Flight Pictures
Flight Pictures

In modern times aircraft had longer lives than companies: what began as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk in 1974 became a British Aerospace Hawk and then a McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) T-45A Goshawk. This plane is still used for training and as attack aircraft. See more pictures of flight.

Peter M. Bowers Collection

Conquering Air and Space Timeline

February 2, 1974 The General Dynamics YF-16 makes its first "official" flight.

February 18, 1974 Tom Gatch takes off to cross the Atlantic in an unusual balloon/capsule system; he is lost at sea.

February 22, 1974 Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Barbara Ann Allen becomes the first female Navy Aviator.

March 1, 1974 The Sikorsky YCH-53 turboshaft transport makes its first flight.

Flight Pictures 

March 3, 1974 A Turkish Douglas DC-10 crashes after takeoff from Orly, France; 346 are killed.

April 2, 1974 The last Douglas C-54 Skymaster is retired.

May 20, 1974 The ATS-6 satellite is launched.

June 4, 1974 Second Lieutenant Sally D. Woolfolk becomes the first female Army aviator.

June 9, 1974 The Northrop YF-17 prototype makes its first flight.

August 3, 1974 The world's largest (volume of 50.3 million cubic feet) unpiloted balloon is launched from Fort Churchill in Manitoba, Canada; it rises to 155,000 feet.

August 9, 1974 The first EC-130 Hercules TACAMO aircraft is accepted by the U.S. Navy.

Despite the company's relatively small size, Dassault came up with an amazing variety of aircraft, including the Etendard. The Dassault Super Etendard first flew in 1974.

Peter M. Bowers Collection

August 21, 1974 The Hawker Siddeley P.1182 Hawk makes its first flight.

August 22, 1974 The Short SD3-30 makes its first flight.

August 25, 1974 Charles Lindbergh dies at age 72.

September 11, 1974 The Bell Model 206L Long Ranger makes its first flight.

September 25, 1974 The Northrop F-5F makes its first flight.

October 17, 1974 The Sikorsky YUH-60A helicopter makes its first flight.

October 28, 1974 The Dassault Super Etendard carrier-based fighter makes its first flight.

November 20, 1974 The first crash of a Boeing 747 "Jumbo Jet" occurs; 59 people die.

December 23, 1974 The Rockwell International B-1A prototype makes its first flight.

January 13, 1975 The General Dynamics F-16 wins the lightweight fighter contest over the F-17.

January 16-February 1, 1975 A McDonnell Douglas F-15 "Streak Eagle" sets eight world time-to-climb records.

January 17, 1975 The first production version of the Lockheed P-3C Orion is delivered to the Navy.

March 7, 1975 The Yak 42 trijet transport makes its first flight.

March 27, 1975 The de Havilland DHC-7 Dash 7 transport makes its first flight.

April 4, 1975 More than 100 orphans and adult escorts are killed in the first crash of a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy while evacuating Saigon.

April 29-30, 1975 Naval and Marine Corps helicopters evacuate U.S. citizens and South Vietnamese refugees from Saigon as the North Vietnamese storm the city.

June 3, 1975 The Mitsubishi F-1 supersonic single-seat fighter debuts; it is a development of an earlier T-2 trainer.

June 22, 1975 Svetlana Savitskaya flies a Mikoyan Ye-133 at 1667.42 miles per hour to set a women's speed record.

July 15-24, 1975 U.S. astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts dock their spacecraft during the Apollo/Soyuz Project.

August 20, 1975 The Viking 1 spacecraft is launched to Mars to transmit pictures from the surface. It releases the lander on July 20, 1976, and pictures are transmitted on August 7, 1976.

August 26, 1975 The McDonnell Douglas YC-15 STOL transport makes its first flight.

September 9, 1975 The Viking 2 is launched to Mars and lands on September 3, 1976.

September 30, 1975 The Hughes YAH-64 Apache prototype helicopter debuts.

October 1, 1975 The Bell YAH-63, competitor to the YAH-64, flies for the first time.

October 3, 1975 The first KC-130R Hercules tanker is delivered.

