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On This Day: 1997

Aviation events for 1997

January 9: Comair Flight 3272 crashes 18 miles away from its destination of Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. The Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia (registered N265CA) experienced ice on the wings, which sent the aircraft into an uncontrolled dive, killing all 29 on-board.
January 10: 1st Comet of 1997 Discovered: Comet 1997 A1.
January 12: Space Shuttle STS 81 (Atlantis 18), launches into space.
January 15: Space Shuttle Atlantis docks with Mir Space Station.
January 20: Comet Hale-Bopp crosses Mars' orbit.
January 22: Space Shuttle Atlantis Returns to Earth, Successful.
February 9: First Flight of the Boeing 737-700.
February 10: Comet Shoemaker-Holt 2 Closest Approach to Earth (1.9245 AU).
February 10: Soyuz TM-25 launches to the MIR.
February 11: Space Shuttle STS-82(Discovery) is launched on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
February 13: Discovery captures Hubble Space Telescope.
February 23: A small fire occurs on the Russian Space station, Mir, when a solid-fuel, oxygen-generating canister bursts into flames. There are no injuries.
March 4: Comet Hale-Bopp directly above the Sun (1.04 AU).
March 4: Zeya Start-1 launched (Russia).
March 9: Colonel John (Richard) Boyd passes away at West palm Beach, FL. He was dubbed "Forty Second Boyd" for his standing bet as an instructor pilot that beginning from a position of disadvantage, he could defeat any opposing pilot in air combat maneuvering in less than forty seconds. A man with a self-admitted sub-100 IQ, he was a genius.
March 11: Ashes of Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry are launched into space.
March 13: An Iranian Air Force Lockheed C-130 crashes in Mashhad, Iran after reporting an engine failure.
March 17: Pilot Linda Finch departs on her journey to complete Amelia Earhart’s 1937 flight around the world in a restored Lockheed Electra 10E. She goes on to complete the flight in 73 days.
March 18: Stavropol Airlines Flight 1023, an Antonov AN-24 (RA-46516) crashes half an hour after takeoff in Cherkessk, Russia. Separation of the tail-section due to poor maintenance and metal fatigue are blamed in the death of all 50 occupants.
March 22: Comet Hale-Bopp Closest Approach to Earth (1.315 AU).
April 1: Comet Hale-Bopp Perihelion.
April 2: A Boeing 777, powered by twin Rolls-Royce Trent 892 turbofans, returns to Seattle to set a new Eastbound speed around the world record of 553 mph. En route, the twinjet sets a Great Circle distance without landing record of 12,455.34 miles when flying from Seattle to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
April 4: DMSP Titan 2 launched.
April 4: STS-83, Columbia 22, launches.
April 6: Progress M-34 Launch (Russia).
May 17: The first flight of the McDonnell Douglas X-36 tailless fighter technology demonstrator, power for which is provided by a 700 lb. s.t. Williams International F112 turbofan. The fighter takes off from Edwards AFB, California.
June 27: NEAR - USA Asteroid Orbiter - 805 Kg - (February 17, 1996) flew within 1,200 kilometers of asteroid 253 Mathilde. The main scientific purpose of NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) is to orbit near Earth asteroid 433 Eros. The spacecraft is scheduled to study the asteroid for one year after entering orbit in February 1999. NEAR imaged Comet Hyakutake in March 1996. This is the first of NASA's Discovery missions.
July 31: First flight of the Boeing 737-800.
August 1: Boeing and McDonnell Douglas complete merger forming The Boeing Company.
August 6: Korean Air Flight 801, a 747-300, crashes into Nimitz Hill on the island of Guam, killing 228 of the 254 on board. The disaster is ultimately blamed on failures of the crew and Korean Air procedures. Read more...
August 7: Shuttle Discovery lifts off from Cape Canaveral for mission STS-85. Read more...
August 7: Fine Air flight 101 crashed at Miami International Airport. The DC-8-61(N27UA) did not have the cargo properly restrained, and shifted at rotation.
August 10: US Airways files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
August 13: First flight of the A330-200.
August 25: EuroAtlantic Airways is founded at Portela Airport, Lisbon, Portugal.
August 29: A Cubana de Aviación Tupolev Tu-154 crashed during takeoff into buildings in Quito, Ecuador. Seventy-five of the 90 people on board died as well as 10 on the ground.
September 7: First flight of the Lockheed F-22 Raptor takes place over Georgia.
September 8: The Boeing 777-300 is rolled out for the first time. It holds the title as the longest airliner ever built for four years, until the Airbus A340-600 takes flight in 2001.
October 10: Austral Líneas Aéreas Flight 2553, a DC-9-32 (registred LV-WEG) crashes in Uruguay, killing all 69 passengers and five crew. The accident is blamed on a frozen pitot tube, which prevented the crew from receiving accurate speed measurements.
October 12: Singer John Denver dies when the Rutan Long EZ he is piloting crashes into the Pacific Ocean off Pacific Grove, California.
November 17: ValuJet Airlines terminated operations after merging to AirTran Airways.
December 16: Air Canada Flight 646, a CRJ-200 registered C-FSKI, crashes in a failed go-around in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In poor weather, a missed approach had been called in the final moments of approach. Seconds later, the aircraft would stall, and the right wing struck the ground, bending it four feet. The rest of the aircraft subsequently came down as well, separating the left winglet and breaking the radome and nose gear. The aircraft was then at full thrust, set by the go-around, and the plane went airborne again for about 1,000ft, where they were finally caught by some friendly trees. All on-board miraculously survived.

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