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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

Air Force One
An airport is a facility where aircraft can take off and land. At the very minimum, an airport consists of one runway (or helipad), but other common components are hangars and terminal buildings. Apart from these, an airport may have a variety of facilities and infrastructure, including fixed base operator services, air traffic control, passenger facilities such as restaurants and lounges, and emergency services.

Selected image

Twin Linear Aerospike XRS-2200 Engine PLW edit.jpg
Credit: NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center

A test firing of twin linear XRS-2200 Aerospike engines. The aerospike engine is a type of rocket engine that maintains its efficiency across a wide range of altitudes through the use of an aerospike nozzle.

A standard rocket engine uses a bell shaped nozzle to contain and direct the exhaust gases. However the optimum shape of the bell depends on the air pressure which reduces as the rocket climbs. An aerospike uses the air flowing past the rocket to form half of a 'virtual bell' which automatically compensates for the reducing pressure.

...Archive/Nominations

Did you know

...that a Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar was used in the 2004 film Flight of the Phoenix? ...that Wing Commander Stanley Goble and Flying Officer Ivor McIntyre, piloting a single-engined seaplane (pictured), became the first men to circumnavigate Australia by air in 1924?

Selected Aircraft

XB-36 first flight.jpg
The Convair B-36 was a strategic bomber built by Convair for the United States Air Force, the first to have truly intercontinental range. Unofficially nicknamed the "Peacemaker", the B-36 was the first thermonuclear weapon delivery vehicle, the largest piston aircraft ever to be mass-produced, and the largest warplane of any kind.

The B-36 was the only American aircraft with the range and payload to carry such bombs from airfields on American soil to targets in the USSR, as storing nuclear weapons in foreign countries was diplomatically delicate. The nuclear deterrent the B-36 afforded may have kept the Soviet Army from fighting alongside the North Korean and Chinese armies during the Korean War. Convair touted the B-36 as an "aluminum overcast," a "long rifle" to give SAC a global reach. When General Curtis LeMay headed SAC (1949-57) and turned it into an effective nuclear delivery force, the B-36 formed the heart of his command. Its maximum payload was more than four times that of the B-29, even exceeding that of the B-52.

  • Span: 230 ft 0 in (70.10 m)
  • Length: 162 ft 1 in (49.40 m)
  • Height: 46 ft 9 in (14.25 m)
  • Engines: 6× Pratt & Whitney R-4360-53 "Wasp Major" radials, 3,800 hp (2,500 kW) each
  • Cruising Speed: 230 mph (200 kn, 380 km/h) with jets off
  • Range: 6,795 mi (5,905 nmi, 10,945 km) with 10,000 lb (4,535 kg) payload
  • First Flight: 8 August 1946

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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 20: Hawaii's Kīlauea volcano releases ash plumes to 30,000 feet, prompting aviation alerts
  • March 21: Uber suspends self-driving car program after pedestrian death in Arizona, United States
  • February 21: Iran: Wreckage found of plane crashed in mountains; all believed dead
  • February 15: United States: Jet loses engine cover over Pacific en route to Honolulu from San Francisco
  • January 15: Turkey: Aircraft skids off runway toward Black Sea
  • 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

