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Aviation is the activities surrounding mechanical flight and the aircraft industry. Aircraft includes fixed-wing and rotary-wing types, morphable wings, wing-less lifting bodies, as well as lighter-than-air craft such as hot air 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 in 1896; then a large 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 by the introduction of the jet which permitted a major form of transport throughout the world. (Full article...)

Selected article

Airbus A380, the largest passenger jet in the world, entered commercial service in 2007.
Airbus A380, the largest passenger jet in the world, entered commercial service in 2007.
Airbus SAS is an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace consortium. Based in Toulouse, France and with significant activity across Europe, the company produces around half of the world's jet airliners. Airbus began as a consortium of aerospace manufacturers. Consolidation of European defence and aerospace companies around the turn of the century allowed the establishment of a simplified joint stock company in 2001, owned by EADS (80%) and BAE Systems (20%). After a protracted sale process BAE sold its shareholding to EADS on 13 October 2006. Airbus employs around 57,000 people at sixteen sites in four European Union countries: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain. Final assembly production is at Toulouse (France) and Hamburg (Germany). Airbus has subsidiaries in the United States, Japan and China. (Full article...)

Selected image

The UK Utterly Butterly display team perform an aerobatic maneuver with their Boeing Stearmans, at an air display in England.

Did you know

...that British Airways unveiled a new corporate identity in 1997 which involved repainting its fleet with around 20 daring tailfin designs by world artists? ...that the fighter pilot Aleksandr Kazakov destroyed 32 German and Austro-Hungarian planes during WWI, while his formal tally of 17 is explained by the fact that only planes crashed in the Russian-held territory were officially counted? ...that the Pterodactyl Ascender (pictured) has been one of the most influential designs in ultralight aviation?

Selected Aircraft

Dash 8 300 landing at Bristol (UK)

The de Havilland Canada DHC-8, popularly the Dash 8, is a series of twin-turboprop airliners designed by de Havilland Canada in the early 1980s. They are now made by Bombardier Aerospace which purchased DHC from Boeing in 1992. Since 1996 the aircraft have been known as the Q Series, for "quiet", due to installation of the Active Noise and Vibration Suppression (ANVS) system designed to reduce cabin noise and vibration levels to near those of jet airliners.

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.

  • Length: 107 ft 9 in (32.84 m)
  • Wingspan: 93 ft 3 in (32.84 m)
  • Height: 27 ft 5 in (8.34 m)
  • Powerplant: 2× Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A turboprops, 5,071 shp (3,781 kW) each
  • Cruise speed: 360 knots (414 mph, 667 km/h)
  • Maiden Flight: June 20, 1983

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Selected biography

Coleman-Bessie 01.jpg
Elizabeth 'Bessie' Coleman (January 26, 1892 – April 30, 1926), popularly known as "Queen Bess", was the first African American (male or female) to become an airplane pilot, and the first American of any race or gender to hold an international pilot license. Growing up in Chicago, she heard tales of the world from pilots who were returning home from World War I. They told stories about flying in the war, and Coleman started to fantasize about being a pilot. She could not gain admission to American flight schools because she was black and a woman. No black U.S. aviator would train her either. Coleman took French language class at the Berlitz school in Chicago, and then traveled to Paris on November 20, 1920. Coleman learned to fly in a Nieuport Type 82 biplane.

