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The Aviation Portal

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Aviation, or air transport, refers to the activities surrounding mechanical flight and the aircraft industry. Aircraft includes fixed-wing and rotary-wing types, morphable wings, wing-less lifting bodies, parachutes, as well as lighter-than-air craft such as balloons and airships. Aviation began in the 18th century with the development of the hot air balloon, an apparatus capable of atmospheric displacement through buoyancy. Some of the most significant advancements in aviation technology came with the controlled gliding flying of Otto Lilienthal; then a largest step in significance came with the construction of the first powered airplane by the Wright brothers in the early 1900s. Since that time, aviation has been technologically revolutionized with the introduction of the jet which permitted a major form of transport throughout the world.

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The F-35 nears completion of flight testing
The F-35 Lightning II, called in development the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), is a military fighter aircraft designed by the United States and the United Kingdom. It is intended to replace the current generation of strike fighters, particularly the vertical take off and landing (VTOL) Harrier jump jets: the AV-8 Harrier II (US), Harrier GR7/9 (UK), and the Sea Harrier, along with the conventional A-10 Thunderbolt II, F/A-18 Hornet and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. It will be a multi-role strike fighter (a plane with a strong emphasis on close air support and tactical bombing as well as being capable of air-to-air combat), and will make considerable use of stealth technology in that it will be almost undetectable (stealthy) to X-band radars (tracking radars, often short range) in the forward hemisphere but not particularly stealthy in the rear hemisphere and not stealthy to L band (search radars, often long range) in either hemisphere. It is in production with Lockheed Martin, along with partners Northrop Grumman, and BAE Systems.

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George Cayley's glider, created in 1853.

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Did you know

...that Luftwaffe ace Erich Rudorffer flew more than 1000 missions during World War II, and was shot down sixteen times by enemy flak and fighters?

...that the Cessna 165 aircraft was instrumental in the recovery of the Cessna Aircraft Company in the years following the Great Depression?

...that François Denhaut built the world's first flying boat, or seaplane with a hull?

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C-GSYN Adlair Aviation Ltd Beechcraft King Air 100 (BE10) 03.JPG

The Beechcraft King Air is a line of twin-turboprop aircraft produced by the Beech Aircraft Corporation (now the Beechcraft Division of Hawker Beechcraft). The King Air has been in continuous production since 1964, the longest production run of any civilian turboprop aircraft. It has outlasted all of its previous competitors and as of 2006 is one of only two twin-turboprop business airplanes in production (the other is the Piaggio Avanti).

Historically, the King Air family comprises a number of models that fall into four families, the Model 90 series, Model 100 series, Model 200 series, and Model 300 series. The last two types were originally marketed as the Super King Air, but the "Super" moniker was dropped in 1996. As of 2006, the only small King Air in production is the conventional-tail C90GT.

  • Span: 50 ft 3 in (15.32 m)
  • Length: 35 ft 6in (10.82 m)
  • Height: 14 ft 3 in (4.34 m)
  • Engines: 2× Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-21 turboprops, 550 shp (410 kW) each
  • Cruising Speed: 284 mph (247 knots ,457 km/h)
  • First Flight: May 1963
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Selected biography

Orville Wright
Wilbur Wright

The Wright brothers, Orville Wright (August 19, 1871 - January 30, 1948) and Wilbur Wright (April 16, 1867 - May 30, 1912), are generally credited with making the first controlled, powered, heavier-than-air flight on December 17, 1903. In the two years afterward, they developed their flying machine into the world's first practical airplane, along with many other aviation milestones.

In 1878 Wilbur and Orville were given a toy "helicopter" by their father. The device was made of paper, bamboo and cork with a rubber band to twirl its twin blades, and about a foot long. The boys played with it until it broke, then built their own. In later years, they pointed to their experience with the toy as the initial spark of their interest in flying.

