1996 Master Index 1998

1997 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

1997 Events

  • 1997 — British Airways adopts a new livery which consists of a revised logo and around 20 different ethnic tail fins featuring art and designs representing many countries around the world. [1]

January 1997

  • January — The United States Department of Defense brings unmanned aerial vehicles under its unified aircraft designation system, assigning them the designation “Q”. [1]

  • January 1 — Aircraft of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Turkey begin “Operation Northern Watch”, the enforcement of a no-fly zone over northern Iraq north of the 36th parallel to protect Iraqi civilians from attack by Iraqi aircraft. The operation will continue until 1 May 2003. [1]

  • January 9 — Comair Flight 3272, an Embraer EMB 120 “Brasilia”, crashes nose-down in Monroe, Michigan, 18 miles (29 km) short of the runway while on approach to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport due to atmospheric icing. All 29 people on board die. [1]

February 1997

  • February 4 — Two Israeli military Sikorsky CH-53 “Sea Stallion - Yas'ur 2000” helicopters collide over She'ar Yashuv, Israel, killing 73 Israeli Defense Forces soldiers. [1]

March 1997

  • March — Air Comet begins airline operations. [1]

  • March 17 — May 28 — Linda Finch, pilot, aviation historian, and San Antonio, Texas businesswoman, flying a restored and specially equipped 62-year-old Lockheed Model 10 “Electra”, recreates the 1937 Amelia Earhart flight to circumnavigate the globe solo. Her attempt is successful, taking 73 days. She touches down in Oakland, California. [1]

  • March 18 — Badly corroded after extensive service in the Congo, the tail section of Stavropolskaya Aktsionernaya Avia Flight 1023, an Antonov An-24 “Coke”, breaks off in mid-air during a charter flight from Stavropol, Russia, to Trabzon, Turkey. The airliner crashes in a forest near Prigorodny, Russia, east of Cherkessk, killing all 50 people on board. [1]

  • March 27 — The Royal Thai Navy commissions its first aircraft carrier, HTMS Chakri Naruebet. [1]

May 1997

  • May 8 — After China Southern Airlines Flight 3456, a Boeing 737-31B, suffers serious damage while attempting to land at Shenzhen Huangtian Airport (now Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport) in Shenzen, China, during a thunderstorm, its flight crew begins a go-around and instructs all aboard to prepare for a crash landing. The airliner then crashes during its second landing attempt, killing 35 of the 74 people on board and injuring nine of the 39 survivors. [1]

  • May 11 — Continental Airlines Flight 1760, a Boeing 737-524 with 54 people on board attempting to land through low clouds at Corpus Christi International Airport in Nueces County, Texas, mistakenly lands safely at Cabaniss Field, a part of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas, 5.8 miles (9.3 km) away. [1]

June 1997

  • June 9 — Two men hijack Air Malta Flight KM 830, a Boeing 737-2Y5Adv with 78 other people on board flying from Malta to Istanbul, Turkey, and order the plane to divert to Cologne, Germany, where they demand the release of Mehmet Ali Agca, who is serving a life sentence in Italy for trying to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981. The hijackers surrender to German police three hours after landing without further incident. [1]

July 1997

  • July 7 — The NASA “Pathfinder” unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sets an unofficial world altitude record for both solar-powered and propeller-driven aircraft, reaching 71,530 feet (21,803 meters) during a flight from the United States Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. [1]

  • July 31 — FedEx Express Flight 14, a Federal Express McDonnell-Douglas MD-11F cargo aircraft, crashes while landing at Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey. All five crew members are injured, but survive; a fire destroys the aircraft. [1]

August 1997

  • August 1 — Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas complete a merger, forming The Boeing Company. [1]

  • August 6 — Korean Air Flight 801, a Boeing 747-300, crashes on Nimitz Hill in Asan, Guam, on landing approach to Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport, killing 228 of the 254 people on board. [1]

  • August 9 — The pilots of a Swissair Boeing 747-300 report seeing a UFO near Boston Logan International Airport. [1]