In the news

Today in Aviation

April 16

  • 2010 – A Spanish Air Force Bell 212 crashed in Haiti near the border with the Dominican Republic killing all 4 crew on board.
  • 2004 – CH-47D Chinook 92-0301 from C Company/193rd Aviation Brigade (Hawaii Army National Guard) makes hard landing during sandstorm and was later destroyed. Crew memberssafe.[1]
  • 1980 – A contract was signed at CFB Uplands for 173 CF-18 A Hornet fighter aircraft.
  • 1973 – The Florida State Senate votes unanimously to restore the name “Cape Canaveral” to the NASA establishment which was renamed “Cape Kennedy” shortly after the President’s assassination.
  • 1973 – Entered Service: Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante with Transbrasil
  • 1972 – President Richard M. Nixon's administration lifts most restrictions on bombing North Vietnam, and U. S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortresses bomb targets near Haiphong for the first time since 1968.
  • 1970 – US Navy McDonnell Douglas TA-4F Skyhawk from NAS Oceana, Virginia, and USAF North American T-39A-1-NA Sabreliner, 61-0640, c/n 265-43, en route from Shaw AFB, South Carolina to Langley AFB, Virginia, collided in mid-air, the T-39 coming down over residential area of Weldon, North Carolina, but no one on the ground was injured and wreckage missed homes. Skyhawk crew, Lts. George D. Green, 27, and Walter G. Young, 27, both of Virginia Beach, Virginia, were killed as it came down in a swamp area ~20 miles away, near Enfield, North Carolina. Pilot Lt. Col. Francis George Halturewicz, Jr. of the Sabreliner, was credited with minimizing ground damage as he jettisoned most of its fuel before impact. Killed were Col. Ivey J. Lewis, Stockton, California, LTC Halturewicz, Maj. Ronald L. Edwards, and T. Sgt. Joseph R. Brown, all of MacDill AFB, Florida.
  • 1958 – U.S. Air Force pilot 1st Lt. Robert Yoshizumi, 26, of Honolulu, survives ejection from his disabled North American F-100C-25-NA Super Sabre, 54-1982, at 300 feet (91 m) altitude. Fighter, of 36th Fighter-Day Wing, 22nd Fighter-Day Squadron, Bitburg Air Base, crashes in eastern suburb of Matzen, West Germany after entering spin. He suffers only minor injuries as his parachute swings one time before landing.
  • 1956 – David McDowell Brown, American astronaut, was born (d. 2003). Brown was a United States Naval Captain and a NASA astronaut. He was killed on his first space flight, when the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107) disintegrated during orbital reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • 1956 – Entered Service: Douglas F4D Skyray, the United States Navy’s first supersonic fighter, with Composite Squadron 13 (VC-13)
  • 1945 – The final Soviet assault against Berlin begins with strikes by 150 Soviet Air Force night bombers of the 4th and 16th Air Armies against German positions in the early morning hours, coordinated with mortar and artillery attacks. By 1500 hours, 647 Soviet combat aircraft are in the air. The day ends with the Soviet Air Force having flown 5,300 sorties, claiming 131 German aircraft shot down in exchange for 87 Soviet aircraft.
  • 1944 – Fifth Air Force aircraft stage their final attack against Japanese airfields around Hollandia. They have essentially destroyed the Japanese force of 351 aircraft that had been on the airfields at the end of March.
  • 1943 – Believing they had sunk a cruiser, two destroyers, and 25 transports and shot down 175 Allied aircraft, the Japanese end the I Operation air offensive. Actual Allied losses have been one destroyer, one tanker, one corvette, and two cargo ships sunk and about 25 planes shot down.
  • 1941 – Lt. j.g. Yasushi Nikaido, fighter squadron leader of the Imperial Japanese Navy carrier Kaga, survives close call when Mitsubishi A6M, number 140, loses both port and starboard ailerons as well as part of the upper wing surface while performing dive of 550 km/h at 2,300 rpm, but pilot makes skilful emergency landing at Kisarazu Air Field. Accident is reported to Naval Aeronautical Headquarters, the Naval Aeronautical Technical Establishment, and the Yokosuka Air Corps.
  • 1941 – Igor I. Sikorsky impressively demonstrates the capabilities of his VS-300 helicopter by hovering virtually motionless over Stratford (Connecticut) Airport for one hour, five minutes. Powered by a large, 90-hp engine, it sets a new helicopter record.
  • 1941London comes under intense bomber attack, with nearly 900 tonnes of high explosive dropped on the city.
  • 1937 – Entered Service: Supermarine Stranraer
  • 1935 – Flying Officer Clive Newton Edgerton takes off from Laverton in RAAF Westland Wapiti, A5-31, but after entering a steep dive from 15,000 feet is unable to recover. "The structure of the aircraft failed during the test flight and the aircraft crashed at Werribee." Witnesses reported that the wings failed and folded back along the fuselage. The lower starboard wing landed in a paddock 1½ miles from the fuselage. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee (AAIC) reported that "The tailplane actuating gear was in full forward position...the aircraft had five ballast weights in the tail...when there should have been six, and in addition another four in the passenger's cockpit, so that the aircraft was obviously tail light and nose heavy. Apparently the pilot had his tail actuating gear into the full forward, giving maximum lift to the tail to enable him to go into a dive." The speed of Edgerton's dive was so great that the blades of the airscrew were pulled from the boss by the centrifugal force.
  • 1929 – First flight of the Short Gurnard(two-seat biplane naval fighter) in his landplane form.
  • 1915 – The United States Navy conducts the first catapult launch of an aircraft (an AB-2 seaplane) from a floating platform, launching an airplane from Navy Coal Barge No. 214 at Naval Air Station Pensacola at Pensacola, Florida.
  • 1913 – First contest for the Schneider Trophy. Maurice Prévost wins in a Deperdussin monoplane, completing the 28 circuits of the 10 km (6.2 mile) course with an average speed of 73.63 km/h (45.75 mph)


  1. ^ "1992 USAF Serial Numbers". Retrieved 2010-02-17. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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