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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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Computer-generated image of Flight 1907 and N600XL about to collide. The Legacy's left winglet sliced off nearly half of the Boeing's left wing.
Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907 was a Boeing 737-8EH, registration PR-GTD, on a scheduled passenger flight from Manaus, Brazil, to Rio de Janeiro. On 29 September 2006, just before 17:00 BRT, it collided in midair with an Embraer Legacy business jet over the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. All 154 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing 737 died when the aircraft broke up in midair and crashed into an area of dense rainforest, while the Embraer Legacy, despite sustaining serious damage to its left wing and tail, landed safely with its seven occupants uninjured. The accident, which triggered a crisis in Brazilian civil aviation, was the deadliest in that country's aviation history at the time, surpassing VASP Flight 168, which crashed in 1982 with 137 fatalities near Fortaleza. It was also the deadliest aviation accident involving a Boeing 737 aircraft at that time. It was subsequently surpassed by Air India Express Flight 812, which crashed at Mangalore, India, on 22 May 2010 with 158 fatalities. The accident was investigated by both the Brazilian Air Force's Aeronautical Accidents Investigation and Prevention Center and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), with a final report issued on 10 December 2008. CENIPA concluded that the accident was caused by errors committed both by air traffic controllers and by the American pilots, while the NTSB determined that all pilots acted properly and were placed on a collision course by a variety of "individual and institutional" air traffic control errors.

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1783 balloonj.jpg
Credit: Library of Congress LOT 13403, no. 12 [P&P]. Author unknown.

1786 description of the historic Montgolfier Brothers' 1783 balloon flight. Illustration with engineering proportions and description.

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Did you know

...that George H.W. Bush flew a TBF Avenger while he was in the U.S. Navy?

...that the airfields captured in the battle of Tinian were used for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

.. that five UH-1 Iroquois helicopters of the Experimental Military Unit were shot down by a single Viet Cong soldier armed with an AK-47 rifle?

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The Tupolev TB-3 (Russian: Тяжёлый Бомбардировщик, Tyazholy Bombardirovschik, Heavy Bomber, civilian designation ANT-6) was a heavy bomber aircraft which was deployed by the Soviet Air Force in the 1930s and during World War II. It was the world's first cantilever wing four-engine heavy bomber. Despite obsolescence and being officially withdrawn from service in 1939, TB-3 performed bomber and transport duties through much of WWII. The TB-3 also saw combat as a Zveno project fighter mothership and as a light tank transport.

  • Span: 41.80 m (137 ft 2 in)
  • Length: 24.4 m (80 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 8.50 m (27 ft 11 in)
  • Engines: 4× Mikulin M-17F V12 engines, 525 kW (705 hp) each
  • Maximum Speed: 196 km/h (106 knots, 122 mph) at 3000 m (9,840 ft)
  • First Flight: 22 December 1930
...Archive/Nominations

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Howard Hughes
Howard Robard Hughes Jr. (December 24, 1905 – April 5, 1976) was a pioneering aviator, engineer, industrialist and film producer. He was widely known as a playboy and one of the wealthiest people in the world. He is famous for setting multiple world air-speed records; building the Hughes H-1 Racer and H-4 Hercules airplanes; producing Hell's Angels and The Outlaw; and, for his debilitating and eccentric behavior later in life. Hughes was born in Houston, Texas, on December 24, 1905, although it should be noted that his exact birthdate is debated by some biographers. His parents were Allene Gano Hughes and Howard R. Hughes Sr., who patented the tri-cone roller bit, which allowed rotary drilling for oil in previously inaccessible places. Howard R. Hughes Sr. founded Hughes Tool Company in 1909 to commercialize this invention.