December 26, 1975 A Tu-144 completes the first supersonic airmail service between Moscow and Alma Ata, Kazakhstan.

Boeing engineers had never envisaged the 747 as part of a composite aircraft, intended to let the Space Shuttle Enterprise be launched for glide flights to the ground. The first approach and landing test was in 1977.

Peter M. Bowers Collection

1976 Flight Timeline

January 21, 1976 The Concorde begins supersonic passenger service.

February 10, 1976 Pioneer 10 crosses the orbit of Saturn on its way out of the solar system.

March 24, 1976 A Boeing 747 SP sets a world record by flying 10,290 miles nonstop from Paine Field, Washington, to Capetown.

April 5, 1976 Aviation pioneer and reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes dies at the age of 70.

May 20, 1976 The Bell AH-IT Sea Cobra makes its first flight.

May 26, 1976 The Dassault Mirage F1-B makes its first flight.

June 5, 1976 A Tomahawk missile undergoes its first in-flight launch; it is released from the wing of an A-6 Intruder.

June 24, 1976 The Navy accepts the first Beech T-34C turboprop trainer.

July 3-4, 1976 The Israelis rescue hostages in a raid on Entebbe, Uganda, destroying 11 MiGs.

July 20, 1976 The indigenous Israeli fighter, Kfir, is demonstrated publicly.

July 28, 1976 A Lockheed SR-71, piloted by Captain E. W. Joersz and Major G. T. Morgan, sets a world speed record of 2,193.1 miles per hour.

July 28, 1976 A Lockheed SR-71 sets an altitude in sustained/level flight record of 85,069 feet; it is piloted by Captain Robert Helt and Major Larry Elliot.

August 9, 1976 The Boeing YC-14 prototype flies; it will compete with the YC-15.

September 6, 1976 Lieutenant Viktor I. Belenko flies a MiG-25 to Japan, defecting from the Soviet Union.

September 17, 1976 The Space Shuttle Enterprise is rolled out in Palmsdale, California.

October 6, 1976 The AV-8 Harrier is deployed overseas for the first time on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt.

October 12, 1976 The Sikor-sky Model 72 prototype debuts.

November 7, 1976 The Dassault-Mystère Falcon 50 executive jet transport makes its first flight.

December 2, 1976 The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a modified Boeing 747, makes its first flight.

December 22, 1976 The Ilyushin Il-86 wide-body transport makes its first flight.

December 23, 1976 The Sikorsky S-70 wins the U.S. Army competition; it will be designated the UH-60A.

The highly inventive, two-seat, swing-wing Dassault Mirage G8 made its first flight on May 8, 1971, and was intended as an experimental variable geometry aircraft.

Peter M. Bowers Collection

1977-1978 Flight Timeline

January 13, 1977 AV-8 Harriers make the first bow-on, downwind landings in carrier history on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, illustrating the operation flexibility of VSTOL-type aircraft.

January 21, 1977 Tie-down tests begin on the Bell XV-15 tilt-rotor; it will lead to the V-22 Osprey.

January 31, 1977 The first Vought TA-7C two-seat version of the Corsair is delivered to the Navy.

January 31, 1977 The Cessna Citation II makes its first flight.

February 17, 1977 Beech-craft produces the 10,000th Bonanza.

February 18, 1977 The Space Shuttle Enterprise flies aboard the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

March 16, 1977 The Army accepts the first production Bell AH-1S Cobra with TOW capability; it will be important in the Gulf War.

March 24, 1977 The first Boeing E-3A AWACs are delivered to the USAF.

March 24, 1977 The stretched Lockheed C-141B Starlifter debuts.

March 27, 1977 In the worst air disaster to date, Pan Am and KLM Boeing 747s collide on the runway at Tenerife in the Canary Islands; 575 people are killed.

April 5, 1977 The Navy takes delivery of the first Beech T-44A trainer.

April 8, 1977 The first E-2C Automatic Radar Processing System aircraft is delivered to the Navy.

May 3, 1977 The Bell XV-15 tilt-rotor makes its first hovering flight.

