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Flight after the Cold War Timeline


1986-1987 Flight Timeline
The Grumman X-29 was particularly valuable in testing the high angle of attack flight regimes. Germany had experimented with forward swept wings before, but not until the development of fly-by-wire and composite materials was further research rewarding.
The Grumman X-29 was particularly valuable in testing the high angle of attack flight regimes. Germany had experimented with forward swept wings before, but not until the development of fly-by-wire and composite materials was further research rewarding.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

January 8, 1986 The first Lockheed C-5B transport is delivered to the Air Force.

January 12-18, 1986 Space Shuttle Columbia is launched.

January 24, 1986 The U.S. planetary spacecraft Voyager 2 makes a Uranus flyby (passes within 66,500 miles) and encounters moons and ring system, then is redirected toward Neptune.

January 28, 1986 The Space Shuttle Challenger blows up 72 seconds into liftoff; teacher Christa McAuliffe is on board. Seven astronauts perish; the Shuttle fleet is grounded for 30 months.

February 15, 1986 The futuristic Beech Starship 1 business aircraft makes its first flight.

March 9, 1986 Soviet comet probe Vega 2 observes Halley's Comet from a distance of 4,990 miles.

March 13-14, 1986 The European Space Agency's Giotto satellite flies within 335 miles of Halley's Comet.

April 14-15, 1986 The United States strikes Libya in retaliation for terrorist activities. Attacking aircraft include EF-111As and F-111s from the United Kingdom (France won't allow flight over its airspace), as well as Navy A-6s and A-7s.

July 1, 1986 The first close look at MiG-29 fighters occurs on a goodwill visit to Finland. The aircraft closely resembles the F-15 and has similar performance.

July 4, 1986 The Eurofighter, the Dassault-Breguet Rafale, makes its first flight.

July 10-14, 1986 On a test flight, the Voyager flies 11,336.9 miles nonstop, unrefueled.

July 11, 1986 Reports of the crash of the second Lockheed F-117A stealth fighter give rise to unfounded concerns that it is too unstable for pilots.

August 11, 1986 The Westland Lynx becomes the world's fastest production helicopter, flying at 249.09 miles per hour.

September 2, 1986 An unusual combination hot-air/helium balloon makes a record flight from Amsterdam to St. John, Newfoundland, in 50 hours, piloted by Henk and Evelyn Brink of the Netherlands.

September 23, 1986 The Piaggio Avanti twin turboprop makes its first flight; it is a potential competitor to the Beech Starship.

November 6, 1986 Forty-five people are killed in the crash of a Chinook helicopter near Scotland. It is the worst civilian helicopter crash in history.

November 30, 1986 The Fokker 100 twin-turboprop passenger liner makes its first flight.

December 4, 1986 The McDonnell Douglas MD-87, a smaller version of the older DC-9 airliner, makes its first flight.

December 11, 1986 The McDonnell Douglas F-15E Eagle, a combination air superiority/ground support fighter, makes its first flight.

December 14-23, 1986 Burt Rutan's specially designed Voyager makes the first nonstop, unrefueled circumnavigation of the world.

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On July 4, 1987, a B-1B set four world records for speed, distance, and payload. The B-1B also has a tremendous conventional weapon capability.
On July 4, 1987, a B-1B set four world records for speed, distance, and payload. The B-1B also has a tremendous conventional weapon capability.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

January 21, 1987 Lois McCallan sets a human-powered record for women in MIT's Michelob Light Eagle.­

February 6-July 30, 1987 Soyuz TM-2 is launched; it uses a new automatic docking system to dock with space station Mir. The Soviet Union provides full television coverage.

February 6, 1987 The Aerospatial Super Puma helicopter flies.

February 19, 1987 The Boeing E-6A TACAMO relay aircraft makes its first flight.

February 22, 1987 The Airbus 320, with fly-by-wire system, makes its first flight.

March 1987 Patrice Fran­cheske makes the first microlight round-the-world flight.

April 26, 1987 The first prototype of the Saab JAS 39 Gripen is unveiled.

May 29, 1987 Mathias Rust lands a Cessna 172 in Red Square.

June 26, 1987 Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand cross the Atlantic by hot-air balloon for the first time. They reach 153 miles per hour in a jet stream.

September 30, 1987 A NASA report indicates that there are 18,400 trackable artificial objects in space.

October 9, 1987 The preproduction EH 101 helicopter makes its first flight.

November 19, 1987 Northrop is awarded a $2 billion contract to develop the B-2 stealth bomber.

November 29, 1987 A Korean Airlines Boeing 707 is blown up by a terrorist bomb.

December 29, 1987 Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko sets a new human space duration record of 326 days, 11 hours, and 38 minutes.


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