1987 Master Index 1989

1988 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

January 1988

  • January 1 —The United States Government begins to track the on-time-arrival and baggage-handling performance of U.S. airlines. [1]

  • January 26 —The French Ministry of Defense approves full-scale development of the Dassault “Rafale”. [1]

  • January 30 —A Boeing 747 sets a new around-the-world record of 36 hours 54 minutes. [1]

February 1988

  • February —In retaliation for a bomb attack on a bank in South-West Africa, South African Air Force Dassault “Mirage” aircraft attack the headquarters of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO). [1]

March 1988

  • March —Spanair commences operations. [1]

  • March 8 —Aeroflot airliner Tupolev Tu-154B “Careless” is hijacked while operating Flight 3739, nine people die. [1]

  • March 17 —Avianca Flight 410, a Boeing 727-21, crashes near Cúcuta, Colombia, killing all 143 people on board. [1]

April 1988

  • April 8 —Pacific Southwest Airlines shut down operations and was integrated to USAir (now US Airways). [1]

  • April 23 —Kanellos Kanellopoulos recreates the mythical flight of Daedalus by flying a pedal-powered aircraft, the MIT “Daedalus” from Crete to Santorini, covering the 119 km (74 mi) in 3 hours 54 minutes. [1]

  • April 18 —The U.S. Navy conducts “Operation Praying Mantis” against Iranian forces and facilities in the Persian Gulf. Grumman A-6E “Intruders” from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) sink a speedboat, assist surface ships in sinking the frigate Sahand, and cripple the frigate Sabalan. Two Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-4 “Phantom II” fighters approach the guided-missile cruiser USS Wainwright (CG-28), which damages one of them with a surface-to-air missile. [1]

  • April 28 —Aloha Airlines Flight 243 suffers an explosive decompression in flight over the Hawaiian Islands, with the roof blowing off the Boeing 737-200 from the cockpit to just in front of the wings. All 90 passengers and four of the five crew survive. [1]

May 1988

  • May 6 —Widerøe Flight 710, a de Havilland Canada “Dash 7”, descends too quickly on approach in heavy fog to Brønnøysund Airport at Brønnøy, Norway, and crashes into the mountain Torghatten, killing all 36 people on board. It remains the deadliest accident involving a “Dash 7”. [1]

  • May 10 —Airbus A300s are delivered to American Airlines and enter service with the airline. [1]

  • May 23 —“Shamu One”, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-300 painted like and named after a SeaWorld killer whale, begins flying for the airline. [1]

  • May 24 —British Airways takes over British Caledonian. [1]

  • May 24 —Descending to land at Moisant Field in New Orleans, Louisiana, TACA Flight 110, a Boeing 737-3T0, encounters heavy rain, hail, and turbulence which cause both of its engines to lose power. The pilots make a dead-stick landing on a wide grass levee at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Michoud Assembly Facility in the Michoud area of eastern New Orleans. There are no fatalities, and only seven of the 45 people on board suffer injuries, all minor. [1]

  • May 30 —The first aircraft carrier to be built in Spain, Principe de Asturias, is commissioned into the Spanish Navy. [1]

June 1988

  • June 26 —The first crash of an Airbus A320 occurs when Air France Flight 296, an Airbus A320-111 carrying 130 passengers and a crew of six, makes a low-altitude, low-speed flyby with landing gear down as part of an air show at Mulhouse-Habsheim Airport in France, strikes trees beyond the runway, and crashes. Three passengers die and 50 people on board are injured. [1]

July 1988

  • July 3 —In the Persian Gulf, the United States Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Vincennes (CG-49) shoots down Iran Air Flight 655, an Airbus A300B2-203 airliner flying from Bandar Abbas International Airport in Bandar Abbas, Iran, to Dubai International Airport in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, killing all 290 people on board. The United States Government maintains that the cruiser's crew believed the airliner was a threatening Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force Grumman F-14 “Tomcat”; the Government of Iran argues that the ship's crew shot the airliner down deliberately and unlawfully. [1]

  • July 8-13 —11-year old Chris Marshall flies a Mooney M20 from San Diego, California, in the United States to Paris, France. [1]

  • July 13 —A British International Helicopters Sikorsky S-61N helicopter ditches in the North Sea northeast of Sumburgh Airport, Shetland, Scotland, without injury to any of the 21 people on board. [1]

August 1988

  • August 17 —President of Pakistan Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq dies in the crash of a Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” transport near Bahawalpur, Pakistan. [1]

