Before the featured portal process ceased in 2017, this had been designated as a featured portal.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Main page   Categories & Main topics   Tasks and Projects


The Boeing 747, one of the most iconic aircraft in history.

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, 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 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.

Selected article

Traditional general aviation fixed-wing light aircraft, the most numerous class of aircraft in the sector
General aviation in the United Kingdom has been defined as a civil aircraft operation other than a commercial air transport flight operating to a schedule. Although the International Civil Aviation Organization excludes any form of remunerated aviation from its definition, some commercial operations are often included within the scope of general aviation in the UK. The sector operates business jets, rotorcraft, piston and jet-engined fixed-wing aircraft, gliders of all descriptions, and lighter than air craft. Public transport operations include business (or corporate) aviation and air taxi services, and account for nearly half of the economic contribution made by the sector. There are 28,000 Private Pilot Licence holders, and 10,000 certified glider pilots. Although GA operates from more than 1,800 aerodromes and landing sites, ranging in size from large regional airports to farm strips, over 80 per cent of GA activity is conducted at 134 of the larger aerodromes. GA is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority, although regulatory powers are being increasingly transferred to the European Aviation Safety Agency. The main focus is on standards of airworthiness and pilot licensing, and the objective is to promote high standards of safety.

Selected picture

Jet engine numbered.svg
...Archive/Nominations [[|Read more...]]

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 Indra Lal Roy of the Royal Air Force became India's first flying ace after he achieved 10 victories in thirteen days during World War I? ...that Yekaterina Zelenko was the only woman to perform an aerial ramming and the only female pilot in the Winter War?

Selected Aircraft

A spitfire in flight

The Supermarine Spitfire was a single-seat fighter used by the RAF and many Allied countries in World War II.

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).

  • Length: 29 ft 11 in (9.12 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 8 in (3.86 m)
  • Number Built: 20,351 (excluding Seafires)
  • Maximum speed: 330 knots (378 mph, 605 km/h)
  • Maiden flight: March 5, 1936
  • Powerplant: 1× Rolls-Royce Merlin 45 supercharged V12 engine, 1470 hp at 9250 ft (1096 kW at 2820 m)

