSignal “Egrett”. [1]

  • July 1 —Questair “Venture”. [1]

  • July 20 —PZL M-24 “Dromader Super”. [1]

  • July 28 —Wheeler “Express”. [1]

  • August 31 —Mitsubishi H-60. [1]

  • October 9 —EHI EH101. [1]

  • November 24 —Grumman F-14D “Tomcat”. [1]

  • December —AEA “Maverick”. [1]

  • December 29 —Scaled Composites AT³. [1]

1987 Aircraft Entering Service

  • April —Tu-160 “Blackjack” in Soviet Air Forces (184th Guards Heavy Bomber Regiment in Pryluki). [1]

Works Cited

  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 1987 in Aviation
  2. Recht, Gary. "Corrections and Additions to Website", email: 11/30/2017

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