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2011 In Aviation

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2011 In Aviation

This is a list of aviation-related events from 2011:



1 January
5 January
9 January
  • Iran Air Flight 277, crashes while performing a go-around at Urmia Airport killing 77 of the 106 people aboard, and injuring 26 people. A total of 28 people survived. The aircraft involved in the accident was a Boeing 727-286Adv.
10 January
14 January
21 January
  • British Airways and Iberia merge to form International Airlines Group (IAG), the world's third-largest airline in terms of annual revenue and the second-largest airline group in Europe. However, both airlines continue to operate under their previous brands.
24 January


9 February
  • The United States Air Force announces that the C-17 Globemaster III is its first aircraft certified to fly on biofuel. The certification clears the C-17 to fly on a volumetric blend of up to 50 percent HRJ biofuel and 50 percent JP-8 conventional jet fuel or on a blend of 25 percent HRJ, 25 percent synthetic paraffinic kerosene fuel, and 50 percent JP-8. It also announces that it plans to complete flight testing of HRJ by February 2012 and to have all U.S. Air Force aircraft certified to use biofuels by December 2012.[7]
10 February
21 February
  • As violence in the Libyan Civil War grows, Libyan Air Force warplanes and attack helicopters launch airstrikes on protesters, reportedly targeting a funeral procession and a group of protesters trying to reach a military base.[11][12]
  • Two senior Libyan Air Force pilots fly their Dassault Mirage F1 fighters to Malta and request political asylum after defying orders to bomb protesters.[13][14] Two civilian helicopters also land in Malta after a flight from Libya, carrying seven passengers who claim to be French oil workers.[14]
22 February
28 February


1 March
2 March
  • Two Libyan Air Force jets bomb Ajdabiya in an attempt to destroy a weapons depot. Anti-aircraft artillery shoots one of them down.[21][22]
  • The Libyan opposition‍ '​s interim-government council formally requests that the United Nations impose a no-fly zone over Libya and conduct precision air strikes against Libyan government forces,[18] and the Arab League states that a no-fly zone is necessary and adds that in cooperation with the African Union, it could impose a militarily-enforced no-fly zone without the United Nation‍ '​s backing.[23]
4 March
  • The Libyan Air Force conducts occasional air strikes on Ajdabiya‍ '​s weapon-storage area, with no reported casualties.[24]
  • Libyan opposition forces capture the Libyan airbase at Ra's Lanuf.[25]
5 March
9 March
  • The Space Shuttle Discovery, first of the space shuttles to be retired, glides to a landing to end its 39th and final mission – the most by any space shuttle.[28]
11 March
15 March
  • A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle overshoots the runway at Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport in Djibouti, Djibouti, and crashes into a fence. No one is injured. Investigators blame the accident on a melted throttle part and pilot confusion and inattention, as well as the inability of any remote pilot to react to cues such as wind rush or high engine pitch that would suggest to the pilot of a manned aircraft that the aircraft was approaching the runway too steeply and at too high a speed.[4]
A United States Air Force F-22 Raptor flying over Edwards Air Force Base, California, on 18 March 2011 on a fuel consisting of a 50/50 blend of JP-8 conventional jet fuel and a biofuel.
17 March
18 March
19 March
20 March
  • An airstrike by the international coalition against a Libyan government military ground convoy approaching Misrata destroys 14 tanks, 20 armored personnel carriers, and several trucks filled with ammunition, killing at least 14 Libyan government soldiers.[38]
22 March
23 March
24 March
  • A French fighter aircraft destroys a Libyan government Soko G-2 Galeb military trainer aircraft on the ground just after it had landed at a Libyan base following a flight in which it violated the no-fly zone over Libya.[45] French aircraft also bomb the Al Jufra Air Base.[46][47]
25 March
26 March
  • Coalition aircraft attack targets on the outskirts of Misrata, Libya.[51]
  • France reports that at least five Libyan government Soko G-2 Galeb fighter planes and two Libyan government Mil Mi-24 (NATO reporting name "Hind") attack helicopters preparing to attack rebel forces in the Az Zintan and Misrata regions have been shot down in the last 24 hours.[52]
28 March
  • British jets bomb ammunition bunkers in southern Libya and destroy 22 tanks, other armoured vehicles, and artillery pieces in the vicinity of Ajdabiya and Misrata.[53]
28–29 March (overnight)
  • Coalition aircraft fly 115 strike sorties against targets in Libya.[54]
29 March
30 March
  • After a sandstorm prevents strikes the previous day, coalition aircraft begin attacks against Libyan government forces around Ra's Lanuf and on the road to Uqayla.[56]
31 March
  • The [57] and greatly reduces its participation in airstrikes there.
  • Coalition aircraft strike an eastern suburb of Tripoli, Libya,[58] and attack Libyan government forces in Brega during the Third Battle of Brega.[59][60]


