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On This Day: 1988

Aviation events for 1988

January 26: French Defense Ministry approves full-scale development of the Dassault Rafale.
January 30: Boeing’s long–range 747 SP Friendship One returns to Seattle to set a round-the-world record of 36 hours 54 minutes 15 seconds.
February 4: Air Hong Kong commences operations.
February 8: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) retires an aircraft registration number for the first time – that of Amelia Earhart’s airplane, which disappeared over the Pacific in July 1937.
February 8: NASA launches DOD-2.
February 17: Asiana Airlines established.
February 18: Binter Canarias is founded.
February 19: First flight of the Boeing 737-400.
March 1: Spanair commenced operations.
March 17: Avianca Flight 410 strikes terrain at 6,200ft near Cucuta, Colombia leaving no survivors among the 143 on-board. The crash of the Boeing 727 (HK-1716) is the result of a non-crew pilot that was present in the cockpit and distracting the flight crew.
March 25: NASA launches space vehicle S-206.
April 8: Pacific Southwest Airlines shut down operations and was integrated to USAir (now US Airways).
April 15: Meteorite exploded above Indonesia.
April 18: The U.S. Navy conducts Operation Praying Mantis against Iranian forces and facilities in the Persian Gulf. 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 F-4 Phantom fighters approach the guided-missile cruiser USS Wainwright (CG-28), which damages one of them with a surface-to-air missile.
April 21: First flight of the Boeing 747-400. Read more...
April 23: The U.S. government’s ban on smoking on flights of two hours or less goes into effect. “No Smoking” signs remain lit on 80% of domestic airline flights. Flight attendants are to be armed with gum and candy for those in anguish.
April 28: Aloha Airlines Flight 243 was a scheduled Boeing 737-297 flight between Hilo and Honolulu in Hawaii. The aircraft suffered extensive damage after an explosive decompression in flight, but was able to land safely at Kahului Airport on Maui. A senior flight attendant, Clarabell Lansing, was the sole fatality as she was blown out of the airplane, whereas another 65 passengers and crew were injured. The safe landing of the aircraft with such a major loss of integrity was unprecedented and remains unsurpassed. Subsequent investigations concluded that the accident was caused by metal fatigue.
April 29: The first flight of the Boeing 747-400 is made. This Advanced Superjet has a crew of two and can carry between 412 and 509 passengers over 8,000 miles. Sales in 1990 of 170 of these wide-body transports broke all records.
April 29: The Airbus A320 enters service with British Airways.
May 6: Wideroe Flight 710, a de Havilland Dash-7, crashes while on approach in Norway after descending four miles too soon and striking a hill in low visibility, leading to the deaths of all 36 aboard. This stands as the worst disaster for the aircraft type, as the aircraft was fully packed with passengers, even in the cockpit jumpseat.
May 10: Airbus A300's are delivered to American Airlines and they enter service with American Airlines.
May 23: Shamu One, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-300 painted like and named after a SeaWorld whale, begins flying for the airline.
May 24: British Airways takes over British Caledonian.
June 26: Air France Flight 296, Airbus A320-111 (registration F-GFKC) crashed near Mulhouse-Habsheim Airport, in the Franco-German border region of Alsace. The accident occurred during an airshow while the flight deck crew was performing a flypast at low height and speed. The aircraft overflew the airfield in good weather. Seconds later the aircraft struck treetops behind the runway and crashed into a forest, as a result of flying too low and too slowly. Three passengers died and about 50 were injured.
July 3: USS Vincennes allegedly mistakes an Iran Air Airbus A300 airliner (flight 655) for a hostile military plane, shooting it down and killing all 290 people on board.
July 12: First flight of the The Scaled Composites Triumph, a twin-engine, business jet prototype designed and built by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites for Beechcraft. It was known officially as the Model 143, and internally at Scaled as the "Tuna". Also was the first first flight for the Williams FJ44 turbofan on the "Tuna", which was a joint venture from Williams International and Rolls-Royce.
August 17: President of Pakistan Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq dies in the crash of a C-130 Hercules transport near Bahawalpur, Pakistan.
August 26: Cebu Pacific Airlines is founded.
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.
August 31: Delta 1141, Crashed after takeoff bound for Salt Lake City, Utah. Officials believe the crash was contributed to by improper configuration of the flaps and leading edge slats.
September 19: Israel launches its first satellite, for secret military reconnaissance.
September 28: First Flight of the Ilyushin Il-96.
October 10: The US Air Force publicly unveils the F-117 Nighthawk.
October 15: First flight of the Eurocopter EC 135.
October 27: First flight of the ATR-72.
December 9: First flight of the JAS 39 Gripen.
December 14: Japan Air Lines says its future Boeing 747-400s will be fitted with personal video screens in the first and business class.
December 21: Pan Am Flight 103, a Boeing 747-100 bound for New York from London, explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland and plummets to earth, killing all 259 on board and 11 on the ground.
December 28: An analysis of the wreckage of the Pan Am Boeing 747, which crashed at Lockerbie, Scotland a week ago, reveals that a bomb had been planted in the jet’s luggage hold.

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