On This Day in Aviation History


Boeing 707 Prototype Makes First Test Flight, First USSR-US Service Takes Off: July 15 in Aviation History

Air-to-air photo of the Boeing 367-80 Dash 80, showing the aircraft passing over Washington's Olympic Peninsula. (Photo by Joe Parke, via Boeing)

1916: A timber merchant named William E. Boeing and a US Navy engineer named George Conrad Westervelt form a new aircraft company called the Pacific Aero Products Company. A year later it would be renamed Boeing Airplane Company.

1923: Dobrolyot, a Soviet state airline and predecessor of today’s Aeroflot, launches its first scheduled domestic service, connecting Moscow and Nizhniy Novgorod.

1954: The Boeing 367-80, a prototype for the groundbreaking Boeing 707 airliner and the KC-135 Stratotanker, makes its first test flight. Boeing’s $16 million investment in the design was a massive risk for an aircraft with no customers at the time.

1968: The first airline service between the Soviet Union and the U.S., a Moscow-New York service, flies 10 years after negotiations began.

1975: The first US-Soviet joint space flight, known as the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project begins with launches of Saturn and Soyuz rockets from Kennedy Space Center and Baikonur Cosmodrome, respectively. The two spacecraft would dock in orbit two days later. It would mark the final mission of the Apollo program, and NASA’s last manned mission until the Space Shuttle program came online in 1981.

1983: The Turkish Airlines counter at Paris-Orly Airport is destroyed by a suitcase bomb planted by Armenian militants. Eight people are killed and 55 injured.

1996: A Belgian Air Force C-130 Hercules carrying the Royal Netherlands Army marching band crashes while attempting to land at Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands, killing 34 of the 41 people onboard. The crash is blamed on a birdstrike which damaged both engines on the right wing.

2009: Caspian Airlines Flight 7908, a Tehran-Yerevan, Armenia service operated by a Tupolev Tu-154 (EP-CPG), crashes 16 minutes after takeoff into a northwestern Iran village, killing all 168 people onboard. Iranian officials blamed the crash on a bird strike and engine failure.

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Scott Bateman in front of an under construction Boeing 747.

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