The United States Department of Defense announces that it is investigating reports that airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria have inflicted casualties on civilians and has concluded that 13 of the 18 reports of civilian casualties – nine in Iraq and nine in Syria – between 8 August 2014 and 30 December 2014 are not credible. Two in late December 2014 have been deemed credible, and investigations of the remaining three are only in their opening stages.
The United States Department of Homeland Securityinspector general releases an audit which finds "little or no evidence" that the Predator Bsurveillance drones operated by United States Customs and Border Protection have met expectations or conducted effective surveillance operations during their nearly ten years of operation. The audit finds that the cost of operating the drones is five times higher than estimated; that the aircraft are plagued by maintenance problems and actually fly only 22 percent of the hours planned for them; and that the drones have contributed to the apprehension of fewer than two percent of people illegally crossing the border from Mexico into Arizona and only 0.1 percent of those crossing illegally from Mexico into Texas. A Customs and Border Protection official disputes the findings, claiming that the drones are more effective than depicted in the audit and that they "directly" contributed to the seizure of 50,000 pounds of marijuana worth $122,000,000 along the Mexican border in 2013. Customs and Border Protection flies nine Predator B surveillance drones from bases in Arizona, Florida, North Dakota, and Texas.
The first major piece of wreckage from Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501, a piece of the Airbus A320-216's tail section, is brought to the surface from the bottom of the Java Sea.
SpaceX's attempt at the world's first upright landing of a recoverable rocket booster aboard a barge at sea fails when the grid fins of its Falcon 9 rocket's first stage run out of hydraulic fluid just before landing and the booster breaks up upon striking the barge. The rocket had been launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX announces plans to make another attempt in February 2015 using a larger amount of hydraulic fluid.
A volcanic eruption in Tonga sends ash into the sky, prompting the cancellation of all international flights to and from the country. Flights do not resume until 14 January.
Divers retrieve the flight data recorder from Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501's wreckage on the bottom of the Java Sea.
Two air-to-ground missiles fired by an American unmanned aerial vehicle strike a compound in the Shahi Khel area of the Shawal Valley in North Waziristan, Pakistan, killing at least four Islamic militants, including Adam Yahiye Gadahn. It is the fourth such strike of 2015.
Jet fuel prices have been cut in nearly in half in the previous 12 months, but this has not prompted airlines to reduce their fares. Long-term contracts for fuel mean that airlines do not expect to enjoy the cheaper fuel prices until the summer of 2015.
President of Yemen Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and his entire cabinet resign under pressure from Houthi militia, who take control of the Yemeni government. Hadi had granted the United States permission to fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over Yemen to conduct surveillance flights against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and had approved strikes by American UAVs against AQAP targets in Yemen. The Houthis are hostile to AQAP but also to the United States, calling into question whether American UAV flights over and strikes in Yemen can continue after Hadi's resignation.
Ukrainian Army forces retreat from the new terminal at Donetsk Sergey Prokofiev International Airport in Donetsk, Ukraine, leaving it in the hands of pro-Russian separatists after months of fighting.
SkyMall, LLC, and several affiliated companies responsible for publishing the airline catalog SkyMall, found in airliner seat pockets since 1990, file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and request an auction in late March 2015 to begin the process of liquidating remaining merchandise. The increasing access to electronic means of making purchases during flights which airlines have provided to passengers has made the catalog unprofitable.
After two earlier failed launch attempts, Tom Bradley of the United States and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia successfully set off in the "Two Eagles Balloon" from Saga, Japan, for a flight across the Pacific Ocean to an undetermined destination in North America, hoping to break both the distance and endurance records for the longest flight in a gas-filled balloon.
A suspected air-to-ground missile strike by an American unmanned aerial vehicle against a car in al-Saeed in Yemen's Shabwah Governorate kills three men suspected of being al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula members.
An American unmanned aerial vehicle conducts an air-to-ground missile strike against a car near Dinsoor, Somalia, killing Al-Shabaab's head of external operations, Yusef Dheeq. It is at least the third military unmanned aerial vehicle strike the United States has conducted in Somalia since September 2014.
Two Chadian Air Force jet fighters strafe Boko Haram positions in Gamboru, Nigeria.
Tom Bradley and Leonid Tiukhtyaev land their Two Eagles Balloon in the Pacific Ocean four miles (6.5km) off Baja California 300 miles (483km) north of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, completing their journey of 6,646 miles (10,702km) from Japan in 160 hours 38 minutes. Their flight breaks the previous records for a gas-filled balloon for both distance – set in November 1981, when Ben Abruzzo, Larry Newman, Ron Clark, and Rock Aoki in a flight of 5,209 miles (8,388km) aboard the balloon Double Eagle V– and endurance – set in August 1978 by Abruzzo, Newman, and Maxie Anderson during a transatlantic flight in the balloon Double Eagle II that lasted 137 hours 6 minutes.
The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale establishes the first judging criteria for official world record wingsuit formation attempts. Previous records are retired, with future record attempts to be judged according to the new criteria.
The Islamic State releases a video of its personnel killing Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh by burning him to death while he stands in a cage. Jordan's state television claims the video had been made a month earlier. The Islamic State captured al-Kasasbeh – the only coalition pilot it has captured thus far – in Syria on 24 December 2014 when his plane crashed while he was attacking its positions.
TransAsia Airways Flight 235, an ATR 72-600 with 58 people on board, experiences an engine flameout just after takeoff from Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan. After clearing an apartment building, the aircraft rolls sharply to the left at low altitude, and its left wingtip strikes a taxicab on the Huangdong Viaduct and the viaduct's guardrail before it crashes into the Keelung River in Taipei. Among people on the plane, the crash kills at least 35, with another eight missing and all 15 survivors injured. Two people in the taxicab also suffer injuries. Dashcams in several vehicles driving on the viaduct record the crash.
In retaliation for the killing of pilot Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh, the Royal Jordanian Air Force conducts Operation Muath the Martyr, involving dozens of Jordanian jets bombing Islamic State bases, training camps, and arms and munitions warehouses. The returning jets fly over al-Kasasbeh's home town, Aye, while Jordan's King Abdullah II pays a condolence visit to al-Kasasbeh's father there.
A barrel-bomb attack by Syrian government helicopters on a market in Ghouta, Syria, kills at least 40 people.
Jordan expands its air campaign against the Islamic State into Iraq for the first time, as the Royal Jordanian Air Force strikes targets in Mosul early in the morning.
The Islamic State claims that American hostage Kayla Mueller has been killed, the sole casualty in a one-hour-long Royal Jordanian Air Force raid against a weapons warehouse in Raqqa, Syria, during Islamic prayers. The United States Government and Government of Jordan discount the claim, citing the unlikelihood of Islamic State personnel identifying attacking aircraft as Jordanian, of Mueller being the only casualty in the destruction of a building in which the Islamic State is holding her as a prisoner, and of the Islamic State holding her in a weapons warehouse.
The United Arab Emirates sends a squadron of F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters to Jordan to operate from a base there and participate in airstrikes against Islamic State targets. The announcement marks a return of the United Arab Emirates Air Force to the anti-Islamic State coalition's air campaign after it had suspended participation in late December 2014 when the Islamic State captured downed Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh pending improvements it demanded in the capability of the United States armed forces to rescue coalition pilots from Islamic State-held territory.
The chief of the Royal Jordanian Air Force, Major General Mansour al-Jabour, announces that Jordan has destroyed 56 Islamic State training centers, military barracks, warehouses, and weapons depots in daily airstrikes since 5 February, and that more airstrikes will follow. He adds that aircraft of the anti-Islamic State coalition have flown 5,500 sorties, including 2,000 reconnaissance flights, thus far in the air campaign, which began in Iraq in August 2014 and expanded to Syria in September 2014, that Jordan had taken part in 946 of them, and that 7,000 Islamic militants have been killed.
Observers report that Syrian Air Force strikes against rebel-held areas in the eastern suburbs of Damascus have killed at least 183 people in the preceding ten days. Targets have included Ghouta and markets in Douma.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) unveils its proposed regulations for the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) weighing 55 pounds (25kg) or less in the United States, requiring commercial UAV operators to register each UAV, pass a written proficiency test, and pay a fee, but not to demonstrate proficiency in flying a UAV; they would require UAVs to fly at no more than 100 miles per hour (161km/hr), remain below an altitude of 500 feet (152 meters), and avoid flying over anyone uninvolved in operating them, thus precluding the use of UAVs in door-to-door delivery of merchandise to customers. After a review period that will last into 2017, the FAA expects the rules to go into force and that more than 7,000 businesses will receive UAV permits in the United States between 2017 and 2020.
PresidentBarack Obama issues an executive order requiring United States Government agencies to disclose publicly where they operate UAVs and how they safeguard personal information gathered during UAV flights, as well as to publish an annual report on their UAV operations. The order also directs the United States Department of Commerce to work with private companies and UAV manufacturers to develop a voluntary code of conduct for the gathering and protection of personal information collected during commercial UAV flights.
The Obama administration announces that the United States Government will allow the widespread export of armed unmanned aerial vehicles to allies of the United States. To receive U.S.-built drones, foreign governments will have to make a strong case for acquiring them, agree to a set of "proper use" principles created by the United States, promising to use the UAVs for national defense or other situations in which force is permitted by international law, must not use the UAVs "to conduct unlawful surveillance or [for] unlawful force against their domestic populations," and consent to American monitoring of their use of the UAVs.
A Nigerian Air Force jet bombs Boko Haram positions around Baga, Nigeria, as Nigerian troops retake Baga from Boko Haram.
The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle begins launching airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq.
