World Aviation in 1977

24 March
The first operational Boeing E3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft is delivered to the United States Air Force (USAF).

27 March
The world’s greatest air tragedy occurs when two Boeing 747’s collide on the runway at Santa Cruz Airport in Tenerife, killing 579 people.

31 March
The 10,000th Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft is rolled out of the company’s plant, 31 years after the prototype’s first flight in December 1945.

21 May
Concorde makes a special flight from New York to Paris on the 50th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s flight of the same route. Whereas Lindbergh took 33 hours 29 minutes, Concorde took just 3 hours 44 minutes.

10 June
The first operational Republic A10 Thunderbolt aircraft is delivered to the United States Air Force (USAF).

13 June
United States President Jimmy Carter gives permission to British Airline entrepreneur Freddie Laker for the trial of a low cost airline ‘Skytrain’ service across the North Atlantic.

17 June
The Soviet Union’s Cosmos 918 satellite is launched and intercepts the Cosmos 909 target, which was launched on 19 May.

30 June
United States President Carter announces the cancellation of the B1 bomber project, favouring instead cruise missiles in place of the piloted bomber.

4 July
Patricia Undall and Nan Gaylord win the 30th and final annual women’s United States transcontinental air race, nicknamed ‘The Powder Puff Derby’.

26 August
Gossamer Condor, designed by Dr Paul MacCready in the United States and piloted by racing cyclist Bryan Allen, wins the £50,000 Kremer prize for the first 1.6 kilometre (1 mile) figure-of-eight flight by a man-powered aircraft.

31 August
Alexander Fedotov climbs to 123,524 feet in a Mikoyan Ye266M, a world record altitude for air-breathing craft.

17 October
86 hostages are freed from a Lufthansa Boeing 737 at Mogadishu in Somalia after the aircraft is stormed by West German and British soldiers, killing four terrorists of the Red Army Faction. The plane was seized in the previous week, while flying from Majorca to Frankfurt.

22 November
After numerous legal challenges against noise pollution, Air France and British Airways are finally allowed to operate a regular Concorde service to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.

13 December
Eastern Airlines in the United States inaugurates services, with Airbus A300B4 aircraft leased from the manufacturer, opening American markets to the Airbus machines.