On This Day in Aviation History

March 18, 2012

March 18th in Aviation History: Austrian Airlines Launches Service

Austrian Airlines' first flight took place on this day in 1958

2008 – Delta Air Lines offers voluntary severance to 30,000 employees, which is half of their workforce.

1999 – An ALIANSA Columbia Douglas DC-3 (HK-337) disappears on a flight from Cucuta to El Yopal. After four days, the crash site is found on a hill, along with its 8 deceased passengers and crew.

1999 – American Airlines announces the purchase of the naming rights for the American Airlines Center arena in Dallas, Texas for $195 million.

1998 – A Formosa Airlines Saab 340 (B-12255) crashes into the sea off the coast of Taiwan, 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.

1997 – 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.

1966 – United Arab Airlines Flight 749 crashes outside Cairo, killing all 25 passengers and 4 crew. The Antonov AN-24 (SU-AOA) was on approach from Nicosia Airport in Cyprus when unexpected weather forced the aircraft into IFR conditions for which the flight crew was not prepared. That, along with a crack in a cockpit window and discrepancies between the two altimeters is thought to have led to the crash.

1963 – The Dassault Balzac becomes the first VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft to switch back and forth between vertical and horizontal flight.

1958 – Austrian Airlines takes off on its first flight, with a Vickers Viscount from Vienna to London with a stop in Zurich.

1957 – A Lloyd Aereo Boliviano Douglas DC-3 (CP-535) crashes in Sayari, Bolivia, killing all of its 19 passengers and crew.

1952 – A pair of F-84 Thunderjets complete the longest jet flight without refueling, landing in Germany after a 2,800-mile trip.

1939 – Three months after its first flight, a Boeing 307 Stratoliner crashes on Mount Rainier during a test-flight. The crash kills 10 people, including Boeing’s Chief Engineer.

1906 – The first aircraft is flown in Europe by Traian Vuia. His airplane was merely a small propeller-driven car he constructed with wings, which flew about 3 feet high for about 30 feet before the propeller stopped.

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