Rockwell International B-1 airplane

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.