List of Accidents and Incidents Involving Commercial Aircraft - 1978


  • January 1 – Air India Flight 855, a Boeing 747, crashes into the Arabian Sea as a result of instrument malfunction and pilot error; all 213 passengers and crew die.
  • February 11 – Pacific Western Airlines Flight 314, a Boeing 737-200, from Edmonton crashes at Cranbrook Airport after thrust reversers did not fully stow following a rejected landing, killing 42 of the 48 people on board.
  • March 16 – 1978 Balkan Bulgarian Tupolev Tu-134 crash near the village of Gabare, Bulgaria kills all 73 people on board.
  • April 20 – Korean Air Lines Flight 902, a Boeing 707, is shot down by Soviet fighter planes; the plane crash-lands near the Soviet Union's border with Finland; two of the 109 people on board are killed, the rest were subsequently released.
  • May 8 – National Airlines Flight 193, a Boeing 727, lands short on approach to Pensacola, Florida, United States in Escambia Bay, as a result of pilot error; three passengers out of fifty-eight people on board drown.
  • June 26 – Air Canada Flight 189, a McDonnell-Douglas DC-9, crashes on takeoff in Toronto, Ontario, Canada because of tire failure; two die out of 107 passengers on board.
  • August 30 – In the LOT Flight 165 hijacking, two East German citizens hijack a Tupolev Tu-134, and force it to land at Tempelhof Airport; there are no casualties to the 63 passengers on board.
  • September 3 – Air Rhodesia Flight 825 from Kariba to Salisbury is shot down by a SA-7 surface-to-air missile; eighteen of the fifty-six passengers initially survive the emergency landing, 10 are subsequently killed by Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army militants.
  • September 25 – PSA Flight 182, a Boeing 727, collides with a Cessna 172 over San Diego, California, United States; all 135 aboard the airliner, both pilots of the Cessna, and 7 people on the ground are killed, making this the worst aviation disaster in California history.
  • November 15 – Icelandic Airlines Flight LL 001, a Douglas DC-8 on a charter flight, crashes into a coconut plantation while on approach to Katunayake, Sri Lanka for a refueling stop; 183 out of 262 people on board are killed.
  • December 23 – Alitalia Flight 4128, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32, crashed into the Tyrrhenian Sea when on approach to Palermo International Airport in Palermo, Italy. 108 of the 129 passengers and crew on board are killed.
  • December 28 – United Airlines Flight 173, a Douglas DC-8, runs out of fuel while circling near Portland, Oregon, United States, as the crew investigates a light indicating a problem with the landing gear; the plane crashes in a wooded area, killing 10 and injuring 24 of the 181 on board.

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