  • August 28 —The Ramstein airshow disaster takes place during a performance by the Italian Air Force “Frecce Tricolori” aerobatic demonstration team at Ramstein Air Base in West Germany when three Aermacchi MB-339 PAN aircraft collide, killing all three pilots and 67 spectators on the ground and injuring 346 people. It is the worst air show accident in history. [1]

  • August 31 —Delta Air Lines Flight 1141, a Boeing 727, crashes on takeoff from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Euless, Texas, killing 14 and injuring 76 of the 108 people on board. [1]

September 1988

  • September 10 —Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force aircraft bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Tuwaitha. [1]

  • September 15 —Ethiopian Airlines Flight 604, a Boeing 737-260, strikes a flock of speckled pigeons during takeoff from Bahir Dar Airport at Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Both of its engines ingest birds and lose thrust as the aircraft returns to the airport, and the plane catches fire during a belly landing. Thirty-five of the 104 people on board die. [1]

October 1988

  • October 12 —A Bar Harbor Airlines ATR-42 looses the required separation between it and “Air Force One” while both were descending to land at Newark. The minimum distance between the two aircraft was 500 feet vertically and 1.58 miles horizontally. [1]

  • October 19 —Indian Airlines Flight 113, a Boeing 737-2A8, strikes trees and a high-tension pylon while on approach in fog to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, and crashes, killing 130 of the 135 people on board and leaving all five survivors injured. [1]

November 1988

  • November 2 —LOT Flight 703, an Antonov An-24W “Coke”, crash-lands at Bialobrzegi, Poland, when its engines shut down due to atmospheric icing while the aircraft is on approach to Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport. One person is killed in the crash, but the other 28 people on board evacuate quickly, escaping before the plane bursts into flame; among the survivors is Polish radio presenter Tomasz Beksinski. As a result of the crash, LOT Polish Airlines replaces all of its Antonov An-24 “Cokes” with ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft. [1]

  • November 10 —The United States Air Force publicly unveils the Lockheed F-117A “Nighthawk” stealth fighter. It had been operational secretly since 1983. [1]

December 1988

  • December 8 —A United States Air Force Fairchild A-10 “Thunderbolt II” on a low-level flying exercise crashes into the upper floor of an apartment complex in a residential area of Remscheid, West Germany, killing the pilot and five people on the ground and injuring 50 others. [1]

  • December 16 —A Learjet 24B flying from Memphis International Airport in Memphis, Tennessee, to Addison, Texas, overshoots its destination. After air traffic controllers fail to contact its two-person crew - one of them National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut candidate Susan Reynolds - a U.S. Air Force Northrop T-38 “Talon” intercepts it and finds it flying with frost apparently inside its cockpit windows, but also cannot communicate with its crew. The Learjet flies into Mexico and crashes near Cuatro Ciénegas in Coahuila, Mexico, after it runs out of fuel, killing both crew members. [1]

  • December 21 —Pan American World Airways Flight 103, a Boeing 747 flying from London to New York City, and carrying many American passengers home for Christmas, explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 on board and eleven on the ground. Libyan terrorists are blamed for the tragedy. [1]

  • December 31 —In a pilot error incident at Odessa Airport an Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-134A “Crusty” achieved the highest landing speed among all aircraft, at 415 kilometers per hour (258 mph). [1]

1988 Aircraft First Flights

  • February 19 —Boeing 737-400. [1]

  • April 21 —Boeing 747-400. [1]

  • June 14 —Schweizer 330 (N330TT). [1]

  • June 28 —Sukhoi Su-35 “Flanker-E ”. [1]

  • July 12 —Scaled Composites/Beechcraft Model 143 “Triumph” (N143SC), also first flight of the Williams International FJ44 turbofan engine. [1]

  • July 14 —Socata TBM700 (F-WTBM). [1]

  • August 15 —SZD-55 Sailplane. [1]

  • August 25 —FFV Aerotech BA-14 “Starling” (SE-KFV). [1]

  • August 28 —Hoffmann H-40 (D-EIOF). [1]

  • October 15 —MBB Bo.108 (D-HBOX). [1]

  • October 27 —ATR-72 (F-WWEY). [1]

  • December 9 —JAS 39 “Gripen”. [1]

  • December 12 —CMC “Leopard” (G-BKRL). [1]

  • December 21 —Antonov An-225 “Mriya”. [1]

  • December 28 —Let L-610 (OK-130). [1]

1988 Aircraft Entering Service

  • April 29 —Airbus A320 with British Airways. [1]

Works Cited

  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 1988 in Aviation

Copyright © 1998-2018 (Our 20th Year) Skytamer Images, Whittier, California