1988 Master Index 1990

1989 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

January 1989

  • January 4 — Two United States Navy Grumman F-14 “Tomcats” of Fighter Squadron 32 (VF-32) aboard the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) shoot down two Libyan Air Force Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 “Floggers” off the coast of Libya using AIM-7 “Sparrow” and AIM-9 “Sidewinder” air-to-air missiles. They are the third and fourth of five kills scored by Grumman F-14 “Tomcats” during the Grumman F-14 “Tomcat's” career in U.S. Navy service. [1]

  • January 4 —French television journalists Alain Chaillou and Bruce Frankel are arrested for trying to plant fake bombs - each consisting of a package containing molding clay, an alarm clock, wires, and the message “Congratulations! You have found our phony bomb!” - aboard three airliners at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City bound for Paris, France, as a test of airport security, planning that their colleagues will film the arrival of the packages in Paris. The charges against Chaillou and Frankel ultimately will be dropped in 1994. [1]

  • January 8 —Attempting to make an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport in Castle Donington in North West Leicestershire, England, British Midland Flight 092, a Boeing 737-4Y0 crashes just short of the runway on the M1 motorway near Kegworth, killing 47 of the 126 people on board and injuring all 79 survivors. [1]

February 1989

  • February 8 —On approach to Santa Maria Airport in the Azores, Independent Air Flight 1851, a chartered Boeing 707-331B, crashes into Pico Alto on Santa Maria Island after a misunderstanding between its crew and air traffic control. All 144 people on board die. [1]

  • February 19 —Flying Tiger Line Flight 66, a Boeing 747-247F cargo aircraft, crashes near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, killing the entire crew of four. [1]

  • February 24 —A cargo door failure causes a piece of fuselage to detach from United Airlines Flight 811, a Boeing 747-122, over the Pacific Ocean near Honolulu, Hawaii. Nine people are sucked from the plane by explosive decompression to their deaths; at least some of the nine are killed instantly when they are sucked into the number 3 engine. Another 38 people are injured. The plane lands safely at Honolulu International Airport. [1]

March 1989

  • March 10 —Unable to clear trees beyond the end of the runway due to ice and snow on its wings, Air Ontario Flight 1363, a Fokker F28-1000 “Friendship”, crashes 15 seconds after takeoff from Dryden Regional Airport in Dryden, Ontario, Canada, killing 24 of the 69 people on board and injuring all 45 survivors. [1]

  • March 22 —An Antonov An-225 “Mriya” sets a total of 106 world and class records during a 3-hour, 30-minute flight. Its total weight at take-off is 508,200 kg (1,129,370 lb). [1]

April 1989

  • April 12 —A British Airways “Concorde” loses a large piece of its rudder on a flight between Christchurch, New Zealand, and Sydney, Australia. [1]

  • April 21 —U.S. Air Force Lockheed SR-71A “Blackbird” (AF 61-7974, Item 2025), outbound on an operational sortie from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, suffers an engine explosion and total hydraulic failure. Pilot Major Dan E. House and reconnaissance systems officer Captain Blair L. Bozek both eject safely. It is the final Lockheed SR-71A “Blackbird” loss before the type is withdrawn from service. [1]

May 1989

  • May 13 —An Antonov An-225 “Mriya” carries the Soviet Buran orbiter for the first time. [1]

  • May 23 —First flight of the second and last Grumman X-29 FSW (Forward Swept Wing), American experimental aircraft that tested a forward-swept wing, canard control surfaces, and other novel aircraft technologies. [1]

June 1989

  • June 7 —With its crew knowingly attempting to land using an inappropriate navigation signal and ignoring alarms warning them of an impending crash, Surinam Airways Flight 764, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8 “Super 62”, crashes on approach to Paramaribo-Zanderij International Airport at Paramaribo, Suriname, killing 176 of the 187 people on board and injuring all 11 survivors. Among the dead are 15 players of the Colourful 11 professional exhibition football (soccer) team; three other players are injured. It is the deadliest aviation accident of 1989. [1]

  • June 8 —A Soviet Air Force Mikoyan MiG-29 “Fulcrum ” suffers a bird-strike during a display at the Paris Air Show. Pilot Anatoli Kvochur manages to prevent the plane from injuring anyone, and saves himself by ejecting at only 400 feet (122 m). [1]

July 1989

  • July 4 —Crash of an unmanned Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 “Flogger” in Kortrijk, Belgium. The pilot had believed he was experiencing an engine failure shortly after take-off from the Soviet airbase near Kolobzreg, Poland and had ejected, while the aircraft continued on autopilot for 900 km (559 miles), until running out of fuel. One 18-year-old man on the ground was killed in the crash. [1]

  • July 16 —European air traffic is halted due to industrial action by French air traffic controllers. [1]

  • July 19 —United Airlines Flight 232, a Douglas DC-10, suffers decompression in and catastrophic failure of its tail-mounted engine, knocking out all its flight controls. In what is considered a prime example of successful crew resource management, the plane's crew manages to use engine throttles to fly the plane to Sioux City, Iowa, where it crashes on landing. Although 111 of the people on board die, the crew is credited with saving the other 185 by coaxing the aircraft to Sioux City. [1]

August 1989

  • August 5 —Piedmont is merged into USAir. [1]

  • August 18 —A Qantas Boeing 747, the “Spirit of Australia”, flies non-stop from London to Sydney, setting a world record for a four engine jet, after having flown 11,000 miles in 20 hours. [1]

