In the biggest air battle to date in the Vietnam War, seven North Vietnamese Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21s are destroyed by U.S. Air Force F-4C Phantom II fighters of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing in Operation Bolo. Col. Robin Olds is the architect of the mission, which he led. Read more...
The contracts for the development of the Boeing SST supersonic transport and its engines are awarded. Read more...
A-12 (928) was lost near Callente Nevada. The aircraft ran out of fuel (due to a faulty fuel gauge) and crashed while on approach to Groom Dry Lake. CIA pilot Walt Ray ejected but did not survive due to a failure in his seat. He was found still strapped into the seat. (Q)
SR-71 (950), lost during wet runway brake testing at Edwards AFB. Pilot Art Petersonsurvived. The CIA informs the Department of Defense the A-12s would gradually be placed in storage with the process to be completed by the end of January 1967. This was later changed to allow some operational missions of the A-12 over Southeast Asia. (Q)
Treaty banning military use of nuclear weapons in space, signed.
The crew of Apollo/Saturn 204 (more commonly known as Apollo 1 mission) were training for the first crewed Apollo flight, an Earth orbiting mission scheduled to be launched on 21 February. On board were astronaut Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, (the second American astronaut to fly into space) astronaut Edward H. White II, (the first American astronaut to "walk" in space) and astronaut Roger B. Chaffee, (a "rookie" astronaut on his first space mission). A fire broke out during the test and spread quickly through the cabin. The crew most likely perished within the first 30 seconds from smoke inhalation or burns. Resuscitation efforts were futile.
Lunar Orbiter 3 - USA Lunar Orbiter launched. Orbited the moon, photographed the far side for potential Apollo 12 landing sites, then impacted on command.
Kosmos 140 (Soyuz Test) launches into Earth orbit.
First delivery of a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 to Eastern Airlines.
Lake Central Airlines Flight 527, a Convair CV-580 (N73130), crashes in Marseille, Ohio, killing all 37 on-board. The crash is attributed to all 4 blades off of the right propeller separating, the #2 blade piercing through the aircraft.
South African Airways Flight 406, a Vickers Viscount 818 (ZS-CVA) crashes into the sea while on approach to East London, South Africa. The Captain suffers a fatal heart attack and the First Officer is unable to regain control of the aircraft. All 25 on the aircraft perish.
Air Southwest is incorporated by Herb Kelleher and Rollin King. They would go on to grow it into low-cost juggernaut Southwest Airlines.
Piedmont leases two Boeing 727s to use pending delivery of their Boeing 737s. This also marks the day that Piedmont places the Fairchild FH-227 into service.
Southwest Airlines is founded.
Delta Airlines Flight 9877, a training flight for pilots on a Douglas DC-8-51 N802E, crashes in New Orleans, Louisiana after simulating a dual engine failure landing. The aircraft strikes power lines half a mile from the airport and crashes into a residential area. In addition to the 6 on the aircraft, 13 are killed on the ground. The fatalities include 8 girls who burned to death after their motel became engulfed with flames from jet fuel after they huddled in the shower and turned the water on to try to protect themselves.
In the Apollo Program, Apollo-Saturn mission 502 (Apollo 6) is launched as the second and last unmanned test flight of the Saturn V launch vehicle.
Trans World Airlines (TWA) becomes the first American airline to have a fleet composed entirely of jet aircraft.
First flight of the SA.340, prototype of the Aérospatiale Gazelle.
SR-71 (966) was lost. Pilot Earle Boone and RSO Butch Sheffield survived.
An SR-71 made the longest Mach 3 flight in history. The flight was over 14,000 miles.Pilot Robert L. Stephens (the Silver Fox), RSO Kenneth D. Hurley.
Surveyor 3 - USA Lunar Soft Lander launched. Landed on the lunar surface.
Aeroflot and Japan Air Lines jointly inaugurate a Moscow-Tokyo service.
Cosmonaut Colonel Vladimir Komarov suffers history’s first in-flight spaceflight fatality as the parachutes on the Soyuz 1 spacecraft fail during its return to earth. The crash was the culmination of many technical failures that forced the flight control director to abort the mission after 18 orbits.
The McDonnell Douglas DC-8-62 receives FAA Certification.
Douglas Aircraft Company and McDonnell Aircraft Corporation officially merge to form McDonnell Douglas.
The Lunar Orbiter 4 launches on a 180-day mission to take photographs of The Moon for research purposes. It would take over 500 photos before striking the surface. Read more...
First delivery of the McDonnell Douglas DC-8-62 to SAS.
