World Aviation in 1983

7 January
Marine squadron VMFA-314 at El Toro in California, becomes the first American unit to become operational with the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet.

27 January
British Aerospace (BAe) hands over the first of their Sea Harrier FRS Mk51 aircraft to the Indian Navy .

16 March
After being used to train pilots for 18 years, the Luftwaffe withdraws the Lockheed F104G and TF104G from service.

29 March
Lufthansa and Swissair receive the first Airbus A310s for commercial service.

25 April
The Dornier company return to their roots when the government-backed Dornier Do24TT technology demonstrator amphibian makes its first flight.

13 June
The first spacecraft to travel beyond the solar system: the Pioneer, a 10,570 pound United States space probe travelling at 30,000mph and due to reach first star beyond solar system 32,621 years after launch in 1972, crosses the orbit of Neptune on its way out of Solar System.

18 June
The Space Shuttle Challenger launches on a mission that will see the first satellite retrieval and the first American woman in space. Dr Sally Ride, aged 32, is also the youngest United States astronaut to date.

8 July
General Dynamics completes its 1,000th F16 aircraft at the company’s Fort Worth factory.

22 July
Australian Dick Smith achieves the first solo circumnavigation of the globe in a helicopter. Smith makes the 56,742 kilometre (35,258 mile) journey in stages using a Bell JetRanger III named ‘Australian Explorer’.

19 August
Lockheed completes the 250th and last TriStar at Palmdale in California.

24 August
A new world distance record for business jets is set by a Canadair Challenger 601. The aircraft covers 7,023 kilometres (4,364 miles) between Calgary and London Heathrow in 9 hours 4 minutes.

30 August & 5 September
The first night launch and night landing are made during Space Shuttle mission STS8. Also the first black Astronaut, Lieutenant Colonel Guion S. Bluford of the United States Air Force (USAF), is aboard space shuttle Challenger

The launch of the Soviet space vehicle Soyuz T10 ends when there is an explosion on the launch-pad. The crew escape to safety.

1 September
269 people are killed as a Soviet aircraft shoots down a South Korean Boeing 747 near Sokhelin Island.

6 September
The Soviet Union acknowledges that a Sukhoi Su15 of the Soviet Air Force is responsible for shooting down a Korean Airlines Boeing 747 with the loss of 269 lives.

15 September
The Lockheed F117A stealth fighter achieves operational status with the United States Air Force (USAF) 4450th Tactical Group.

30 September
The first production McDonnell Douglas (Hughes) AH64A Apache attack helicopter is completed.

9 December
Boeing completes its 1,000th Model 737 airliner.