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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.

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The feathered propellers of an RAF Hercules C.4
A propeller is essentially a type of fan which transmits power by converting rotational motion into thrust for propulsion of an aircraft through the air, by rotating two or more twisted blades about a central shaft, in a manner analogous to rotating a screw through a solid. The blades of a propeller act as rotating wings (the blades of a propeller are in fact wings or airfoils), and produce force through application of both Bernoulli's principle and Newton's third law, generating a difference in pressure between the forward and rear surfaces of the airfoil-shaped blades and by accelerating a mass of air rearward.

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F-15, 71st Fighter Squadron, in flight.JPG
Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Samuel Rogers [1]

Capt. Matt Buckner, an F-15 Eagle pilot assigned to the 71st Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va., flies a combat air patrol mission Oct. 7 over Washington, D.C., in support of Operation Noble Eagle.

...Archive/Nominations

Did you know

...that in 1943 British Overseas Airways Corporation Flight 777 was shot down by German Junkers Ju 88s, killing actor Leslie Howard and leading to speculation that it was an attempt to assassinate Winston Churchill?

...that Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney was only twenty-eight years old when he helped found Pan American World Airways?

... that the collection of the Prague Aviation Museum, Kbely includes 275 aircraft, of which approximately 110 are on public display?

Selected Aircraft

Me109 G-6 D-FMBB 1.jpg

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt in the early 1930s. It was one of the first true modern fighters of the era, including such features as an all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, and retractable landing gear. The Bf 109 was produced in greater quantities than any other fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced up to April 1945. Fighter production totalled 47% of all German aircraft production, and the Bf 109 accounted for 57% of all German fighter types produced.

The Bf 109 was the backbone of the Luftwaffe fighter force in World War II, although it began to be partially replaced by the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 from 1941. The Bf 109 was the most successful fighter of World War II, shooting down more aircraft than any of its contemporaries. Originally conceived as an interceptor, it was later developed to fulfill multiple tasks, serving as bomber escort, fighter bomber, day-, night- all-weather fighter, bomber destroyer, ground-attack aircraft, and as reconnaissance aircraft.

The Bf 109 was flown by the three top-scoring fighter aces of World War II: Erich Hartmann, the top scoring fighter pilot of all time with 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories, and Günther Rall with 275 victories. All of them flew with Jagdgeschwader 52, a unit which exclusively flew the Bf 109 and was credited with over 10,000 victories, chiefly on the Eastern Front. Hartmann chose to fly the Bf 109 in combat throughout the war, despite being offered the use of the Me 262. Hans-Joachim Marseille, the highest scoring German ace in the North African Campaign, also scored all of his 158 victories flying the Bf 109, against Western Allied pilots.

  • Span: 9.925 m (32 ft 6 in)
  • Length: 8.95 m (29 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 2.60 m (8 ft 2 in)
  • Engine: 1× Daimler-Benz DB 605A-1 liquid-cooled inverted V12, 1,475 PS (1,455 hp, 1,085 kW)
  • Cruising Speed: 590 km/h (365 mph) at 6,000 m (19,680 ft)
  • First Flight: 28 May 1935
...Archive/Nominations

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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.

In the news

Wikinews Aviation portal
  • January 26: Rescue helicopter crash kills six in Abruzzo, Italy
  • January 26: Official death toll from Nigerian refugee camp airstrike passes 100
  • January 25: UK Civil Aviation Authority issues update on Shoreham crash response
  • January 18: Nigerian jet attacks refugee camp, killing dozens
  • January 18: Cargo plane crashes in Kyrgyzstan, killing over 30
  • January 14: Fighter jet crashes during Children's Day airshow in Thailand
  • December 26: Plane carrying 92 crashes into Black Sea near Sochi
  • December 23: Hijackers divert Libyan passenger jet to Malta
  • December 21: Pakistan International Airlines sacrifices goat, resumes ATR flights
  • December 14: Judge rules Air Canada Flight 624 victims can sue Transport Canada

