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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

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.
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. (Full article...)

Selected image

Refueling a fire fighting helicopter Southern River, Western Australia.
Refueling a fire fighting helicopter Southern River, Western Australia.

Did you know

...that on October 5, 1914, a French Voisin III pilot scored the first air-to-air kill of World War I? ...that on May 3, 2002 a military MiG-21bis aircraft crashed into the Bank of Rajasthan in India, killing eight? ... that Flying Officer (later Air Commodore) Frank Lukis was one of the original twenty-one officers in the RAAF when it was formed in 1921?

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Selected biography

Howard Hughes
Howard Hughes (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 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.

Selected Aircraft

An ERJ-145 of BA CitiExpress (now BA Connect) takes off from Bristol Airport (UK)

The Embraer ERJ-145 is a regional jet produced by Embraer, a Brazilian aerospace company. The ERJ 145 is the largest of a family of airliners, which also includes the ERJ 135, ERJ 140, and Legacy. All aircraft in the series are powered by two turbofan engines. It is one of the most popular regional jet families in the world with primary competition coming from the Canadair Regional Jet.

The first flight of the ERJ 145 was on August 11, 1995, with the first delivery in December 1996 to ExpressJet Airlines (then the regional division of Continental Airlines). ExpressJet is the largest operator of the ERJ 145, with 270 of the nearly 1000 ERJ 145s in service. The second largest operator is American Eagle, with 206 ERJ 145 aircraft. Chautauqua Airlines also operates 95 ERJ 145s through its alliances with American Connection, Delta Connection, US Airways Express and United Express. By some accounts, the ERJ 145 has a cost of ownership of about $2,500,000 per year.

  • Span: 20.04 m (65 ft 9 in)
  • Length: 29.9 m (98 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 6.76 m (22 ft 2 in)
  • Engines: 2× Rolls-Royce AE 3007A turbofans, 33.0 kN (7,420 lbf) thrust each
  • Cruising Speed: 834 km/h (518 mph, Mach 0.78)
  • First Flight: August 11, 1995
  • Number built: ≈1000