In the hours before dawn, French authorities for the second straight night spot at least five unidentified unmanned aerial vehicles flying illegally at an altitude of 100 to 300 meters (328 to 984 feet) over Paris landmarks, again including the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, the U.S. Embassy, and the Place de la Concorde, as well as over several major thoroughfares. The flights on two consecutive nights stoke fears in Paris of imminent terrorist violence. Later in the day, French police arrest three Al-Jazeera journalists for flying a UAV illegally over the Bois de Boulogne in western Paris.
Since the American-led coalition began airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria in seven months previously, it has conducted 2,738 strikes. The United States has carried out 2,203, and the United Kingdom has conducted about 160.
Solar Impulse 2 (registration HB-SIB) begins its attempt to become the first solar-powered aircraft to fly around the world and the first aircraft to do so without using a drop of fossil fuel, completing the first leg of the trip – a flight of 441 kilometers (274 miles) from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to Muscat International Airport in Muscat, Oman– at an average ground speed of 33.88km/hr (21.04mph) in 13 hours 1 minute (including just over an hour spent circling airport awaiting for winds to die down to allow a landing), reaching a maximum altitude of 6,383 meters (20,941 feet). André Borschberg pilots this leg of the flight.
Piloted by Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse 2 flies the second leg of its around-the-world flight, flying from Muscat International Airport in Oman to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, India. The flight takes 15 hours 20 minutes at an average ground speed of 96.85km/hr (60.14mph), reaches a maximum altitude of 8,874 meters (29,114 feet), and covers 1,485 kilometers (922 miles), setting a new world record for nonstop distance flown by a solar-powered aircraft.
A chlorine gas attack on Sarmin, Syria, kills at least six people and sickens dozens of others. Human rights activists blame Syrian military helicopters for the attack, but the Government of Syria denies involvement and blames the attack on Syrian rebels.
The United States Department of Defense reports that it has lost contact with an unarmed American MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle over northwestern Syria. The Government of Syria claims that its air defense forces have shot down a "hostile U.S. surveillance plane," apparently a reference to the Predator. It is the first time Syria claims to have shot down an American aircraft of any type since the American-led coalition began airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria in September 2014.
With André Borschberg at the controls, Solar Impulse 2 flies the third leg of its around-the-world flight, flying over India from Ahmedabad to Varanasi. The flight lasts 13 hours 15 minutes, covering 1,215 kilometers (755 miles) at an average speed of 91.70km/hr (57.95mph), and reaches a maximum altitude of 17,000 feet (5,182 meters).
18–19 March (overnight)
Iraqi Air ForceC-130 Hercules aircraft drop hundreds of thousands of leaflets over Mosul, Iraq, promising residents that Iraqi military forces would liberate them from Islamic State control, urging them to collaborate against Islamic State forces, and asking them to take note of people cooperating with the Islamic State.
Flown by Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse 2 flies the fourth leg of its around-the-world flight, flying from Varanasi, India, to Mandalay, Myanmar. The flight lasts 13 hours 29 minutes, covering 1,398 kilometers (868 miles) at an average speed of 103.68km/hr (64.39mph), and reaches a maximum altitude of 27,000 feet (8,230 meters). During the flight, the aircraft sets a world groundspeed record for manned solar-powered flight, reaching a top speed of 216km/hr (135mph).
After a Syrian government helicopter suffers a technical malfunction and makes an emergency crash-landing near Maarrat al-Nu'man in Syria's Idlib Governorate, rebel forces kill one of its crewmen and capture four others. A sixth crewmen is missing.
Syrian government helicopters reportedly conduct a chlorine gas attack against rebels in Binish, Syria, according to Syrian human rights activists, who also claim that 30 people are rushed to the hospital with breathing problems.
American aircraft make their first strikes in support of the stalled Iraqi ground offensive to take Tikrit from the Islamic State. It is the first direct American involvement in the offensive.
After the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, the European Aviation Safety Agency issues a temporary recommendation for airlines to ensure that at least two crew members, including at least one pilot, are in the cockpit at all times of the flight.
After taking off from Mandalay, Myanmar, the previous evening, Solar Impulse 2 completes the fifth leg of its around-the-world flight, landing at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport in Chongqing in the People's Republic of China. Pilot Bertrand Piccard successfully lands the aircraft under challenging conditions due to high winds and heavy air traffic at the airport, and because of delays in landing Solar Impulse 2 is airborne for 20 hours 29 minutes. The flight covers 1,459 kilometers (906 miles).
Air Canada Flight 624, an Airbus A320-211 (registration C-FTJP) with 138 people on board, lands short of the runway in snow and poor visibility at Halifax International Airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It smashes through an antenna array, loses its landing gear, severs the power line that supplies all of the airport's electricity, and slides to a stop on its belly, suffering severe damage. All aboard survive, but 23 people suffer injuries.
An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition targeting a Houthi military position set up inside the Mazraq refugee camp for displaced persons in Yemen's Hajjah Governorate is the single deadliest strike thus far in the Saudi-led coaition's air campaign in Yemen, killing at least 29 and perhaps as many as 40 people and injuring about 200 others. Other coalition airstrikes hit pro-Houthi Yemeni Republican Guard air defense positions and ammunition depots around Sana'a.
Iran claims that a missile strike by an American unmanned aerial vehicle on 23 March killed two members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps serving as advisors in the Iraqi ground offensive to take Tikrit from the Islamic State. The United States denies conducting any airstrikes that could have resulted in their deaths.
Since 1 January, Airbus has booked gross orders for 121 aircraft, while Boeing has booked 116. However, after cancellations and conversions, Boeing has 110 net orders since 1 January compared with Airbus's 101. Since 1 January, Airbus has delivered 134 aircraft to customers, including one A350 and four A380s.
American Airlines has logged $1,200,000,000 in profits since 1 January, its most profitable quarter in history.
A man wielding a knife attacks and slightly injures a French soldier patrolling inside Orly Airport outside Paris, France. The man escapes, prompting French authorities to launch a search for him.
The United States Department of Justice files legal papers in federal court in Portland, Oregon, stating that passengers denied boarding on an airliner will receive a letter telling them that they are on the secret No-Fly List and providing them with the option of requesting additional information – which the United States Government will provide if sufficient unclassified information is available for an answer – as well as of submitting information with which to challenge their inclusion on the list. Previously, travelers denied boarding could appeal their denial of boarding to the United States Department of Homeland Security, but were not told whether or not they were on the No-Fly List, a procedure a federal judge had ruled unconstitutional in June 2014. About 47,000 people are on the No-Fly List; about 800 of them are Americans.
Militiamen loyal to Yemen's exiled president besiege Al-Annad air base in Yemen, supported by Royal Saudi Air Force strikes. The base, held by Houthi rebels, once had played a key role in American unmanned aerial vehicle strikes against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Syrian Air Force raids on three towns in southern Syria kill at least 16 people.
Oxfam accuses the Saudi-led coalition conducting airstrikes in Yemen of hitting one of its facilities in Saada Governorate that was loaded with humanitarian supplies even though Oxfam had notified the coalition of the facility's location and purpose.
The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USSTheodore Roosevelt(CVN-71) departs the Persian Gulf on her way to a deployment off Yemen in response to the conflict there. The move takes her away from conducting airtstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
An airstrike conducted by the Saudi-led coalition against a weapons depot in Sana'a, Yemen, kills at least 25 people and injures over 350. It apparently is the deadliest airstrike in Sana'a since the coalition intervened in Yemen on 26 March.
The Washington Post reports that a United States Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's report has accused United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of wasting up to $41 million by sending illegal immigrants home on charter flights that are often only 40 to 80 percent full and by flying detainees multiple times between the same cities without documenting reasons for moving them. It recommends using fewer, full flights, but ICE argues that it sometimes is more expensive to have charter aircraft lying idle while they await full passenger loads than it is to keep them flying with partial loads of passengers.
Round-the-clock airstrikes in Yemen cease as the Government of Saudi Arabia announces that it will end its air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen, Operation Decisive Storm, which has conducted punishing airstrikes daily since it began on 26 March. Although air raids will continue, the intervention is to begin emphasizing humanitarian relief, anti-terrorism operations, and a political solution to the conflict in Yemen in a new operation called Operation Restoring Hope.
Hours after the Saudi announcement of the end of Operation Decisive Storm, aircraft of the Saudi-led coalition resume heavy airstrikes in Yemen. Targets include Houthi rebel command sites around Taiz and Houthi and other rebel forces around Aden.
Syrian government aircraft bomb rebel positions in Harasta and Douma, killing 11 people, as well as a hospital in Dayr Hafir and villages surrounding Dayr Hafir in Aleppo Governorate, killing another 15 to 23 people and wounding 40.
An unmanned aerial vehicle refuels in mid-air for the first time in history when the U.S. Navy Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System-Demonstrator (UCAS-D) Salty Dog 502 takes on over 4,000 pounds (1,814kg) of fuel from an Omega Aerial Refueling Services Boeing KC-707 tanker over the Chesapeake Bay before returning to its base at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. The flight brings the U.S. Navy's X-47 program to a successful conclusion.
Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition targeting rebel forces strike six cities in Yemen.
The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) leaves waters near Yemen to return to the Persian Gulf and the air campaign in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State.
After the weather clears enough to allow helicopter operations, rescuers in Nepal begin to airlift survivors from Mount Everest's base camp – where an avalanche had killed at least 19 people during a major earthquake the previous day – at an altitude of 17,700 feet (5,395 meters).
After Israeli troops observe four men attempting to emplace a bomb in the fence between Syrian territory and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, an Israeli Air Force aircraft conducts an air-to-ground missile attack against the men, killing them.
