1963 in aviation

Years in aviation:1960 1961 1963 1964 1965 1966
Centuries: 19th century · 20th century · 21st century
Decades:1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s
Years:1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966

This is a list of aviation-related events from 1963:





  • The U.S. Army completes a six-month test of the Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter (the "Huey") in an armed escort role, evaluating the operations of the Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter Company's operations escorting CH-21C Shawnee transport helicopters in South Vietnam, concluding that the value of attack helicopters in suppressing enemy fire during the landing phase of a helicopter operation justified the fielding of attack helicopter units.[8]
  • March 5 - Country music performers Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, and Hawkshaw Hawkins are among four people killed in the crash of a Piper PA-24 Comanche near Camden, Tennessee.[9]
  • March 18 - The Dassault Balzac makes its first transitions from vertical to horizontal flight and back
  • March 29 – Alisarda is founded. It operates initially as an air taxi and general charter airline.







  • September 1 – Sued over its name for trademark violation by the West German airline Lufthansa – which had purchased the rights to the name of the defunct pre-1945 airline Deutsche Luft Hansa in August 1954 – and as a result unable to join the International Air Transport Association, the East German national airline Deutsche Lufthansa (DLH) is liquidated. Its staff, fleet, and route network are transferred to Interflug, which takes over as East Germany's national airline.
  • September 4 – Shortly after takeoff from Zurich-Kloten Airport in Kloten near Zürich, Switzerland, Swissair Flight 306, a Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III, catches fire, leading to hydraulic failure and a loss of control. The plane crashes near Dürrenäsch, Switzerland, killing all 80 people on board. Among the dead are 43 people – one-fifth of the population – of the village of Humlikon, Switzerland, traveling together to visit a farm test site at Geneva.
  • September 14 – The Tokyo Convention – officially the "Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft" – is concluded in Tokyo, Japan. It establishes that at least one state, specifically the one in which the aircraft is registered, will take jurisdiction over the suspect in the event of an in-flight criminal offense that jeopardizes the safety of an aircraft or people on an aircraft during international air navigation or an intention to commit such an offense, and it provides for situations in which other states may also have jurisdiction. It also recognizes certain powers and immunities of the pilot in command, who on international flights may restrain any person or persons he or she has reasonable cause to believe is committing or is about to commit an offense liable to interfere with the safety of persons or property on board the aircraft or who is jeopardizing good order and discipline aboard the aircraft, the first time this has been recognized in international aviation law. The Convention will go into force on December 4, 1969.


  • In an exercise named Operation Big Lift, the United States Air Force airlifts an entire armored division of 15,000 troops to Europe within five days.
  • October 1 – The French airlines Transports Aériens Intercontinentaux (TAI) and Union Aéromaritime de Transport (UAT) merge to form the new airline Union de Transports Aériens (UTA).
  • October 2 – Second British Short SC.1 VTOL research aircraft, XG905, flying from Belfast Harbour Airport, crashes due to a control malfunction, killing the test pilot, J. R. Green.[22]
  • October 16 – In Operation Greased Lightning, an unmodified B-58 Hustler bomber of the U.S. Air Force′s 305th Bombardment Wing named Greased Lightning sets a new speed record by flying nonstop from Tokyo to London nonstop, passing over via Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, and covering the 14,850-kilometer (9,222-mile; 8,028-nautical mile) distance in 8 hours, 35 minutes, 20.4 seconds, at an average speed of 938 mph (1,510 km/hr), despite having to slow five times for aerial refueling. The B-58 flies at Mach 2 for most of the flight – maintaining an average cruise speed over a five-hour period of 2,276 km/hr (1,413 mph; 1,230 knots) at an altitude of 16,160 meters (53,000 feet) – throttling back to subsonic speeds only for the last hour after losing an afterburner; the reduction in speed in the flight′s late stages results in an average speed for the entire trip of about Mach 1.5. In addition to the Tokyo-London speed record, the flight also sets speed records for the leg from Tokyo to Anchorage, Alaska, which the B-58 covers in 3 hours, 9 minutes, 42 seconds at an average speed of 1,093.4 mph (1,759.7 km/hr), and for the leg from Anchorage to London, which it covers in 5 hours, 24 minutes, 54 seconds at an average speed of 826.9 mph (1.330.8 km/hr). As of 2017, the Tokyo-Anchorage leg of the flight remains the longest supersonic flight in history.[23][24][25][26][27] The flight is the last record-setting attempt by a B-58, which has set 19 recognized speed and altitude world records, the most in history by any combat aircraft.[23]
  • October 22 – During its flight development program, the BAC One-Eleven airliner prototype, G-ASHG, crashes, killing the entire crew of seven, including test pilot M. J. Lithgow. The investigation of the accident reveals that it resulted from a deep stall caused by the aircraft assuming an unexpected and dangerously high angle of attack, and remedial measures will be of great use worldwide in designing aircraft that have a T-tail and rear-mounted engine configuration.[28]
  • October 28 – Belfast Aldergrove opens as the principal airport for Northern Ireland, civilian facilities transferring from Nutts Corner.



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