September 1997

  • September 3 — Vietnam Airlines Flight 815, a Tupolev Tu-134 “Crusty”, crashes short of the runway in a dry rice paddy while on final approach to Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, killing 65 of the 66 people on board. Local villagers loot the wreckage. [1]

  • September 6 — Royal Brunei Airlines Flight 238, a Dornier Do.228, crashes on a hillside in Malaysia's Lambir Hills National Park while on approach to Miri Airport in Miri, Malaysia, killing all 10 people on board. The wreckage will not found until the morning of September 7, over 11 hours after the crash. [1]

  • September 8 — The Boeing 777-300 is rolled out. At 73 metres (242 feet) it is the longest airliner ever built. This title will be claimed by the Airbus A340-600 in 2001. [1]

  • September 15-21 — The World Air Games are held in Turkey. They include the 10th FAI World Rally Flying Championship. [1]

  • September 26 — Garuda Indonesia Flight 152, an Airbus A300B4-220, crashes 29 km (18 mi) from the airport while on approach in low visibility to Medan on Sumatra in Indonesia, killing all 234 passengers and crew. It is the deadliest aviation accident of 1997, and it remains the deadliest in Indonesian history. [1]

October 1997

  • October 10 — Austral Líneas Aéreas Flight 2553, a McDonnell-Douglas DC-9-32, crashes at Nuevo Berlin, Uruguay, after its pitot tube freezes, causing the flight crew to receive false readings that the airliner is flying much more slowly than it actually is, resulting in catastrophic damage when they mistakenly deploy wing slats at too high a speed. The aircraft strikes the ground almost vertically at about 1,200 km/hr (745 mph), killing all 74 people on board. It remains the deadliest aviation accident involving an Argentinian aircraft, as well as the deadliest one ever to occur in Uruguay. [1]

  • October 12 — Singer John Denver dies when the Rutan “Long-EZ” he is piloting crashes into the Pacific Ocean off Pacific Grove, California. [1]

November 1997

  • November 17 — ValuJet Airlines terminates operations after merging with AirTran Airways. [1]

December 1997

  • December 16 — Unable to land successfully at Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, because of poor visibility, Air Canada Flight 646, a Canadair CL-600-2B19 “RegionalJet”, attempts a go-around and crashes. No fire results and, although the flight crew is poorly trained in evacuation procedures, emergency response time is 20 minutes, and some people have to be extricated from the plane by rescue services, there are no fatalities among the 42 people on board. [1]

  • December 17 — After a missed approach at Thessaloniki, Greece, Aerosvit Flight 241, a Yakovlev Yak-42 “Clobber”, attempts a go-around, during which it crashes on Mount Pieria in the Pierian Mountains, killing all 70 people on board. The wreckage is not found for three days; during the search, a Greek Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130 “Hercules” crashes near Athens, killing its entire five-man crew. [1]

  • December 19 — SilkAir Flight 185, a Boeing 737-36N, suddenly dives nearly vertically from 35,000 feet (10,668 m) - breaking up in mid-air during the dive - into the Musi River on Sumatra near Palembang, Indonesia, killing and dismembering all 104 people on board the aircraft. Among the dead is Singapore model and author Bonny Hicks. While the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee is unable to determine the cause, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board concludes that a pilot, most likely the captain, deliberately crashed the plane in an act of murder-suicide. [1]

  • December 28 — United Airlines Flight 826, a Boeing 747-100, encounters severe clear-air turbulence over the Pacific Ocean two hours after takeoff from Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan, bound for Honolulu International Airport in Honolulu, Hawaii. A female passenger is fatally injured, and the plane turns Back to land to Narita. [1]

1997 First Flights

  • March 4 — NASA “Centurion” (quarter-scale version). [1]

  • August 13 — A330-200. [1]

  • August 22 — AASI “Jetcruzer 500”. [1]

  • September 7 — Lockheed Martin F-22A “Raptor”. [1]

  • October 16 — Boeing 777-300. [1]

Works Cited

  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 1997 in Aviation

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