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.
Boeing-Stearman Model 75's. Taken in 1936 at NAS Pensacola during training of the first class of the Naval Aviation Cadet program. Photo includes Boone Guyton (plane in rear) who later became a test pilot for Chance-Vought (Vought Sikorsky) in 1939.
Produced by Supermarine, the Spitfire was designed by R.J. Mitchell, who continued to refine it until his death from cancer in 1937. The elliptical wing had a thin cross-section, allowing a faster top speed than the Hurricane and other contemporary designs; it also resulted in a distinctive appearance. Much loved by its pilots, the Spitfire saw service during the whole of World War II, in all theatres of war, and in many different variants.
More than 20,300 examples of all variants were built, including two-seat trainers, with some Spitfires remaining in service well into the 1950s. It was the only fighter aircraft to be in continual production before, during and after the war.
The aircraft was dubbed Spitfire by Sir Robert MacLean, director of Vickers (the parent company of Supermarine) at the time, and on hearing this, Mitchell is reported to have said, "...sort of bloody silly name they would give it." The word dates from Elizabethan times and refers to a particularly fiery, ferocious type of person, usually a woman. The name had previously been used unofficially for Mitchell's earlier F.7/30 Type 224 design.
The prototype (K5054) first flew on March 5, 1936, from Eastleigh Aerodrome (later Southampton Airport). Testing continued until May 26, 1936, when Mutt Summers (Chief Test Pilot for Vickers (Aviation) Ltd.) flew K5054 to Martlesham and handed the aircraft over to Squadron Leader Anderson of the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE).
Jeana Yeager (born May 18, 1952 in Fort Worth, Texas) is an aviator, most famous for flying with Dick Rutan on a non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world in the Voyager aircraft from December 14 to December 23, 1986. The flight took 9 days, 3 minutes, and 44 seconds and covered 24,986 miles (40,211 km), more than doubling the old distance record. She received the US annual Harmon Trophy for outstanding international achievements in the aeronautics, and is the first woman recipient of the Collier Trophy for "the greatest achievement in aeronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety" of aircraft.
1959 – Lockheed F-104A-5-LO Starfighter, 56-742, c/n 183-1030, to General Electric Flight Test, June: 1957, performed accelerated service tests on J79 engine. Crashes this date on landing approach at Edwards AFB, California, when split flap condition occurs. Pilot ejects too low and is killed.
1951 – The famous non-fatal Grumman F9F-2 Panther ramp strike accident occurs as Cdr. George Chamberlain Duncan attempts landing on USS Midway in BuNo 125228, during carrier suitability tests in the Atlantic Ocean. Forward fuselage breaks away and rolls down the deck, pilot suffering burns. Footage of this accident has been used in several films including Men of the Fighting Lady, Midway, and The Hunt For Red October.
1951 – Second Avro CF-100 Mk.1, 19102, 'FB-K',crashes on the day it is handed over to the RCAF.
1950 – Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501, a Douglas DC-4, crashes into Lake Michigan 18 miles (29 km) north-northwest of Benton Harbor, Michigan, after entering a squall line and turbulence, killing all 58 people on board. It is the deadliest commercial airliner accident in American history at the time.
1919 – Six Zeppelins (LZ 46, LZ 79, LZ 91, LZ103, LZ 110, and LZ 111) are destroyed at Nordholz by their own crews in order to prevent them from falling into Allied hands.
1916 – Victor Chapman of Lafayette Escadrille becomes the first US airman to be killed in action, shot down near Verdun.
1913 – The S-21 Sikorsky Russky Vityaz ("Russian Knight"), designed by Igor Sikorsky and built by the RBVZ, a redesigned variant of the Bolshoi Baltiski, as the first large aircraft intended exclusively as a bomber, first flies on this date, the world's first four-motored aircraft. It is lost in a freak accident during 1913 military trials when the Gnôme rotary on a Moller II pusher biplane (some sources cite a Morane design) tears loose and hits the giant bomber.