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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.

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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.

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Pilatus Agusta A109 Flug.jpg
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Did you know

...that after the Red Baron, French ace René Fonck had the most confirmed World War I aerial victories?

..that Elm Farm Ollie in 1930 became the first cow to be milked while flying in an airplane?

... that to open the swing door on the General Aircraft Hamilcar glider and allow vehicles to emerge, pilots had to climb out of the glider's cockpit and slide down 15 feet of fuselage?

Selected Aircraft

British Airways Boeing 747-400

The Boeing 747 is a widebody commercial airliner, often referred to by the nickname Jumbo Jet. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first widebody ever produced. Manufactured by Boeing's Commercial Airplane unit in the United States, the original version of the 747 was two and a half times the size of the Boeing 707, one of the common large commercial aircraft of the 1960s. First flown commercially in 1970, the 747 held the passenger capacity record for 37 years.

The four-engine 747 uses a double deck configuration for part of its length. It is available in passenger, freighter and other versions. Boeing designed the 747's hump-like upper deck to serve as a first class lounge or (as is the general rule today) extra seating, and to allow the aircraft to be easily converted to a cargo carrier by removing seats and installing a front cargo door. Boeing did so because the company expected supersonic airliners (whose development was announced in the early 1960s) to render the 747 and other subsonic airliners obsolete; while believing that the demand for subsonic cargo aircraft would be robust into the future. The 747 in particular was expected to become obsolete after 400 were sold but it exceeded its critics' expectations with production passing the 1,000 mark in 1993. As of June 2009, 1,416 aircraft have been built, with 107 more in various configurations remaining on order.

The 747-400, the latest version in service, is among the fastest airliners in service with a high-subsonic cruise speed of Mach 0.85 (567 mph or 913 km/h). It has an intercontinental range of 7,260 nautical miles (13,450 km; 8,350 mi). The 747-400 passenger version can accommodate 416 passengers in a typical three-class layout or 524 passengers in a typical two-class layout. The next version of the aircraft, the 747-8, is in production and scheduled to enter service in 2010. The 747 is to be replaced by the Boeing Y3 (part of the Boeing Yellowstone Project) in the future.

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Sophie Blanchard
Sophie Blanchard (25 March 1778 – 6 July 1819) was a French aeronaut and the wife of ballooning pioneer Jean-Pierre Blanchard. Blanchard was the first woman to work as a professional balloonist, and after her husband's death she continued ballooning, making more than 60 ascents. Known throughout Europe for her ballooning exploits, Blanchard entertained Napoleon Bonaparte, who promoted her to the role of "Aeronaut of the Official Festivals", replacing André-Jacques Garnerin. On the restoration of the monarchy in 1814 she performed for Louis XVIII, who named her "Official Aeronaut of the Restoration".

Ballooning was a risky business for the pioneers. Blanchard lost consciousness on a few occasions, endured freezing temperatures and almost drowned when her balloon crashed in a marsh. In 1819, she became the first woman to be killed in an aviation accident when, during an exhibition in the Tivoli Gardens in Paris, she launched fireworks that ignited the gas in her balloon. Her craft crashed on the roof of a house and she fell to her death. She is commonly referred to as Madame Blanchard and is also known by many combinations of her maiden and married names, including Madeleine-Sophie Blanchard, Marie Madeleine-Sophie Blanchard, Marie Sophie Armant and Madeleine-Sophie Armant Blanchard.

