1972 in aviation

This is a list of aviation-related events from 1972.

Years in aviation: 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975
Centuries: 19th century · 20th century · 21st century
Decades: 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
Years: 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975

InfamyEdit

1972 remains the deadliest year in aviation history since World War II, with many accidents and incidents involving over 50 fatalities; 2,313 people were killed in aviation crashes in this year.[1] The deadliest crash of this year was Aeroflot Flight 217, a Ilyushin Il-62 which crashed while on approach to Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, USSR on 13 October, killing all 174 people on board. In addition, many accidents and incidents involving under 50 fatalities were recorded.

EventsEdit

  • Early in the year, the United States introduces the Walleye II optically guided glide bomb into service, employing it in the Vietnam War. It becomes known as the "Fat Albert."[2]

JanuaryEdit

FebruaryEdit

MarchEdit

  • March 3 – Mohawk Airlines Flight 405, a Fairchild Hiller FH-227, crashes into a house while on final approach to Albany County Airport (later Albany International Airport) in Albany, New York, killing 16 of the 48 people on the plane and injuring all but one of the 32 survivors. The crash also kills one person and injures three others on the ground.
  • March 4 – Biman Bangladesh Airlines inaugurates its first international route, using a single Boeing 707 to provide service between Bangladesh and London.
  • March 7
    • At Tampa International Airport in Florida, Edmund McKee pulls a revolver on a National Airlines ticket agent helping passengers board National Airlines Flight 67 – a Boeing 727 with 24 people aboard – and takes the agent hostage, saying he wants to hijack the jetliner. He is escorted aboard and demands to fly to Sweden. The captain informs McKee that the airliner lacks the range to cross the Atlantic Ocean, then convinces him to release all of the passengers and to step outside to continue negotiations. Once McKee exits the aircraft, security personnel overpower and arrest him.[19][20]
    • As a Chalk's International Airlines Grumman G-73 Mallard refuels at Watson Island, Florida, during a flight from Miami to Bimini with five passengers and a crew of two, Joseph Terron Bennett and James William Brewton of the Black Liberation Army hijack it and demand to be flown to Cuba. A Chalk's mechanic gets a pistol out of his car, intending to shoot out the plane's tires, but the hijackers shoot and wound him. After the pilot refuses to start the engines, the hijackers shoot him also, and he jumps from the aircraft followed by one passenger. With four passengers still aboard, Bennett and Brewton force the copilot to fly them to Havana, which – after bumping into a Grumman Goose parked beside it at Watson Island – the Mallard barely reaches with its fuel tank almost empty. Cuban authorities arrest the two hijackers and allow the Mallard and its passengers and copilot to fly back to the United States the next day. Brewton will be killed during an armed robbery in Jamaica in 1975, while Bennett will return to the United States secretly in 1982 and will not be arrested there until 1983.[21][22]
  • March 9 – American aircraft record their 100th protective reaction strike of the Vietnam War against enemy surface-to-air missile and antiaircraft artillery sites.[2]
  • March 11 – A hijacker commanders an Alitalia Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle flying from Rome to Milan, Italy, with 36 people on board and forces it to fly to Munich, West Germany.[23]
  • March 12 – Tunisair takes delivery of its first Boeing aircraft, a Boeing 727-200.
  • March 14 – Sterling Airways Flight 296, a Sud Aviation Caravelle, crashes into a mountain ridge near Kalba in the United Arab Emirates, killing all 112 people on board. It remains the deadliest aviation accident in the history of that nation.
  • March 19 – EgyptAir Flight 763, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32, crashes into the highest peak of Aden Crater, an extinct volcano, while on approach to land at Aden International Airport, killing all 30 people on board. It remains the deadliest civil aviation accident in the history of Yemen.
  • Late March – The commander-in-chief of the Soviet Air Force visits North Vietnam, apparently leading to improved North Vietnamese air defense tactics that will be observed between April and September.[2]
  • March 31 – In response to the North Vietnamese "Easter Offensive" against South Vietnam that began on March 30, the United States begins a series of deployments code-named "Constant Guard", in which a large number of U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps squadrons return to bases in South Vietnam and Thailand and the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier presence at Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin increases from two on March 30 to six by late spring.[24]

