January 12 – Billy Gene Hurst, Jr., hijacksBraniff Flight 38, a Boeing 727 with 102 other people on board, during a flight from Houston to Dallas. After arrival at Love Field in Dallas, he releases the other 94 passengers but holds all seven crew members hostage, demanding to be flown to South America during a standoff with police. Eventually, the entire crew escapes, and police storm the airliner and arrest him.
January 20 – Two months after the celebrated hijacking by D.B. Cooper of Northwest Orient flight 305, Hughes Airwest flight 800 was the target of a copycat hijacker. After boarding at McCarran airport in Las Vegas, 23-year old Richard Charles La Point claimed he had a bomb while the plane was on the taxiway and demanded $50,000 cash, two parachutes, and a helmet. When these demands were met, 51 Reno-bound passengers and two flight attendants were released and the DC-9 departed eastward toward Denver, followed by two F-111s of the U.S. Air Force. The parachutes were high-visibility and equipped with emergency locater devices. Without a coat and in cowboy boots, the hijacker baled out from the lower aft door over the treeless plains of northeasternColorado in mid-afternoon. He was apprehended a few hours later, with minor injuries and very cold. The plane, with two pilots and a flight attendant on board, landed safely at Denver's Stapleton airport at 2:55 pm MST. Facing potential death penalty charges for air piracy, he was sentenced to forty years, but served less than eight and was released from a halfway house in 1979.
January 29 – Gary B. Trapnell hijacks a Trans World Airlinesairliner during a flight from Los Angeles, to New York City and demands US$306,000, the release from prison of militant Angela Davis, and a conversation with President Richard Nixon. A Federal Bureau of Investigation agent shoots and disarms him, and he is imprisoned. In separate incidents in 1978, his wife Barbara Ann Oswald will die in an attempt to free him using a hijacked helicopter and his daughter Robin Oswald will hijack another airliner in a failed attempt to get him released.
On 22 February, Lufthansa Flight 649, a Boeing 747-200 from Tokyo to Frankfurt, is hijacked during the Delhi-Athens leg and forced to divert to Aden, where all 182 passengers and crew are released on the next dayadd in exchange for a $5 million ransom.
Late March – The commander-in-chief of the Soviet Air Force visits North Vietnam, apparently leading to improved North Vietnamese air defense tactics that will be observed between April and September.
March 31 – In response to the North Vietnamese "Easter Offensive" against South Vietnam which began on March 30, the United States begins a series of deployments code-named "Constant Guard", in which a large number of U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps squadrons return to bases in South Vietnam and Thailand and the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier presence at Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin increases from two on March 30 to six by late spring.
May 19 – U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft begin Operation Linebacker, a campaign of airstrikes on North Vietnam targeting the transportation of supplies in support of the North Vietnamese "Easter Offensive" invasion of South Vietnam.
The United States and Soviet Union sign the SALT-1 strategic arms limitation treaty.
Cessna builds its 100,000th aircraft, the first company in the world to achieve this figure.
Two American UH-1B attack helicopters use TOW antitank missiles to destroy 12 North Vietnamese tanks outside Kon Tum, South Vietnam, allowing South Vietnamese forces to counterattack and secure the city.
North Vietnam begins to use balloons with explosive charges.
U.S. Air Force F-4E Phantom II pilot Phil "Hands" Handley scores the first and thus far only supersonic gun kill in history while engaging a pair of MiG-19 (NATO reporting name "Farmer") fighters over North Vietnam in support of a rescue operation to save F-4 Phantom II crewman Roger Locher, downed northeast of Hanoi 23 days earlier.
To protest American involvement in the Vietnam War and hoping to free Angela Davis from prison and transport her to political asylum in North Vietnam, Willie Roger Holder and his girlfriend, Catherine Marie Kerkow, hijack Western Airlines Flight 701, a Boeing 720B, as it approaches Seattle near the end of a flight from Los Angeles, claiming to have a bomb in an attaché case. They demand a ransom of US$500,000. After allowing all 97 passengers to get off in San Francisco, they fly to Algiers in Algeria, where they are granted political asylum. Later, $488,000 of the ransom money is returned to American officials.