Three helicopter pilots working in rotation use a small helicopter to rescue about 100 people trapped at Mount Everest's Base Camp 1, at an altitude of 19,600 feet (5,974 meters), and Base Camp 2, at an altitude of 21,300 feet (6,492 meters), and carry them to safety in groups of four and five, completing the evacuation of the mountain in the aftermath of 25 April earthquake in Nepal. On 26 and 27 April combined, helicopters reportedly airlift 150 to 170 people off Mount Everest.
According to Arab media reports, Israeli Air Force airstrikes again hit Hezbollah sites and Syrian Arab Army divisions near the Qalamoun Mountains. Israel denies the reports, blaming any attacks that did happen on the combatants in the Syrian Civil War.
Throughout the day, Indian military helicopters airlift people injured in the 25 April earthquake from remote parts of Nepal to Kathmandu for treatment at General Birendra Military Hospital.
The arrival of international rescuers and aid workers in large numbers in Nepal combined with poor weather overwhelms the facilities at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu causing back-ups in air traffic, with up to ten aircraft at a time waiting on the tarmac at New Delhi, India, for permission to take off and proceed to Kathmandu.
The Government of Saudi Arabia offers to suspend airstrikes for five days for a "humanitarian pause" in its campaign against rebel forces in Yemen to allow aid to reach refugees in Yemen, and also suggests that the suspension could last longer if rebel forces abide by a ceasefire and do not use it to gain additional territory.
The Government of Saudi Arabia announces that it will treat all of Yemen's Saada Governorate as a military target and advises civilians there to evacuate by nightfall. Aircraft of the Saudi-led coalition drop leaflets over the governorate urging civilians to leave and assuring them that roads in the governorate would remain safe from attack until 19:00 local time.
The Saudi government announces that it will begin a five-day ceasefire in its air campaign in Yemen at 23:00 local time on 12 May to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to refugees, but adds that it will resume air attacks before the five-day period is over if Yemeni rebel forces continue their attacks.
Airstrikes in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition hit several areas in the city of Sa'dah in Saada Governorate, including the government compound and a market, as well as targets in 'Amran Governorate and Hajjah Governorate. The Government of Saudi Arabia announces that the coalition has conducted 130 airstrikes over the previous 24 hours, including attacks on hospitals and schools the Saudis claim the rebels are using as storage sites for weapons.
The United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Johannes van der Klaauw, asserts that Saudi Arabia's designation of all of Yemen's Saada Governorate as a military target and the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes against the city of Sa'dah violate international humanitarian law.
Human Rights Watch accuses the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen of blocking air and sea routes into Yemen, "keeping out fuel needed for the Yemeni population's survival, in violation of the laws of war.".
A Syrian government helicopter drops a barrel bomb onto a crowded bus depot in Aleppo, destroying buses, cars, and motorcycles and killing at least 28 and perhaps as many as 50 people.
The Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes in Yemen targeting three rebel weapon depots in Sana'a, as well as three airstrikes against bases for Yemen Army units loyal to rebel forces. Coalition aircraft also hit Houthi rebel positions in Aden. At 23:00 local time, it begins a previously announced, unilateral five-day ceasefire to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to people in Yemen.
Although the ceasefire in Yemen begun the previous day generally holds, the Saudi-led coalition conducts an airstrike against Houthi rebels attempting to reinforce their forces in Aden.
On the second full day of the ceasefire in Yemen, an attack helicopter belonging to the Saudi-led coalition attacks a truck in northern Yemen, killing nine people.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that the United States Air Force and United States Army provide insufficient training to their unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) pilots and have too few pilots for the number of UAV missions flown, forcing some pilots to skip training in order to operate UAVs on actual missions. It also reports that only 35 percent of U.S. Air Force UAV pilots complete all of their training, that Air Force UAV training squadrons at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, are manned at just 63 percent of authorized levels, that Air Force UAV pilots are trained mostly in surveillance and reconnaissance without receiving training in other mission areas such as interdiction, that most U.S. Army UAV pilots do not complete their training because they are assigned to other duties too often, that the Army does not have a method of keeping track of the training records of its UAV pilots, and that some UAV instructors themselves lack sufficient UAV training.
Seventeen-year-old CanadianRaymond Wang wins first prize in the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for designing a system of fin-like devices that can be installed in the air inlets of a Boeing 737 to reduce disease transmission aboard airliners by creating a virtual "wall of air" around each passenger. Wang estimates the modification, which can be installed overnight at a cost of $1,000 (USD) per aircraft, can reduce the concentration of airborne pathogens by 55 times and increase the availability of fresh air to passengers by 190 percent.
The Saudi-led coalition resumes airstrikes in Yemen early in the morning – targeting rebel positions and tanks in Aden – after the expiration at 23:00 local time on 17 May of the coalition's unilateral five-day ceasefire to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to people in Yemen. Strikes later in the day hit additional targets in Aden, including Aden International Airport, and in Saada Governorate.
United States Central Command announces the results of its four-month investigation iinto allegations that airstrikes in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State by the U.S.-led coalition have killed civilians, reporting that the strikes have killed at least two civilians since they began in 2014. The two dead civilians were two children probably killed during strikes against Harem, Syria, on 5 and 6 November 2014. It also reports that it continues to investigate the killing of one other civilian in Syria and two civilians in Iraq.
The U.S.-led coalition has conducted 2,458 airstrikes in Iraq and 1,593 strikes in Syria since August 2014, mostly against Islamic State targets.
On American television, United States SenatorJohn McCain says that 75 percent of U.S. air combat missions against the Islamic State over Iraq and Syria return to base without firing their weapons or dropping any bombs because of a lack of U.S. special operations forces on the ground to provide targeting information.
An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition strikes a headquarters for police commandos in Sana'a, Yemen, where hundreds of people have gathered to prepare to fight on the rebel side against forces loyal to Yemen's ousted president, killing at least 45 people and wounding at least 286.
Syrian government airstrikes in northern Syria kill at least 85 people. In the deadliest of the strikes, Syrian government helicopters drop two barrel bombs on a farmers market in Islamic State-held al-Bab early in the morning just as farmers and customers are arriving at the market, killing at least 50 people and injuring at least 20. Later in the morning, a raid on Aleppo kills 12 people, and another raid on the Zawiya Mountain area kills 14.
A computer automation problem grounds 150 United Airlines flights – about eight percent of United's morning schedule – nationwide in the United States for about 40 minutes until the airline can ensure that all flights depart with proper dispatching information.
Solar Impulse 2 pilot André Borschberg announces that the aircraft will be delayed in Japan for at least a week while damage to its left aileron caused by wind gusts on the ground at Nagoya Airfield is repaired.
In the United States, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announces that it has funded eight new studies covering a wide range of topics related to its plans to develop a quiet, "low-boom" supersonic demonstration passenger aircraft that will make only a soft thump instead of a loud and damaging sonic boom when flying at supersonic speeds, allowing it to fly over populated areas at such speeds.
At least three predawn airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition hit the rebel-held headquarters of the Yemeni armed forces in Sana'a, badly damaging it and killing at least 22 people. The strikes also damage several nearby homes.
Syrian government aircraft conduct two raids against a public square in the village of Janoudiyeh in Idlib Governorate, killing at least 49 and perhaps as many as 60 people.
The Saudi-led coalition conducts heavy airstrikes against rebel positions in Aden, Ataq, and Saada, Yemen.
A series of airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition against targets in Sana'a hit the rebel-held Yemeni Ministry of Defense building and the homes of Yemeni military leaders allied with the Houthi rebels. Another 121 coalition aircraft strike rebel targets in eight other Yemeni governorates. The strikes kill dozens of people.
As part of an intensified air campaign against Taliban insurgents in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. armed forces have conducted 106 airstrikes in June, more than double the number in May. Since 1 January, the U.S. armed forces and international forces have carried out 305 airstrikes in Afghanistan.
Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition against rebel targets in Yemen kill at least six people in Sana'a's al Jaraf neighborhood and at least 10 people in Bayt al-Faqih, according to Houthi rebels. Coalition aircraft also strike the Ministry of Communications building in Sana'a and a military base and weapons depot on Faj Attan mountain overlooking Sanaa. Some reports also attribute an explosion at the public library in Hodeida that kills eight Houthis to an airstrike.
With André Borschberg at the controls, Solar Impulse 2 completes the eighth leg of its attempt to become the first solar-powered aircraft to fly around the world, landing at Kalaeloa Airport in Kalaeloa, Hawaii, outside Honolulu, after a nonstop, solo flight from Nagoya Airfield in Nagoya, Japan. The flight lasts 117 hours 52 minutes, covers 7,212 kilometers (4,478.6 miles) at an average ground speed of 61.19 kilometers per hour (38.99 miles per hour), and reaches a maximum altitude of 8,634 meters (28,326 feet). The flight sets new world records for non-stop distance and flight duration by a manned, solar-powered aircraft. Borschberg also sets a new world duration record for an unrefueled solo airplane flight, breaking the previous record of 76 hours 43 minutes set by Steve Fossett in January 2006 during a flight in a single-seat jet.
Egyptian airstrikes kill 25 Islamic militants near Sheikh Zuweid in the northern Sinai Peninsula.
4–5 July (overnight)
At least 16 airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition hit Islamic State targets in Raqqa, Syria, in what the coalition describes as "one of the largest deliberate engagements we have conducted to date in Syria." The Islamic State claims that the strikes killed 10 people and wounded 10 others.