June 10, 1977 The Fairchild A-10 Republic Warthog is introduced into operational service.

June 16, 1977 Rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun dies.

June 22, 1977 OV-10 Broncos are tested with Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) Sensor, which gives the Bronco additional night capability.

June 30, 1977 President Jimmy Carter announces the cancellation of the B-1A bomber. A principal reason behind this decision -- the new stealth technology to come -- is kept secret.

August 12, 1977 The Space Shuttle Enterprise makes its first free-flight (glide) from the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

August 20, 1977 Voyager 2 is launched on a multiplanet flyby mission.

August 23, 1977 The Gossamer Condor, designed by Dr. Paul MacCready, wins the Kremer Prize for a human-powered flight around a course slightly longer than a mile.

August 26, 1977 The Rockwell International XFV-12 VSTOL fighter debuts; it will be short-lived.

August 31, 1977 Alexander Fedotov flies a Mikoyan Ye-266M to set a world altitude record for air-breathing engined aircraft of 123,524 feet.

September 5, 1977 Voyager 1 is launched on a multiplanet flyby mission.

December 10, 1977-March 16, 1978 Soviets in Soyuz 26 dock with Salyut 6 space station, breaking U.S. records for time in space with a 96-day, 10-hour stay.

December 13, 1977 Eastern Airlines begins preliminary Airbus service.

January 10-16, 1978 Soviets achieve the first docking of three spacecraft at once with Soyuz 26, Soyuz 27, and Salyut 6.

January 20-February 8, 1978 The Soviet space station Salyut 6 is resupplied by the uncrewed vehicle Progress.

January 31, 1978 The RAF buys 30 Boeing Vertol CH-47 Chinooks.

February 2, 1978 A Tomahawk missile is launched from the USS Barb, a submarine.

March 10, 1978 The Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter makes its first flight.

April 6, 1978 Eastern Airlines orders 25 Airbus A300s.

April 10, 1978 The Sikorsky S-72 compound helicopter flies.

May 9, 1978 David Cook pilots the first hang glider, a Revell VJ-23, across the English Channel, following Louis Blériot's route.

May 20, 1978 McDonnell Douglas delivers the 5,000th F-4 Phantom II, the most important western fighter of the Cold War.

June 6, 1978 Tu-144 SST service is suspended.

June 15-November 2, 1978 The Soviets set a record for space duration: 139 days, 14 hours in Salyut 6.

July 14, 1978 Boeing announces it will begin production of the model 767.

August 8, 1978 Pioneer 13 is launched by NASA; on December 9, 1978, it will drop five probes into the Venusian atmosphere.

August 12-17, 1978 Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo, and Larry Newman set a balloon duration record of 137 hours, 5 minutes in the Double Eagle II. It is the first transatlantic crossing of a gas balloon.

August 20, 1978 The BAE's Sea Harrier makes its first flight.

September 15, 1978 Professor Willy Messerschmitt dies at age 80.

October 24, 1978 President Jimmy Carter signs the Airline Deregulation Act.

November 8, 1978 The Canadair CL-600 "wide-bodied" business jet debuts.

November 9, 1978 The McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Advanced Harrier II makes its first flight.

November 18, 1978 The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet debuts.

November 20, 1978 After ten years of trying, McDonnell Douglas gets the go-ahead for the KC-10 tanker version of the DC-10.

December 19, 1978 The Solar One, the first solar-powered aircraft, flies.

The NASA AD-1 offered a unique configuration for supersonic flight: an oblique wing was fixed at conventional position for takeoff but swung to a fore-and-aft position for high-speeds.

Peter M. Bowers Collection

1979 Flight Timeline

January 1, 1979 AWACS goes to duty with the United States Air Force.

January 6, 1979 The USAF accepts the first F-16A.

January 29, 1979 The Northrop RF-5E makes its first flight.

February 25-August 19, 1979 The Soviets set another space endurance record: Soyuz 32 docks with Salyut 6, and cosmonauts spend 175 days, 6 minutes in space.

February 27, 1979 McDonnell Douglas delivers the last A-4 Skyhawk to the Navy.