In the news

Today in Aviation

July 24

  • 2009Aria Air Flight 1525, an Ilyushin Il-62, skids off the runway at Mashhad International Airport, killing 17 of 153 on board.
  • 2009 – The Italian Civil Aviation Authority suspends the operating licence of MyAir due to financial problems and service failures.
  • 1999All Nippon Airways Flight 61, a Boeing 747, is hijacked by a passenger, Yuji Nishizawa, wielding a knife; after fatally stabbing the captain, he is overpowered by the crew; the first officer lands the plane safely at Haneda, Japan.
  • 1993 – At 1517 hrs. two Mikoyan MiG-29s, 526, c/n 25887, and 925, c/n 15564, of the Russian Flight Research Institute took off for a demonstration at RIAT RAF Fairford 1993, but during display suffer mid-air collision, both pilots, Alexander Beschastonov and Sergey Tresvyatsk,2] ejecting safely. Video of this accident is widely available on the internet.
  • 1992Mandala Airlines Flight 660, a Vickers Viscount 816, crashed on approach to Pattimura Airport, Ambon, Indonesia, killing all 7 crew and 63 passengers on board.
  • 1978 – McDonnell Douglas completes the 5,000th F-4 Phantom II.
  • 1970 – USAF McDonnell Douglas F-4C-20-MC Phantom II, 63-7609, crashes SE of McNeal, Arizona.
  • 1969 – Apollo 11 splashes down safely in the Pacific Ocean.
  • 1965 – Four F-4 C Phantoms escorting a bombing raid at Kang Chi are the targets of SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air antiaircraft missiles in the first such attack against American planes in the Vietnam war. One is shot down and the other three sustain damage.
  • 1961 – Deliveries of the McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo to the Royal Canadian Air Force commence.
  • 1953 – (24-26) Operating off the east coast of Korea, the U. S. Navy aircraft carriers USS Boxer (CVA-21), USS Lake Champlain (CVA-39), USS Philippine Sea (CVA-47), and USS Princeton (CVA-37), supporting United Nations ground forces, break records for the number of sorties flown with the highest sortie rates of the Korean War. They average 170 sorties per day, and Princeton aircraft fly 184 sorties on one day.
  • 1946 – Bernard Lynch becomes the first person to be “shot” out of an airplane. Lynch was involved in the first airborne test of a British “ejection seat. ” Lynch ejected from a Gloster Meteor Mk III at 320 mph.
  • 1945 – Task Force 38 carrier aircraft fly 1,747 sorties against no air opposition, striking targets in the Inland Sea of Japan in one of the heaviest days of carrier air strikes of World War II. At Kure, Japan, they sink the battleship Hyūga, the heavy cruisers Tone and Aoba, and the obsolete battleship Settsu and armored cruiser Iwate, heavily damage the aircraft carrier Amagi, and damage the aircraft carrier Kaiyo. In addition, 570 U. S. Army Air Forces B-29 s drop 3,445 tons (3,125,283 kg) of bombs on Osaka and Nagoya, Japan.
  • 1945 – (24-26) Aircraft from carriers of the British 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron strike Japanese airfields and shipping in northern Malaya.
  • 1944 – U. S. forces land on Tinian.
  • 1943 – The Royal Air Force (RAF) use “Window, ” code name for metal foil dropped to confuse enemy radar, for the first time.
  • 1943 – (Overnight) 791 British bombers attack Hamburg, Germany, beginning Operation Gomorrah or the “Battle of Hamburg, a systematic effort by Bomber Command chief Air Marshal Arthur Harris to destroy the city. For the first time, the Royal Air Force uses chaff, codenamed “Window”, to foil German radar. About 1,500 people are killed, more than in all 137 previous air attacks on the city combined. Twelve British bombers are lost.
  • 1941 – The Boeing-built Douglas DB-7 B attack bomber makes its first flight.
  • 1938 – At Campo de Marte, Santa Ana, Usaquén, Colombia, a pilot performing an aerobatic display crashes a Curtiss F11C Goshawk into a crowd attending a military review. Sources differ on the number killed and injured up to 75 died and 100 or more were injured. According to TIME magazine, the pilot, Flt. Lt. Cesar Abadia of the Colombian Air Force, disregarded standing orders not to fly below 500 feet and attempted to dive through a narrow gap between two grandstands. The pilot misjudged his approach and a wingtip hit the Diplomatic stand the plane then smashed against the Presidential stand and exploded, raining flaming debris down on spectators located between the two grandstands.
  • 1917 – Congress approves the expenditure of $640 million on military aviation. It is the largest single appropriation approved by Congress.
  • 1898 – Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly alone across the Atlantic Ocean and one of the world’s most famous aviators, is born in Atchinson, Kansas.


  1. ^ Weaver, Matthew; Whitaker, Brian (24 July 2012). "Syria crisis: clashes and prison mutiny in Aleppo". The Guardian. 
  2. ^ The Independent, 25 July 2012

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