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.