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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

Aircraft spotter on the roof of a building in London. St. Paul's Cathedral is in the background.
The Battle of Britain (German: Luftschlacht um England) is the name given to the sustained strategic effort by the German Luftwaffe during the summer and autumn of 1940 to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF), especially Fighter Command. The name derives from a speech made on 18 June 1940 in the House of Commons by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, "The Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin..."

Had it been successful, the planned amphibious and airborne landings in Britain of Operation Sea Lion would have followed. The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces. It was the largest and most sustained bombing campaign attempted up until that date. The failure of Nazi Germany to destroy Britain's air defence or to break British morale is considered its first major defeat.

British historians date the battle from 10 July to 31 October 1940, which represented the most intense period of daylight bombing. German historians usually place the beginning of the battle in mid-August 1940 and end it in May 1941, on the withdrawal of the bomber units in preparation for the attack on the USSR.

Selected image

Helicopter rescue sancy takeoff.jpg
Credit: User:Fabien1309

A French Gendarmerie rescue helicopter taking off on the Massif du Sancy mountains, France.

...Archive/Nominations

Did you know

Fokker Spin

...that the Fokker Spin (pictured) was the first aircraft built by Anthony Fokker, in which he taught himself to fly and earned his pilot license? ...that the crash of Crossair Flight LX498 was initially attributed to cell phone use, and led to bans of cell phones in airplanes in several countries? ... that the collection of the Prague Aviation Museum, Kbely includes 275 aircraft, of which approximately 110 are on public display?

Selected Aircraft

Douglas Dakota DC-3 (G-ANAF) of the Air Atlantique Historic Flight.

The Douglas DC-3 is a fixed-wing, propeller-driven aircraft which revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s, and is generally regarded as one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made.

The DC-3 was engineered by a team led by chief engineer Arthur E. Raymond and first flew on December 17, 1935 (the 32nd. anniversary of the Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk). The plane was the result of a marathon phone call from American Airlines CEO C.R. Smith demanding improvements in the design of the DC-2. The amenities of the DC-3 (including sleeping berths on early models and an in-flight kitchen) popularized air travel in the United States. With just one refuelling stop, transcontinental flights across America became possible. Before the DC-3, such a trip would entail short hops in commuter aircraft during the day coupled with train travel overnight.

During World War II, many civilian DC-3s were drafted for the war effort and thousands of military versions of the DC-3 were built under the designations C-47, C-53, R4D, and Dakota. The armed forces of many countries used the DC-3 and its military variants for the transport of troops, cargo and wounded. Over 10,000 aircraft were produced (some as licensed copies in Japan as Showa L2D, and in the USSR as the Lisunov Li-2).

  • Span: 95 ft (28.96 m)
  • Length: 64 ft 5 in (19.65 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 11 in (5.16 m)
  • Engines: 2× Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3G 14-cylinder radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) or Wright Cyclone
  • Cruising Speed: 170 mph (274 km/h)
  • First Flight:December 17, 1935
  • Number built: 13,140 (including license built types)

Related portals

Selected biography

Air Marshal Sir George Jones KBE, CB, DFC (18 October 1896 – 24 August 1992) was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He rose from being a private soldier in World War I to Air Marshal in 1948. He served as Chief of the Air Staff from 1942 to 1952, the longest continuous tenure of any RAAF chief. Jones was a surprise appointee to the Air Force’s top role, and his achievements in the position were coloured by a divisive relationship during World War II with his head of operations and nominal subordinate, Air Vice Marshal William Bostock.

Jones first saw action as an infantryman in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, before transferring to the Australian Flying Corps the following year. Initially an air mechanic, he undertook flying training in 1917 and was posted to a fighter squadron in France, achieving seven victories to become an ace. After a short spell in civilian life following World War I, he joined the newly-formed RAAF in 1921, rising steadily through training and personnel commands prior to World War II.

He did not actively seek the position of Chief of the Air Staff before being appointed in 1942, and his conflict with Bostock—with whom he had been friends for 20 years—was partly the result of a divided command structure, which neither man had any direct role in shaping. After World War II Jones had overall responsibility for transforming what was then the world's fourth largest air force into a peacetime service that was also able to meet overseas commitments in Malaya and Korea. Following his retirement from the RAAF he continued to serve in the aircraft industry and later ran unsuccessfully for political office.