Suspected drug traffickers open fire on a patrolling Mexican Navy helicopter as it approaches a group of their vehicles near Falcon Lake in Tamaulipas, Mexico. The helicopter crew returns fire, killing six people on the ground.
An Iraqi Air ForceSukhoi Su-25 (NATO reporting name "Frogfoot") returning from a raid against Islamic State forces in Iraq's Al Anbar Governorate with a bomb on board that had failed to drop accidentally releases the bomb over a residential area of Baghdad, killing at least eight people on the ground. Some reports place the death toll at 12. Later reports place the casualty figures at 76 dead and 38 injured in two airstrikes on markets during the day.
A large airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition targeting rebel forces in Yemen strikes a marketplace in Fayoush, a suburb of Aden, killing 45 civilians and wounding 50 others. The strike is one of many during the day that hit targets in Sana'a and elsewhere in nine of Yemen's governorates.
An eruption of Mount Raung in East Java, Indonesia, forces the closure of five airports on Java, Bali, and Lombok through 10 July because of volcanic ash in the atmosphere, greatly disrupting air traffic in the area as flights at the airports are cancelled through late in the day on 10 July. Coming when many Australians travel to Bali on vacation and many Indonesians travel for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the airport closures strand thousands of travelers.
A U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle strike in the Achin District of Afghanstan's Nangahar Province kills at least 30 Islamic militants. Although some reports claim the leader of the Islamic State in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Hafiz Saeed Khan, is among the dead, he in fact survives.
A United Nations-backed ceasefire of approximately one week – scheduled to end at the conclusion of Ramadan on 17 July – begins at midnight in Yemen to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to people in need in the country. Within an hour, the ceasefire is broken as fighting breaks out in Taiz and the Saudi-led coalition responds with airstrikes against rebel forces in the area.
The U.S.-led coalition conducts 34 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria, with 17 strikes in each country. Twelve of the strikes in Syria target Islamic State forces around al-Hasakah. In Iraq, four of the strikes hit targets near Mosul, while the other 13 strikes target Islamic States forces in or near seven other cities.
The Airbus E-Fan makes a 74-kilometer (46-mile) flight from Lydd, Kent, England, to Calais, France, in approximately 37 minutes, flying at an altitude of around 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), becoming the first twin-engine, all-electric plane to cross the English Channel. The flight is made on the same route as that Louis Bleriot used made when he made the first crossing of the English Channel in an airplane on 25 July 1909, but in the opposite direction.
The Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes against rebels in Aden, Sana'a, and Taiz, Yemen. A spokesman for the coalition explains that the coalition had never agreed to honor the one-week United Nations ceasefire imposed on 10 July because the government of deposed Yemeni president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi had not sent the coalition instructions to honor it.
Syrian Arab Army helicopters drop barrel bombs on a residential area and a crowded market in al-Bab, Syria, killing at least 28 people.
11–12 July (overnight)
The Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes in Yemen's Al Bayda Governorate– killing a family of eight riding in several vehicles – and in Taiz, killing two civilians. A coalition spokesman says that the coalition would not honor the ceasefire begun on 10 July because of a lack of Houthi rebel commitment to it and because no United Nations observers had arrived in Yemen to monitor it.
The U.S.-led coalition conducts 29 airstrikes against 67 Islamic State targets in Ramadi, Iraq, in preparation for a major ground offensive against Islamic State forces in al Anbar Governorate by Iraqi Army forces, Iraqi police, Shiite militias, and local Sunni tribal forces that begins the following day.
The Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes in several governorates of Yemen. The strikes destroy a conference hall used by Houthi rebels in Sana'a, killing at least 12 people; damage a cement factory in 'Amran Governorate, killing three and wounding 10; and strike rebel targets in Saada Governorate and Lahj Governorate.
An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition targeting rebel forces in Yemen hits slums in the Sawan neighborhood of Sana'a several hundred meters from a rebel military camp, killing 25 civilians and wounding 50.
14 July 2015
Following several days of "preparatory airstrikes" by the Saudi-led coalition, pro-government forces in Yemen take control of Aden International Airport in Aden from Houthi rebels.
To deter Europeans from travelling to fight for the Islamic State or returning to Europe from the Middle East to conduct terrorist attacks in Europe, the European Parliament passes the "Passenger Name Record" proposal requiring airlines to transfer passenger data such as seat numbers and payment information to law enforcement authorities for flights into and out of the European Union. The proposal must undergo a further period of negotiation with the governments of individual European Union member countries before becoming law.
A U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle fires an air-to-ground missile at an al-Shabaab force near Bardhere, Somalia, as it advances toward a joint U.S.-African Union ground force. The strike kills or wounds several al-Shabaab personnel; and senior al-Shabaab commander Ismael Jabhad is among the dead.
Twelve days after Solar Impulse 2 arrived at Kalaeola, Hawaii, completing the eighth leg of its attempt to become the first solar-powered aircraft to fly around the world, the Solar Impulse team announces that it will not attempt the ninth leg of the flight until at least April 2016 due to irreversible battery damage caused by overheating during the first day of its flight to Hawaii from Nagoya, Japan. In the meantime, the team will store Solar Impulse 2 in a University of Hawaiihangar at Kalaeloa Airport in Kalaeloa while it makes repairs to the aircraft and researches and tests new cooling methods to prevent a recurrence of the damage.
Airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition support a drive by Kurdish forces that besieges Islamic State forces in al-Hasakah, Syria.
Aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition drop leaflets over Islamic State-held Raqqa, Syria, which serves as the de facto capital of the Islamic State. The leaflets promise that "freedom will come" to the area.
FedEx, the world's largest air cargo carrier, announces that it will buy 3,000,000 U.S. gallons (2,497,751 imperial gallons; 11,355,000 liters) of biofuels per year from Red Rock Biofuels beginning in 2017. Although it is only a fraction of the 90,000,000 U.S. gallons (74,932,530 imperial gallons; 340,650,000 liters) of jet fuel that FedEx uses each year, FedEx says that it is a first step toward its goal of using alternative fuels for 30 percent of its jet fuel by 2030. Southwest Airlines, the largest domestic air carrier in the United States, had signed a biofuel deal with Red Rock Biofuels in 2014.
In a major reversal of policy, the Government of Turkey announces that it will allow the United States to use Incirlik Air Base in Turkey as a base for airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria; previously, it had allowed U.S. aircraft to use Incirlik as a base only for surveillance flights over Syria. Basing at Incirlik will allow U.S. aircraft to move more quickly and efficiently against Islamic State targets in northwestern Syria.
Aircraft of the Saudi-led coalition carry out airstrikes in Dar Saad, Yemen, north of Aden.
Aircraft of the Saudi-led coalition target Houthi and other rebel positions in Yemen as ground fighting rages in Marib Governorate, Taiz, and north of Aden. In Taiz Governorate, dozens of the airstrikes hit a residential area of Mokha, flattening many homes, starting a large fire, and killing at least 80 civilians and injuring at least another 150.
Turkish Air Force jets bomb Islamic State targets in Syria for the first time, as three Turkish F-16 Fighting Falcons conduct early-morning strikes on two Islamic State headquarters and a gathering of Islamic State combat personnel. The strikes come two days after Islamic State forces fatally shot a Turkish soldier along the Turkey-Syria border.
Turkish Air Force jets attack both Islamic State targets in Syria and weapons depots and camps of the Kurdistan Workers Party (KPP) in Iraqi Kurdistan. The strikes against the PKK end a two-year ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK, which the Turksh government declares null and void after repeated PKK violations.
The Saudi-led coalition announces that it will begin a five-day ceasefire in Yemen at 23:59 Yemen time on 26 July, although it reserves the right to respond with force to rebel violations of the ceasefire. Deposed President of YemenAbd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi had requested the ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to reach people in Yemen.
On the second full day of the Saudi-led coalition's five-day humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen, the coalition conducts airstrikes near al-Anad Air Base in Yemen's Lahj Governorate and north of Aden in response to ground fighting that had broken out within minutes of the ceasefire taking effect. Two of the airstrikes around al-Anad mistakenly kill 15 troops allied with the coalition.
Turkish Air Force jets bomb Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) positions in Turkey's Şırnak Province in after PKK forces fire on Turkish ground troops there.
An Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle strikes a car in Hader, Syria, with an air-to-ground missile. Various reports place the death toll in the strike at two (both militiamen who supported the Syrian government regime of Bashar al-Assad), three (all innocent villagers), and five (two members of Hezbollah and three pro-Assad militiamen).
Facebook announces that it will begin testing the full-size version of its Aquila unmanned aerial vehicle later in the year. The 1,000-pound (454-kg) aircraft has a wingspan of 140 feet (42.7 meters) and is designed to fly for up to 90 days at an altitude of up to 90,000 feet (27,432 meters) and use laser optics to bring Internet connectivity to parts of the world where conventional connectivity is impractical.
U.S. aircraft strike Jabhat al-Nusra forces in Syria ins response to a Jabhat-al-Nusra attack against Division 30, a U.S.-trained Syrian opposition group. It is the first time U.S. aircraft have conducted an airstrike in Syria to protect forces the United States has trained.
The United States Marine Corps announces that the F-35B Lightning II, its version of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, is combat ready and "ready for worldwide deployment." It is the first version of the F-35 to become operational.
Over Ottawa, Illinois, during Skydive Chicago, an international team of 164 skydivers jumping from seven planes at an altitude of 19,700 feet (6,005 meters) and travelling head-down at speeds of up to 240mph (386km/hr) form a flower-shaped formation for a few seconds. They set a new world record for the largest formation skydive, breaking the previous record set by a team of 138 skydivers in 2012. It was the team's 13th attempt to break the 2012 record.
