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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...)

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Mirabel Satellite photo
Mirabel Satellite photo
Montréal-Mirabel International Airport is a large airport located in Mirabel, Quebec, near Montreal and was opened 4 October 1975. The airport serves mainly cargo flights, and is a manufacturing base of Bombardier Aerospace, where final assembly of regional jets (CRJ700 and CRJ900) aircraft is conducted. It is part of the National Airports System. It is the second largest airport in the world in terms of area, covering more land area than the five New York City boroughs.

The airport's location and lack of transport links, as well as Montreal's economic decline relative to Toronto, made it unpopular with airlines. Eventually relegated to the simple role of a cargo airport, Mirabel became an embarrassment widely regarded in Canada as being a boondoggle, or a "white elephant," and one of the best examples of a failed megaproject. (Full article...)

Selected image

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 wingsuit skydive lasting 4 minutes 55 seconds.

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 No. 112 Squadron RAF was the first unit from any air force to use the "Shark Mouth" logo on P-40 fighter planes? ...that the Lockheed NF-104A (pictured), equipped with a reaction control system as well as a rocket engine to supplement a jet engine, was a low-cost training vehicle for American astronauts in the 1960s?

Selected Aircraft

C-GSYN Adlair Aviation Ltd Beechcraft King Air 100 (BE10) 03.JPG

The Beechcraft King Air is a line of twin-turboprop aircraft produced by the Beech Aircraft Corporation (now the Beechcraft Division of Hawker Beechcraft). The King Air has been in continuous production since 1964, the longest production run of any civilian turboprop aircraft. It has outlasted all of its previous competitors and as of 2006 is one of only two twin-turboprop business airplanes in production (the other is the Piaggio Avanti).

Historically, the King Air family comprises a number of models that fall into four families, the Model 90 series, Model 100 series, Model 200 series, and Model 300 series. The last two types were originally marketed as the Super King Air, but the "Super" moniker was dropped in 1996. As of 2006, the only small King Air in production is the conventional-tail C90GT.

  • Span: 50 ft 3 in (15.33 m)
  • Length: 35 ft 6in (10.82 m)
  • Height: 14 ft 3 in (4.35 m)
  • Engines: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-21 turboprops , 550 shp (410 kW) each
  • Cruising Speed: 284 mph (247 knots ,457 km/h)
  • First Flight: May 1963
...Archive/Nominations

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Selected biography

Portrait of Flynn taken in 1929.

The Reverend John Flynn (25 November 1880 – 5 May 1951) was an Australian Presbyterian minister and aviator who founded the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the world's first air ambulance.

Throughout his ministerial training, Flynn had worked in various then-remote areas through Victoria and South Australia. As well as tending to matters spiritual, Flynn quickly established the need for medical care for residents of the vast Australian outback, and established a number of bush hospitals. By 1917, Flynn was already considering the possibility of new technology, such as radio and the aeroplane, to assist in providing a more useful acute medical service, and then received a letter from an Australian pilot serving in World War I, Clifford Peel, who had heard of Flynn's speculations and outlined the capabilities and costs of then-available planes. Flynn turned his considerable fund-raising talents to the task of establishing a flying medical service.

The first flight of the Aerial Medical Service was in 1928 from Cloncurry. In 1934 the Australian Aerial Medical Service was formed, and gradually established a network of bases nationwide. Flynn remained the public face of the organisation (through name changes to its present form) and helped raise the funds that kept the service operating.

In the news

Today in Aviation

May 17

  • 2011 – A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle carrying a live AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile misses the runway at Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport in Djibouti, Djibouti, by three miles (4.8 km) and crashes near a residential area. Its missile does not explode, and no one is injured.[1]
  • 2007 – Three people, the two pilots and a passenger, were killed Thursday in the accident of a small plane of freight, which was crushed little after its takeoff of Walikale, in the East of the democratic Republic of Congo, one learned near the company. A plane bound for Goma was crushed this Thursday morning in Kilambo, in territory of Walikale, with approximately 300 km in the west of the chief town of North-Kivu.
  • 1962 – RAF Blackburn Beverly C.1, XL132, c/n 1033, bound for RAF Thorney Island, suffers engine fire while on approach, ditches in Chichester Harbour, UK. Two crew killed.
  • 1958 – Four McDonnell F3 H Demon's and four F8U Crusaders make a non-stop crossing of the Atlantic.
  • 1954 – Royal Navy Supermarine Attacker FB.1, WA533, of 736 Squadron is damaged upon landing aboard HMS Illustrious when port main gear collapses. Airframe is repaired, but sees no more operational flying.
  • 1950 – The air above Muroc Dry Lake, California, exploded in sonic booms as Lockheed test pilot Tony LeVier put the XF-90 (long-range penetration fighter and bomber escort.) through high-speed dive tests, reaching Mach 1.12.
  • 1945 – Former Our Gang actor Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins (Robert E. Hutchins) is killed in a mid-air collision while trying to land a North American AT-6D Texan, serial number 42-86536, of the 3026th Base Unit, when it strikes North American AT-6C Texan, 42-49068, of the same unit, at Merced Army Air Field in Merced, California, during a training exercise. The other pilot, Edward F. Hamel, survives
  • 1944 – 99 B-24 Liberators of the U. S. Army Air Forces‘ Fifth and Thirteenth air forces strike Biak. On every day but one thereafter through the U. S. amphibious landings on Biak on May 27, the two air forces will conduct almost daily raids on Biak and the Vogelkop.
  • 1943 – Colonel Frank Gregory made the first helicopter landing aboard ship in Long Island Sound, USA with a Sikorsky XR-4, two-place helicopter.
  • 1940 – (Overnight) 72 British bombers attack Bremen, Cologne, and Hamburg, killing at least 47 and injuring 127 in Bremen and Hamburg.
  • 1935 – Second of three Grumman XF3F-1 prototypes, BuNo 9727 (2nd), crashes on the first day it arrives at NAS Anacostia. Pilot Lee Gelbach is unable to recover from a flat spin which develops during a ten-turn right-hand spin demonstration - bails out safely. A third Grumman XF3F-1 prototype will be built, using some parts salvaged from second prototype, also with BuNo 9727 (3rd), but pilot Bill H. McAvoy will be luckier than his two fellow test pilots, and NOT have to evacuate the Flying Barrel during testing.
  • 1934 – First flight of the Avia 50, French single seat motor glider.
  • 1930 – Death of Max Valier, Austrian rocketry pioneer, killed when an alcohol-fuelled rocket exploded on his test bench in Berlin.
  • 1929 – Colin Spenser (Jack) Caldwell was testing Canadian Vickers Vedette (single-engine biplane flying boat) G-CYZF (CV 122), when on entering a spin he found he was unable to recover. He abandoned the machine by parachute and landed safely on an island in the St Lawrence and became the first Canadian to save his life by a parachute.
  • 1928 – First flight of the Vickers Vellore, British large biplane prototype designed as a freight and mail carrier.
  • 1928 – Lady Heath (formerly Mrs. Elliot-Lynn) lands in London, becoming the first woman to fly solo from Cape Town, South Africa to London, England in an Avro Avian 594 Avian III.
  • 1923 – Death of Thomas Scott Baldwin, U. S. Army major and pioneer balloonist. He was the first American to descend from a balloon by parachute.
  • 1919 – The War Department in Washington, D.C. orders the use of the national insignia on all U. S. military aircraft.
  • 1879 – Birth of Hans Grade, German aviation pioneer.


  1. ^ Whitlock, Craig, "Drone Crashes Pile Up Abroad," The Washington Post, December 1, 2012, p. A8.

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