In the news

Wikinews Aviation portal
  • January 23: Germany bans Mahan Air of Iran, citing 'security'
  • January 16: Lion Air disaster: Crashed jet's voice recorder recovered from Java Sea
  • January 15: Iranian cargo plane crashes into Karaj houses
  • December 28: Police warn new drone owners to obey law after disruption at UK's Gatwick Airport
  • December 19: Passengers evacuated at Prague airport after drawing of bomb found in plane
  • September 29: Airplane crashes into ocean in Micronesia
  • May 20: Hawaii's Kīlauea volcano releases ash plumes to 30,000 feet, prompting aviation alerts
  • 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

Today in Aviation

May 26

  • 2011 – The United Kingdom announced plans to send four Apache helicopters to aid in the conflict.[1]
  • 2009 – 9Q-CSA, an Antonov An-26 operated by Services Air crashes short of the runway at Matari Airport, Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing three of the four people on board. The aircraft is destroyed in the crash. It had previously been placed on a blacklist by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and Antonov.
  • 2009 – A Força Aérea Brasileira Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante (C-95) FAB 2332) a twin-engined turboprop transport made a heavy landing at Base Aérea do Campo dos Afonsos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The accident occurred when the landing gear failed to operate.
  • 2008 – Chelyabinsk Antonov An-12 crash: A Moskovia Airlines An-12 cargo aircraft crashed near Chelyabinsk, Russia, killing all nine crew members when after departure to Perm it turned back and crashed near the airfield.
  • 2007 – San Francisco International Airport runway incursion occurred when SkyWest Airlines (operating as United Express) Flight 5741 (SKW5741), an Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia turboprop aircraft, nearly collided with Republic Airlines (operating as Frontier Airlines) Flight 4912, an Embraer 170 Regional Jet, at the intersection of runways 1L and 28R at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), South San Francisco, California. There were no reported injuries to occupants and no reported damage to either aircraft. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials described the runway incursion as the most serious incident of its kind in at least a decade, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) initiated an investigation into the incident.
  • 2007 – An OH-58D(I) Kiowa 93-0989 from 1–17th Cavalry Regiment is shot down with small arms near Baquba, killing the two crewmen.[4]
  • 1991Lauda Air Flight 004, a Boeing 767, disintegrates in mid-air over Uthai Thani Province, Thailand, killing all 223 people on board. A thrust reverser had accidentally deployed in flight, causing the disaster. It is the first fatal crash of a Boeing 767.
  • 1986 – Helicopter prison escape from a Parisian jail. Escapee Michel Vaujour was flown to freedom via his wife, a newly graduated helicopter pilot.
  • 1981 – Grumman EA-6B Prowler, BuNo 159910, of VMAQ-2 Detachment Y, crash landed on flight deck of USS Nimitz, off the Florida coast, killing 14 crewmen and injuring 45 others (some reports say 42, some 48). The crash was the result of the aircraft missing the last arresting cable, while ignoring a wave-off command. Two Grumman F-14 Tomcats struck and destroyed (BuNos. 161138 and 160385), 3 F-14s, 9 LTV A-7 Corsair IIs, 3 S-3A Vikings, 1 Grumman A-6 Intruder and 1 SH-3 Sea King damaged. Forensic testing conducted found that several members of the deceased flight deck crew tested positive for marijuana (the officers on board the aircraft were never tested, claimed one report). The responsibility for the accident was placed on the deck crew. The official naval inquiry stated that the accident was the result of drug abuse by the enlisted crewmen of the Nimitz, despite the fact that every death occurred during the impact of the crash and not one member of the deck crew was killed fighting the fire. As a result of this incident, President Ronald Reagan instituted a "Zero Tolerance" policy across all of the armed services—which started the mandatory drug testing of all US service personnel. In another report, however, the Navy stated that pilot error, possibly caused by an excessive dosage of brompheniramine, a cold medicine, in the blood of pilot Marine 1st Lt. Steve E. White, of Houston, Texas, "may have degraded the mental and physical skills required for night landings." The report described brompheniramine as "a common antihistamine decongestant cold medicine ingredient." "Last October [1981], Rep. Joseph P. Addabbo, (D-N.Y.) said that an autopsy conducted on the pilot's body disclosed up to 11 times the recommended dosage of a cold remedy in his system." This report seems to belie the above account that no testing was done on the flight crew.
  • 1972Cessna builds its 100,000th aircraft, the first company in the world to achieve this figure.
  • 1972 – Two American UH-1 B attack helicopters use TOW antitank missiles to destroy 12 North Vietnamese tanks outside Kontum, South Vietnam, allowing South Vietnamese forces to counterattack and secure the city.