  • August 21 —“Rare Bear”, a highly modified Grumman F8F “Bearcat”, sets a new piston-engine speed record of 528.33 mph (850.77 km/hr). [1]

  • August 22 —Soviet aeronautical engineer and founder of the Yakovlev Design Bureau Alexander Yakovlev dies, aged 84. [1]

September 1989

  • September 3 —Listening to a football (soccer) match, the pilots of Varig Flight 254, a Boeing 737-241 with 54 people on board, enter an incorrect heading into the flight computer before taking off from Marabá, Brazil, for Belém, Brazil. By the time they discover their error, they have too little fuel to reach an airport, they belly-land the airliner in a remote area of the Amazon jungle near São José do Xingu, Brazil, killing 13 passengers. Thirty-four of the 41 survivors are injured, many seriously; they are not rescued for two days. [1]

  • September 8 —Vibration from an auxiliary power unit aboard Partnair Flight 394, a Convair CV-580 on a charter flight, spreads to the tail section, causing the rudder to jam to the left. The plane dives from 22,000 feet (6,706 m) into the North Sea off Hirtshals, Denmark, disintegrating during the dive and killing all 55 people on board. [1]

  • September 19 —A bomb explodes in the cargo hold of UTA Flight 772, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30, over the Sahara Desert. The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 breaks up in mid-air and crashes near Bilma and Ténéré in Niger, killing all 170 people on board. Responsibility for the bombing is never determined. [1]

  • September 20 —USAir Flight 5050, a Boeing 737-401 with 63 people on board, aborts its takeoff in low visibility on a wet runway at LaGuardia Airport in New York City and slides off the end of the runway into Bowery Bay, killing two people and injuring 21. [1]

October 1989

  • October 21 —TAN-SAHSA Flight 414, a Boeing 727-200, crashes into a hill near Toncontin International Airport in Tegucigalpa Honduras, while on approach to a landing there, killing 127 of the 146 people on board and injuring all 19 survivors. [1]

  • October 26 —China Airlines Flight 204, a Boeing 737-209, crashes into a mountain after takeoff from Hualien Airport on Taiwan, killing all 54 people on board. [1]

November 1989

  • November 8 —A McDonnell Douglas KC-10A “Extender” tanker aircraft refuels a Northrop Grumman B-2A “Spirit” bomber in the air. It is the first aerial refueling of a Northrop Grumman B-2A “Spirit” stealth bomber. [1]

  • November 12 —California Polytechnic State University flies the first human-powered helicopter. [1]

  • November 21 —A British Airways Boeing 747 narrowly misses crashing into the Penta hotel near Heathrow Airport. [1]

  • November 27 —Five minutes after takeoff from El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá, Colombia, a bomb planted by the Medellin drug cartel in an attempt to assassinate Colombian presidential candidate César Gaviria Trujillo explodes aboard Avianca Flight 203, a Boeing 727, while it is over Soacha, Colombia. All 107 people on board die in the resulting crash, as do three people on the ground. Gaviria is not on the plane. [1]

December 1989

  • December 10 —California Polytechnic State University's “Da Vinci III” makes the first flight by a human-powered helicopter, remaining airborne for 7.1 seconds and reaching an altitude of 20 cm (8 inches). [1]

  • December 15 —All four engines of KLM Flight 867, a Boeing 747-406M with 245 people on board, shut down when the plane flies through a cloud of volcanic ash from Mount Redoubt during descent to a landing at Anchorage International Airport in Anchorage, Alaska. After descending more than 14,000 feet (4,267 m) without power, the crew manages to restart the engines and land the plane safely. [1]

  • December 20 —The United States invasion of Panama, “Operation Just Cause”, begins with over 300 U.S. military aircraft participating. The U.S. Air Force's F-117A “Nighthawk” stealth fighter and the U.S. Army's AH-64 “Apache” attack helicopter make their combat debuts. One of the first U.S. operations is an air assault by the 1st Battalion (Airborne) of the U.S. Army's 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment which secures Fort Amador. [1]

  • December 24 —Major combat operations in “Operation Just Cause” conclude. [1]

  • December 26 —United Express Flight 2415, a BAe Jetstream 31 operated by North Pacific Airlines, crashes on approach to Tri-Cities Airport at Pasco, Washington, in the United States, killing all six people on board. [1]

  • December 31 —U.S. airlines complete their worst year for baggage handling. Nearly eight suitcases per 1,000 passengers are reported lost, damaged, or misdirected during 1989. [1]

1989 Aircraft First Flights

  • January 2 —Tupolev Tu-204 (CCCP-64001). [1]

  • January 11 —AASI “Jetcruzer 450” (N5369M). [1]

  • March 19 —Boeing V-22 “Osprey” (BuNo 163911). [1]

  • April 30 —SOCATA TB.31 “Oméga”. [1]

  • May 28 —AIDC “Ching-Kuo”. [1]

  • May 29 —Swearingen SA-32T “Turbo Trainer”. [1]

  • June 13 —General Avia F.22. [1]

  • July 17 —Northrop Grumman B-2A “Spirit”. [1]

  • October 7 —Enstrom 480. [1]

  • December 26 —NAMC N-5A. [1]

  • December 31 —Sukhoi Su-30 “Flanker-C ”. [1]

1989 Aircraft Entering Service

  • February 9 —Boeing 747-400 with Northwest Airlines. [1]

  • October 27 —ATR-72 with Karair. [1]

Works Cited

  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 1989 in Aviation

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