Today in Aviation

September 29

  • 2011 – Nusantara Buana CASA C-212 crash: A CASA C-212 Aviocar operated by Nusantara Buana Air, crashed half way through its flight from Polonia International Airport in Indonesia. The crash killed all eighteen people on board; fourteen passengers and four crew.
  • 2009 – Greek state-owned airline Olympic Airlines ceased operation.It was replaced by privately owned Olympic Air, which commenced operations on this day.
  • 2009 – British Airways operates the first transatlantic flight from London City Airport: BA001 (a flight number unused since Concorde retired), an all-business class Airbus A318.
  • 2007 – Dash 8 landing gear incidents: Two separate failures occurred within four days of each other on Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 aircraft, all operated by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). A third incident, again with an SAS aircraft, occurred in October 2007, leading to the withdrawal of the type from the airline’s fleet.
  • 2006Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907, a Boeing 737-800, collides with an Embraer Legacy business jet and crashes in Mato Grosso, Brazil; the Embraer Legacy, with seven on board, lands safely with no reported injuries while all 154 people on board the Boeing 737 perish; this crash marks the first loss of a Boeing 737-800.
  • 2004 – The Burt Rutan Ansari X Prize entry SpaceShipOne performed a successful spaceflight, the first of two needed to win the prize.
  • 1998Lionair Flight 602, an Antonov An-24, is shot down by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and crashes off the coast of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, killing all 55 on board.
  • 1988 – Launch: Space Shuttle Discovery STS-26 at 15:37:00 UTC. Mission highlights: TDRS deployment; first post Challenger flight.
  • 1995 – The United States Navy disestablishes Fighter Squadron #84 (VF-84), the celebrated Jolly Rogers.
  • 1988 – NASA resumes space shuttle flights, grounded after the Challenger disaster, with STS-26.
  • 1971 – A USAF Lockheed C-5A Galaxy of the 443d Military Airlift Wing, Altus AFB, Oklahoma, one of six used for training, had its number one (port outer) engine tear off the pylon while advancing take-off power before brake release, setting the wing on fire. The crew evacuated safely within 90 seconds and the fire was extinguished by emergency equipment. The engine had flown up and behind the Galaxy, landing some 250 yards to the rear. The Air Force subsequently grounded six other C-5s with similar flight hours and cycles. Further investigation found cracks in younger C-5s and the entire fleet was grounded.
  • 1964 – The first take-off and landing of the LTV-Hiller-Ryan XC-142 A vertical take-off transport is made in Dallas, Texas. The aircraft has four 2,850-hp General Electric turboprops mounted on the wings that can pivot 90 degrees to allow for a vertical take-off.
  • 1959Braniff Flight 542, a Lockheed L-188 Electra, breaks up in mid-air and crashes 4 miles (6.4 km) from Buffalo, Texas; all 34 on board perish.
  • 1954 – The new Downsview Ontario plant of DeHavilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd was opened by the Right Honourable CD Howe.
  • 1954 – First flight of the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo jet fighter makes its first flight, flown by test pilot Robert C. Little. An advanced design of the XF-88, the Voodoo goes supersonic on its first flight.
  • 1951 – A Royal Air Force Boeing Washington B.1, WF555, of 57 Squadron, RAF Waddington, experiences runaway propeller on number 3 (starboard inner) engine which hits number 4 (starboard outer) causing severe damage. Three crew in rear fuselage ordered to bail out before bomber makes successful wheels-up landing at a disused airfield near Amiens, France - no casualties, but airframe written off. Scrapped 3 January 1952.
  • 1946 – The United States Navy Lockheed P2 V Neptune Truculent Turtle, piloted by Commander Thomas D. Davies and aided by four JATO rockets, departs Perth, Australia, bound nonstop for Naval Air Station Anacostia in Washington, D. C. On take-off, it weighs 85,575 lbs (38,817 kg), the heaviest twin-engine aircraft ever to take off up to that time. Although bad weather forces the plane to land short of Washington in Columbus, Ohio, after 55 hours 17 min continuously in the air, the flight nonetheless sets a new nonstop, unrefueled world distance record of 11,235.6 nautical miles (20,807 km) which stands for 16 years until broken by a U. S. Air Force B-52 H Stratofortress in 1962.
  • 1946 – Blue Angels pilot Lt. (JG) Ros "Robby" Robinson is killed in Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat, BuNo 95986, Blue Angels No. 4, at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, when he fails to pull out of a dive during a Cuban Eight manoeuvre - wingtip broke off his fighter.
  • 1945 – Silverplate Boeing B-29 Superfortress, 44-27303, named "Jabit III", of the 509th Composite Group, Wendover Army Air Field, Utah, on cross-country training mission, strikes several objects on landing at Chicago Municipal Airport, Illinois, never flies again. Assigned to the 4200th Base Unit at the airport pending disposition decision, it is salvaged there in April 1946.
  • 1940 – The 1940 Brocklesby mid-air collision occurred over Brocklesby, New South Wales, Australia. The accident was unusual in that the aircraft involved, two Avro Ansons of No. 2 Service Flying Training School RAAF, remained locked together after colliding, and then managed to land safely. Both navigators bailed out after the aircraft struck, followed shortly afterwards by the injured pilot of the lower Anson. The pilot of the upper Anson, however, found that he was able to control the interlocked aircraft using his ailerons and flaps, coupled with the still-functioning engines on the machine underneath. He was then able to make a successful emergency landing in a paddock near Brocklesby. All four crewmen survived the incident, and the Ansons were repaired and remained in service with the Air Force.
  • 1934 – A London, Scottish & Provincial Airways Airspeed Courier crashes at Tiverton Bottom, Shoreham, Kent, in the United Kingdom, killing all four people on board. Flying debris injures two people on the ground.
  • 1931 – Following the Schneider Trophy success, Flt Lt. George Stainforth in S.6 B serial S1596 breaks the 400 mph air speed record barrier at 407.5 miles per hour (655.8 km/h).
  • 1929 – The first flight at Cartierville of Reid Rambler. A Canadian-designed and built trainer; it was intended to fill the needs of flying clubs. It was a sesquiplane with folding wings to facilitate storage and it had incorporated Warren truss bracing that eliminated the need for bracing wires.
  • 1927 – Georg Wulf, co-founder of Focke-Wulf, is killed in the crash of the first Focke-Wulf F 19 Ente ("Duck"), D-1960. Second airframe is constructed, eventually put on display in Berlin air museum, destroyed in bombing raid in 1944.
  • 1921 – First Orenco D manufactured by Curtiss, 63281, McCook Project Number 'P163', loses entire leading edge of its upper wing, crashing at McCook Field, Ohio. An investigation by an officer of the flying test section of the USAAS Engineering Division reveals that the Orenco Ds are badly constructed, no fewer than 30 defects and faulty fittings being recorded in the published report, forcing the Air Service to withdraw all Orenco Ds from use (Joe Baugher cites date of 28 September).
  • 1918 – Second Lieutenant Frank Luke, the second-highest-scoring American ace of World War I with 18 victories, is killed in action.
  • 1909 – Wilbur Wright begins flights as part of New York City’s Hudson-Fulton Celebration.
  • 1895 – Roscoe Turner, American aviator and racer was born (d. 1970).

References