Today in Aviation

March 23

  • 2010 – Two Royal Air Force BAE Hawks, members of the Red Arrows aerobatic team were involved in a midair collision in airshow at Heraklion Crete. Pilot of one ejected and received moderate injuries. The aircraft crashed in the airfield and was destroyed. The second aircraft landed safely in Heraklion Airport.
  • 2010 – A Turkish Army Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk came down on the outskirts of Wardak town in Afghanistan at around 10:30. The crash happened as two Turkish helicopters were attempting to land at a Turkish-run Provincial Reconstruction Team.
  • 2009FedEx Express Flight 80, a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 flying from Guangzhou, China crashes at Tokyo Narita International Airport, Japan; both the captain and the co-pilot of the plane are killed.
  • 2009 – A German Air Force Panavia Tornado PA-200, 45+37, from Jagdbombergeschwader 33 crashes on the runway at Büchel Air Force Base, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The aircraft, on a routine night training exercise, suffers extensive damage during the incident which occurs in high winds and rain, the two crew ejecting safely.
  • 2007 – Mogadishu TransAVIAexport Airlines Il-76 crash: A Transaviaexport Airlines Ilyushin IL-76 (EW-78849) is shot down after one of three missiles fired at it hits its wing after departure from Mogadishu Airport in Somalia, killing all 11 occupants. The aircraft had been there to recover salvageable parts from a fellow IL-76 (EW-78826) that received damage, but survived a missile attack.
  • 2005 – Baku Cargo Terminal was opened and started to operate.
  • 2005 – Airline Transport Flight 982, an Ilyushin IL-76 (ER-IBR ) crashes into the water beyond Mawanza Airport in Tanzania. Using a takeoff configuration for a weight almost 10 tons lighter than its actual weight, the aircraft is unable to maintain its climb and the pilots are unable to react appropriately in time. All 8 on-board are killed.
  • 2004 – First prototype Boeing X-50A Dragonfly Canard Rotor/Wing crashes at the United States Army Yuma Proving Ground, Yuma, Arizona, during its third hover test flight. It had made its first flight on 4 December 2003.
  • 2003 – AH-64D Apache 85-25407 from C Company, 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 4th BCT, 1st Cavalry Division shot down during attack on Republican Guard; two pilots taken prisoner.[6] Helicopter was supposedly destroyed by Coalition forces, but Iraqi TV showed an AH-64 being taken to Baghdad on a low loader.[7]
  • 2001 – A Luxor Egypt Boeing 707-300 (SU-BMV) is severely damaged during a hard landing at Monrovia-Roberts Airport in Liberia. Though all 182 occupants survive, the aircraft is written off.
  • 1994Aeroflot Flight 593, an Airbus A310, crashes into a wooded hillside in Siberia. All 75 passengers and crew are killed.
  • 1994Green Ramp Disaster: A mid-air collision between a Lockheed C-130 Hercules and an General Dynamics F-16D Fighting Falcon causes a ground crash at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. The F-16 hits and destroys a Lockheed C-141 Starlifter parked on the tarmac, and flaming wreckage careens into paratroopers preparing for a practice drop, killing 24 and injuring many more. The C-130 landed safely.
  • 1991 – An Aeroflot Antonov An-24 (CCCP-46472) overruns the runway while landing at Navoi Airport in Uzbekistan. The aircraft slams into a pile of concrete slabs and catches fire, killing 34 of the 63 aboard.
  • 1982 – A United States Air Force McDonnell-Douglas F-4E Phantom II of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing crashed near Nellis AFB, both crew killed.
  • 1982 – An Eglin Air Force Base General Dynamics F-16B Block 5 Fighting Falcon, 78-0112, of the 4485th Test Squadron, crashed into a green at Rocky Bayou Country Club, near Niceville, Florida. The pilot had just finished a test bombing run over Eglin's Range 52 and lost power in the engine. The pilot was able to get the aircraft to an altitude of about 3,000 feet and a speed of between 285 mph and 345 mph before the engine gave out. The pilot, and a weapons officer decided to eject, expecting the F-16 to continue north and crash into a wooded area of the Eglin reservation. According to officer in charge of Eglin's safety office, the dual ejection caused the plane to roll to the right and slam into the golf course's sixth green, narrowly missing several homes. The two airmen landed on the 18th green and didn't suffer any major injuries. Air Force investigators were able to later watch the entire crash because a chase plane that had been photographing the test mission caught the crash on film. When F-16 experts recreated the accident they discovered a sequence of control switch moves that would restart an F-16 engine. The procedures were added to F-16 instruction manuals.
