NASA’s Surveyor 7 lands on the moon.
SR-71 (957) lost on final approach to Beale AFB due to a total electrical failure. Crashed on landing approach to Beale AFB. The instructor pilot Robert Sower and the student pilot David Fruehauf both ejected safely.
Soyuz 4 and 5 completed 1st docking of 2 manned spacecraft.
A United States Air Force B-52 Stratofortress carrying four nuclear weapons crashes in the sea near Thule Air Base in Greenland.
First A-12 flight over North Korea to observe the USS Pueblo. Pilot Frank Murray. The ship had been seized the day before (23 JAN 68). (Q)
Lockheed ordered to destroy A-12, YF-12 and SR-71 tooling. (Q)
A standard Learjet 25 sets a new “time-to-climb” record by climbing to 40,000 feet in 6 minutes 29 seconds.
USSR launches space probe Zond 4; fails to leave Earth orbit.
Orbiting Geophysical Observatory 5 launched.
U.S. launches Solar Explorer 2 to study the Sun.
First SR-71 (976) operational mission over North Vietnam flown from Kadena Okinawa.Pilot Jerry O’Malley, RSO Ed Payne.
Yuri Gagarin, in April 1961 first man in space, is killed in the crash of a MiG-15UTI trainer near the Soviet capital Moscow.
Apollo 6 launched atop Saturn V; unmanned.
Monarch Airlines commences flight operations.
Luna 14 - USSR Lunar Probe launched. Luna 14 is in a lunar-solar orbit.
Apollo 6's SIV-B staqe re-enters the Earth's atmosphere and the Apollo 6 command module is recovered.
United Air Lines becomes the first carrier to put the Boeing 737-200, a larger capacity version of the standard 737, into service.
The first non-stop Atlantic crossing by an executive jet aircraft is made as a Grumman Gulfstream II lands in London, England after completing a 3,500-mile (5,633 km) flight from Teterboro, New Jersey.
A British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) Super VC10 on a routine service from Chicago and Montreal makes the airline’s first fully automatic approach and landing in London.
First flight of the Grumman EA-6B Prowler.
CMSGT Bill Gormick starts tie-cutting tradition of Habu crews neck-ties.
First flight of the Lockheed C-5A Galaxy.
The first direct airline service between the Soviet Union and the U.S. is inaugurated, ten years after negotiations began.
Los Angeles Airways Flight 417, a Sikorsky 61L helicopter (N300Y) flying from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Disneyland Heliport, crashes in Compton, Calif., killing all 18 passengers and three crewmembers on board. One of the rotor blades had separated from the spindle, causing loss of control.
Rolls-Royce powers up their new RB211 jet engine for the first time. Designed to power the Lockheed L-1011, future versions would be offered for the Boeing 747 and 757, the Tupolev Tu-204-120 and for re-enginging of the B-52H Stratofortress bomber.
An Air France Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III (registration F-BOHB) operating the Ajaccio, Corsica - Nice sector as Flight 1611 crashed into the sea near Cap d'Antibes off Nice with the loss of all 95 lives on board. The accident occurred while the flight deck crew attempted an emergency landing at Côte d'Azur Airport, following the detection of a fire in the aircraft's rear cabin 21 minutes after takeoff from Ajaccio. The accident investigators believed that the fire had started in the right lavatory and galley area.
First flight of the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-20.
First flight of the Tupolev Tu-154.
SR-71 (977) lost due to a wheel/tire failure on takeoff at Beale AFB on 10 October 1968. RSO Jim Kogler ejected, Pilot Gabrial Kardong rode the aircraft to a stop at the end of the runway. Both crew members unharmed.
USAF test pilot Major William “Pete” Knight wins the Harmon international aviator’s trophy for “exceptional individual piloting performance”.
First flight of the Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante.
USAF helicopter pilot James P. Fleming rescues a Special Forces unit pinned down by Viet Cong Fire. He is later awarded the Medal of Honor for his Courage under fire.
First McDonnell Douglas DC-9-20 delivered to SAS.
The Boeing Company receives its first order, from Israeli airline El Al, for a long-range version of the 747 Jumbo Jet, production of which was announced just under a month ago.
Humans orbit the Moon for the first time aboard Apollo 8. Their Christmas Eve broadcast is one of the most-watched television programs in history.
The world’s first supersonic transport aircraft to fly, the Tupolev Tu-144, takes to the air, powered by four 28,660/38,580-lb. s.t. Kuznetsov NK-144 turbofans. Read more...