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Revolution in Flight Timeline

1970-1971 Flight Timeline

The Canadair CL-215 Water Bomber was the first water bomber specifically designed to fight forest fires. Previous planes filling the role had been retrofitted bombers or transport craft.
The Canadair CL-215 Water Bomber was the first water bomber specifically designed to fight forest fires. Previous planes filling the role had been retrofitted bombers or transport craft.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

January 22, 1970 The Boeing 747 begins Pan Am transatlantic service.

February 15, 1970 Air Chief Marshal Lord (Hugh) Dowding dies at age 87; he was the Commander of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain.


March 2, 1970 The General Electric CF-6 engine is tested on a Boeing B-52 test bed; the engine is intended for the McDonnell Douglas DC-10.

March 16, 1970 A Lockheed EC-121 crashes at Da Nang, Vietnam; 23 people are killed.


March 19, 1970 Major Jerauld Gentry makes the first piloted and powered flight in a Martin Marietta X-24A lifting body vehicle, a research tool for the shuttle.

March 28, 1970 A Navy Phantom II downs a MiG-21 to resume air combat after a bombing halt.

April 10, 1970 The Douglas A-4M Skyhawk, a much more advanced version of the original aircraft, makes its first flight.

April 11-17, 1970 The Apollo 13 mission is aborted after an explosion on board.

May 2, 1970 A Navy helicopter rescues 26 people from a DC-9 ditched in the Caribbean.

May 9, 1970 Navy helicopters and OV-10A Broncos combine with boats to attack in the Mekong Delta region.

May 26, 1970 The Tupolev Tu-144 reaches Mach 2 in test flights.

June 1, 1970 The first Lockheed C-5A goes into operational service.

June 9, 1970 A New York to Washington, D.C., speed record for helicopters is set--1 hour, 18 minutes at 156.43 miles per hour--in a Marine Corps Ch-53D flown by James Wright and Colonel Henry Hart.

June 10, 1970 A New York-to-Boston helicopter speed record is set (same crew and helicopter as above): one hour, nine minutes at 162.72 miles per hour.

July 17, 1970 Lockheed P-3A Orions begin operation with the Navy.

August 17, 1970 The Soviets launch Venera 7, which lands on Venus on December 15, 1970.

August 22, 1970 Two Sikor­sky HH-53C helicopters fly a 9,000-mile nonstop trans­pacific flight refueled by Lockheed KC-130s.

August 29, 1970 The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 makes its first flight.

September 25, 1970 The television-guided Condor missile is test fired.

October 24, 1970 Bill Dana makes the last flight in a North American X-15.

November 10, 1970 The Soviet Union lands the first remote-controlled moon rover Luna 17.

November 12, 1970 Japan reenters military aircraft building with the first flight of the NAMC XC-1 jet transport.

November 16, 1970 The Lockheed L-1011 TriStar makes its first flight.

November 21, 1970 The United States attempts to rescue U.S. prisoners of war from Son Tay prison in North Vietnam, only to learn that the prisoners have been moved.

December 21, 1970 The Grumman F-14A Tomcat makes its first flight.

January 6, 1971 The Marines accept the first Hawker Siddeley AV-8A Harrier.

January 22, 1971 A Navy Lockheed P-3C Orion, piloted by Commander Donald H. Lilienthal, sets a long-distance record for turboprops of 7,010 miles.

January 27, 1971 The Lockheed Orion sets a world speed record for its class (four-motor turboprop): 501.44 miles per hour over a closed course.

January 31-February 9, 1971 Apollo 14 gathers 94 pounds of material from the moon.

February 8, 1971 The P-3C Lockheed Orion sets a world altitude record of 46,214.5 feet, as well as four time-to-climb records for its class.

March 21, 1971 The Westland Lynx helicopter makes its first flight.

March 24, 1971 The Boeing SST is canceled.

April 16, 1971 The Douglas A-4M Skyhawk enters service. It is the seventh major version of the A-4.

April 17, 1971 Federal Express begins operations.

May 8, 1971 The Dassault variable-sweep Mirage G8 makes its first flight.

May 21, 1971 The Navy begins evaluation of helmet-mounted sighting for a fire-control system.

May 30, 1971 Mariner 9 is launched to orbit Mars.

June 18, 1971 Southwest Airlines begins operations.

June 29, 1971 Soyuz 11 docks with the Soviet space station Salyut 1. The crew is killed upon entering the earth's atmosphere on the return trip because of equipment failure.

July 7, 1971 The Navy A-1 Skyraider is retired.

July 20, 1971 Japan makes its first indigenous supersonic aircraft, the Mitsubishi XT-2 jet trainer.

July 26-August 7, 1971 Apollo 15 uses a lunar rover vehicle.