June 8 – Seven men and three women hijack a plane from Czechoslovakia to West Germany.
June 12 – The "Windsor Incident" occurs when American Airlines Flight 96, a Douglas DC-10-10, suffers an in-flight door failure at 11,750 feet (3,581 m) over Windsor, Ontario, Canada, resulting in cabin depressurization and several minor injuries to passengers. Despite corrective measures to improve the door-locking mechanism, a similar failure aboard another DC-10 will cause the disastrous crash of Turkish Airlines Flight 981.
September 9 – A U.S. Air Force F-4D Phantom II crewed by Captain John A. Madden, Jr., pilot, and Captain Charles B. DeBellevue, weapon systems officer, shoots down two MiG-19s (NATO reporting name "Farmer") over North Vietnam. They are Madden's first two kills and DeBelleuve's fifth and sixth. DeBellevue's six kills will make him the highest-scoring American ace of the Vietnam War.
Carrying the Old Christians Clubrugby union team from Montevideo, Uruguay, to play a match in Santiago, Chile, a Uruguayan Air ForceFairchild FH-227 operating as Flight 571 with 45 people on board crashes in the Andes in Argentina at an altitude of 3,600 m (11,800 ft). Twelve of those aboard die in the crash, five the next morning, and one more after eight days. An avalanche sweeps over the wreckage on October 29, killing eight more people, and another three die in November and December; survivors resort to eating dead passengers to stay alive. On December 12, passengers Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa make a 10-day hike to find help, reaching safety on December 22 and finally informing authorities of the survivors. The other 14 survivors finally are rescued on December 22 and 23.
October 24 – As a peace gesture, the United States begins a seven-day halt on the bombing of North Vietnamese targets north of the 20th Parallel, but continues airstrikes at near-record levels against North Vietnamese supply lines south of the line.
Four days after killing an Arlington County, Virginia, police officer and a bank manager during a bank robbery, Charles A. Tuller, his teenage sons Bryce and Jonathan, and teenager William White Graham kill an Eastern Airlines ticket agent in Houston, hijack Eastern Airlines Flight 486 – a Boeing 727 with 13 passengers and a crew of seven aboard – there, and order it to be flown to Havana, Cuba. During the four-hour flight, which includes a refueling stop at New Orleans, Charles Tuller repeatedly harangues the 13 passengers aboard during the flight, saying he is a "white middle-class revolutionary" and that Cuba is "the only place that a person could enjoy the benefits of freedom", and threatening some of them with guns. The three Tullers will return to the United States in June 1975, calling life in Cuba "a living hell", and be arrested. Graham will return in the late 1970s and be arrested in 1993.
November 15 – The first attenpted aircraft hijacking in Australia takes place when Miloslav Hrabinec attempts to hijack Ansett Airlines Flight 232, a Fokker F27 Friendship with 31 other people on board, as it is descending to land at Alice Springs. He demands a parachute and to be flown 1,000 miles (1,621 km) into the desert. After landing at Alice Springs, he releases 22 passengers, then threatens to begin shooting the rest of the people on board if not given a light plane, a pilot, and a parachute. After he leaves the Fokker to approach the light plane with a flight attendant as a hostage, he wounds a policeman, is brought under fire by police, and then shoots himself to death.
December 18–25 – Frustrated with a lack of progress in peace talks with North Vietnamese negotiators, the United States conducts Operation Linebacker II. Sometimes called "The December Raids" and "The Christmas Bombing", it involves intense American bombing of North Vietnam, including heavy operations by U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortresses and the laying of naval mines in North Vietnamese harbors including Haiphong. On the first day, 86 B-52s based at Guam strike Hanoi.