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On This Day: 1998

Aviation events for 1998

January 6: Lunar Prospector - USA Lunar Orbiter was launched and arrived at the Moon on January 11, 1998. It is designed for a low polar orbit investigation of the Moon, including the mapping of surface composition and possible ice deposits, the measuring of magnetic and gravity fields, and the study of lunar outgassing events. This data could help scientists plan a potential lunar base and develop theories of the formation of the Moon, Earth and Solar System. Its mission is scheduled to last one to three years.
 
January 10: Soyuz 27 carrying 2 cosmonauts to Salyut 6 space station, launched.
 
January 11: Lunar Prospector - USA Lunar Orbiter arrived at the Moon. It is designed for a low polar orbit investigation of the Moon, including the mapping of surface composition and possible ice deposits, the measuring of magnetic and gravity fields, and the study of lunar outgassing events. This data could help scientists plan a potential lunar base and develop theories of the formation of the Moon, Earth and Solar System. Its mission is scheduled to last one to three years.
 
January 22: First flight of the Boeing 737-600.
 
February 2: Cebu Pacific Flight 387, a DC-9-32 travelling from Manila to Cagayan de Oro, crashed on the slopes of Mount Sumagaya in Misamis Oriental, killing all 104 people on board. The crash was one of The Philippines's deadliest air disasters. Aviation investigators deemed the incident to be caused by pilot error when the plane made a non-regular stopover to Tacloban. Flight 387 was supposed to be a direct flight but due to the stopover, the pilots were not familiar with the route.
 
February 3: Looking Glass duties were transferred to US Navy E-6B aircraft.
 
February 3: The Cavalese cable car disaster: A US Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler jet on a low-altitude training flight slices through a cable supporting a ski gondola in Italy’s Dolomite mountains, sending 20 people aboard a tram plunging 250 feet to their deaths.
 
February 16: China Airlines Flight 676, an Airbus A300-622R (B-1814), crashes after a failed go-around on approach to Chiang Kai Shek International Airport in Taiwan in light rain and fog. Trying to climb again at a pitch of over 40 degrees, the plane stalled at an altitude of 2,750ft, crashing just off airport property. All 196 on the plane and six people on the ground were killed.
 
February 16: Gulfstream II carrying film director Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, Men in Black II, and Wild, Wild West), slid off runway at Van Nuys, California; Sonnenfeld was uninjured.
 
February 20: TWA retires the last of its Boeing 747 “jumbo jets” The newer and more efficient Boeing 767 is now the airline’s main intercontinental aircraft.
 
February 26: Total solar eclipse in Venezuela-Pacific Ocean (4m09).
 
March 11: The first two of four Boeing E-767 airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircrafts are officially handed over to the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force.
 
March 12: The first two of four Boeing E-767 airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircrafts are officially handed over to the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force.
 
March 18: A Formosa Airlines Saab 340 (B-12255) crashes into the sea, killing all 13 aboard. The Captain decides to depart, despite the known failure of the right-hand main bus. This has a domino effect on several systems, including navigation and flight instruments. With that, the right engine anti-ice start bleed valve being in the open position lead to a 13% torque split between the two engines and a yaw-effect when not compensated for. Poor weather conditions and pilot fatigue (the Captain flew several flights throughout the day already) led to spatial disorientation. Add it all up and the result is a right bank after departure that the pilots do not notice until it is unrecoverable.
 
March 22: Philippine Airlines Flight 137, an Airbus A320 (RP-C3222), overshoots the runway at Bacolod City Airport. The #1 engine’s thrust reverser was inoperative, and the cockpit crew fails to compensate properly after applying full reverse thrust to engine #2 on landing. This causes runway excursion and an overshoot of the runway. Though there are no fatalities on the aircraft, the Airbus hits some shanties which results in 3 deaths.
 
April 20: An Air France flight from Bogotá's El Dorado Airport, to Quito, using an aircraft leased from TAME and flown by Ecuadorian crew, crashed into a mountain near Bogotá. All 43 passengers and 10 crew died.
 
May 5: A Peruvian Air Force Boeing 737-200 (FAP-351) operating on lease to Occidental Petroleum crashes in a thunderstorm while on a non-directional beacon (NDB) approach, killing 75 of the 88 aboard.
 
August 31: North Korea launches its first satellite, Kwangmyŏngsŏng.
 
September 2: Swissair Flight 111, a McDonnell Douglas MD-11, crashed into the sea near Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, due to smoke in the cockpit caused by insulation burning in the shell. All 229 people on board perished. Read more...
 
AirTran Airways Boeing 717-2BD (N996AT) at  Washington - Ronald Reagan National, United States
September 2: First flight of the Boeing 717. Read more...
 
(Private) Boeing 737-7BC(BBJ) (N720MM) at  Las Vegas - McCarran International, United States
September 4: First flight of the Boeing BBJ.
 
October 10: A Lignes Aériennes Congolaises Boeing 727 (registered 9Q-CSG) is struck by a shoulder-fired missile just after takeoff from Kindu, Democratic Republic of Congo. The crew attempts an emergency landing but fails, and all 41 on board perish. Local rebels claim responsibility for the attack.
 
Air Tahiti Nui Airbus A340-313X (F-OJTN) at  Los Angeles - International, United States
November 20: Air Tahiti Nui commences flight operations.
 
December 10: Two Canadian Snowbird CT-114 Tutors collide during training near Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, killing one of the pilots.
 
 
 

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