AprilEdit

MayEdit

JuneEdit

JulyEdit

AugustEdit

SeptemberEdit

OctoberEdit

NovemberEdit

  • November 4 – During a domestic flight in Bulgaria from Bourgas to Sofia, a Balkan Bulgarian Airlines Ilyushin Il-14P's (registration LZ-ILA) pilot decides to divert to Plovdiv due to poor visibility at Sofia. An air traffic controller at Plovdiv gives the Il-14P descent instructions without knowing its exact position; following the instructions in poor visibility, the airliner crashes into the side of a hill near Cruncha, killing all 35 people on board.[134]
  • November 6 – Armed with a .38-caliber revolver and claiming to have two bombs, 47-year-old Tatsuji Nakaoka, wearing a mask and traveling under the pseudonym "Kozo Hotta," hijacks a Japan Air Lines Boeing 727 with 126 people on board shortly after it takes off from Tokyo's Haneda Airport for a domestic flight to Fukuoka, Japan. He forces the airliner to return to Haneda Airport, and demands $2 million in U.S. currency and that a Douglas DC-8 be provided to fly him to Cuba, stipulating that the DC-8 stop at Vancouver and in Mexico along the way. After receiving the ransom money, Nakaoka takes eight hostages and boards the DC-8, where several police officers hiding in the main cabin immediately overpower and arrest him.[135][136]
  • November 8 – Four hijackers commandeer a Mexicana de Aviación Boeing 727-200 with 111 people on board making a domestic flight in Mexico from Monterrey to Mexico City and demand a ransom and the release of political prisoners. After six prisoners board the airliner and the ransom is delivered, the hijackers force the plane to fly to Havana, Cuba.[137]
  • November 10–12 – Seeking revenge against the City of Detroit, Michigan, for alleged police brutality and an arrest for sexual assault, Louis Moore and Henry Jackson join with Melvin Cale in hijacking Southern Airways Flight 49, a Douglas DC-9 with 33 people aboard, during a flight from Birmingham to Montgomery, Alabama. Armed with guns and hand grenades, they demand 10 parachutes, 10 bulletproof vests, and a US$10 million ransom, and order the airliner to fly to Detroit to pick it up. Fog prevents a landing there, and the plane diverts to Cleveland, Ohio, while the hijackers consume the plane's liquor supply. They then order the plane to fly on to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where Southern Airways offers them US$500,000. Moore rejects this and orders the plane to take off again and fly to Knoxville, Tennessee, but before arrival there orders the plane to circle the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, threatening to crash the plane into the nuclear reactor there unless his demands are not met. Southern Airways collects 150 pounds (68 kg) of cash totaling $2 million, and gives it to the hijackers when the airliner lands at Chattanooga, Tennessee, hoping the hijackers will be too impressed by the physical amount of cash to realize it is less than they demanded. The ruse works, and the jubilant hijackers hand out cash to the passengers and crew, but then order the plane to fly to Havana, Cuba, where authorities refuse to allow the hijackers to disembark. The airliner takes off again, stops at Key West, Florida, and then lands at a United States Air Force base near Orlando, Florida, where Federal Bureau of Investigation agents damage its landing gear with gunfire. It again flies to Havana, arriving there on November 12, and Cuban authorities arrest and jail the hijackers and impound the ransom for return to Southern Airways. The hijacking prompts a change of heart among airlines and transportation authorities in the United States, who previously had viewed hijacking as a relatively benign interference in their business that rarely resulted in harm to anyone and not worth the inconvenience and expense of preventing it, and leads to the requirement to screen all passengers boarding airliners in the United States beginning in January 1973.[138][139]
  • November 15 – The first attempted aircraft hijacking in Australia takes place when Miloslav Hrabinec attempts to hijack Ansett Airlines Flight 232, a Fokker F27 Friendship with 31 other people on board, as it is descending to land at Alice Springs. He demands a parachute and to be flown 1,000 miles (1,600 km) into the desert. After landing at Alice Springs, he releases 22 passengers, then threatens to begin shooting the rest of the people on board if not given a light plane, a pilot, and a parachute. After he leaves the Fokker to approach the light plane with a flight attendant as a hostage, he wounds a policeman, is brought under fire by police, and then shoots himself to death.
  • November 22 – While U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortresses fly their heaviest raids of the Vietnam War at the time during the day,[140] a North Vietnamese surface-to-air missile hits a B-52 over North Vietnam near Vinh; its crew manages to fly it to Thailand before ejecting. It is the first time in history that a B-52 has been lost to enemy action.[58][140]
  • November 24 – A hijacker seizes control of an Air Canada Douglas DC-8 bound from Frankfurt-am-Main, West Germany, to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and demands the release of political prisoners. Police storm the airliner at Frankfurt Airport and arrest the hijacker. One person is killed during the hijacking.[141]
  • November 28

DecemberEdit

First flightsEdit

JanuaryEdit

FebruaryEdit

MayEdit

JuneEdit

JulyEdit

SeptemberEdit

OctoberEdit

DecemberEdit

Entered serviceEdit

AprilEdit

OctoberEdit

RetirementsEdit

AugustEdit

NovemberEdit

ReferencesEdit

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