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What Happened to TWA Flight 800? — #TBT Week of July 12

In the spirit of #TBT (“Throwback Thursday,” not Brazil’s Tabatinga Airport) FlyerTalk takes a look back at the events that helped shape modern aviation. Here are just a few moments from history that changed the face of the industry during the week of July 12.


July 12, 2000

Hapag-Lloyd Flight 3378, with scheduled service from Chania International Airport (CHQ) to Hannover Airport (HAJ), was forced to divert to Vienna International Airport (VIE) due to a number of technical glitches, including non-retracting landing gear. The Airbus A310 ran out of fuel and crashed just short of its assigned runway at VIE. Though the aircraft was written off, there were no fatalities from the accident.

An investigation by the Austrian Federal Office of Transport discovered that the crew was exhausted from a high workload and stress, causing them to neglect company fuel reserve guidelines. 

July 13, 2009

Southwest Airlines Flight 2294 was forced to divert while en route from Nashville International Airport (BNA) to Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) after a portion of the Boeing 737’s roof came off and caused rapid depressurization in the cabin. The aircraft safety landed at Yeager Airport (CRW) in Charleston, W. Va. and no injuries were reported.

An investigation discovered metal fatigue as the cause of the situation. Nearly two years later, another Southwest 737 would experience a similar situation in Arizona. 

July 14, 2009

The European Commission made sweeping changes to the “black listed” airlines over Europe. The Commission lifted restrictions against four Indonesian airlines, allowing Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Airlines, Airfast Indonesia and Premiair to begin operations in Europe. Meanwhile, the Commission extended their “black list” to airlines operating from Kazakhstan and Zambia, exempting Air Astana from the list. 

July 15, 1947

Northwest Airlines became the first airline to directly serve Japan, beginning direct flights between the U.S. and the island nation. The air route, operated with a Douglas DC-4, began from their headquarters in Minneapolis, with stops in Edmonton, Anchorage and the Aleutian Islands.

Prior to the Northwest service, all flights to Japan stopped in both Hawaii and The Philippines. 

July 16, 1948

British aircraft manufacturer Vickers celebrated the first flight of the Vickers Viscount, one of the first commercial aircraft built in the post-war era. Powered by four turboprop engines, the aircraft was hailed for the modern, pressurized cabin and reduced noise.

Over 400 Viscounts were constructed for use around the world before finally being retired in 2008. 

July 17, 1996

TWA Flight 800, scheduled for service from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) inexplicably exploded in midair only 30 minutes into their flight. All 230 souls aboard the Boeing 747 were lost in either the explosion or subsequent crash.

The aircraft explosion was immediately subject to a number of theories, including a terrorist attack and accidental shoot-down. An investigation ultimately determined the aircraft exploded due to a short circuit on the aircraft igniting fuel vapors. 

July 18, 2010

After nearly three years of delays, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner makes its first international appearance at the Farnborough Air Show. The Dreamliner drew the fascination of both airline enthusiasts and airlines as the first modern commercial aircraft built completely out of composite parts.

ANA would ultimately become the launch customer of the Dreamliner, operating the first commercial flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong.


[Photo: NTSB Accident Report]

Comments are Closed.
atman August 20, 2015

Total clickbait. I guess it's time to move on to other sites and just filter Flyertalk out of my life.

Asiaflyguy July 17, 2015

Who really killed JFK?

cestmoi123 July 17, 2015

"What Really Happened to TWA Flight 800?" Seriously Flyertalk? You're participating in this nonsense with a clickbait headline? To answer the question: "the aircraft exploded due to a short circuit on the aircraft igniting fuel vapors."