World Aviation in 1988

The Soviet Air Force forms its first operational Tupolev Blackjack strategic bomber regiment after eleven aircraft are delivered.

22 February
It is announced that the Air Industries Division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in Iran has produced an in-house two-seat light aircraft.

25 February
India first launches the indigenously developed Prithvi tactical missile.

28 March
Airbus Industrie begins deliveries of A320s to Air France.

15 April
A converted Tupolev Tu154 airliner, renamed the 155, becomes the first aeroplane to fly with liquid hydrogen fuelled engines.

The Soviet Union begins to withdraw its armed forces from Afghanistan.

23 May
The first Bell/Boeing V22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft is completed.

27 May
The McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom celebrates 30 years of flying and is still operational with twelve air forces.

Personal television sets for airline passengers are introduced by Northwest Airlines on the Detroit to Tokyo route.

1 June
Per Lindstrand establishes a new balloon altitude record, reaching an altitude of 19,810 metres (65,000 feet) over Texas. His balloon has a capacity of 17,000 cubic metres (6,000,000 cubic feet).

26 June
An Airbus Industrie A320 airliner crashes into trees at low speed after making a low-level display pass at the Mulhourse air show, killing 3 people out of 130 on board.

A proposal for a cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq war is advanced.

1 July
CAAC, the Chinese state airline, changes its name to become Air China.

3 July
An Iranian Air Airbus 300 is shot down by the United States Navy (USN) guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes, after mistaking it for an Iranian Grumman F14 Tomcat, killing all 286 people on board.

1 August
The Soviet Union begins the destruction of its SS20 missiles in accordance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

17 August
President Zia of Pakistan is killed when the Pakistan Air Force Lockheed C130 Hercules in which he is travelling crashes soon after take-off from Bakawalpur.

28 August
Three Italian Air Force pilots and 39 spectators are killed at the Ramstein Air base when three Aermacchi MB339PANs of the Italian Air Force’s Frecce Tricolori display team collide in mid-air.

19 September
Israel launches its first satellite, the Offeq 1, using a Shavit booster rocket.

26 October
The United States Air Force (USAF) receives its first Hughes Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, (AMRAAM).

Antonov displays the An225 Mriya transport aircraft. Powered by six Lotarev D18T turbofans and weighing 600 tonnes, the aircraft is nearly half as heavy again as the previous world’s heaviest aircraft.

8 November
The United States Air Force (USAF) grounds all Rockwell International B1B bombers after a second aircraft is lost in a crash. The first crash occurred on 28 September 1987.

11 November
Soviet Cosmonauts Musa Manarov and Vladimir Titov set a new space endurance record of 326 days.

15 November
The Soviet Union launch their space shuttle Buran from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at the third attempt. The unmanned flight lasts for 3 hours 25 minutes.

Mikhail Gorbachev announces the reduction of Soviet conventional forces over a 2 year period. The reductions include the removal of 800 combat aircraft from Soviet Europe.

21 December
Pan American World Airways (Pan-Am) Boeing 747 ‘Maid of the Seas’ is destroyed in mid-air by a terrorist bomb over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. 243 passengers, 16 crew and 11 people on the ground are killed.