Today in Aviation

September 21

  • 2012 – A Syrian Air Force jet reportedly is shot down by rebel forces over Atarib, Syria.[1]
  • 2005JetBlue Airways Flight 292, an Airbus A320, makes an emergency landing in Los Angeles, California because of landing gear steering failure. There are no injuries to the 139 passengers and six crew members.
  • 2004 – UH-60A Black Hawk 87-24579 from A Company, 1–244th Aviation Regiment crashes near Nasiriyah, wounding four crew members.[3]
  • 2002 – Air Canada Douglas DC-9 makes final flight to place of honour at the Canada Aviation Museum
  • 1993 – In the first of the three Transair Georgia airliner shootdowns, a Tupolev Tu-134A is hit on approach to Sukhumi-Babusheri Airport by a surface-to-air missile; the plane crashes into the Black Sea, killing all five crew members and all 22 passengers.
  • 1979 – Two RAF Hawker Siddeley Harrier jump-jets from RAF Wittering collide over the UK. Both pilots ejected safely. One of the jets broke up in midair and fell harmlessly into a field but the other dropped onto the center of Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, destroying two houses and a bungalow. Several people were injured in the accident and three people were killed.
  • 1969 – The Mexicana Boeing 727-64 XA-SEJ strikes the ground short of the runway on final approach to Mexico City International Airport in Mexico City, Mexico, becomes airborne again, then crashes on a railway embankment, killing 27 of the 118 people on board.
  • 1967 – Hawker Siddeley Kestrel, XS693, fitted with 19,000-lb. thrust Bristol-Siddeley Pegasus 6 engine, crashes during trials at Filton, Sqn. Ldr. H. Rigg escaping safely.
  • 1964 – During delivery flight of North American XB-70A-1-NA Valkyrie, 62-0001, from Palmdale, California to Edwards AFB, California, on touchdown the brakes on the main gear lock up and the friction causes the eight tires and wheels to burn. The Valkyrie was otherwise undamaged.
  • 1956 – Grumman company test pilot Tom Attridge shoots himself down in a Grumman F11F Tiger, BuNo 138260, during a Mach 1.0 20 degree dive from 22,000 feet (6,700 m) to 7,000 feet (2,100 m). He fires two bursts from the fighter's 20 mm cannon during the descent and as he reaches 7,000 feet (2,100 m) the jet is struck multiple times, including one shell that is ingested by the engine, shredding the compressor blades. He limps the airframe back towards the Grumman airfield but comes down at almost the same spot where the first prototype impacted on 19 October: 1954. Pilot gets clear before jet burns, suffers only minor injuries – investigation shows that he had overtaken and passed through his own gunfire.
  • 1943 – (Overnight) A Northwest African Air Force raid on Bastia damages the port enough to slow the German evacuation of Corsica.
  • 1942 – Convoy PQ 18 arrives at Archangel in the Soviet Union. During its voyage, aircraft from the British aircraft carrier HMS Avenger have attacked 16 German submarines and contributed to the sinking of one, and Avenger’s fighters and the convoy’s antiarcraft guns have shot down 41 German aircraft. Because of these high losses, German aircraft rarely attack Arctic convoys again.
  • 1938 – Major General Oscar Westover, Chief of the U. S. Army Air Corps, is killed at Burbank, California, in the crash of a Northrop A-17AS he is piloting.
  • 1938 – USAAC Chief Maj. Gen. Oscar Westover is killed in crash of Northrop A-17AS, 36-349, c/n 289, '1', out of Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., in a crosswind short of the runway at Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank, California, now known as Bob Hope Airport. The single-engined attack design used as a high-speed staff transport, crashed into a house at 1007 Scott Road in Burbank. Also KWF is his mechanic S/Sgt Samuel Hymes. Northeast Air Base, Massachusetts, renamed Westover Field on 1 December 1939, later Westover AFB on 13 January 1948.
  • 1916 – One only prototype Avro 521 fighter, 1811, (a serial that duplicated one assigned to a Bleriot monoplane), assigned to Central Flying School Upavon, crashes killing pilot Lt. W. H. S. Garnett.
  • 1913 – The first aerobatic maneuver, a sustained inverted flight, is performed in France.
  • 1802 – Frenchman Andre-Jacques Garnerin makes the first parachute descent in England, jumping from a balloon over London.


  1. ^ By Reuters (22 September 2012). "Rebels shoot down fighter jet in northern Syria, witness says - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper". Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  2. ^ The Associated Press (September 21, 2012). "Anonymous, "'That's my spaceship': Space shuttle Endeavour salutes Gabby Giffords and astronaut husband Mark Kelly in Arizona fly-by". Associated Press. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ "1987 USAF Serial Numbers". Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  4. ^

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