March 5, 1979 Voyager 1 gathers vast information during a flyby of Jupiter.

March 9, 1979 The Dassault-Breguet Super Mirage 4000 makes its first flight.

March 11, 1979 The U.S. NavStar Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite is used for the first time on a transatlantic flight.

March 22, 1979 The Lockheed CP-140 Aurora makes its first flight for the Canadian Armed Forces.

March 23, 1979 Boeing orders the 757 into production.

March 26, 1979 An AV-8B tests a new ski-ramp technique developed by the British; it cuts takeoff distance from 930 to 230 feet.

April 15, 1979 The Dassault Mirage 50 multimission fighter debuts.

April 17, 1979 The world's second solar-powered aircraft, the Solar Riser, flies.

April 20, 1979 The last Concorde makes its first flight.

April 30, 1979 The first Lockheed L-1011 is delivered to British Airways.

May 11, 1979 The Boeing Vertol YCH-47D makes its first flight.

May 25, 1979 A DC-10 loses its engine and pylon on takeoff at Chicago killing 272 people.

June 1, 1979 The United States agrees to train Egyptian pilots to fly 35 Phantom F-4Es supplied to them.

June 5, 1979 The first production of the Panavia Tornado is rolled out. It will distinguish itself in the Gulf War.

June 6, 1979 All DC-10s are grounded due to the accident in Chicago on May 25.

June 12, 1979 Dr. Paul MacCready's Gossamer Albatross makes the first human-powered flight across the English Channel.

June 20, 1979 Lieutenant Dona Spruill, flying a C-1A trader onto Independence, becomes the first woman qualified in fixed-wing aircraft on carrier landings.

July 9, 1979 Voyager 2 achieves flyby of Jupiter.

July 11, 1979 The American Space Station Skylab reenters the atmosphere and burns up.

July 13, 1979 The FAA lifts the grounding of DC-10s.

July 24, 1979 The Bell XV-15 makes a successful transition from a helicopter to a fixed-wing mode of flight.

August 30, 1979 The prototype Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk is rolled out at Stratford, Connecticut.

September 1, 1979 Pioneer 1 flies by Saturn and sends photographs to Earth. New outer rings are discovered.

September 15, 1979 The first Navy version of the Beech Super King Air, the UC-12B, arrives at Patuxent Naval Air Station for tests.

September 28, 1979 The last RA-5C Vigilante squadron (RVAH-7) is disbanded.

October 30, 1979 The F/A-18 begins carrier qualification trials.

October 30, 1979 Aircraft designer Sir Barnes Wallis dies at the age of 90.

November 4, 1979 Iranians seize hostages at the American Embassy in Teheran.

November 16, 1979 The Lockheed L-1011-500 Tristar debuts.

November 20, 1979 The RA-5C Vigilante makes its last flight.

December 21, 1979 NASA's AD-1 swing-wing research aircraft makes its first flight.­

The original Rockwell International B-1 supersonic bomber prototype first flew in 1974, but the program was canceled and then revived in October 1981. The production swing-wing B-1Bs had a top speed of 792 miles per hour.

Peter M. Bowers Collection

1980-1981 Flight Timeline

March 28, 1980 Learjet, produces its 1,000th aircraft.

April 9-October 11, 1980 The Soyuz 35 crew sets a new space record at Salyut 6: 184 days, 20 hours, and 12 minutes.

April 24-25, 1980 Eight RH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters from the USS Nimitz attempt to rescue U.S. hostages, but efforts are aborted. One of the helicopters later collides with a C-130.

May 18, 1980 The People's Republic of China launches a prototype ICBM.

June 4, 1980 A Japanese F-15 Eagle makes its first flight in St. Louis. Most will be manufactured in Japan.

June 20, 1980 The Beech C99 commuter airliner debuts.

July 12, 1980 The McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender tanker makes its first flight.

July 18, 1980 India becomes the seventh nation to launch an artificial satellite, called the Rohini 1.

July 21, 1980 The F-16 is formally named the Fighting Falcon in honor of the Air Force Academy.

