January 20th in Aviation History
Air Inter Flight 148:
Air Inter Flight 148 was a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Lyon to Strasbourg in France on the January of 20, 1992. The aircraft operating the flight was an Airbus A320. The aircraft was carrying 96 occupants. While circling to land at the Strasbourg Airport, the A320 crashed into the Vosges Mountains. 87 people on board died. The remaining 9 people were badly injured. The subsequent investigations revealed that the flight crew had put the auto-pilot on the wrong setting, and this led to a controlled flight into the mountains. Air Inter had not equipped its aircraft with a Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) so the flight crew had no idea as the accident happened at night and low visibility and clouds.
North American Airlines Begins Operations:
North American Airlines Inc began operations on the 20th of January, 1989. It was an airline based in the USA in Peachtree City, Georgia. The airline was a subsidiary of Global Aviation Holdings Inc. The airline began by offering charter flights on Boeing 757 aircraft. The company grew in 1990’s and started scheduled commercial flights as well. For longer range and higher density flights, North American deployed Boeing 767 aircraft. North American Airlines shut down in 2014 when it filed for bankruptcy.
First Flight of the Vickers Vanguard:
The Vickers Vanguard was a British short to medium range quad engine turboprop aircraft. It was an advanced version of the iconic Vickers Viscount. The aircraft first flew on the 20th of January, 1959. It could seat up to a 100 passengers, more room than the Viscount design. The Vanguard entered service with British European Airways in 1960. Unfortunately, the timing for its introduction was not in its favor. The jet-age started almost immediately and the Vanguard was largely ignored by airlines and operators. Only 44 were built. With no usability in the commercial sector, most were converted to freight versions and continued to serve until 1996. The freighter version was called the Cargoliner.
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