During Syrian Air Force airstrikes on Ariha, Syria, a Syrian jet crashes into a crowded marketplace, killing at least 27 and perhaps as many as 30 people and injuring at least 55 and perhaps over 60 people.
The independent monitoring group Airwars reports that airstrikes in Iraq and Syria by the U.S.-led coalition have killed 459 civilians and over 15,000 Islamic State personnel since they began in Iraq on 8 August 2014 and in Syria on 23 September 2014, and that 57 airstrikes killed civilians and caused 48 "friendly fire" deaths. In the 5,800 airstrikes the coalition has conducted, the United States has confirmed that coalition airstrikes have killed only two civilians and injured two others, although its investigations of other reported civilian deaths continue.
Japan announces that it is suspending construction of a new airbase on Okinawa intended to replace Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Naha to allow time for discussion between central and local government officials of the new base and the future of the U.S. military presence on Okinawa.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announces that pilot sightings of unmanned aerial vehicles have increased from 238 in all of 2014 to "more than 650" between 1 January and 9 August 2015. Monthly sightings have increased from 16 during June 2014 and 36 during July 2014 to 138 – some at altitudes of up to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) – during June 2015 and 137 during July 2015.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration records an unprecedented 12 reported instances of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) interfering with air traffic over the United States in a single day. Commercial and general aviation pilots and aircrews report close mid-air encounters with UAVs over California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Texas. A boom in sales of small, largely unregulated, privately owned UAVs has led to a rapid increase in such incidents; only two years earlier, encounters between UAVs and conventional air traffic were unheard of.
French authorities call off an unsuccessful 10-day search employing a plane, helicopters, and a ship covering a 4,000-square-mile (10,360-square-kilometer) area of the Indian Ocean in Réunion's coastal waters and along Réunion's beaches looking for additional debris from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
Two Let L-410 Turbolet aircraft carrying parachutists rehearsing for a nearby air showcollide over Červený Kameň, Slovakia, at an altitude of about 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) and crash. The accident kills seven people – two crewmembers aboard each plane and three parachutists aboard one of them – but the other 31 people aboard the two planes parachute to safety. Five of them are treated for injuries. One of the dead crew members is former Slovak ice hockey player Michal Česnek.
After four rockets are fired from Syrian territory into northern Israel on 20 August, Israeli Air Force aircraft join Israeli Defense Forcesartillery in striking more than a dozen military installations in southern Syria over the course of two days. An Israeli airstrike on the morning of 21 August strikes a ground vehicle 10 miles (16km) inside Syria, killing five people riding in it that Israel claims were members of an Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine rocket-launch crew.
A wave of airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition targeting rebel forces during heavy fighting in Taiz, Yemen, over the course of two days beginning on 20 August kill as many as 65 people.
Thomson Airways Flight 476, an airliner with 189 passengers aboard approaching Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, at the end of a flight from London Stansted Airport, takes evasive action to avoid a missile traveling toward it; the missile misses the airliner by about 1,000 feet (300 meters), and the plane lands safely. An investigation concludes that the missile – also witnessed by another Thomson Airways plane approaching Sharm el-Sheikh – was an Egyptian armed forces missile that had strayed from a military exercise. The aircraft's passengers are not informed of the incident, and the press does not report it until 6 November.
Russia and Syria sign a treaty which among other things grants Russia a permanent airbase in Syria at Khmeimim. Russia will ratify the treaty on 7 October 2016.
In response to the Taliban's seizure of the Musa Qala District in Afghanistan's Helmand Province the previous day, U.S. aircraft conduct multiple strikes against Taliban forces in the district. Over a dozen U.S. airstrikes have taken place in the district between 25 and 27 August.
The Saudi-led coalition conducts an airstrike against a building in Yemen's Hajjah Governorate, killing 36 people. Local residents claim the dead were civilians working in a bottling plant, but the coalition responds that the raid killed people at a site the Houthi rebels use to make improvised explosive devices and train recruits.
Aircraft of the Saudi-led coalition strike a house near a military base in Sana'a, Yemen, killing four people.
President of FranceFrançois Hollande announces that France will begin aerial reconnaissance missions over Syria on 8 September and is considering conducting airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria.
Aircraft of the Saudi-led coalition bomb boats off the coast of Yemen. According to India's Ministry of External Affairs, aircraft attack two boats on a voyage from Somalia to Yemen carrying a combined 20 Indian crewmen, leaving seven of the crewmen missing. The Yemen Coast Guard reports that warplanes attacked five boats, leaving it unclear whether the two reported incidents are separate events.
Aircraft of the Saudi-led coalition strike targets in Sana'a, Yemen, reportedly killing six civilians and wounding ten.
After a convoy of four Egyptian tour company vehicles carrying Mexican tourists stops to hold a barbecue near the Bahariya Oasis in Egypt's Western Desert, Egyptian security forces mistake the group of 22 people for Islamic militants. An Egyptian airplane and helicopters attack the tour group, and Egyptian ground forces fire on its members as they try to flee. The attack kills eight Mexicans and four Egyptians and injures eight Mexicans and two Egyptians.
Gunfire from a sheriff's helicopter kills a man leading police on a car chase in San Bernardino County, California. It is the seventh such incident since sheriff's deputies began receiving training in using weapons from helicopters in the mid-1980s and the first since a shooting in Apple Valley, California, in 2001.
President of RussiaVladimir Putin announces that he has approved a Russian Ministry of Defense plan to establish a Russian military air base in neighboring Belarus. Russia has not had a full-fledged air base there since Russian forces withdrew from Belarus after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. Russia plans to base Russian Federation Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 (NATO reporting name "Flanker") fighters at the base.
An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition attempting to hit a rebel-controlled building in the al-Hasba neighborhood of Sana'a, Yemen, instead destroys an adjacent house, damaging several other buildings and killing at least 15 people. All the dead are members of the same family.
The Government of Ukraine announces that it will ban all Russian airlines from landing at airports in Ukraine beginning on 25 October and that it is banning Russian aircraft carrying military personnel or military cargo from flying through Ukrainian airspace. The Government of Russia responds with an announcement that it will retaliate by banning Ukrainian airlines from landing at airports in Russia.
Turkish Air Force jets strike Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) camps in the Gara region of northern Iraq. Turkey claims that the raids kill 19 PKK members.
France conducts its first airstrikes in Syria, with six jets destroying an Islamic State training camp near Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria which the Government of France says posed a threat to France and to Syrian civilians. Previously France had limited its airstrikes to Iraqi territory.
Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition hit arms facilities in several governorates of Yemen, killing 38 Houthi rebels. The Houthis claim that the strikes killed 22 civilians and wounded 13.
Two air-to-ground missiles strike tents in which a wedding reception is taking place in al-Wahijah in southwestern Yemen, killing 131 people. It is one of the deadliest incidents of the Yemeni Civil War. Yemeni officials blame the Saudi-led coalition for the airstrike, but a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition denies involvement, saying that the coalition had not conducted air operations in the area in three days.
A U.S. airstrike against Taliban forces supports an Afghan government counterattack to drive the Taliban out of Kunduz.
Russia conducts airstrikes in Syria for the first time, targeting rebel forces. Russia claims that the strikes hit Islamic State military vehicles, communications centers, weapons caches, and ammunition and fuel depots and the Assad regime's Syrian Arab News Agency claims that the strikes targeted Islamic State forces around Homs, but United States Secretary of DefenseAshton Carter says that the strikes occurred in areas in which the Islamic State does not have a presence and a Syrian opposition leader reports that the strikes targeted civilians and killed 37 people.
U.S. and Russian officials hold a video teleconference in which they have their first discussion over how to avoid incidents in Syrian airspace during their separate air campaigns in Syria, covering such issues as which radio frequencies and what languages to use when deconflicting their operations.
Boeing and Carnegie Mellon University announce a joint venture in which Boeing will invest $7,500,000 over the next three years in a new Aerospace Data Analytics Laboratory that Carnegie Mellon will establish. The new laboratory is to investigate the use of artificial intelligence and "big data" in improving the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of modern airplanes. Initially, the laboratory will involve more than 20 Carnegie Mellon faculty and student researchers exploring at least six Boeing-directed projects.
1–2 October (overnight)
Russian aircraft strike targets deep in Islamic State territory for the first time, with two strikes by Sukhoi Su-34 (NATO reporting name "Fullback") jets outside of Raqqa, Syria, hitting a training camp and a headquarters.
Strikes by Russian during the day focus on targets in the Syrian governorates of Hama, Homs, and Idlib, which Western analysts says confirms their view that Russia's priority in its air campaign in Syria is the destruction of Free Syrian Army units in northwestern Syria posing the most immediate threat to the Assad regime rather than the Islamic State and Nusra Front as Russia claims. A joint statement sign by the governments of France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States urges Russia to cease targeting rebel groups in Syria other than the Islamic State and the Nusra Front.
U.S. Government officials reveal that the United States Government has decided not to oppose the Russian air campaign in Syria directly in the belief that the Russians are immersing themselves in a "quagmire" there, and instead to increase pressure against the Islamic State by, among other things, conducting more airstrikes in Iraq west of the Euphrates River.
The Russian Ministry of Defense announces that Syria-based Russian aircraft have struck 20 targets in Syria over the previous 24 hours; the targets were in Hama and Idlibgovernorates and outside Raqqa. Russia claims that the strikes targeted the Islamic State and that the four-day-long Russian air campaign in Syria has "significantly decreased the fighting potential" of the Islamic State, causing "panic and desertion in [its] ranks," and that "more than 600 mercenaries have left their positions and are trying to get to Europe," although critics claim that many of the Russian strikes have targeted other Syrian rebels in areas from which the Islamic State was ejected a year-and-a-half earlier. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that the Russian air campaign has killed 39 civilians.