August 7, 1980 The MacCready Gossamer Penguin makes its first solar-powered flight.

August 9, 1980 Famous American pilot Jacqueline Cochran dies. She was the first woman to fly faster than the speed of sound.

September 25, 1980 The Cameron D-38, a hot-airship, makes its first flight.

November 12, 1980 Voyager 1 flies within 77,000 miles of Saturn.

November 18-21, 1980 Judith Chisholm establishes a record for women between England and Australia, with a flight of 3 days, 13 hours in a Cessna Turbo Centurion.

November 20, 1980 The MacCready Solar Challenger makes its first flight on solar power alone.

December 3, 1980 Judith Chisholm sets a women's solo round-the-world record: 15 days, 22 minutes.

December 5, 1980 The Solar Challenger, piloted by Janice Brown, flies for 1 hour, 32 minutes, under solar power.

December 9, 1980 Boeing rolls out its 500th 747.

December 12, 1980 The Alpha Jet, produced by a consortium of Dassualt- Breguet/Dornier, makes its first flight.

January 5, 1981 Sir James Martin, designer of fighter prototypes and the Martin-Baker ejection seat, dies at age 87.

January 26, 1981 Pan Am retires the last of its 707s.

February 1, 1981 Donald Douglas dies at age 88.

February 18, 1981 John K. "Jack" Northrop dies at age 86.

April 3, 1981 Juan Trippe, founder of Pan Am, dies at age 81.

April 12-14, 1981 The Space Shuttle Columbia conducts its first orbital test flight.

June 1, 1981 The Short Brothers 360 makes its first flight.

June 5, 1981 Dick Rutan sets a straight-line distance for class record in a Rutan Long-Ez: 4,563.7 miles.

June 7, 1981 Israeli F-16s bomb the Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad.

June 18, 1981 The Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter makes its first flight.

June 26, 1981 The Grumman/General Dynamics EF-111A Raven makes its first flight.

July 7, 1981 The Solar Challenger crosses the En­glish Channel.

August 1, 1981 The Lockheed TR-1A, a development of the U-2, makes its first flight.

August 3, 1981 More than 13,000 U.S. Air Traffic controllers illegally go on strike; President Ronald Reagan will later fire them.

August 4, 1981 Boeing rolls out the first model 767.

August 25, 1981 Voyager 2 passes within 63,000 miles of Saturn.

August 26, 1981 The first Japanese-assembled F-15J Eagle debuts.

September 7, 1981 Ed Link, inventor of the original pilot simulator trainer, dies at 77.

September 7, 1981 McDonnell Douglas delivers the 1,000th DC-9 series airliner.

September 26, 1981 The Boeing 767 makes its first flight.

October 2, 1981 The Rockwell International B-1B will go into production; 100 air-craft are ordered.

October 9, 1981 The Super Chicken III, a helium-filled balloon, completes the first nonstop balloon flight across America, from California to Georgia, in 55 hours, 25 minutes.

November 12-14, 1981 The Space Shuttle Columbia makes its second orbital flight.

November 13, 1981 The Double Eagle V--piloted by Ben Abruzzo, Larry Newman, Ron Clark, and Rocky Aoki--makes a transpacific balloon flight.

With its helicopterlike cockpit, the Edgley Optica gained worldwide attention upon its first flight in 1979. Unfortunately, the plane seemed to be cursed, suffering crashes, business failures, arson and other mishaps. Only a handful were made.

Peter M. Bowers Collection

1982 Flight Timeline

January 10, 1982 A Gulfstream III, Spirit of America, completes a round-the-world flight in 43 hours, 39 minutes, for a new record.

January 27, 1982 The 1,000th Cessna business jet is delivered.

February 19, 1982 The Boeing 757 makes its first flight from the plant at Renton, Washington.

March 1, 1982 A descent module from the Venera 13 spacecraft lands on Venus; it transmits data for 127 minutes, taking photos and analyzing soil samples.

March 22-30, 1982 The Space Shuttle Columbia, with Jack Lousma and Gordon Fullerton as pilots, makes its third flight.

