World Aviation in 1998

16 January
In the interests of improving safety, the Russian Aviation Service shuts down over 200 small Russian airlines set up since 1992. Only 53 Russian airlines now remain from a total of 315.

28 January
A Eurocopter Super Puma helicopter operated by Bristow Helicopters lifts a record payload of 2 crew and 41 passengers, more than twice the normal number of passengers, during flood relief operations in Northern Australia.

8 February
Former Lockheed test pilot Anthony W. ‘Tony’ LeVier dies aged 84. During his 32 years with Lockheed, he took twenty prototypes into the air on their first flights, survived eight crashes and a mid-air collision.

28 February
The unmanned Ryan RQ4A Global Hawk flies for the first time. The aircraft is intended to replace the United States Air Force’s Lockheed U2 in the high-altitude, long-range reconnaissance role.

13 March
Hans von Ohain, who pioneered the design of the jet engine in Germany, dies.

7 April 30
McDonnell Douglas AH64D Longbow Apache attack helicopters are ordered by the Dutch Government.

19 May
Fairchild Dornier launch a new regional jet at the Schonefeld Air Show. The 55-seat 528-JET and the stretched 100-seat 928-JET are both wide-body aircraft due to be available by 2003.

20 May
France and Germany order the first 160 Tiger attack helicopters from Eurocopter.

16 August
Steve Fossett’s attempt at the first non-stop, round-the world balloon flight fails but he sets a new absolute distance record of 22,923 kilometres (14,239 miles) on his flight from Argentina to the Coral Sea.

25 September
The Boeing EC135 Looking Glass retires from United States Air Force (USAF) service after 40 years. It will be replaced in the role of strategic airborne command and control post by another derivative of the Boeing 707, the Boeing E6B Mercury.

2 September
‘Typhoon’ is announced as the new name for the Eurofighter 2000, of which 620 are on order from the four partners involved in the aircraft’s development.

18 September
The first batch of 148 Eurofighter Typhoons is authorised.

7 October
Oslo’s new airport is opened at Gardermoen with a capacity for handling 17 million passengers per annum.

17 October
The first of 276 Airbus A319s ordered by United States Airways is delivered. This is the biggest order for aircraft ever placed by an airline.

21 October
The trial launch and re-entry of the Atmospheric Re-entry Demonstrator capsule is successfully accomplished.

24 November
Twelve Automated Transfer Vehicles are ordered by the European Space Agency and will be used to take components of the International Space Station into space.

6 December
The first American and Russian elements of the International Space Station are connected together in orbit.

27 December
Lieutenant Colonel Robert ‘Bob’ Johnson, the joint top-scoring Second World War American ace, dies aged 78.