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The Aviation Portal

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

PanAm Airbus A310-222
Pan American World Airways, most commonly known as "Pan Am", was the principal international airline of the United States from the 1930s until its collapse in 1991. Originally founded as a seaplane service out of Key West, Florida, the airline became a major company; it was credited with many innovations that shaped the international airline industry, including the widespread use of jet aircraft, jumbo jets, and computerized reservation systems. Identified by its blue globe logo and the use of "Clipper" in aircraft names and call signs, the airline was a cultural icon of the 20th century, and the unofficial flag carrier of the United States. Pan Am went through two incarnations after 1991. The second Pan Am operated from 1996 to 1998 with a focus on low-cost, long-distance flights between the U.S. and the Caribbean. The current incarnation, based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and known as the Pan Am "Clipper Connection", is operated by Boston-Maine Airways. The airline currently flies to destinations in the northeastern United States, Florida, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.

Selected picture

A Ventus 2a glider being winch launched

During a winch launch, a glider is pulled by a wire cable like a kite, raising it to an altitude of around 1000 ft (300 m). For the rest of its flight, being un-powered, the heavier-than-air aeroplane is always falling. However a pilot can gain height by circling within a strong thermal — a column of air that is rising at a faster rate than the plane is falling. On a good day, an experienced pilot can travel hundreds of miles before landing.

...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 BAE Systems HERTI is the first and only fully autonomous UAV to have been certificated by the United Kingdom? ...that the asymmetrical monoplane BV 141 is one of many military aircraft designed by Richard Vogt?

Selected Aircraft

Pregnant Guppy NASA.jpg

The Pregnant Guppy was a large, wide-bodied cargo aircraft built in the USA and used for ferrying outsized cargo items, most notably NASA's components of the Apollo moon program. The Pregnant Guppy was the first of the Guppy line of aircraft produced by Aero Spacelines, Inc. The design also inspired similar designs such as the jet-powered Airbus Beluga, and the Boeing 747 LCF designed to deliver Boeing 787 parts.

  • Span:141 feet, 3 inches.
  • Length: 127 feet.
  • Height: 31 feet, 3 inches.
  • Engines: 4 3500hp P&W R-4360.
  • Cruising Speed: 250 mph
  • First Flight:September 19, 1962
  • Number built: 1
...Archive/Nominations

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Selected biography

Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong (born August 5, 1930) is a former American astronaut, test pilot, university professor, and United States Naval Aviator. He was the first person to set foot on the Moon. His first spaceflight was aboard Gemini 8 in 1966, for which he was the command pilot. On this mission, he performed the first manned docking of two spacecraft together with pilot David Scott. Armstrong's second and last spaceflight was as mission commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission on July 20, 1969. On this mission, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent 2.5 hours exploring while Michael Collins orbited. Armstrong is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Before becoming an astronaut, Armstrong was in the United States Navy and saw action in the Korean War. After the war, he served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station, now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center, where he flew over 900 flights in a variety of aircraft. As a research pilot, Armstrong served as project pilot on the F-100 Super Sabre A and C aircraft, F-101 Voodoo, and the Lockheed F-104A Starfighter. He also flew the Bell X-1B, Bell X-5, North American X-15, F-105 Thunderchief, F-106 Delta Dart, B-47 Stratojet, KC-135 Stratotanker and Paresev. He graduated from Purdue University.