Radars in Syria supporting Syrian missile systems illuminate Turkish Air Force aircraft near the Syrian-Turkish border for more than four minutes. Turkey also claims that an unidentified aircraft locked its radar onto eight Turkish aircraft.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization warns Russia to avoid further violations of Turkish airspace.
Syrian state television claims that Russian aircraft have struck Palmyra, Syria, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that 15 Islamic state members died in the airstrike. Russia reports that its aircraft flew 20 sorties over Syria during the day and struck 12 targets, but denies hitting Palmyra.
Russia and the United States agree to resume talks on how to prevent conflicts between their military aircraft operating over Syria.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration proposes a $1,900,000 fine against SkyPan International, a company based in Chicago, Illinois, for conducting 65 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flights to take videos and photographs – 22 over Chicago and 43 over New York City – between 21 March 2012 and 15 December 2014 between without required air traffic control clearance, equipment, or registration and certification. It is the largest fine ever imposed against a UAV operator for illegal flights, far exceeding the previous record fine of $18,700 levied against Xizmo Media of New York.
Russian airstrikes support a Syrian government ground attack against rebel forces defending the Syrian town of Kufranboudah. The attack begins the first major air-and-ground offensive by Syrian forces in cooperation with the Russian Federation Air Force since the Russian air campaign in Syria began on 30 September.
In response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip targeting Israeli territory, the Israeli Air Force strikes two Hamas weapons manufacturing facilities in the northern Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority reports that the strikes cause the roof of a home to collapse, killing two civilians – the first Palestinian civilian deaths in an Israeli airstrike since 2014– and injuring several other members of the family, and Israel launches an investigation into the reported civilian deaths.
A technical problem with Southwest Airlines' online system forces the airline to issue tickets and process passengers manually. By the evening, 450 of Southwest's 3,600 flights scheduled for the day have been delayed. Delays are expected to linger into the following day.
Russian aircraft intensify their strikes against rebel forces in central Syria as Syrian government and rebel ground forces contest control of the village of Kfar Nabudeh. The Russian Ministry of Defense reports that Russian Sukhoi Su-24M (NATO reporting name "Fencer"), Sukhoi Su-25SM (NATO reporting name "Frogfoot"), and Sukhoi Su-34 (NATO reporting name "Fullback") aircraft have struck 53 targets – including command centers, ammunition depots, fuel depots, and training camps – in Hama Governorate, Homs Governorate, Idlib Governorate, and Latakia Governorate over the past 24 hours, alleging that they were all Islamic State facilities. Russian aircraft have flown 250 combat sorties in Syria since the Russian air campaign there began on 30 September.
The first 90 of a planned 300 U.S. military personnel arrive in Cameroon set up a base for unmanned aerial vehicles, which will fly reconnaissance missions targeting Boko Haram in neighboring Nigeria.
The U.S. military announces that U.S. and Afghan forces have completed a major, week-long air and ground operation to dismantle al-Qaeda operations in Afghanistan's Shorabak District, with U.S. aircraft conducting 63 strikes during the operation.
President of RussiaVladimir Putin says that in response to U.S. criticism that the Russian air campaign in Syria is targeting moderate rebels rather than only Islamic State targets as Russia claims, he has asked the United States to provide examples of targets it considers legitimate and for information on targets it does not want Russia to hit, but has received no response.
The Dutch Safety Board releases its report on the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014, in which it concludes that a Russian-made Buksurface-to-air missile brought the Boeing 777 down, blowing its cockpit off and causing it to break up in mid-air over Ukraine before crashing. It adds that the aircraft should not have flown over the war zone in eastern Ukraine, but also notes that 160 other aircraft did so safely on the day Flight 17 was shot down. Although the report does not attempt to determine who shot the airliner down, the Russian government dismisses it as biased and the result of "political orders" to reach the conclusion that it did.
Two Jetpack Dubai pilots – Yves Rossy and Vince Reffet – wearing jet packs deploy from a helicopter flying at 5,500 feet (1,676 meters) and fly in formation with an EmiratesAirbus A380 flying at an altitude of 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) above Dubai, flying one on either side and both on one side of the airliner before breaking away after about ten minutes. Their flight is documented by helmet-mounted cameras they are wearing and third-party videos showing the pair soaring and diving around the airliner; the videos will be released in early November 2015.
The U.S.-led coalition conducts two airstrikes against Islamic State targets in the Baiji area of Iraq as the Iraqi government announces that its armed forces have seized control of the largest oil refinery in Iraq, located near Baiji, after fighting with the Islamic State over it since June 2014. Aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition have conducted airstrikes in support of the Iraqi forces throughout the battle; at one point, U.S. aircraft dropped supplies to Iraqi forces besieged in the refinery.
Turkish Air Force jets shoot down an unidentified unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) near Deliosman in Turkey's Kilis Province after it flies nearly two miles (3.2km) into Turkish territory from Syria. Both the Syrian government and Russia deny that the UAV is theirs.
An airstrike in Yemen's Taiz Governorate by the Saudi-led coalition mistakenly hits an encampment of pro-government forces allied with the coalition, killing at least 20 and injuring another 20; the pro-government forces had just taken the encampment from Houthi rebels. Other airstrikes in Jawf Governorate kill 13 Houthis.
Jumping from 13,500 feet (4,115 meters) over Perris Valley Airport in Perris, California, an international team of wingsuit jumpers set a new world formation record, with 61 people forming a diamond formation. The formation travels about two miles (3.2km) before landing.
Russian aircraft strike the First Coastal Division rebel group in Syria for the third time since the Russian air campaign began on 30 September, hitting its headquarters in Jabal Akrad. According to the First Coastal Division, the strike kills five of its members, including its chief of staff, Basil Zamo, as well as 15 civilians.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announces that it will begin to require the registration of privately owned recreational unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with the United States Department of Transportation. United States Secretary of TransportationAnthony Foxx announces that the FAA and Department of Transportation will set up a task force of U.S. government officials and industry representatives to make recommendations on a registion system by 20 November, with the United States Government hoping to have the system in place and functioning by 25 December. American hobbyists are projected to purchase 700,000 UAVs during 2015, up 63 percent from 2014.
The U.S. Department of Defense announces that the United States and Russia have signed an aviation safety agreement to keep their aircraft operating over Syria far enough apart to avoid hostile interactions and to ensure that they can communicate with one another if they approach one another too closely. Russian and U.S. aircraft come within 1,500 feet (457 meters) of one another over Syria. The agreement makes no provision for cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in targeting or other aspects of their air campaigns in Syria.
Talks in Brussels, Belgium, between Russia and Ukraine to avert a ban of each other's airliners from their airports scheduled to take effect on 25 October end unsuccessfully, setting the stage for a halt to direct air travel between the two countries.
Ukraine bans Russian airliners from its airports, and Russia retaliates by banning Ukrainian airliners from its airports. The ban effectively ends direct air travel between the two countries, adversely affecting an estimated 700,000 travelers annually.
The bankrupt Russian airline Transaero goes out of business.
A 74-meter (243-foot) unmanned United States Armyaerostat making up part of the Joint Land-Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) breaks loose from its tether at Aberdeen, Maryland, and drifts over Pennsylvania, shadowed by two U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters. After several hours, in comes to earth in a ravine in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, but not before dragging its 6,000-foot (1,829-meter)-long heavy tether across the ground in the county for 20 miles (32km), causing damage to electric lines and utility poles that cuts electric power to 35,000 people and forces the cancellation of classes at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. The following day, Pennsylvania State Police troopers fire about 100 shotgun blasts at the aerostat to deflate it.
An overloaded Antonov An-12 cargo aircraft (registration EY-406) operated by Allied Services, Ltd., carrying a crew of six and at least 12 passengers crashes into a farming village on an island in the White Nile shortly after takeoff from Juba International Airport in Juba, South Sudan. The crash kills a combined 37 people aboard the plane and on the ground; two people aboard the plane survive.
A gunman firing at the street from an apartment window in San Diego, California, under the approach path to San Diego International Airport prompts the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to halt landings at the airport; the lack of arriving flights also affects departures, although departures continue during the incident. The gunman surrenders after more than five hours, by which time 30 arriving and departing flights have been cancelled and 30 other flights have been diverted to other airports.
President of RussiaVladimir Putin halts all Russian airline flights between Russia and Egypt and orders the Russian government to take steps to ensure that the estimated 45,000 Russians vacationing in Russia are returned safely to Russia. More than 25 flights a day had traveled between Russia and Egypt prior to the flight ban.
Working with British Airways, EasyJet, Monarch Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines, and Thomson Airways, British authorities begin the evacuation of approximately 20,000 British citizens stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh, controversially requiring them to leave all checked luggage – about 120 tons of it – behind to undergo extensive security screening before being shipped to them at home. On the first day, only eight of an originally scheduled 29 flights depart Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport for the United Kingdom, carrying about 4,000 people.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) informs the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that it has rejected the NTSB′S April 2014 recommendation that the FAA establish licensing requirements and safety standards for commercial balloon tour operators and make them subject to FAA safety inspections, regulating them in a manner similar to the way it regulates commercial airplane and helicopter tour operators. The FAA argues that such regulation is unnecessary, explaining that "Since the amount of ballooning is so low, the FAA believes the risk to all pilots and participants is also low given that ballooners understand the risks and general hazards associated with this activity." In March 2016, the NTSB will inform the FAA that it finds this response unacceptable and that its recommendation remains open.
