On This Day in Aviation History
On This Day in Aviation History: February 8th
2008 – Eagle Airways Flight 2279 is hijacked 10 minutes after takeoff from Woodbourne Airport in New Zealand by a Somalian refugee. The pilots of the BAe Jetstream 32 (ZK-ECN) received minor injuries in the passengers’ knife attack until finally being subdued.
1989 – Independent Air Flight 1851, a Boeing 707-331B (N7231T) flying from Italy to the Dominican Republic, crashes into a mountain while on approach to a fuel stop on Santa Maria Island in the Azores. All 144 on the aircraft died after the flight crew failed to properly brief themselves about the 3,000ft minimum safe altitude (MSA), and were also given the wrong barometric altimeter setting by a trainee controller.
1988 – The Federal Aviation Administration retires an aircraft registration number for the first time – that of Amelia Earhart’s airplane, which disappeared over the Pacific in July 1937.
1974 – The crew of Skylab 4 leaves the American space station for the last time.
1966 – Freddie Laker founds Laker Airways after quitting British United to start his own airline.
1965 – Eastern Air Lines Flight 663 flying from Boston to Atlanta crashes near Jones Beach State Park in New York, killing all 84 souls on-board. The Douglas DC-7 (N849D) had just departed New York’s JFK International Airport (one of its stops along the way) and made a hard right turn to avoid a Pan Am 707, missing by only 200-500 feet. Unable to recover from its bank and becoming disoriented, the aircraft plunged into the ocean.
1933 – The first Boeing 247 takes to the air opening a new era in air transport, representing the new age of all-metal monoplane designs.
1919 – The Farman brothers make the first scheduled international flight in Europe: A Farman F.60 Goliath piloted by M. Lucien Bossoutrot carries a token load of military passengers between Toussus le Noble airfield outside Paris and Kenley in southern England.
1919 – Lafayette Escadrille, the US volunteer squadron serving in the French Army, is transferred to the US Army and redesignated the 103rd Aero Squadron.
1914 – Berliner, Haase and Nikolai depart on a 1897-mile record flight in their free balloon from Bitterfeld to Perm. This record would stand until 1950.