World Aviation in 1978

1 January
An Air India Boeing 747 airliner explodes in mid-air, killing 213 people.

10 January
The first mail delivery in space: the Soviet Union’s Soyuz 27 launches, to dock with Salyut 6/Soyuz 26 in Earth orbit, carrying mail and supplies to the cosmonauts.

23 March
Captain Sandra M. Scott becomes the first woman to fly an alert duty in Strategic Air Command, when she is assigned to the 904th Air Refuelling Squadron, which flies KC135 tankers.

4 April
Pan American World Airways (Pan-Am) place an order for Lockheed L-1011 TriStars worth $500 million.

6 April
Eastern Airlines orders 25 Airbus A300B4 airliners.

20 April
A Korean Airlines Boeing 707 crash lands after being strafed by a Soviet fighter jet. A Japanese and a South Korean are killed in the attack when the airliner strays off course, ending up over Soviet territory.

20 May
McDonnell Douglas delivers its 5,000th McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom aircraft, twenty years after the first flight of the prototype.

21 May
Tokyo’s new Narita International Airport becomes operational 4 years late, largely due to protest action.

7 July
Development of the Airbus A310 is announced.

12- 17 August
A balloon duration record of 137 hours 5 minutes 50 seconds, a record distance of 5,001 kilometres (3,107 miles) and the first transatlantic crossing by a gas balloon is recorded by Double Eagle II, crewed by Ben L. Abruzzo, Maxie L. Anderson and Larry M. Newman.

15 September
Professor Willy Messerschmitt, designer of the famous Messerschmitt Bf109 fighter and other aircraft, dies.

25 September
A mid-air collision between a Boeing 727 and a Cessna light aircraft results in the deaths of 144 people. All the airliner’s passengers and crew, the two occupants of the Cessna and six people struck by falling wreckage, die in the accident.

24 October
The United States airline industry is deregulated.