- On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded 31,000 feet over Lockerbie, Scotland, 38 minutes after takeoff from London.
- Two hundred fifty-nine people on board the New Yorkbound Boeing 747 were killed, along with 11 people on the ground.
- Afterward, United States and British investigators found fragments of a circuit board and a timer, and ruled that a bomb, not mechanical failure, caused the explosion.
- Libyans Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifah Fhimah were tried for the bombing. Al Megrahi was found guilty, while Fhimah was found not guilty.
- The aircraft operating Pan Am Flight 103 was a Boeing 747–121, registered N739PA and named Clipper Maid of the Seas; prior to 1979, it had been named Clipper Morning Light.
- At 18:58, the aircraft established two-way radio contact with Shanwick Oceanic Area Control in Prestwick.
- At 19:02:44, the clearance delivery officer at Shanwick transmitted its oceanic route clearance. The aircraft did not acknowledge this message. At this time a loud sound was recorded on the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) at 19:02:50.
- Flying at an altitude of 31,000 feet, the aircraft had just crossed the border into Scotland when the bomb exploded.
- The plane’s wings, along with tanks carrying 100 tons of jet fuel, plummeted into Lockerbie’s Sherwood Crescent neighborhood, creating an inferno and a crater more than 150 feet deep that registered miles away as a seismic event. At 7:03 p.m., 11 Sherwood Crescent residents, including a family of four, were killed instantly.
- Pan Am Flight 103 explodes 31,000 feet over Lockerbie, Scotland, 38 minutes after takeoff from London. The 259 people on board the New Yorkbound Boeing 747 are killed, along with 11 people on the ground.
- The bombing, believed to be carried out by Libyan intelligence officers in retaliation for U.S. actions against then-Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, was a transformative event for the FBI, one that changed the way the Bureau investigates terrorism and assists victims of crimes.
- Within a week of what Scottish authorities were calling the Lockerbie air disaster, it was determined that Pan Am Flight 103 had been destroyed by a bomb. But when the plane dropped out of the sky that night, no one was certain what had happened.
- The United Nations Security Council imposes sanctions on air travel and arms sales to Libya, over Libya’s refusal to hand the suspects over for trial in a Scottish court.
- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan meets with Libyan leader Gadhafi to urge Libya to hand over the bombing suspects.
- December 7, 1999 – Al Megrahi and Fhimah make their first appearance at a two-day pre-trial hearing at Camp Zeist.
- May 3, 2000 – The trial of Pan Am Flight 103 bombing suspects al Megrahi and Fhimah begins. Al Megrahi is found guilty and jailed for a minimum of 27 years. Fhimah is found not guilty.
- President Gadhafi agrees to pay $2.7 billion in compensation to families of those killed in the bombing.
- June 28, 2004 – The United States resumes direct diplomatic ties with Libya after 24 years.
- It is announced that al Megrahi is suffering from terminal cancer and he died in Libya in 2012.