April 2, 1982 Argentina invades the Falkland Islands to force their return from Great Britain.

April 3, 1982 The Airbus 310 debuts.

April 19, 1982 The Soviets launch the Salyut 7 space station into orbit.

April 25, 1982 British helicopters go into action in the Falkland Islands to repel the Argentine invaders.

May 1, 1982 An Avro Vulcan, designed as a nuclear bomber, bombs Port Stanley airfield in the Falklands.

May 1, 1982 The British score their first victory with a Sea Harrier when it shoots down an Argentine Mirage IIIEA with a Sidewinder.

May 4, 1982 The British destroyer HMS Sheffield is sunk by an Exocet missile launched by an Argentine Super Etendard fighter.

May 13, 1982 Braniff International ceases operations, becoming the first major casualty of deregulation.

May 13-December 10, 1982 A two-person Soviet crew joins Salyut 7. They stay for 211 days, 8 hours, and 5 minutes.

May 17, 1982 Soviets make the first launch of a satellite from a space station.

May 20, 1982 The U.S. army accepts the first Boeing-Vertol CH-47D Chinook helicopter.

May 25, 1982 Argentine Skyhawks sink the British destroyer HMS Coventry.

June 3, 1982 Soviets test Cosmos 1374, a winged spacecraft that is the forerunner of the Soviet shuttle.

June 14, 1982 The war in the Falklands ends with Argentine surrender.

June 27-July 4, 1982 The Space Shuttle Columbia makes a fourth test flight.

June 30, 1982 The Space Shuttle Challenger is rolled out at Palmdale, from the Rockwell factory.

July 29, 1982 The Soviet Union sends Salyut 6 back into the atmosphere, burning it up.

August 1, 1982 The British Aerospace Model 146 Series 200 makes its first flight.

August 11, 1982 The first McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender is delivered to the USAF.

August 19-27, 1982 Soviets launch Soyuz T-7 to go to Salyut 7 space station; Svetlana Savitskaya, the second woman in space, is on board.

August 30, 1982 The Northrop F-20 Tigershark makes its first flight.

September 3, 1982 The Beech Commuter aircraft, Model 1900, makes its first flight.

September 9, 1982 The Conestoga, the first U.S. private-venture space rocket, is launched by Space Services Inc. It does not make it to orbit, and the venture eventually fails.

September 30, 1982 H. Ross Perot, Jr., and Jay Coburn complete the first round-the-world flight by a helicopter.

October 15, 1982 Northrop delivers the 1,000th of its F-5 fighter series.

November 11-16, 1982 The Space Shuttle Columbia makes its first operational flight.

December 23, 1982 The Short Sherpa makes its first flight.

The Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 satellites were perhaps the greatest bargains in space history. Voyager 1 (shown here) was launched September 5, 1977, and flew past Jupiter on March 5, 1979, and by Saturn on November 12, 1980.


1983 Flight Timeline

January 25, 1983 The IRAS (Infrared Astronomical Satellite) is launched by NASA.

January 25, 1983 The Saab-Fairchild 340 twin turboprop makes its first flight.

February 3, 1983 A nuclear-attack version of the Dassault Mirage 2000N makes its first flight.

March 23, 1983 President Ronald Reagan announces the Star Wars antimissile system.

March 23, 1983 The prototype Rockwell International B-1A resumes testing in preparation for the B-1B program.

April 4-9, 1983 The Space Shuttle Challenger is launched for the first time.

April 25, 1983 The Dornier Do 24TT amphibian makes it first flight.

June 18, 1983 Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space, aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger.

June 20, 1983 The de Havilland DHC-8 Dash 8 transport debuts.

July 8, 1983 General Dynamics delivers the 1,000th F-16 fighter.

July 22, 1983 The world's first solo round-the-world helicopter flight is completed by Dick Smith.

August 30-September 6, 1983 Space Shuttle Challenger makes its third operational mission.

November 28-December 8, 1983 Space Shuttle Columbia is launched with the European Spacelab on board.

December 9, 1983 The 1,000th Boeing 737 is rolled out.