NASA announces crew members for the Apollo 7 space mission (first manned Apollo flight): Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Donn F. Eisele, and R. Walter Cunningham.
The McDonnell Douglas DC-8-62 enters service with SAS.
Mele Vojvodich flew an A-12 (937) non-stop from Groom Lake to Kadena in 6 hours and 6 minutes, 6,873 miles. Due to the secrecy of the BLACK SHIELD operations, this flight was not recognized as a new transpacific speed record.
First operational mission of an A-12 (937). Pilot Mele Vojvodich. The target was NorthVietnam. 70 of the known 190 SAM sites and 9 primary targets were photographed successfully. Flown at Mach 3.1, 80,000 feet, 3 hours 39 minutes.
Monarch Airlines is founded.
Boeing delivers its 1,000th jet airliner, a Boeing 707-120B for American Airlines.
The start of the Six-Day War, is fought between Israel and her Arab neighbours Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. In a pre-emptive strike, the Israeli Air Force destroys half of the Egyptian Air Force on the first night. By the end of the six days, 452 Arab aircraft had been destroyed for a loss of 46 Israeli aircraft.
First flight of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 prototype 23-11/1.
Venera 4 - USSR Venus Atmospheric Probe launched. Venera 4 arrived at Venus on October 18, 1967. This was the first probe to be placed directly into the atmosphere and to return atmospheric data. It showed that the atmosphere was 90-95% carbon dioxide. It detected no nitrogen. The surface temperature reading was 500°C and pressure reading was 75 bar. It was crushed by the pressure on Venus before it reached the surface.
Mariner 5 - USA Venus Flyby (June 14 to November) launched. Mariner 5 arrived at Venus on October 19, 1967, one day after Venera 4. It passed within 3,900 kilometers of the planet's surface. It studied the Venusian magnetic field and found that its atmosphere was composed of 85-99% carbon dioxide. It is now in a solar orbit.
Cosmos 167 USSR Attempted Venus Probe launched.
The McDonnell Douglas DC-8-63 receives FAA Certification.
First international flight of an SR-71 (972). During a training mission the ANS (Astroinertial Navigation System) failed and the aircraft accidentally flew into Mexico. Pilot Jim Watkins, RSO Dave Dempster.
First delivery of the McDonnell Douglas DC-8-63 to KLM royal Dutch Airlines.
The McDonnell Douglas DC-8-63 enters service with KLM.
While sailing off the coast of Vietnam, a malfunction in an F-4 Phantom II jet on the deck of the USS Forrestal causes a rocket to fire inadvertently. The rocket hits another aircraft on the deck (possibly one occupied by Lt. Cmdr. John McCain) without exploding, but does rupture the plane’s fuel tank. The subsequent fire that would eventually ravage the ship, killing 134 sailors and injuring 161 others.
Aerolíneas Argentinas and Iberia jointly inaugurate the world's longest non-stop air route, between Buenos Aires and Madrid.
First flight of the Handley Page Jetstream.
NASA launches the lunar lander Surveyor 5. Eventually it shoots and transmits 19,049 photographs back to Earth.
The governments of France, West Germany, and Britain sign a memorandum that calls for the development of the Airbus A300 wide-bodied jet airliner.
William J. Knight sets a new airspeed record in a North American X-15, of Mach 6.72 (4,543 mph, 7,297 km/h). This is the fastest flight that the X-15 will make.
First flight of the Shin Miewa SS-2.
The first helicopter gunship designed as such to see combat, the U.S. Army's AH-1G Cobra, flies its first combat mission when two AH-1Gs operating over South Vietnam escort U.S. Army transport helicopters, then support South Vietnamese troops by destroying four enemy fortifications and sinking 14 sampans.
A-12 (932) is the first and only Blackbird ever to sustain flak damage. Flown by Denny Sullivan. At least 6 missiles were fired and confirmed by photography. Pilot witnessed 3 missile detonations behind the A-12. Traveling at Mach 3.1, 84,000 feet. Post flight inspection revealed the flak damage.
The A-7A Corsair II strike aircraft enters combat for the first time, operating from the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CVA-61) over Vietnam.
A-12 (929) lost due to the newly-installed SAS (Stability Augmentation System) had the connections wired backwards, causing the airplane to lose complete control just seconds after takeoff from Groom Dry Lake; pilot Mele Vojvodich ejected safely at an altitude of 150 feet. Kelly Johnson receives the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award.
The Royal Air Force's V-bomber force begins to be dismantled, pending the deployment of the Polaris missile aboard Royal Navy submarines to act as Britain's nuclear deterrent.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) begins initial talks to develop guidelines for a re-usable spaceplane.