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The Aviation Portal

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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.

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

B-1B over the pacific ocean.jpg
Credit: Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III, U.S. Air Force

A B-1B Lancer drops back after air refueling training over the Pacific Ocean September 30. The B-1B is deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as part of the Pacific Command's continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region, enhancing regional security and the U.S. commitment to the Western Pacific. The B1 is from the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.

...Archive/Nominations

Did you know

...that Suriname's worst air disaster was Surinam Airways Flight 764, which crashed after the pilots ignored repeated warnings that they were flying too low?

...that Roy Marlin "Butch" Voris, founder of the United States Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team, chose the name based on a nightclub advertisement in The New Yorker magazine?

... that 820 Naval Air Squadron was involved in attacks on the German battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz during the Second World War?

Selected Aircraft

B-17 on bomb run.jpg

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is an American four-engine heavy bomber aircraft developed for the U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC). Competing against Douglas and Martin for a contract to build 200 planes, the airplane outperformed both the other entries and the Air Corps' expectations. Although losing the contract due to an accident, the Air Corps was so in favor of the B-17 that they ordered 13 B-17s regardless. Evolving through numerous design stages, from B-17A to G, the Flying Fortress is considered the first truly mass-produced large aircraft. From its pre-war inception, the USAAC touted the aircraft as a strategic weapon; it was a high-flying, long-ranging potent bomber capable of defending itself. With the ability to return home despite extensive battle damage, its durability, especially in belly-landings and ditchings, quickly took on mythical proportions.

The B-17 was primarily involved in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial targets. The United States Eighth Air Force based in England and the Fifteenth Air Force based in Italy complemented the RAF Bomber Command's night-time area bombing in Operation Pointblank, which helped secure air superiority over the cities, factories and battlefields of Western Europe in preparation for Operation Overlord. The B-17 also participated, to a lesser extent, in the War in the Pacific.

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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

Wikinews Aviation portal
  • May 21: Fatal police helicopter crash in Slovakia due to technical failure: preliminary Interior Ministry finding
  • 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

Today in Aviation

December 18

  • 2006 – The Lockheed Martin Polecat UAV aircraft crashes due to an "irreversible unintentional failure in the flight termination ground equipment, which caused the aircraft's automatic fail-safe flight termination mode to activate", cited by Lockheed Martin.
  • 1986 – The ill-fated Nimrod Airborne Early Warning project was finally cancelled after numerous delays and setbacks. In its place, 6 (later changed to 7) Boeing E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft was ordered.
  • 1982Hans-Ulrich Rudel, German pilot, dies (b. 1916). Rudel was a Stuka dive-bomber pilot during World War II and is famous for being the most highly decorated German serviceman of the war. Hans-Ulrich Rudel was the only person to be awarded the Knight’s Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds.
  • 1977SA de Transport Aérien Flight 730, an SE-210 Caravelle registered HB-ICK crashed while on approach to Funchal, Portugal, killing 36 of the 47 on board. The pilots had failed to set the altimeter to 1014.0mb, and in when relying only on instruments, they came down into the sea.
  • 1972 – (18–25) Frustrated with a lack of progress in peace talks with North Vietnamese negotiators, the United States conducts Operation Linebacker II. Sometimes called “The December Raids” and “The Christmas Bombing”, it involves intense American bombing of North Vietnam, including heavy operations by U. S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortresses and the laying of naval mines in North Vietnamese harbors including Haiphong. On the first day, 86 Boeing B-52 Stratofortress's based at Guam strike Hanoi.
  • 1970Airbus Industries is formally established to develop the Airbus A300; it comprises Aérospatiale, Deutsche Airbus, Fokker and Hawker Siddeley.
  • 1969 – The England-Australia Commemorative Air Race is flown in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Smith brothers' flight. It is won by W. J. Bright and F. L. Buxton in a Britten-Norman Islander.
  • 1969Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, 61-7953, Article 2004, crashes near Shoshone, California during test flight out of Edwards Air Force Base, California. Pilot Lt. Col. Joe Rogers and RSO Lt. Col. Gary Heidelbaugh eject safely.
  • 1953 – USAF Boeing TB-29 Superfortress, formerly Silverplate Boeing B-29-55-MO, 44-86382, of the 7th Radar Calibration Squadron, Sioux City Air Force Base, Iowa, destroyed by post-crash fire when pilot and co-pilot mistake Ogden Municipal Airport, Utah, for nearby Hill Air Force Base, put down on much shorter runway, overrun threshold, bounce across deep ditch, 10-foot-wide (3.0 m) canal, crosses highway, comes to rest in pieces, followed by immediate fire. One fatality on crew, two others injured.
  • 1944Typhoon Cobra (1944) strikes Task Force 38 as it operates in the Philippine Sea east of Luzon. In addition to the sinking of three destroyers, the loss of over 800 men, and damage to many ships, the task force loses 146 carrier aircraft and battleship and cruiser floatplanes. Plans for strikes on Luzon from December 19 to 21 are cancelled.
  • 1941 – A RAF Lockheed Hudson III, V9032, of 6 OTU, crashes onto the farmhouse of Quarry Farm at Ingleby Barwick near Thornaby, England, whilst on a training mission when aircraft stalls soon after takeoff. Plane and house destroyed in inferno. Of the occupants, a farmer, his wife and two of his children are killed, two other children, boys aged nine and eleven escape. The twenty-three year old pilot and five other crew members are KWF. The pilot's fiancee offers to adopt the surviving children. Killed are F/Sgt Albert G. Graves RAF, pilot, 23, of Ashford, Kent; Sgt Richard H. D. Palmer RAFVR, pilot, 27; P/O Michael B. Van Heerdan RAFVR, observer, 23, of Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa; Sgt Leslie Hogg RAFVR, WOp/AG, 27, of West Croyden, Surrey; Sgt Harry W. G. Hewitt RAFVR, WOp/AG, 21, of Teddington; Mr. James R. Garbutt, 39; Mrs. Violet M. Garbutt, 41; Master Alick R. Garbutt, 8; and Master Charles R. Garbutt, 6, all of Quarry Farm, Ingleby Barwick
  • 1939 – The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand institute the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan – known in some countries as the Empire Air Training Scheme – A massive joint military aircrew training program. South Africa participates via a parallel Joint Air Training Scheme agreement.
  • 1934 – Boeing Airplane Co. subsidiary Stearman Aircraft, located in Wichita, Kan., delivers its first Stearman Kaydet to the military. It will become the most common preliminary trainer in service, and 10,346 Kaydets will be built during World War II.
  • 1933 – First flight of the Northrop XFT, American prototype fighter aircraft, single engined low-winged monoplane, designed and built to meet a United States Navy order for an advanced carrier based fighter.
  • 1908Wilbur Wright at Camp d'Auvours, 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) east of Le Mans. flies 99.8 kilometres (62.0 mi) in 1 h 54 min 2/5 s. rising to 110 m (360 ft) – A new world record.


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