World Aviation in 1966

31 January
The Soviet Union launches Luna 9, an un-manned spacecraft that becomes the first man-made vehicle to soft land on the Moon’s surface, on 3 February.

9 March
General de Gaulle, the President of France, announces that France is to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Alliance.

12 July
The Northrop/NASA M2F2 lifting-body research aircraft makes its first un-powered flight after being dropped from a Boeing B52 ‘motherplane’.

26 August
The famous Swiss mountain rescue pilot Herman Geiger is killed in a flying accident.

24 September
The Russian Marina Solovyeva sets a new women’s world speed record of 2,044kph (1,270mph) in a Ye76 (MiG21) aircraft.

6 December
The West German Air Force grounds all 770 of its Lockheed F104G Starfighters, after the 65th aircraft of the type crashes.