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On This Day: 1989

Aviation events for 1989

Air Koryo Tupolev Tu-204-100B (P-633) at  Pyongyang - Sunan International, North Korea
January 2: Tupolev’s TU-204, the Soviet Union’s first airliner fitted with a fly-by-wire control system, makes its maiden flight. Read more...
January 4: Two US Navy F-14 Tomcats shoot down two Libyan Air Force MiG-23s over the Mediterranean.
January 8: British Midland Flight 92 crashes while attempting an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport, killing 47 of the 126 on-board. The left engine had experienced a fan blade rupture on the Boeing 737-400 (registered G-OBME), and confusion with previous 737 models caused the pilots to think the right engine had failed, which they promptly shut down. While on approach, power was added to the ailing left engine, causing it to completely fail, and the aircraft to subsequently fall short of the runway onto the M! motorway.
January 18: Astronomers discover pulsar in remnants of Supernova 1987A (LMC).
January 30: Phobos 2 - USSR Phobos Flyby/Lander (July 12, 1988) arrived at Mars and was inserted into orbit. The orbiter moved within 800 kilometers of Phobos and then failed. The lander never made it to Phobos.
February 1: Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 at perihelion.
February 1: Highest air pressure, 31.85 mm Hg, for North America recorded in Alaska.
February 8: Independent Air Flight 1851, a Boeing 707-331B (N7231T) crashes into Pico Alto, a mountain on Santa Maria Island in the Azores. All 144 on the aircraft died after the flight crew failed to properly brief themselves about the 3,000ft minimum safe altitude (MSA), and were also given the wrong barometric altimeter setting by a trainee controller.Eagle Airways Flight 2279 is hijacked 10 minutes after takeoff from Woodbourne Airport in New Zealand by a Somalian refugee. The pilots of the BAe Jetstream 32 (ZK-ECN) received minor injuries in the passengers’ knife attack until finally being subdued.
February 9: Boeing 747-400 enters service with Northwest Airlines.
February 14: The first of 24 Global Positioning System satellites is placed into orbit.
February 24: United Airlines Flight 811, a Boeing 747-100 (N4713U) suffers explosive decompression while climbing out of Honolulu enroute to Auckland when the forward cargo door fails, sucking nine passengers out of the plane and sending them hurtling to their deaths. The accident would be blamed on a faulty door locking mechanism design by Boeing.
March 1: Comet du Toit at perihelion.
March 7: Partial eclipse of the Sun in Hawaii, North West North America, Greenland.
March 8: EVA Air is founded.
March 18: 27th space shuttle mission, STS-29 (Discovery 8), returns to Earth.
March 19: First flight of the V-22 Osprey.
March 22: The first and only Antonov An-225 built establishes 106 new Federal Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) world records in several classes, most important of which is a speed of 813.09 km/h (505.2 mph) carrying a payload in the 70 –155 metric ton (154,320 – 341,710 lb.) class around a closed circuit of 2,000 km (1,243 miles).
March 26: Binter Canarias commences operations.
March 26: Austrian Airlines begins international flights for the first time in almost two decades on a flight from Vienna to New York’s JFK on an Airbus A310 (OE-LAA), aptly named “New York”.
April 12: British Airways Concorde loses a large piece of its rudder on a flight between Christchurch and Sydney.
April 13: The first flight-tests of the Pratt & Whitney / Alison propfan engine are carried out in the U.S.
April 21: SR-71 (974) was lost off the Philippines (0.25 miles north of the island of Luzon) due to an engine explosion. 974 was known as “Iche Ban”. The crew ejected safely, made it to shore and were rescued by one of the island’s former cannibal tribes. Pilot Dan House and RSO Blair Bozek survived.
May 4: Magellan, USA Venus Orbiter, launched. Magellan was released into Earth's orbit from a space shuttle and then injected into a transfer orbit to Venus by an upper stage. Its primary mission was to map Venus using synthetic aperture radar. The surface of Venus is obscured by thick clouds of carbon dioxide that makes the surface invisible to optical instruments. It arrived at Venus on August 10, 1990. Its radar imaging system was able to produce images at 300 meters/pixel resolution.
May 26: Eurofly is founded.
June 5: The massive Antonov An-225 Mriya flies in to Paris-Le Bourget for the 1989 Paris Air Show, carrying the Soviet Shuttle Buran on its back. When it takes of from Kiev to fly to Paris, the combination has a takeoff weight of 1,234,600 lb., the greatest weight ever lifted into the air.
June 7: A Suriname DC-8 Super 62 crashes near Paramaribo Airport, Suriname, killing 168.
June 7: A C-5 set a world record by airdropping four Sheridan armed reconnaissance vehicles, weighing 42,000 pounds each, and 73 fully combat-equipped paratroopers. The total weight reached 190,346 pounds.
June 8: Soviet Air Force Mikoyan MiG-29 suffers a birdstrike 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.
June 22: ---First flight of the June 22 - Rutan Voyager.
June 30: First flight of the Boeing 737-500.
July 17: the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber makes its maiden flight.
July 19: A United Airlines DC-10 crashes on landing following an uncontained failure in the number 2 engine. 111 people were killed.
August 5: Piedmont is merged into USAir.
August 8: Shuttle Columbia is launched on a classified Department of Defense mission, STS-28. Some experts believe two military communications satellites were deployed. Read more...
August 18: A Qantas Boeing 747, Spirit of Australia sets a record for nonstop flight of a four-engined aircraft, flying from London to Sydney in 20 hours.
August 22: Alexander Yakovlev dies, aged 84.
September 3: Varig Boeing 737 crashes in Brazil killing 53 passengers. The pilots had not noticed an autopilot malfunction because they were listening to a football match. Read more...
September 8: Partnair Flight 394, a Convair 580, crashes off the coast of Denmark, killing all 50 passengers and five crewmembers. Investigators conclude that counterfeit, inferior bolts used to hold the vertical fin to the fuselage failed, causing the plane to lose control.
September 19: UTA flight 772, McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft (registered N54629), crashes in the Sahara Desert in Niger after a bomb explodes while enroute to Paris, killing all 170 on board. The bomb would eventually be blamed on Libyan terrorists.
September 20: USAir Boeing 737 aborts a takeoff in New York and slides into the East River. Two people are killed.
September 30: SR-71 program terminated by Air Force and Intelligence officials.
November 7: Last training flight of an SR-71. Pilot Tom McCleary, RSO Stan Gudmundson. This flight was 21 years, 7 months, and 7 days after the first SR-71 flight.
November 8: A KC-10A Extender tanker aircraft refuels a Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit bomber in the air. It is the first aerial refueling of a B-2.
November 12: California Polytechnic State University flies the first human-powered helicopter.
November 21: British Airways Boeing 747 narrowly misses crashing into the Penta hotel near Heathrow Airport
November 22: Air Force SR-71 program officially terminated.
November 23: An Airbus A310-300 opens Air France's new direct Lyon/New York service.
December 15: Atlantic Coast Airlines is founded…
December 20: An SR-71 made a final pass down the Burbank runway to honor all those who workedin designing and producing the fastest air-breathing aircraft in the world. Kelly Johnson, long retired, andgravely ill, was there to watch.

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