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Trans World Airlines becomes the first airline to operate an ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) flight. The flight also makes it the first airline to operate a twin-engine jet on scheduled transatlantic services. The aircraft is a Boeing 767.
February 11 - Record-setting hot-air balloonistBen Abruzzo dies along with his wife and his other four passengers when the Cessna 421C he is piloting collides with the tops of trees and crashes at Albuquerque, New Mexico, after Abbruzzo becomes distracted by a baggage door that opens in flight.
China Airlines Flight 006, a Boeing 747 with 284 people on board, miraculously survives a 30,000-foot (9,146 m) plunge over the Pacific Ocean near San Francisco after an engine failure. Twenty-four people are injured, two of them seriously.
March 1 - The Boy Scouts of America officially ends powered aircraft flight in its Aviation Exploring program, citing difficulties with maintaining insurance coverage in the event of an aircraft accident. The decision affects 450 Explorer Posts and over 10,000 Explorer Scouts.
Iraq claims to have hit about 30 ships in air attacks in the Persian Gulf since January 1, while Iran has hit seven over the same time period. Some estimates place the number of Iraqi attacks since March 1984 at 65 and Iranian attacks over the same period at 25.
June 14 - Two Amal guerrilla gunmen hijack Trans World Airlines Flight 847, a Boeing 727-231 with 151 other people on board, during a flight from Athens, Greece to Rome, Italy. They divert the plane to Beirut International Airport, where 19 passengers are released in exchange for fuel. They then force the pilots to fly to Algiers, where 20 more passengers are released. They then return to Beirut, where they beat and murder United States NavydiverRobert Stethem, remove seven American passengers with what they believe are "Jewish-sounding" names to be held hostage in Beirut, and are joined by nearly a dozen more gunmen. They then force the plane to return to Algiers on June 15, release 65 more passengers and order the plane to fly back to Beirut on June 16. In Beirut they release Greek pop singer Demis Roussos in exchange for hijacking accomplice Ali Atwa on June 17, but remove 40 more people from the plane to be held hostage. The remaining 39 passengers and crew remain on the plane until June 30, when Israel agrees to free 700 Shiite prisoners. Flight attendantUli Derickson plays a key role in maintaining calm aboard the airliner and negotiating with the gunmen.
August 12 - Japan Airlines Flight 123, a Boeing 747 flying from Haneda Airport to Osaka, suffers a bulkhead explosion 12 minutes into its flight that was the result of improper repairs from a tailstrike accident seven years earlier. The resulting decompression blows off the vertical stabilizer and severs all of the aircraft's hydraulic lines. The pilots struggle to control the aircraft for 32 minutes until it crashes into Mount Takamagahara, killing 520 of 524 people on board. Among the dead are singer Kyu Sakamoto and Japanese banker Akihisa Yukawa, father of violinist Diana Yukawa. Farewell notes written from victims to their family and friends are found next to the bodies. It remains the worst single-aircraft air disaster and second-worst air disaster in history.
August 14 - The Iraqi Air Force begins a series of air raids on the Iranian oil terminal at Kharg Island, seriously damaging a main offshore loading point there.
The Iraqi Air Force makes its fourth large raid against the Iranian oil terminal at Kharg Island since mid-August. The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force responds by increasing raids against commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf and threatening to attack ships visiting ports in the southern Persian Gulf; by early September, Iran and Iraq have carried out a combined 130 attacks on shipping since March 1985.
American race car driver Richie Panch dies along with the other three people aboard a Piper PA-28 Cherokee that flies into a squall line and heavy rain near Rion, South Carolina, and comes apart in mid-air.
September 12 - The Iraqi Air Force launches its ninth major raid on the Iranian oil terminal at Kharg Island since mid-August.
September 13 - Flying an F-15A Eagle about 200 miles (322 km) west of Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, United States Air Force Major William D. Pearson Jr. becomes the first pilot to destroy a space object. Flying at 38,000 feet (11,583 meters), he launches an ASM-135antisatellitemissile which ascends into space and destroys the P78-1 Solwind satellite at an altitude of 345 miles (556 km) over the Pacific Ocean. It is the third of five test launches of the ASM-135, and the first fully successful test of the entire missile system.
September 16 - American aerobatic pilot, aerial cameraman, flight instructor, and educator Art Scholl dies during filming of the movie Top Gun when he puts his Pitts S-2 camera plane into a flat spin to film the spin but fails to pull out of it and crashes into the Pacific Ocean off Carlsbad, California.
November 23 - Omar Rezaq and two other members of the Abu Nidal Organization calling themselves the "Egypt Revolution" hijackEgyptAir Flight 648, a Boeing 737-200 - the same aircraft U.S. Navy fighters had intercepted in October - with 95 other people on board, during a flight from Athens, Greece, to Cairo, Egypt. An Egyptian security agent on board soon kills one of the hijackers before himself being wounded along with two flight attendants. The surviving hijackers force the plane to fly to Malta International Airport on Malta, where they kill two passengers and wound three others before Egyptian commandos storm the plane on November 24. The Egyptian raid kills 56 of the remaining 88 passengers as well as two crew members and one hijacker; Rezaq is arrested. In the end, only 38 passengers and crew survive the hijacking.
The Iraqi Air Force claims to have flown 20,011 sorties against Iran, to have made 77 destructive hits on the Iranian oil terminal at Kharg Island, and to have hit 124 "hostile maritime targets" in the Persian Gulf; Iraq will declare 1985 "The Year of the Pilot." Some reports indicate that Iran has carried out a total of 60 air raids against Kharg Island, and the Iraqi Air Force has attacked more than 200 ships in the Persian Gulf since beginning such attacks in May 1981, with over 150 of those attacks occurring since March 1985. Iraq claims to have bombed Tehran 30 times during 1985.
During 1985, Iraq has made 33 air attacks against shipping in the Persian Gulf, one using bombs and the remainder using air-to-surface missiles, while Iran has conducted 10 air attacks against Persian Gulf shipping. The total of Iraqi air attacks against Persian Gulf shipping since 1984 has reached 68, one using bombs and the rest air-to-surface missiles, while Iran's total since 1984 has reached 28.