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

February 25

  • 2011 – A Brazilian Air Force Super Tucano crashed close to Porto Velho Air Force Base. The pilot, First Lieutenant Marcelino Aparecido Feitosa, ejected. He was rescued by a FAB's UH-60 (Black Hawk). He was talking during the rescue and he was kept under observation at the Army hospital.
  • 2010 – An United States Air Force General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon crashed during landing at Osan Air Base, South Korea. The plane became uncontrollable and the pilot bailed out. The jet was heavily damaged and crashed within Osan's boundaries.
  • 2009Turkish Airlines Flight 1951, a Boeing 737-800, flying from Atatürk Airport in Istanbul to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam crashes in a field during final approach; of the 127 passengers and 7 crew on board, 9 are killed, 85 injured.
  • 2008 – Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 crashes short of the runway while on approach to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. A faulty altimeter on the Boeing 737-800 (TC-JGE) led to a decrease in the autothrottle to idle. Noticing too late, the crew was unable to recover, and the aircraft broke apart while landing in the mud. Among the 135 people on board, 9 die, including the two pilots.
  • 2004 – OH-58D(R) Kiowa 97-0124 crashes in Iraq with 4th Squadron, 3d ACR, after striking electrical wires west of Baghdad, killing the two pilots.[1][2]
  • 1991 – 63 U. S. Army Blackhawk helicopters lift the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) 155 miles (250 km) behind Iraqi ground forces attempting to retreat from Kuwait, cutting them off. This will allow Coalition aircraft and ground forces to annihilate the trapped Iraqi units on Highway 8 between Basra and Baghdad. Iraqi antiaircraft artillery shoots down a U. S. Marine Corps AV-8 B Harrier II southeast of Kuwait City, and also claims an American OV-10D Bronco and an American attack helicopter.
  • 1990 – Smoke-free flights become mandatory throughout North America for all US airlines.
  • 1988 – A US Army Boeing-Vertol CH-47D Chinook helicopter, 86-01643, of 2nd Platoon, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, 47th Hospital, 214th Field Artillery Brigade, 3rd Corps, Forces Command (FORSCOM), located at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, crashes outside Chico, Texas, killing 10 soldiers and injuring 8, most with burns. The helicopter caught fire mid-flight due to the failure and disintegration of the number two transmission and driveshaft, and the brave pilots attempted an emergency landing, but the billowing smoke and passenger movements made it impossible. The helicopter hit the ground at 150 mph, breaking apart in a sheet of fire. This was originally the first B-model Chinook, 66-19121, which was converted in 1986 to D-model status.
  • 1986 – A small fleet of American military helicopters evacuates deposed President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos and his entourage from Manila to Clark Air Force Base. The following day, he goes into exile in Hawaii.
  • 1975 – Brig. General Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to break the sound barrier, flies his final US Air Force sortie.
  • 1971 – Chapin Scott Paterson, an American citizen, hijacked a US Boeing 747 en route to Vancouver; he was turned over to FBI same day.
  • 1970 – TWA becomes the first airline to fly a “Jumbo Jet” within the US, when it inaugurates a Boeing 747 service between Los Angeles and New York.
  • 1964Eastern Air Lines Flight 304, a Douglas DC-8 flying from New Orleans International Airport to Washington National Airport, crashes into Lake Pontchartrain, killing all 51 passengers and seven crew aboard.
  • 1960 – The 1960 Rio de Janeiro air crash was an aerial collision between two aircraft over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the crash, a United States Navy (USN) Douglas R6D-1, BuNo 131582, flying from Buenos Aires - Ezeiza to Galeão International Airport/Galeão Air Force Base collided with a Real Transportes Aéreos Douglas DC-3 registration PP-AXD, which was flying from Campos dos Goytacazes to Rio de Janeiro - Santos Dumont Airport, over Guanabara Bay, close to the Sugarloaf Mountain. Of the 38 occupants of the American aircraft, 3 survived. All 26 passengers and crew of the Brazilian aircraft died.
  • 1958 – United Airlines sets a record commercial Honolulu, Hawaii-to-San Francisco, California, flight time of 5 hours 43 min.
  • 1958 – During joint exercises with the US Navy at Naval Station Mayport, Duval County, Florida, a flight of four Royal Canadian Navy McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee fighters performs a formation takeoff but immediately flies into a dense fog bank; the rearmost aircraft, BuNo 126428 of VF-871, drops out of formation and vanishes. The airplane's nosewheel and pilot Lt. Barry Troy's helmet are later found floating in the ocean nearby, but no other signs of the missing aircraft or pilot are ever found.
  • 1945 – Carrier aircraft of the U. S. Navy’s Task Force 58 strike targets around Tokyo, but bad weather forces the cancellation of many strikes.
  • 1944 – German guided bombs sink the British destroyer HMS Inglefield off Anzio with heavy loss of life.
  • 1943 – (25-26) German aircraft attack Convoy JW 53 during its voyage from Loch Ewe, Scotland, to Molotovsk in the Soviet Union via the Barents Sea, causing no damage.
  • 1941 – Douglas B-18 Bolo, 36-446, c/n 1747, formerly of the 11th Bomb Group, crashes due to main bearing failure on port engine. The crew was rescued three days later. Since then, the aircraft has been sitting in a gulch on Laupahoehoe Nui LLC property, Hamakua, Hawaii. Acquired by Pacific Aviation Museum, the plan is to recover and restore the aircraft.
  • 1940 – The first RCAF unit, 110 Army Co-op Squadron, arrived in England.
  • 1932 – Russia’s civil airline changes its name to “Aeroflot” as we know it today.
  • 1930 – Ralph O’Neil lands in Miami on the first mail service of America airline New York, Rio and Buenos Aires Line (NYRBA) between Buenos Aires and New York after a difficult 6-day flight from Argentina.
  • 1929 – The world’s first major air evacuation comes to an end when Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) flies out the last of 586 civilians from Kabul to the safety to India. The airlift involves nationals of about 20 countries.
  • 1910 – Crew training begins for the Royal Navy’s first rigid airship, HMA No. 1, also known as Mayfly.
  • 1784 – The first balloon flight made in Italy takes place from the grounds of a villa owned by Chevalier Paul Andreani near Milanand uses a modified hot air design built by the brothers Charles and Augustin Gerli.


  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference armyaircrews was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ "2 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq helicopter crash". msnbc.com. 2004-02-25. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 

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