1 April
5 April
  • Coalition airtsrikes against an eight-vehicle Libyan government military convoy approaching rebel positions 30 km (18.6 miles) east of Brega destroy two vehicles. The rest turn back.[64]
7 April
  • Unaware that Libyan rebels had taken possession of any tanks, Ajdabiya, killing thirteen and wounding many,[65][66] Other NATO airstrikes mistakenly kill two rebels and wound 10 in Brega.[67][68]
10 April
  • NATO announces that its airstrikes in Libya under Operation Unified Protector have destroyed 11 Libyan government tanks near Ajdabiya and 14 near Misrata during the day.[69] Libyan rebels announce that NATO airstrikes have helped them hold Ajdabiya and drive Gaddafi‍ '​s forces out during the weekend‍ '​s attack.[70]
11 April
  • NATO announces that its Operation Unified Protector airstrikes have destroyed 49 Libyan government tanks since 9 April, including 13 on 9 April, 25 on 10 April, and 11 on 11 April.[71]
12 April
14 April
  • Coalition jets strike Tripoli, Libya, targeting a military base and damaging parts of a university complex. Libyan government antiaircraft artillery in central Tripoli fires at them.[73]
21 April
24 April
  • Libyan rebels claim that coalition airstrikes on Libyan government forces on the Al ZaitoniyaAl Soihat road near Ajdabiya hit 21 military vehicles but NATO does not confirm their claim.[74]
25 April
27 April
  • NATO airstrikes mistakenly kill 11 Libyan rebels and wound two in Misrata.[76]
30 April
  • The Syrian government deploys helicopters to Daraa in response to antiregime protests there as violence increases in the Syrian Civil War.[77]
  • A NATO airstrike in Tripoli kills Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Arab Gaddafi. The Libyan government claims that three of Said al-Arab Gaddafi's children also die in the attack.[78]


1–2 May (overnight)
2 May
7 May
  • A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle suffers an electrical failure and crashes in the Gulf of Aden one mile (1.6 km) off Djibouti, Djibouti.[4]
11 May
13 May
17 May
  • A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle carrying a live AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile misses the runway at Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport in Djibouti, Djibouti, by three miles (4.8 km) and crashes near a residential area. Its missile does not explode, and no one is injured.[4]
19–20 May (overnight)
  • NATO aircraft raid Libyan Navy bases at Tripoli, Khoms, and Sirte in the largest attack against Libyan government naval forces thus far in the Libyan Civil War. During the Khoms raids, British aircraft hit two corvettes at Khoms with laser-guided bombs and damage an inflatable-boat manufacturing facility, and NATO aircraft set a warship at Tripoli afire. NATO aircraft also hit a police academy in Tripoli‍ '​s Tajoura neighborhood.[86]
21 May
  • NATO conducts 147 air sorties over Libya, targeting two command-and-control facilities in and near Tripoli, an ammunition storage facility near Tripoli, a naval asset near Sirte, two air defense radars near Al Khums, and a tank and a military truck near Zintan. Since NATO took command of air strikes in Libya on 31 March 31, its aircraft have conducted 2,975 strike and 4.757 other sorties.[57]
23 May
  • France and the United Kingdom announce that they will begin to use attack helicopters in Libya to increase the accuracy of NATO airstrikes and allow more precise strikes against urban targets.[87]
24 May
  • NATO stages the largest air attacks against Tripoli since th beginning of the international intervention in the Libyan Civil War, with ore than 20 airstrikes hitting Tripoli near Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's compound. The Libyan government reports at least three people killed and dozens wounded.[88]
26 May
  • The United Kingdom announces plans to send four Apache helicopters to serve in the Libyan conflict.[89]
27 May
  • NATO aircraft conduct 151 sorties over Libya, striking a command and control facility in Tripoli, ammunition storage facilities near Sirte, Mizda, and Hun, a rocket launcher and two truck-mounted guns near Misrata, and four surface-to-air missile launchers near Zintan. NATO jets also destroy the guard towers surrounding Gaddafi's Bab al-Azizia compound in Tripoli. NATO aircraft have flown 8,585 sorties over Libya since NATO took command of the operations there on 31 March.[90]
  • As of 27 May, a total of twenty NATO ships were actively patrolling the Central Mediterranean.[89][90]
28 May
  • Japanese wingsuit pilot Shin Ito sets a world record for the highest speed reached in a wingsuit flight, achieving a speed of 363 km/hr (225.4 mph) over Yolo County, California. The jump starts from an altitude of 32,000 feet (9,753.6 meters).[91]
31 May
  • The Libyan government claims that NATO air raids have killed 718 civilians and injured more than 4,000 since the international bombing campaign to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya began.[92]