  • 1970 – The prototype Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic airliner reaches a speed of 1,335mph, becoming the first commercial transport in the world to exceed Mach 2.
  • 1970 – Operation Menu, the 14-month-long covert American bombing campaign by B-52 Stratofortresses against North Vietnamese Army sanctuaries in Cambodia, comes to an end. The B-52 s have flown 3,800 sorties and dropped 108,823 tons (98,723,578 kg) of munitions during the campaign.
  • 1969Apollo 10 astronauts returned to Earth after a successful eight-day dress rehearsal for the first manned moon landing.
  • 1965 – Sir Geoffery de Havilland dies aged 82.
  • 1964 – A Boeing B-47E-110-BW Stratojet, 53-2296, c/n 4501109, of the 509th Bomb Wing, inbound to RAF Upper Heyford from Pease AFB, New Hampshire, suffers uneven throttle advance on attempted go around, port engines fail to respond, wing drops and bomber cartwheels between two loaded B-47s before striking storage building which the day before had contained JATO bottles. Prompt response by rescue personnel and apparatus douse the fire and three of four crew are pulled from the wreckage alive: pilot Capt. Robert L. Lundin, North Platte, Nebraska, co-pilot 1st Lt. James V. Mullen, Des Moines, Iowa, and passenger Lt. Col. Robert E. Johnson, Los Angeles, California. Navigator Capt. Lowell L. Mittlestadt, 27, of Elmhurst, Illinois, is KWF. One firefighter is hospitalized after being overcome from smoke and a dozen others are treated for minor injuries and smoke while fighting the blaze.
  • 1961 – Lockheed CF-104 Starfighter Canadian prototype (Canadair CL-90) was test flown at Palmdale, California.
  • 1961 – A U. S. Air Force bomber flies across the Atlantic in a record of just over three hours.
  • 1958 – Entered Service: Republic F-105B Thunderchief with the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron USAF at Eglin AFB
  • 1951Sally Ride, astronaut, the first American woman in space is born.
  • 1942 – The Northrop XP-61 Black Widow night fighter prototype flies for the first time.
  • 1941 – Eight aircraft from the British aircraft carrier HMS Formidable raid the Axis airfield at Scarpanto. Retaliating German dive bombers badly damage Formidable and a destroyer; the following day they also damage the battleship HMS Barham.
  • 1941 – German dive bombers set the British infantry landing ship HMS Glenroy on fire, preventing her from bringing reinforcements to Crete.
  • 1940 – (May 26-June 4) Operation Dynamo, the Dunkirk evacuation, takes place, as 308,888 Allied soldiers are evacuated to the United Kingdom from Dunkirk by sea under continuous German air attack. During the evacuation, German aircraft sink six British and three French destroyers and eight personnel ships and put 19 British destroyers and nine personnel ships out of action.
  • 1937 – Spanish Republican air raids by Soviet pilots narrowly miss the German patrol ship Albatross at Palma and damage the German “pocket battleship” Deutschland off Ibiza, killing 31 and wounding 66 aboard Deutschland.
  • 1932 – First flight of the Farman F.220, a French high wing 4 tandem engine 40 seat high wing monoplane airliner
  • 1929 – A Junkers W 33 (much modified and sometimes referred to as a W 34) established a world altitude record, piloted by Willy Neuenhofen, at 41,800 ft (12740 m)
  • 1923 – Lieutenant H. G. Crocker landed in Gordon, Ontario, to complete a non-stop transcontinental south/north flight from Houston, Texas, of 11 hours, 55 min.
  • 1920 – First flight of the Boeing GA-1 (company designation Model 10), American armored triplane powered by a pair of modified Liberty engines driving pusher propellers, first of the Engineering Division's heavily-armored GAX series (ground attack, experimental) aircraft.
  • 1920Alfred Fronval, French aviator, sets in Madrid a record of 962 loopings in 3 h 52 min.
  • 1915 – Oberleutnant Kästner and Lt Georg Langhoff score the first German air-to-air victory of World War I.
  • 1909 – The Zeppelin LZ-5 sets an endurance record by completing a 600-mile (970 km) nonstop trip in 38 hours.
  • 1904 – The Wright brothers make their first successful flight in the Wright Flyer II. It is the first of 100 flights they will make in the Flyer II during 1904.
  • 1898 – Birth of John Sidney Owens, American WWI flying ace.
  • 1895 – Birth of Rudolf Besel, German WWI flying ace.
  • 1892] – Birth of Eustace Slade Headlam, Australian WWI flying ace.
  • 1874 – Birth of Henri Farman, French pilot, aviator, aircraft designer and manufacturer with his brother Maurice Farman.


  1. ^ "Libya: NATO Planes Target Gaddafi's Tripoli Compound". BBC News. 28 May 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  2. ^ Hallion, Roy P., "Does the Hypersonic Transport Have a Future?", Aviation History, July 2012, p. 42.
  3. ^ Warwick, Graham, "First X-51A Hypersonic Flight Deemed Success," Aviation Week, 26 May 2010.
  4. ^ "US helicopter shot down in Iraq". 2005-05-27. Retrieved 2008-02-04. Two helicopters were conducting operations near Baquba, 60km (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad. Both were hit; one crashed and the other managed to land safely at a nearby airbase. Two soldiers died in the crash, the US military said.

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