  • 1972 – An McDonnell F-101B Voodoo of the 119th Fighter Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard, crashes into the house of Gerald Reed at 1121 26th Street N, Fargo, North Dakota, killing pilot 1st Lt. Burton T. Humphrey, and injuring Mrs. Reed. Systems officer 2nd Lt. Sanford O. Borlaug ejects from the plane and survives with injuries.
  • 1971 – CFB Portage La Prairie received the CT-134 Muskateer.
  • 1967 – Worst ground aviation accident of Vietnam War occurs at Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam when traffic controller clears USMC Grumman A-6A Intruder, BuNo 152608, of VMA(AW)-242, MAG-11, for takeoff but also clears USAF Lockheed C-141A-LM Starlifter, 65-9407, of the 62nd Military Airlift Wing, McChord AFB, Washington, to cross runway. A-6 crew sees Starlifter at last moment, veers off runway to try to avoid it, but port wing slices through C-141's nose, which immediately catches fire, load of 72 acetylene gas cylinders ignite and causes tremendous explosion, only loadmaster escaping through rear hatch. Intruder overturns, skids on down runway on back, but both crew, Capt. Frederick Cone and Capt. Doug Wilson, survive, crawl out of smashed canopy after jet stops. Some of ordnance load of 16 X 500 lb. bombs and six rocket packs go off in ensuing fire. Military Airlift Command crew killed are Capt. Harold Leland Hale, Capt. Leroy Edward Leonard, Capt. Max Paul Starkel, S/Sgt. Alanson Garland Bynum, and S/Sgt. Alfred Funck. This is the first of two C-141s lost during the conflict, and one of only three strategic airlifters written off during the Vietnam War.
  • 1966 – First prototype LTV YA-7A-1-CV Corsair II, BuNo 152580, 'A-7A' on tail, rolls inverted while landing at Naval Air Facility China Lake, California, and crashes on golf course ~3 miles SE of approach end of the primary runway. Vought test pilot John Omvig was doing touch and goes and on the last one the A-7 began to roll and he ejected just before it rolled 90 degrees, with extremely low parachute deployment. The cause was pilot error when the hydraulic system was switched off (flight test configuration) and loss of control resulted. He will later be killed in the XC-142A, 62-5921, crash on 10 May 1967 near Dallas, Texas.
  • 1965 – Argus 20727 crashed on a night ASW exercise near Puerto Rico, killing all 16 on board.
  • 1965 – Gemini 3, the US’s first two-man spaceflight, launches. The spacecraft makes three orbits over 4 hours before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean not far from Turks and Caicos. Astronauts Virgil Grissom and John Young are reprimanded upon returning home after one of them brings a corned beef sandwich aboard, as the crumbs could have damaged flight systems.
  • 1965- A Royal Canadian Air Force Canadair CP-107 crashes into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Puerto Rico during a night exercise, killing all 15 on board. 1942 – AVM E. W. Stedman named Director General of Air Research.
  • 1964 – Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C.1, XP413, of 105 Squadron, deployed to RAF Khormaksar, Aden, ditches in the Aden harbour whilst on finals to the easterly runway at Khormaksar, when, during crew training, the number four (starboard outer) engine was shut down for practice. Due to confusion in the cockpit, the crew managed to shut down both starboard engines without feathering either and the Argosy comes down with remarkably little damage, settling on its undercarriage in about 5 feet (1.5 m.) of water. Hauled onto dry land, it is eventually shipped back to the UK by boat, refurbished by Hawker Siddeley, and returned to duty.
  • 1961 – Valentin V. Bondarenko, a Soviet Air Force pilot selected for cosmonaut training in 1960, dies while training in a ground-based spacecraft simulator. Fire broke out in the capsule, which was filled with a pure oxygen atmosphere, and he was unable to escape, a grim parallel to the 1967 Apollo 1 accident.
  • 1951 – A United States Air Force Douglas C-124 Globemaster II, 49-244, c/n 43173, of the 2d Strategic Support Squadron, Strategic Air Command, en route from Gander, Newfoundland to RAF Mildenhall, missing over the Atlantic Ocean; wreckage found near Ireland. 53 went MIA, including Gen. Paul T. Cullen and his command staff, en route to his headquarters of the newly activated 7th Air Division, SAC, at South Ruislip, London, England. Cullen had been deputy commander of Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The crew and passengers survived the water landing and were observed in the water, but none were recovered after an extensive search. It has been speculated that they may have been captured by Soviet naval forces.
  • 1946 – The Royal Netherlands Navy commissions its first aircraft carrier, the escort carrier HNLMS Karel Doorman (QH1). Formerly the British carrier HMS Nairana, she will serve until replaced in 1948 by the fleet carrier HNLMS Karel Doorman (R81).
  • 1945 – (March 23 – April 1) Task Force 58 conducts strikes on Okinawa and vicinity.
  • 1945 – The British Pacific Fleet, centered around the aircraft carriers HMS Indomitable, HMS Victorious, HMS Illustrious, and HMS Indefatigable, departs Ulithi Atoll to begin operations as Task Force 57 of the United States Fifth Fleet.