2 June
3 June
4 June
  • British Army Air Corps Apache attack helicopters from HMS Ocean destroy several Libyan government targets near the Brega-Ajdabiya front line, including ammunition bunkers and radar installations. French Gazelles hit numerous targets around Brega in preparation for an expected rebel ground offensive.[96][97]
5 June
10 June
14 June
14–15 June (overnight)
  • NATO jets resume airstrikes on Tripoli after a lull in such raids, bombarding mainly its eastern neighborhoods.[100]
15 June
  • A NATO commander confirms that NATO warplanes have bombed an ammunition store at Waddan, Libya.[101]
16 June
19 June
  • A NATO airstrike accidentally hits a civilian neighborhood in Tripoli, Libya. The Libyan government claims that at least five people died in the attack.[102][103]
20 June
21 June
  • Libyan government antiaircraft fire shoots down an unmanned NATO MQ-8 Fire Scout helicopter drone on a reconnaissance flight near Zliten, Libya.[104]
29 June


2 July
10 July
  • Egypt ends its unrestricted immigration policy for Libyan nationals arriving in Egypt by air.[108]
12 July
  • An airstrip laid out along a stretch of highway near Rhebat in the Nafusa Mountains was opened by a senior NTC minister, allowing an air connection via a small private company, Air Libya, between Benghazi and the Amazigh rebels.[109]
17 July
22 July
23 July
25 July
  • NATO aircraft strike various targets in Ziltan, Libya. The Libyan government claims that they struck a health clinic, a food-storage complex, and a military base and killed at least 11 civilians. NATO later rejects the claims, saying its planes hit a command-and-control node and a vehicle storage facility.[112]
30 July


1 August
3 August
5 August
9 August
12 August
15 August
16 August
17 August
20 August
22 August
25 August


4 September
14 September
16 September
26 September
27–28 September
30 September


  • Key West International Airport receives approval to provide commercial air service between Key West, Florida, and Cuba. It will take more than two years for charter airline operators to receive all the necessary permissions to make the first flight, which will take place on 30 December 2013 as the first commercial flight between Key West and Cuba in over 50 years.[133]
10 October
11 October
16 October
21 October
23 October
26 October
31 October
  • The Operation Unified Protector, its military operations in Libya. Since taking command of the international intervention in the Libyan civil war on 31 March, its aircraft have carried out 9,600 strike sorties and destroyed more than 1,000 tanks, vehicles, and guns, as well as the Libyan air defense and command-and-control network.[141]


  • U.S. Air Force inspectors ground the Air Force‍ '​s MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles based at Seychelles International Airport on Mahé in the Seychelles after discovering that the Reapers, operated by the private firm Merlin RAMCo, had not received required mechanical upgrades. The Reapers remain grounded until December.[4]
1 November
2 November
  • American wingsuit flier Dean Potter makes the longest verified wingsuit BASE jump in terms of distance traveled, covering 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles) in a jump from the Eiger in Switzerland. His flight involves a descent of 9,200 feet (2,804 meters) and lasts 3 minutes 20 seconds.[142]
13 November
  • The Dubai-based airline Emirates orders 50 Boeing 777 airliners worth about US$18,000,000,000 – the largest order in terms of commercial value in Boeing‍ '​s history at the time – with an option to purchase 20 more 777s for another $8,000,000,000.[143]
18 November
  • Lion Air and Boeing sign the most valuable commercial order in history at the time, a $21,700,000,000 Lion Air order for 201 Boeing 737 MAX and 29 Boeing 737-900ER airliners. At 230 aircraft, it is also the single biggest order in history at the time for airliners in terms of the number of aircraft ordered. The deal also includes options for another 150 future aircraft for Lion Air.[144][145]
26 November
  • American aircraft participating in a Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan mistakenly attack a Pakistani border post, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers.[146]


1 December
4 December
  • Iran announces its capture of the CIA UAV, claiming to have shot it down. The United States acknowledges the loss of the UAV for the first time, but denies that it was shot down.[147]
  • The low-cost Thai airline Thai Lion Air, a subsidiary of Lion Air, makes its first flight, flying on the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route. It begins full service the following day.
10 December
13 December
  • The engine of an unarmed, contractor-operated U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle fails two minutes after takeoff from Seychelles International Airport on Mahé in the Seychelles. The Reaper descends too quickly while its operator attempts an emergency landing at the airport, touches down too far along the runway, bounces over a perimeter road and breakwater, and crashes and sinks in the Indian Ocean about 200 feet (61 meters) offshore.[4]
  • Ethiopian Airlines joins the Star Alliance.

First flights





Entered service


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