World Aviation in 1979

6 January
The first General Dynamics F16A fighter is handed over to the United States Air Force (USAF).

27 February
Production of the A4 Skyhawk ends after 26 years, with the delivery of the 2,690th and final aircraft to the United States Marine Corps (USMC).

23 March
The Boeing 757 enters into production, after an order from Eastern Airlines.

20 April
The 16th and last Concorde makes it’s first flight.

25 May
In a serious accident on take-off from Chicago Airport, involving a McDonnell Douglas DC10 which loses its engine – the aircraft is lost and the type is grounded for safety reasons.

5 June
The first production Panavia Tornado GR1 rolls off the production line.

12 June
The Gossamer Albatross, designed and built by Dr Paul MacCready, wins the £100,000 Kremer prize for a first crossing of the English Channel by a man powered craft.

27 June
The McDonnell Douglas F15 Eagle makes its combat debut, serving with the Israeli Air force, they destroy five Syrian MiG21s.

13 July
The McDonnell Douglas DC10 is re-cleared for flight, after being grounded on 25 May following an accident.

14 August
Steve Hinton sets a new speed record for piston engined airplanes when he flies his North American P51D Mustang ‘Red Baron’, modified with a new engine, at 499mph, which is nearly 22mph faster than the previous record.

29 November
Another McDonnell Douglas DC10 crash raises doubts about the airliner’s safety. The Air New Zealand DC10 left Auckland at 0810hrs on the 28 Nevember for a routine sight-seeing flight over the Antarctic. The aircraft crashed into a mountainside, killing all 237 passengers and 20 crewmembers.

25-26 December
Soviet airborne troops invade Kabul in the beginning of the Soviet conflict in Afghanistan. Five Soviet regiments are airlifted into Afghanistan and the Soviet/Afghan border, in over 100 flights by Russian transport aircraft.