Fifty-one Russian aircraft fly about 11,000 Russian tourists home from Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, Egypt, as an airlift of Russian citizens stranded in Egypt begins. They are required to leave their checked baggage behind in Egypt for special screening and later shipment to Russia by cargo aircraft.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich announces that 25,000 Russians have been airlifted home from Egypt since 7 November, and that he expects it to take about two weeks to fly all remaining Russians in Egypt home. The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations reports that during the day four Russian cargo planes have transported 130 tons of luggage to Russia that Russian tourists had left behind in Egypt for special security screening.
The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations reports that 480 tons of luggage left behind in Egypt by Russian tourists for additional security screening since the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 has been flown to Moscow for delivery to its owners.
Russian aircraft have conducted more than 1,600 sorties in support of Syrian Arab Army operations against rebel forces since the Russian air campaign in Syria began on 30 September, striking targets in six of Syria's 14 governorates. The air campaign has helped Syrian Arab Army forces to lift the rebel siege of Kuweires air base and capture two towns southwest of Aleppo, but otherwise has accomplished little, with rebel forces even capturing ground in some areas.
Two days after major Islamic State terrorist attacks in Paris which French President François Hollande describes as an "act of war," 12 French Air Force planes including 10 fighter aircraft take off from airfields in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates and drop at least 30 bombs on Islamic State targets in Raqqa, Syria, hitting a command center, a recruitment and training center, an ammunition storage depot, and a training camp. Among the targets is a museum, medical facilities, and the city's sports stadium, which the Islamic State uses as its headquarters and as a prison. The French strikes knock out electrical power in the city of about 200,000 people.
The United States makes its first attack against the fleet of trucks the Islamic State uses to smuggle oil to finance itself when six United States Air Force aircraft – two AC-130 Spectres and four A-10 Thunderbolt IIs – based in Turkey attack a truck assembly area near Deir ez-Zor, Syria. The A-10s drop two dozen 500-pound (227-kg) bombs and strafe the trucks with 30-millimeter Gatling guns, while the AC-130s fire both 30-millimeter Gatling guns and 105-millimeter M102 howitzers, combining to destroy 116 of the 295 trucks in the assembly area. To reduce the number of civilian casualties, two U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagles fly over the area about an hour before the strike dropping leaflets warning the truck drivers to abandon their trucks and take cover, followed by strafing runs to reinforce the point. The attack is part of Operation Tidal Wave II, a new campaign to destroy the Islamic State's oil distribution network.
Rosturizm reports that Russian aircraft have evacuated 70,000 Russians from Egypt and flown them back to Russia since the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 and that 5,000 remain in Egypt, about 3,000 in Hurghada and about 2,000 in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The director of the Russian Federal Security Service, Alexander Bortnikov, announces that an improvised explosive device containing 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of explosive with the explosive power of about one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of TNT detonated aboard Metrojet Flight 9268 on 31 October, causing the airliner to break apart and crash, saying "We can say conclusively that this was a terrorist act." The Government of Russia offers a $50,000,000 reward for information about the attack, and President of Russia Vladimir Putin says that Russia would invoking its right to self-defense under the United Nations Charter and orders the Russian armed forces to intensify their air campaign in Syria where Russian aircraft conduct a "significant number of strikes" in the vicinity of Raqqa during the day.
Russian military helicopters fly in personnel to Sadad, Syria, assist the Gozarto Protection Force, an Assyrian Christian militia, in fighting the Islamic State in the town.
Ten French Air Force aircraft – Mirage 2000 and Dassault Rafale fighters – bomb Islamic State targets – including a command post and a recruitment center – in Raqqa early in the day, and the French Navy aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle departs Toulon to deploy for operations targeting the Islamic State. The French Minister of Defense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, announces that when Charles de Gaulle arrives on station, France's force of fighter aircraft within range of the Islamic State will rise to 36 aircraft.
The United States has conducted 8,253 airstrikes against Islamic State targets since U.S.-led coalition began its air campaign against the Islamic State in August 2014, accounting for 95 percent of the coalition's strikes.
Since the U.S.-led coalition began its air campaign against the Islamic State in August 2014, its aircraft have dropped an average of 2,228 bombs per month at an average cost of $11,100,000 per day. The strikes have killed an estimated 20,000 Islamic State personnel.
The search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 missing since March 2014, shifts to a remote part of the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia where an experienced British Boeing 777 captain, Simon Hardy, estimates that it may have made a controlled water landing and sunk largely intact. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau reports that the shift is occurring because of improved Southern Hemisphere spring weather in a 120,000-square-kilometer (46,000-square-mile) priority search area rather than because of Hardy's analysis. Although a flaperon from Flight 370 found in July 2015 washed up on a beach on Réunion was from Flight 370, the search for Flight 370 on the Indian Ocean floor, taking place more than 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) off the Australian coast since October 2014, has covered 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) without finding any trace of the airliner.
Dozens of Russian airstrikes support an offensive by Syrian government troops that captures the Syrian towns of Mahin and Hawwarin in western Homs Governorate from Islamic State forces.
Blue Origin's New Shepard space vehicle achieves a milestone in an unmanned test flight when it is launched to an altitude of 329,839 feet (100,536 meters) over West Texas, where its crew capsule and rocket booster separate. While the capsule descends to earth by parachute, the rocket booster descends separately, passing through 119-mph (192km/hr) high-altitude crosswinds and navigating its way to a point 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) above its landing pad, fires its rocket engine to slow itself to 4.4mph (7km/hr), and touches down on the pad just 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) off center. The landing is considered a major step forward in the development of a fully reusable rocket booster that will allow cheap space travel.
Two Turkish Air ForceF-16 Fighting Falconsshoot down a Syria-based Russian Federation Air Force Sukhoi Su-24 (NATO reporting name "Fencer") flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters (19,685 feet) which Turkey claims violated its airspace and did not respond to ten warnings ordering it to leave. It is the first time that an aircraft of a NATO member country has shot down an aircraft of the Soviet Union or Russia since a dogfight between United States Navy and Soviet aircraft in November 1952 during the Korean War. Russia denies that the Su-24 was flying in Turkish airspace and claims that antiaircraft artillery shot it down while it was flying over Syria. Both crew members eject from the Su-24; Russia claims that Syrian rebels fire at the pilot in his parachute while he drifts to earth and kill him, while the navigator escapes. The plane itself crashes in Syria's Turkmen Bayırbucak region, where two Russian helicopters are sent to search for its two-man crew. One of them, a Mil Mi-8 (NATO reporting name "Hip") is forced to crash-land in neutral territory after coming under heavy ground fire from Syrian rebels, who hit it with an anti-tank guided missile, and one man on board – a naval infantryman – is killed; the rest of its crew is rescued.
Since its intervention in Syria began on 30 September, Russia has conducted over 4,000 airstrikes in Syria, where it has based at least 32 fixed-wing aircraft – including 12 Sukhoi Su-24 (NATO reporting name "Fencer"), 12 Sukhoi Su-25 (NATO reporting name "Frogfoot") and four Sukhoi Su-34 (NATO reporting name "Fullback") strike aircraft and four Sukhoi Su-30 (NATO reporting name "Flanker-C") fighters – and 16 helicopters at Khmeimim Air Base near Latakia.
In the aftermath of Turkey shooting down one of its Syria-based Su-24s the previous day, Russia says that it will take new measures to protect its aircraft operating in Syria, including the deployment of S-400 (NATO reporting name "SA-21 Growler") surface-to-air missile systems to Khmeimim Air Base in Syria. The S-400s, with a range of 250miles (403km) will be only 20miles (32km) from the Turkish border.
After Russia cuts off all deliveries of natural gas to Ukraine, Ukraine retaliates by banning Russian airliners from flying in its airspace. The Ukrainian ban expands upon a 25 October Ukrainian prohibition of Russian airliners landing at Ukrainian airports.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin signs sweeping economic sanctions against Turkey into law in retaliation for Turkey shooting down a Russian Federation Air Force Sukhoi Su-24 (NATO reporting name "Fencer") on 24 November. Included in the sanctions is a ban on air charter flights from Russia to Turkey.
Strikes by jet aircraft, presumed to be Russian, on rebel-held Ariha, Syria, hit a busy market, killing at least 18 people and injuring dozens; one report puts the death toll at 40 and the number of injured at over 70. It is one of the deadliest airstrikes since the Russian air campaign in Syria began on 30 September.
Israel's Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya'alon, announces that a Syria-based Russian military jet had recently mistakenly violated Israeli airspace, flying about one mile (1.6km) into Israel, but the Israel Defense Force had not shot it down and it had returned to Syrian airspace after being contacted by Israeli forces.
The last Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, intended for delivery to the United Arab Emirates Air Force in 2017, takes off from the Boeing assembly plant at Long Beach, California, conducting a flyover of the facility before departing. Boeing, which delivered the U.S. Air Force's last C-17 in September 2013, plans to close the Long Beach plant by the end of 2015 – except for small sections left open for one to two more years to provide engineering support for C-17s – because of insufficient foreign orders for the C-17 to justify keeping the assembly line open.
A U.S. Air Force-funded University of Maryland Medical School study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma finds that rapid air evacuation of wounded personnel suffering from traumatic brain injury – previously assumed to have increased their chances of survival and recovery – leads to more inflammation of the brain and could cause more damage. Reduced air pressure in an airborne aircraft's interior is a major reason for the increased inflammation, as is overuse of 100 percent supplemental oxygen in such a lower-pressure environment.