Related portals

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

Wikinews Aviation portal
Read and edit Wikinews

Today in Aviation

June 19

  • 2011 – A NATO airstrike accidentally hits a civilian neighborhood in Tripoli, Libya. The Libyan government claims that at least five people died in the attack.[1][2]
  • 2010 – Aero Service CASA C-212 Aviocar TN-AFD crashed in the Republic of the Congo killing all eleven people on board, including Australian mining magnate Ken Talbot
  • 20102010 Air Service Berlin Douglas C-47 crash was a Berlin Air Services Douglas DC-3 D-CXXX that crashed shortly after take-off from Berlin Schönefeld Airport on a local sightseeing flight. Eight people were injured and the aircraft was substantially damaged.
  • 2009 – A Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-24MR Fencer crashes near the village of Kostino-Bystrianská, Rostov-on-Don, Rostov Oblast, Russia. The aircraft from the 1st Composite Air Division, North Caucasus Military District suffered a mechanical fault forcing the 2 crew to eject safely after several aborted landings. The Russian Airforce fleet of Sukhoi Su-24 was grounded for technical inspection after 2 accidents in a week.
  • 2003 – AH-64A Apache 87-0498 of R Troop, 4th Squadron, 3d ACR makes hard landing following inflight fire. Helicopter is written off.[3]
  • 2002 – (June 19 and July 3) First solo non-stop balloon flight around the Earth: Steve Fossett—from Northam, Western Australia to Queensland, Australia, on a 10-story high balloon Spirit of Freedom. Taking a total time of 13 days, 8 hours, 33 min.
  • 1994 – Royal Air Force BAe 146 CC.2 ZE700, operated by No. 32 Squadron RAF and flown by HRH The Prince of Wales overran the runway at Islay Airport, Argyll and Bute. The aircraft had been landed downwind. There were no injuries amongst the eleven people on board although the aircraft suffered substantial damage when the nose gear collapsed. The aircraft was subsequently repaired and returned to service.
  • 1992 – A U.S. Navy Sikorsky H-53 crashes into a river near Virginia Beach, Virginia, this date, apparently killing all seven aboard, authorities said. The helicopter crashed during a training flight, said Cmdr. Stephen Honda, a spokesman for the Navy's Atlantic Fleet air force. Meanwhile, two Army fliers were killed Friday when their Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopter crashed during a training exercise near Fort Irwin, California, an Army spokesman said.
  • 1981 – Boeing commercial Chinook 2-rotor helicopter is certified.
  • 1976 – Maj Rudy Willhauk, 414 Squadron North Bay, reached 3000 hrs on a CF-100 Canuck aircraft.
  • 1962 – Four West German Luftwaffe F-104 Starfighters collide and crash, killing all four pilots.
  • 1962 – Starfish, the second planned test of Operation Fishbowl, under Operation Dominic, occurs with the launch of an SM-75 Thor IRBM missile with a nuclear warhead just before midnight from Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean. The vehicle flies a normal trajectory for 59 seconds; then the rocket engine suddenly stops, and the missile begins to break apart. The range safety officer orders the destruction of the missile and the warhead. The missile was between 30,000 and 35,000 feet (between 9.1 and 10.7 km) in altitude when it was destroyed. Some of the missile parts fall on Johnston Island, and a large amount of missile debris falls into the ocean in the vicinity of the island. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Underwater Demolition Team swimmers recover approximately 250 pieces of the missile assembly during the next two weeks. Some of the debris is contaminated with plutonium. Nonessential personnel had been evacuated from Johnston Island during the test. Although, by definition, this qualifies as a Broken Arrow incident, this test is rarely included in lists of such mishaps.
  • 1962 – Two Republic F-105 Thunderchiefs out of Nellis AFB, Nevada, are lost in separate accidents near Indian Springs, Nevada, this date. F-105D-5-RE, 59-1740, is lost near Indian Springs due to control failure, pilot successfully ejecting. F-105D-6-RE, 60-0410, written off at Indian Springs due to engine fire, pilot ejected successfully. Following this pair of major accidents, all F-105B and D aircraft are grounded for correction of chafing and flight control deficiencies. The project, called Look Alike and started in July 1962, is expected to be completed quickly but due to continued operational problems will grow to an extensive two-year modification program costing U.S.$51 million.
  • 1954 – The Swissair Convair CV-240 Ticino runs out of fuel and ditches in the English Channel off Folkestone, Kent, England. Three of the nine people on board die in the accident, and all six survivors are injured.
  • 1947 – Col Albert Boyd sets a new official world airspeed record of 623.62 mph (1,003 km/h) in a Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. (This is still marginally slower than unofficial German speed records in rocket-powered aircraft during World War II).
  • 1945 – 481 B-29 s drop 3,335 tons (3,025,492 kg) of bombs on Toyohashi and other cities in Japan.
  • 1945 – B-24 Liberators of the U. S. Army Air Forces’ 404th Bombardment Squadron make the longest bombing mission flown in the North Pacific Area during World War II, flying a 2,700-mile (4,348-km) round trip from Shemya to attack the Japanese base at Kruppu in the Kurile Islands. The B-24 s are in the air for 15½ hours.
  • 1944 – (19–23) Kwajalein-based U. S. Army Air Forces B-24 Liberators fly daily high-altitude bombing raids against Truk Atoll.
  • 1944 – The largest aircraft carrier battle in history and the first since October 1942, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, begins in the Philippine Sea west of Guam, pitting 15 American aircraft carriers of Task Force 58 with 891 aircraft and 65 battleship- and cruiser-based floatplanes against nine Japanese carriers with 430 aircraft and 43 battleship- and cruiser-based floatplanes, supported by Japanese land-based aircraft in the Mariana Islands and at more distant bases. During ineffective Japanese air strikes against the American carrier force during the day, in U. S. air attacks on Japanese bases in the Marianas, and in losses due to other causes, the Japanese lose about 315 aircraft in what American pilots name the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot; ” Japanese carrier aviation never recovers from the disaster. The Americans lose only 29 aircraft. Also during the day, the U. S. submarine USS Albacore (SS-218) sinks the Japanese aircraft carrier Taiyō, and the submarine USS Cavalla (SS-244) sinks the carrier Sho-kaku.
  • 1940 – British Fleet Air Arm Swordfish aircraft of No. 767 Squadron operating from a base in southern France raid Genoa, Italy, and Italian lines of communication. It is the first air raid on Italian soil of World War II.
  • 1930 – The all-metal Polish fighter, the PZL P-1, is the star of the International competition for fighter airplanes in Bucharest, Romania, winning 8 of the 15 prizes. This is a triumph for the brilliant designer Zygmund Pulawski, whose aircraft consistently out-performed those of his rivals.
  • 1918 – Lt. Frank Stuart Patterson, son and nephew of the co-founders of National Cash Register, is killed in the crash of his DH.4M, AS-32098, at Wilbur Wright Field during a flight test of a new mechanism for synchronizing machine gun and propeller, when a tie rod breaks during a dive from 15,000 feet (4,600 m), causing the wings to separate from the aircraft. Wishing to recognize the contributions of the Patterson family (owners of NCR) the area of Wright Field east of Huffman Dam (including Wilbur Wright Field, Fairfield Air Depot, and the Huffman Prairie) is renamed Patterson Field on 6 July 1931, in honor of Lt. Patterson.
  • 1918 – Major W. A. Bishop, O/C 85 Squadron, was credited with five enemy aircraft destroyed on this date.
  • 1918 – Italy's highest-scoring ace, Maggiore Francesco Baracca is killed by Austrian ground fire. He had claimed 34 victories.
  • 1912 – Capt. Marcel Dubois and Lt. Albert Peignan of the French Army were killed near Douai when their planes collided in mid-air, the first fatal mid-air collision in history.
  • 1910 – First airship in service “Germany”.
  • 1901 – American experimenter Samuel P. Langley tests a quarter-scale model of his Aerodrome, a gasoline-driven flying machine. It makes four disappointingly short flights.
  • 1894 – Frederick W. Lanchester, British aeronautical and automobile pioneer, announces his theory of circulatory air-flow to the Birmingham Natural History and Philosophical Society in England. This theory is later to become of pivotal importance in aerodynamics.


  1. ^ "Nato Raid Kills Five Civilians, Libyan Officials Say". BBC News. 19 June 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "NATO Cites Errant Missile in Libya Civilian Deaths". MSNBC. Tripoli. 19 June 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "1987 USAF Serial Numbers". Retrieved 17 February 2010. 

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:






Learning resources

Travel guides