On This Day in Aviation History


Today in Aviation History: October 31st

2003 – British Airways’ flagship and first Concorde, G-BOAC, makes its final flight, ferrying from London Heathrow to Manchester, where it sits on display.

2000 – The first resident crew of the International Space Station lifts off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz TM-31 spacecraft. The ISS has been manned continuously ever since.

2000 – A chartered Antonov AN-26 operated by ACA-Ancargo Air explodes after taking off in Northern Angola, killing 44 passengers and 5 crew. Local rebels would claim responsibility for shooting the plane down.

2000 – Singapore Airlines Flight 006, a Boeing 747-400 (registered 9V-SPK) crashes on takeoff at Chiang Kai-Shek Airport in Taiwan, killing 83 of the 179 on-board. The flight had been cleared for departure after dark during a period of poor visibility, heavy rain and high winds (winds 020 at 36, gusts 56; visibility 600 feet) resulting from Typhoon Xangsane, which was passing nearby. the aircraft had been cleared to depart on runway 5L, but mistakenly turned onto runway 5R, which had been closed for construction. About 41 seconds into the takeoff roll and 3.5 seconds after V1, the aircraft struck multiple construction vehicles, broke in two and burst into flames. This particular aircraft was one of two painted in a special “Tropical” livery to promote the airline’s new first class and business seating. After the accident, Singapore Airlines immediately repainted the second aircraft back into their regular colors and have not painted a special scheme since.

1999 – EgyptAir Flight 990, a 767-300 (registered SU-GAP) crashes off the coast of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, killing all 217 on-board. Though disputed by Egyptian officials, the aircraft made two dives over the course of two and a half minutes from altitudes of 33,000ft and 24,000ft in the Relief First Officer’s attempt to kill himself. While the Captain attempted to pull the nose back up, the RFO pushed it down and shut down the engines, while continuously repeating “I rely on God,” until the plane broke up due to extreme aerodynamic stress.

1996 – TAM Flight 402, a Fokker 100 (registered PT-MRK), crashes shortly after takeoff, killing all 96 people on-board and 3 on the ground. During it’s climb, the number 2 engine experienced and un-commanded reverse thrust deployment, making the aircraft yaw to the right, lose control and strike a building. This aircraft was painted in a special “Number 1” paint scheme.

1994 – American Eagle Flight 4184, an ATR-72 (registered N401AM) crashes in Roselawn, Ind., while on approach to Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD), killing all 68 on-board. While descending through 8,000 ft, ice that had built-up on the wings forced the aircraft into two rolls before diving and coming down in a field at an impact speed of 375 knots. Due in part to the ATR’s poor ice performance, American Eagle would subsequently move their ATR fleet to the warmer climates of the southern states and the Caribbean.

1990 – Australia’s government deregulates the airline industry, allowing carriers to set fares and select routes on their own.

1987 – Lynn Barton becomes the first female pilot hired by British Airways.

1979 – Western Airlines flight 2605, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 (registered N903WA) flying from Los Angeles to Mexico City, lands on a closed runway at Benito Juarez International Airport in fog and bursts into flames after striking a parked truck. Though cleared to land on runway 23R, they had touched down on 23. 72 of the 89 people on-board are killed.

1973 – Three Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) escape from Mountjoy Prison in Dublin, Ireland after a hijacked helicopter lands in the prison’s exercise yard to pick them up.

1972 – Two pilots are killed while test flying a Dassault Falcon 10 business jet.

1969 – British European Airways (BEA) retires its last piston-engined airliner,

1963 – The seeds of the so-called “British Invasion” are planted as American TV personality Ed Sullivan has a chance encounter with an up-and-coming British band calling themselves The Beatles while passing through Heathrow Airport. Upon witnessing the gaggles of crazed young ladies greeting the band’s return from a performance in Stockholm, Sullivan sees their potential as the “next Elvis” and offers them a spot on his show. The Beatles would make their first American TV appearance on the February 9, 1964 broadcast of The Ed Sullivan Show, and the rest is history.

1956 – The US Navy R4D-5 Skytrain Que Sera Sera, commanded by Rear Admiral George Dufek, becomes the first airplane to make a landing at the South Pole.

1944 – A US Navy Vought F4U Corsair completes the first successful radar-guided interception of an enemy aircraft.


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NYCAviation Staff


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