Almost Number 25
The most recent attack was on a DHL cargo plane in 2003. The missile hit the A310's left wing as it took off from Baghdad. The explosion and fire destroyed the aircraft's hydraulic system, eliminating any cockpit-initiated use of the control surfaces. The crew, using differential thrust only, managed to haul the airliner into a pretty respectable approach and landing and all of them walked away (see AVweb's NewsWire for the PowerPoint presentation). A year earlier, an attack on an Israeli airliner in Africa prompted action by the Israeli government. As AVweb told you in February, Israel's national airline, El Al, installed anti-missile systems on its entire fleet of 29 aircraft. It would appear the infrared systems meet U.S. safety requirements because there's no indication that flights to the four U.S. cities served by El Al have been interrupted. The Flight Guard system was developed by state-owned Israeli Aircraft Industries and certified in Israel in January. For those of you interested in viewing the DHL landing we invite you to have a look for yourself. (Warning: large file -- right-click to save to your desktop).