  • 1944 – Consolidated B-24J-25-CO Liberator, 42-73228,[250] of the 3330th Combat Crew Training Squadron, on training mission out of Biggs Field, Texas, crashes into the eastern slope of Franklin Mountain near El Paso, Texas, at 2240 hrs. during routine training flight. Seven crewmen are killed in the crash: 1st Lt. Lyle R. Jensen, Big Springs, Nebraska, whose wife was in El Paso; 2nd Lt. Benjamin C. Fricke, Indianapolis, Indiana; 2nd Lt. Robert Spears, Indianapolis; 2nd Lt. Donald B. Harris, Deming, New Mexico; Staff Sgt. Richard I. Stoney, Stoneham, Massachusetts; Sgt. William T. Hinson, Norwood, North Carolina; and Sgt. John H. House, Black River, New York
  • 1943 – A Republic P-47C-2-RE Thunderbolt, 41-6292, of the 328th Fighter Squadron, 352d Fighter Group, crashes into Barnard Hall at Hofstra College shortly after take-off from Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York, early this date, hitting the west side near the roof, setting the building afire, police announced. Pilot Earl D. Hayward died. The blaze was brought under control within 45 minutes by firemen from Hempstead, East Hempstead and Uniondale. No students were in the vicinity at the time. The Eastern Defense Command in New York City announced that the pilot was killed. He had taken off from Mitchel Field on a training mission shortly before the crash.
  • 1943 – Waco UC-72A, 42-68676, c/n 5150, Civilian Model ARE, ex-NC29376, impressed by USAAF, flown by Roy F. Brown, of the 5th Ferrying Squadron, 3rd Ferrying Group, out of Romulus Army Airfield, Michigan, is wrecked at Hebron, Kentucky.
  • 1942 – North American B-25B Mitchell, 40-2291, piloted by 1st Lt. James P. Bates, crashes on take-off from Auxiliary Field No. 3, Eglin Field, Florida, during training for the planned Doolittle Raid on Japan. This aircraft did not participate in the mission. Bates deployed with the Raiders aboard the USS Hornet but did not fly the mission.
  • 1942 – (23-26) Fliegerkorps II dedicates 326 aircraft to the destruction of the four Allied cargo ships that have arrived at Malta, sinking three of them and a destroyer and damaging one of them.
  • 1942 – (23-26) Fliegerkorps II begins attacks on Malta’s submarine base, sinking the British submarine HMS P39 and damaging two other submarines. From this time, submarines at Malta submerge all day while in port.
  • 1936Arado Ar 65, Werk Nr. 111, D-2912 / D-IVYZ, of III/JG, crashes during aerobatics at too low altitude - left wing failed. Pilot killed.
  • 1932 – Flying a Bleriot 110, French aviators Lucien Bossoutrot and Maurice Rossi take off for a record closed-circuit distance of 6,587.442 miles at Oran, Algeria.
  • 1921 – In an all-night training flight, a U.S. Navy free balloon, A-5597, launches from NAS Pensacola, Florida, with five crew and drifts over the Gulf of Mexico. Two messages received by pigeon indicate it first is 20 miles from St. Andrews Bay, then that all ballast had been dropped and that it was at 100 feet and descending. On 8 April 1921, a fishing vessel finds the balloon floating on the sea, with the gondola three and a half fathoms under water. Nothing is ever found of Chief Quartermaster E. W. Wilkinson, enlisted men R. V. Wyland, E. L. Kershaw, and J. P. Elder, and Marine Corps member W. H. Tressey.
  • 1921 – Lawrence Sperry flew and landed the first airplane at the U. S. Capitol, in a Sperry Messenger.
  • 1921 – US Army Lieutenant Arthur Hamilton sets a new world record when he jumps by parachute from 24,400 feet (7,400 m).
  • 1908 – French industrialist Lazare Weiller signs a contract with the Wrights establishing a Wright airplane company in France, on condition that the brothers make two demonstration flights covering 50 km (31.1 miles) within an hour’s flying time. They will receive FF500, 000 and half the founders’ share
  • 1903 – The Wright brothers file an application for a patent for an airplane based on the design of their Glider No. 3.


  1. ^ "Syrian pilot rejects orders to kill protesters, heads to Turkey: opposition". Al Arabiya. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Staff (22 March 2011). "Libya Live Blog – 23 March. Al Jazeera. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  3. ^ Ward, Victoria; Spillius, Alex; Squires, Nick (23 March 2011). "Libya: Gaddafi Compound Attacked After Air Force 'Destroyed'. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Libyan Air Force 'No Longer Exists'". Al Jazeera. 23 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Wheeler, Virginia; Willetts, David (23 March 2011). "Top Guns Destroy Gaddafi Air Force". The Sun. UK. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  6. ^ "Iraq Shot down US F/A-18 Hornet, Black Hawk Helicopter". People's Daily Online. 2003-03-23. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference jbaugher1999 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

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