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.
Air Force One (the ATC callsign of any U.S. Air Force aircraft carrying the President) has, since 1990, consisted of two specifically-configured, highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft. The planes' three floors (4,000 square feet – 372 m²) include multiple modifications including the president's executive suite which includes a private dressing room, workout room, lavatory, shower, and private office.
Captain Joseph Kittinger steps from a balloon-supported gondola at the altitude of 102,800 feet (31.3 km), or almost 20 miles on August 16, 1960, as part of Project Excelsior, a series of high-altitude parachute jumps, testing a system that would allow a safe controlled descent after a high-altitude aircraft ejection. In freefall for 4.5 minutes at speeds up to 625 mph (1,005 km/h) and temperatures as low as −94°F (−70°C), he opened his parachute at 17,500 feet (5.3 km). The whole descent took 13 minutes and 45 seconds. This is the current world record for the highest parachute jump and was the longest freefall until Adrian Nicholas broke the record in 1998 with a wing suit skydive lasting 4 minutes 55 seconds.
Notable features of the Dash 8 design are the large T-tail intended to keep the tail free of propwash during takeoff, a very high aspect ratio wing, the elongated engine nacelles also holding the rearward-folding landing gear, and the pointed nose profile. First flight was in 1983, and the plane entered service in 1984 with NorOntair. Piedmont Airlines (formerly Henson Airlines) was the US launch customer for the Dash 8 in 1984.
The Dash 8 design had better cruise performance than the earlier Dash 7, was less expensive to operate, and more notably, much less expensive to maintain. The Dash 8 had the lowest costs per passenger mile of any feederliner of the era. The only disadvantage compared to the earlier Dash 7 was somewhat higher noise levels, but only in comparison as the Dash 7 was notable in the industry for extremely low noise due to its four very large and slow-turning propellers.
Erich Alfred "Bubi" Hartmann (19 April 1922 – 20 September 1993), also nicknamed "The Blond Knight of Germany" by friends and "The Black Devil" by his enemies, was a German fighter pilot and still is the highest scoring fighter ace in the history of aerial combat. He scored 352 aerial victories (of which 345 were won against the Soviet Air Force, and 260 of which were fighters) in 1,404 combat missions and engaging in aerial combat 825 times while serving with the Luftwaffe in World War II. During the course of his career Hartmann was forced to crash land his damaged fighter 14 times. This was due to damage received from parts of enemy aircraft he had just shot down, or mechanical failure. Hartmann was never shot down or forced to land due to enemy fire.
He scored his 352nd and last aerial victory on 8 May 1945. He and the remainder of JG 52 surrendered to United States Army forces and were turned over to the Red Army. Convicted of false "War Crimes" and sentenced to 25 years of hard labour, Hartmann would spend 10 years in various Soviet prison camps and gulags until he was released in 1955. In 1956, Hartmann joined the newly established West German Luftwaffe and became the first Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 71 "Richthofen". Hartmann resigned early from the Bundeswehr in 1970, largely due to his opposition of the F-104 Starfighter deployment in the Bundesluftwaffe and the resulting clashes with his superiors over this issue. Erich Hartmann died in 1993.
2008 – A MiG-29 crash at Chita in the district of Zabaykalsky Krai, Siberia at 0612 hrs. Moscow time, kills the pilot.
2006 – Lufthansa becomes the first airline to order the Boeing 747-8 passenger jet with an order for 20 planes and options for an additional 20 planes.
2005 – Southwest Airlines Flight 1248, a Boeing 737-7 H4 with 103 people on board, slides off a runway while landing in a snowstorm at Chicago Midway International Airport in Chicago, Illinois; 11 people on the aircraft are injured. The plane strikes at least three cars in a busy intersection; a six-year-old boy is killed and several people are injured in the cars.
2001 – Launch: Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-108 at 22:19:28 UTC. Mission highlights: ISS supply, crew rotation.
1997 – Russian Air Force Antonov An-124 Ruslan, RA-82005, delivering two Sukhoi Su-27 Flankers to Vietnam, loses both port engines at 200 feet (60 m) on take-off from Irkutsk, crashing into residential area, killing eight crew, 15 passengers, and 45 on the ground (some accounts list higher ground casualties). Cause was thought to be either contaminated fuel or wrong grade of fuel, taken on at Irkutsk.
1994 – A U.S. Navy pilot from Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, is killed when he loses control of his Beechcraft T-34C Turbo Mentor near Robertsdale, Alabama.
1988 – A U.S. Navy Grumman EA-6B Prowler, BuNo 163044, 'NG', of VAQ-139, goes missing over the Pacific Ocean during training exercise 900 miles off San Diego. Search fails to find any sign of the four crew.