During the month, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs releases a report that finds that Russian airstrikes against border crossings and highways in Syria used to deliver humanitarian supplies from Turkey – including one instance in which Russian aircraft struck a hub at the Bab al-Salameh border crossing where truck drivers collect humanitarian supplies for Syria three times in five days – have forced humanitarian agencies to reduce or halt aid to Syrian civilians living in areas of conflict between the Government of Syria and rebel forces. The report also states that Russian aircraft have struck 20 medical facilities, 10 bakeries, a grain silo, and a water treatment plant in Syria since the Russian intervention there began on 30 September.
Airstrikes against Islamic State positions on the northern and eastern outskirts of Raqqa, Syria, kill at least 15 and perhaps as many as 32 Islamic State personnel and wound another 25 to 40. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that the attacking aircraft were from the U.S.-led coalition, while the Islamic State claims they were Russian planes.
6–7 December (overnight)
Four jet aircraft fire nine rockets at Syrian Arab Army positions in Ayyash in Syria's Deir ez-Zor Governorate, destroying three armored vehicles, four other military vehicles, two heavy machine guns, and an arms depot and killing three Syrian soldiers and wounding 13. On 7 December, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs blames the attack on the U.S.-led coalition, the first time it has claimed that the coalition has attacked its forces since the coalition's air campaign in Syria began 14 months earlier. A U.S. military spokesman replies the same day that no coalition airstrikes took place in the area, and that Russian aircraft struck the Syrian troops.
Aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition strike Islamic State oil wells in Syria's Deir ez-Zor Governorate, at least 34 miles (55km) from the site of the strike on Syrian troops at Ayyash.
Unidentified aircraft strike the Sukkari neighborhood of rebel-held Aleppo, Syria, killing eight civilians. Rebel activists claim the aircraft were either Syrian or Russian.
A U.S. airstrike in Raqqa, Syria, kills Islamic State external operations leader Rawand Dilsher Taher. The U.S. Department of Defense will announce the strike on 29 December.
A U.S. airstrike in Hawija, Iraq, kills Khalil Ahmad Ali al-Wais, also known as Abu Wadhah, the Islamic State emir in Iraq's Kirkuk Governorate. The U.S. Department of Defense will announce the strike on 29 December.
A U.S. airstrike in Kirkuk, Iraq, kills Islamic State cell facilitator Abu Anas. The U.S. Department of Defense will announce the strike on 29 December.
A U.S. airstrike in Mosul, Iraq, kills Yunish Khalash, also known as Abu Jawdat, the Islamic State's deputy financial amir in Mosul. The U.S. Department of Defense will announce the strike on 29 December.
A U.S. airstrike in Hawija, Iraq, kills Mithaq Najim, the Islamic State's deputy emir in Iraq's Kirkuk Governorate. The U.S. Department of Defense will announce the strike on 29 December.
Devastating Syrian government airstrikes against rebels hit Hamouria, Syria, reportedly killing 11 civilians.
A U.S. airstrike near Raqqa, Syria, kills Siful Haque Sujan, a Islamic State external operations planner. The U.S. Department of Defense will announce the strike on 29 December.
Firefighters respond within minutes when an Air ChinaBoeing 737-800 taxiing at Fuzhou Changle International Airport in Fuzhou, China, reports sparks coming from one of its engines, but mistakenly douse a Fuzhou Airlines Boeing 737-800 instead when they see exhaust fumes emerging from its engines. The incident delays 30 flights at the airport; the Fuzhou Airlines plane the firefighters foamed is delayed 10 hours while undergoing a post-incident safety check.
A U.S. airstrike near Tal Afar, Iraq, kills Akram Muhammad Sa’ad Faris, also known as Akram Aabu, an Islamic State commander and executioner. The U.S. Department of Defense will announce the strike on 29 December.
Rebel forces in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, fire more than 40 mortar rounds into Damascus, killing three people and wounding 33, and Syrian government forces respond with airstrikes against Douma and Saqba, both part of Eastern Ghouta, which kill least 45 – and perhaps as many as 49 – people.
The United States and Cuba agree to allow U.S. airlines to provide scheduled service to Cuba for the first time since the early 1960s, with flights likely to begin sometime between March and June 2016. The agreement also allows the Cuban government airline Cubana de Aviación to provide scheduled service to the United States, although outstanding judgments against Cuba in U.S. courts make Cubana's airliners subject to seizure, meaning that Cubana will have to lease aircraft or share routes to avoid the risk of its aircraft being seized while on the ground in the United States.
After the Islamic State launches an offensive against Iraqi Kurdishpeshmerga forces in Iraq north and east of Mosul, British, Canadian, French, and U.S. aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition conduct a 17-hour aerial bombardment of the attackers, killing at least 180 Islamic State personnel; peshmerga forces kill additional Islamic State personnel in ground combat. Immediately prior to the beginning of the offensive, an Islamic State unmanned aerial vehicle flies over peshmerga positions, apparently passing targeting information to Islamic State ground forces.
With Iraqi Air Force aircraft unable to support an Iraqi Army offensive against the Islamic State in Iraq south of Fallujah due to weather conditions, the Iraqi armed forces ask the U.S.-led coalition to provide the air support. U.S. aircraft conduct three strikes; two of them hit Islamic State forces, destroying two ground vehicles and four fighting positions. Due to a lack of communication between Iraqi and U.S. forces, however, the third strike hits an area recently overrun by Iraqi forces, killing 10 Iraqi soldiers. It is the first reported "friendly fire" incident in Iraq since the U.S.-led coalition began its air campaign against the Islamic State.
Minutes after a SpaceXFalcon 9 rocket launches a payload of 11 satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, into Earth orbit for Orbcomm, the rocket's first stage turns back toward Earth and makes a soft landing at its launching pad at SpaceX Landing Zone 1 at the Air Force station, using its engine thrust to slow itself for the landing. It is the first time in history that a rocket has launched a payload into orbit and then returned safely to the Earth, a capability that promises to lower the cost of space flight dramatically.
Mandatory registration with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration of privately owned unmanned aerial vehicles weighing between 0.5 and 55 pounds (0.23 and 25kg) begins in the United States. UAVs purchased prior to 21 December must be registered by 19 February 2016, and those purchased on or after 21 December must be registered before their first flight.
The U.S. Department of Defense reports that 56 percent of all aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition operating against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria are returning from strike missions without having used their weapons, either because of weather or concerns over the possibility of unwarranted civilian casualties. The figure is a reduction from the 75 percent of aircraft reported returning with their weapons a few months earlier, a change officials attribute to better intelligence on the existence and location of targets.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announces that Boeing has agreed to pay a $12 million fine to the United States Government and make changes in how it builds commercial aircraft to settle complaints that it had used substandard safety and quality processes, with up to $24 million in additional fines possible if Boeing does not adhere to the agreement through 2020. The agreement settles two enforcement cases and 11 other issues the FAA has brought to Boeing's attention in recent years involving such matters as missing a 2012 deadline to provide airlines with information on how to install devices on Boeing 747s and Boeing 757s to prevent fuel tank explosions and a 2013 complaint that Boeing had used improper fasteners on Boeing 777s and had not taken action to correct the problem over the following two years. It is the second-highest fine ever paid to in an FAA enforcement case and the highest by an aircraft manufacturer.
Syrian government jets and attack helicopters strike Hamouriyeh, Syria – a rebel-held suburb of Damascus – killing at least 20 people. One report places the death toll at 23, with dozens more injured.
A U.S. airstrike in Syria kills terrorist leader Charaffe al Mouadan, who had ties to terrorists involved in 13 November 2015 attacks in Paris. The U.S. Department of Defense will announce the strike on 29 December.
Thirteen airstrikes hit Syrian rebel targets in eastern Damascus. One of them, a Russian airstrike, kills several Syrian rebel officials including senior rebel commander Zahran Allouch as they meet to resolve a dispute between factions of the rebel Jaysh al-Islam coalition.
A U.S. airstrike in Mosul, Iraq, kills Abdel Kader Hakim, an Islamic State external operations leader. The U.S. Department of Defense will announce the strike on 29 December.
A U.S. airstrike near Mosul, Iraq, kills Tashin al-Haali, an Islamic State external operations facilitator. The U.S. Department of Defense will announce the strike on 29 December.
A stolen Civil Air PatrolCessna 172 Skyhawk crashes into an unoccupied commercial building in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, clipping another building where the pilot's wife works before crashing. On 1 January 2016, the pilot's family will claim he committed suicide in the crash and did not intend to harm his wife or anyone else.
Supported by the heaviest Russian aerial bombardment in southern Syria since the Russian air campaign in Syria began on 30 September, Syrian Arab Army troops fight their way into Sheikh Maksin against rebel forces. Rebels report at least 100 air raids targeting them during the previous two days.
According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, there were 764 reports of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or "drones") sighted near airplanes in the United States in 2015. An estimated 700,000 UAVs were sold in the United States during the year, raising concerns about the threat they pose to other aircraft when operated improperly.
Cuba has seen dramatic growth in commercial airline flights during 2015, with 18 percent more than in 2014 in aviation#2014. Nearly 160,000 U.S. leisure travelers have flown to Cuba during 2015, as have hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans visiting family in Cuba, following a thaw in political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014. Although U.S. law still prohibits tourist travel to Cuba, it permits a dozen other categories of travel, including family visits, official business, journalist visits, professional meetings and educational and religious activities, and the United States Government has relaxed oversight of travel to the point that U.S. travelers are allowed to design their own "people-to-people" cultural exchanges in Cuba that in essence permit leisure travel under the guise of a cultural exchange.