In the news

Today in Aviation

August 27

  • 2009 – Chinese airline East Star Air declares bankruptcy.
  • 2009 – Russian airline Avianova begins operations.
  • 2009 – T-906, an Ilyushin Il-76TD, of the National Air Force of Angola runs off the runway at Quatro de Fevereiro Airport, Angola, and is substantially damaged. One of the 41 people on board is injured.
  • 2009 – A Hellenic Air Force PZL-Mielec M-18 Dromader fire-fighting aircraft from the 359 Public Services Air Support Unit based at Andravida Airforce Base crashes after hitting high-voltage cables. The accident occurred while fighting a forest fire in the village of Katseli near Argostoli, Kefalonia, Greece resulting in the death of the pilot.
  • 2006 – The Boeing 737-900ER/9GP, is unveiled, with the first operator being Lion Air.
  • 2006Comair Flight 191, a Bombardier Canadair CRJ-100, crashes during takeoff near Lexington, Kentucky, killing 49 of the 50 people on board.
  • 1990 – Death of Stevie Ray Vaughan: Blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and all four other people on board die in the crash of a Bell 206B JetRanger III helicopter near East Troy, Wisconsin.
  • 1985 – Launch: Space Shuttle Discovery STS-51-I at 10:58:01 UTC. Mission highlights: Multiple comsat deployments, rescue of Syncom F3 (Leasat-3) by Astronauts.
  • 1957 – A Royal Canadian Navy McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee fighter jet, BuNo 126306, Sqn. No. 103 of VF-870, collides on a runway with an RCN General Motors TBM-3E Avenger, BuNo 53358, of squadron VC-921, at naval air station HMCS Shearwater, Nova Scotia, Canada. A flight of 3 Avengers was cleared for a formation takeoff on Runway 20 while the Banshee was performing touch-and-go landings on intersecting Runway 16. Due to an inoperable radio, Lt. Ed Trzcinski, Banshee pilot and U.S. Navy exchange officer, did not hear instructions from the control tower to go around, and apparently did not see red flares launched from the control tower due to patchy fog over the airfield and a possible lack of situational awareness. The Banshee collided with the second Avenger, killing Trzcinski and SubLt. Julian Freeman, RCN, pilot and sole occupant of the Avenger.
  • 1956 – Eighth of 13 North American X-10s, GM-52-1, c/n 8, on Navaho X-10 flight number 24, out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, a full-range test with final dive maneuver. Final flight of vehicle eight after three successful recovered missions. During takeoff the vehicle goes aloft, then settles back to the runway with its brakes locked. The tires burst, the gear fails, the gear doors come in contact with the runway, carving grooves in the pavement as they retract. Then, astonishingly, the vehicle rises from the runway, completes a successful full-range supersonic flight with terminal dive into the waters off Grand Bahamas.
  • 1953 – Nos. 414, 422 and 444 Squadrons, comprising No. 4 Fighter Wing, flew from Canada to their new base at Baden Soellingen, Germany.
  • 1942 – (Overnight) 306 British bombers attack Kassel, Germany, with the loss of 31 aircraft, a disturbingly high loss rate of 10.1 percent. However, the Pathfinders are more effective and the sky over Kassel is clear, and the raid is moderately successful.
  • 1941 – The German submarine U-570 surrenders to a Royal Air Force Lockheed Hudson patrol bomber 80 nautical miles (148 km) south of Iceland. No other German submarine surrenders to enemy forces during World War II prior to the final days of the war.
  • 1941 – Four Boulton Paul Defiants of 256 Squadron on practice formation flight, on NE heading a little W of Blackpool at 2,000 feet (610 m), break formation - right into a trio of Blackburn Bothas of 3 School of General Reconnaissance, flying NW at 1,500 feet (460 m). First two Defiants avoid Bothas, but third off the break, N1745, 'J-TP', strikes one Botha, L6509, cutting it in two, and losing one of its own wings. Botha comes down on ticket office of the Central Railway Station, setting large petrol-fed fire. Defiant impacts on private home at No. 97 Reads Avenue. Thirteen killed outright, including all four aircrew, 39 others injured. Of 17 detained in hospital, five later died. All civilian casualties were visitors to the seaside resort, except for one occupant of the house on Reads Avenue. This accident caused more casualties than all the enemy air raids on Blackpool and Fylde during the entire war
  • 1936 – (27-29) German Junkers Ju 52 s supporting the Nationalists bomb Madrid. They damage the Ministry of War on August 29. It is the first terror bombing of a large city since World War I.
  • 1918 – The first Director of the United States Army Air Service is appointed.
  • 1916 – Oswald Boelcke creates the first German special fighter squadron Jagdstaffel 2 (or Jasta 2).
  • 1914 – The Royal Naval Air Service’s famed Eastchurch Squadron arrives in France for World War I service, commanded by Wing Commander Charles Samson.
  • 1913 – Lieutenant Petr Nesterov of the Russian Army in Kiev performs the first loop-the-loop. The complete circle and other intentional acrobatic stunts prove to be valuable experience for the wartime maneuvers needed during aerial battles.
  • 1910 – Radio is first used to send messages between the ground and an airplane when James McCurdy both sends and receives messages from a Curtiss biplane at Sheepshead, New York, using an H. M. Horton wireless set.
  • 1783, flight of an unmanned experimental hydrogen-balloon in Paris (built by Professor Charles and the brothers Roberts). It flies 25 kilometres (16 mi) from Paris to Gonesse and is destroyed by frightened peasants.


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