1972 – During an Aerospace Defense Command night training mission, Convair F-102A-80-CO Delta Dagger, 56-1517, of the 157th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, South Carolina Air National Guard, McEntire Air National Guard Base, South Carolina, collided with Lockheed C-130E Hercules, 64-0558, of the 318th Special Operations Squadron, out of Pope AFB, North Carolina, during a simulated interception, over the Bayboro area of Horry County, east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. One killed in the Delta Dagger, Capt. Thomas C. Hagood, Jr. of Lexington, South Carolina, and all twelve aboard the Hercules perish. They were Lt. Col. Donald E. Martin, of White Oak, Texas; Maj. Keith L. Van Note, of Mason City, Iowa; Capt. John R. Cole, of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Capt. Louis R. Sert, of St. Louis, Missouri; Capt. Marshall K. Dickerson, of Chicago; Lt. Douglas L. Theirer, address unavailable; T.Sgt. Robert E. Doyle, of South Hill, Virginia; T.Sgt. Claude L. Abbot, of Adel, Georgia; S.Sgt. Gilmore A. Minkley, Jr., of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; Sgt. Billy M. Warr, Sr., of Sylmar, California; Sgt. Gerald K. Faust, of Oregon, Wisconsin; and Capt. Douglas S. Peterson, of Harvard, Illinois. Some press reports list Conway, South Carolina, west of the crash site, as the location.
1965 – Douglas A-4E Skyhawk, BuNo 151022, of VA-56 on nuclear alert status, armed with one Mark 43 TN nuclear weapon, rolls off of elevator of aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14), in the Pacific Ocean. The Skyhawk was being rolled from the number 2 hangar bay to the number 2 elevator when it was lost. Airframe, pilot Lt. D.M. Webster, and bomb are lost in 16,000 feet of water 80 miles from one of the Ryukyu Islands in Okinawa.] Webster, from Warren, Ohio, was a 1964 graduate of the Ohio State University. No public mention was made of the incident at the time and it would not come to light until a 1981 Pentagon report revealed that a one-megaton bomb had been lost. Japan then asks for details of the incident.
1964 – An LGM-30B Minuteman I missile is on strategic alert at Launch Facility (LF) L-02, Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, when two airmen are dispatched to the LF to repair the inner zone (IZ) security system. In the midst of their checkout of the IZ system, one retrorocket in the spacer below the Reentry Vehicle (RV) fires, causing the RV to fall about 75 feet to the floor of the silo. When the RV strikes bottom, the arming and fusing/attitude control subsystem containing the batteries are torn loose, thus removing all sources of power from the RV. The RV structure receives considerable damage. All safety devices operate properly in that they do not sense the proper sequence of events to allow arming the warhead. There is no detonation or radioactive contamination.
1956 – An Northrop XSM-62 Snark, 53-8172, N-69D test model, fitted with new 24 hour stellar inertial guidance system, launches from Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex, Florida, wanders off-course, ignores destruct command, disappears over Brazil. It is found by a farmer in January 1983.
1961 – A U. S. Navy McDonnell F4 H-1 Phantom II sets a sustained altitude record of 66,443.8 feet (20,252.1 m).
1945 – Flight 19 was the designation of five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers that disappeared during a United States Navy-authorized overwater navigation training flight from Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale, Florida. All 14 airmen on the flight were lost, as were all 13 crew members of a PBM Mariner flying boat assumed to have exploded in mid-air while searching for the flight. Navy investigators could not determine the cause for the loss of Flight 19 but said the aircraft may have become disoriented and ditched in rough seas after running out of fuel.
1944 – British Douglas Dakota III aircraft, serial number FL588, of the Royal Air Force crashed on the Pic de la Camisette, a mountain close to the commune of Mijanès, Ariège, in the French Pyrenees. The Dakota was piloted by three RAF pilots. In total twenty-three airmen were on board, including twenty members of the Glider Pilot Regiment. Only six airmen survived the incident; sixteen died in the crash, another died within hours from his injuries. In spite of serious wounds, two of the survivors managed to reach the village of Mijanès to get help for the other survivors. The bodies of eleven men were recovered from the crash site between 10 and 19 December, and buried in Mijanès. The search was suspended due to adverse weather conditions, but in the spring of 1945 a further six bodies were brought down from the crash site after the snow had melted. All of the airmen who died in the crash were later reburied in the Mazargues War Cemetery, Marseilles. Remains of Dakota FL 588 have been preserved and today are on display at the Château d'Usson, a ruined medieval Castle noted for its association with the Cathars.
1942 – Canadian Vickers prototype of the Consolidated Canso was test flown at St Hubert Quebec, by ECW Dobbin and crew.
1941 – First flight of the Kawanishi E15K Shiun (“Violet Cloud”), Allied reporting name “Norm”
1931 – Lowell Bayles, winner of the 1931 Thompson Trophy, dies when the Gee Bee Model Z racer he is piloting crashes during a speed run at Wayne County Airport in Detroit, Michigan.
1909 – George Taylor becomes the first person to fly a heavier-than-air craft in Australia, in a glider he designed. On the same day Florence Taylor becomes the first woman in Australia to fly a heavier-than-air craft, in the glider designed by her husband.