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

May 25

  • 2012 – The first Solar Impulse aircraft, HB-SIA, the first solar-powered aircraft capable of both day and night flight thanks to its batteries charged by solar power, completes the first leg of its first intercontinental flight, arriving at Madrid, Spain, after a flight from Payerne Airport outside Payerne, Switzerland. During the flight, it sets a world distance record for a solar-powered flight between pre-declared waypoints of 1,099.3 km (683.1 mi) and a world distance record for a solar-powered flight along a course of 1,116 km (693 mi). The second and final leg of the flight will take HB-SIA to Rabat, Morocco, the following month.[1][2]
  • 2011 – First flight of the e-Genius, German manned electric airplane, two seated side by side high wing configuration aircraft completely manufactured of fibre composites and equipped with a retractable landing gear, propulsion realized by a permanent magnet synchronous motor with an electrical driven variable pitch propeller.
  • 2008Phoenix (Robotic Spacecraft) lands on Mars to search for environments suitable for microbial life on Mars, and to research the history of water there.
  • 2008Kalitta Air 2008 Boeing 747-209 F/SCD cargo overran runway 20 at Brussels Airport. The plane broke in three and came to a complete stop in a field bordering the runway. There were four crew members and one passenger on board, and no injuries were reported.
  • 2005 – A chartered Maniema Union Antonov An-28 aircraft, owned by Victoria Air, crashed into a mountain near Walungu, Democratic Republic of the Congo about 30 min after takeoff. All of the 22 passengers and 5 crew members were killed.
  • 2002China Airlines Flight 611, a Boeing 747-200B, disintegrates in mid-air above the Taiwan Strait, apparently because of metal fatigue; all 206 passengers and 19 crew members – a total of 225 – are killed.
  • 2000 – Reginald Chua hijacks Philippine Airlines Flight 812, an Airbus A330-301 with 290 other people on board, just before landing at Ninoy Aquino International Airport near Manila, the Philippines. He demands the passengers place their valuables in a bag, and then attempts to jump from the plane via the rear door using a homemade parachute, but panics and instead clings to the door; a male flight attendant then pushes him from the door and he falls from the plane over Antipolo, Rizal. His body is found three days later near Llabac in Real, Quezon.
  • 1998PIA Flight 544, a Pakistan International Airlines Fokker F27, was hijacked shortly after it took off from Gwadar International Airport, by three armed men belonging to Baloch Students Organization (BSO). The aircraft, with 33 passengers and 5 crew members aboard, had just arrived from Gwadar International Airport, Baluchistan,and was sat to land in Hyderabad Airport, Sindh. The Army’s SSG’s Haideri Company, 7th Commando Zarrar Battalion, SSG Division, accompanied with elite members of Army Rangers stormed the aircraft, while the Pakistan Police surrounded the plane. The operation concluded with all three hijackers arrested and sentenced to death by Pakistan, with no human casualties.
  • 1998 – A Lao People's Liberation Army Air Force Yakovlev Yak-40, RDPL-34001, '001', c/n 9431835, crashes into a mountain during heavy rain killing all of the 26 on board, including Lt. Gen. Dao Trong Lich, Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnamese Peoples' Army.
  • 1996 – Death of David Wayne Howe, American WWII flying ace and later test pilot for Bell.
  • 1995 – A combined force of NATO aircraft attack a Serb ammunition depot near Jahorinski Potok.
  • 1993 – In an 1844 hrs. flight deck accident aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt, the undercarriage of an McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18 Hornet attempting a wave-off from the carrier due to still fouled deck, strikes the vertical fin on Grumman A-6E Intruder, BuNo 164382, '500', shearing away a large portion of the empennage, as the A-6 was taxiing away from the arresting gear. The Hornet dropped its underwing tanks and safely recovered to the carrier. Footage:
  • 1986 – A prisoner in a Parisian jail escapes when his wife rescues him in a helicopter
  • 1982 – VASP Boeing 737-2 A1 on landing procedures at Brasília during rain, made a hard landing with nose gear first. The gear collapsed and the aircraft skidded off the runway breaking in two. Two passengers out of 118 occupants died.
  • 1982HMS Coventry (D118), Type 42 (Sheffield Class) destroyer of the Royal Navy, is sunk by Argentine Air Force A-4 Skyhawks during the Falklands War.
  • 1982 – A RAF Hawker-Siddeley/McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom II piloted by Roy Lawrence and Alistair Inverarity was engaging a Royal Air Force SEPECAT Jaguar GR1, XX963, 'AL', piloted by Flt. Lt. D. Steve Griggs in training exercises. During the encounter the Phantom shot a live AIM-9 Sidewinder forcing the Jaguar pilot to eject.
  • 1979American Airlines Flight 191, a McDonnell-Douglas DC-10, crashes on takeoff from O'Hare International Airport after an engine falls off, killing all 271 on board and 2 on the ground; prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks, this was the deadliest airliner occurrence in American history, and it remains the worst single-aircraft airliner accident on US soil.
  • 1976 – First Flight Boeing E-3 Sentry (E-3), U. S. military airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft based on the Boeing 707 that provides all-weather surveillance, command, control and communications.
  • 1973 – Launch of Skylab 2, first manned mission to Skylab, the first U. S. orbital space station.
  • 1970 – First commercial aircraft to exceed Mach 2 in level flight is a Tupolev Tu-144.
  • 1968Tupolev Tu-16 "Badger" F, commanded by sub-Cmdr. Alexander Pliyev, crashes into the Norwegian Sea after a low pass by the aircraft carrier USS Essex (CV-9). The bomber had flown by the ship just 15 meters above the sea.
  • 1966 – Launch of Explorer 32 (also known as Atmosphere Explorer-B (AE-B)), satellite launched by the United States for studying the Earth's upper atmosphere.
  • 1965 – The Soviet Union announces the construction of surface-to-air missile sites in North Vietnam around Hanoi.
  • 1964 – Birth of Ivan Bella, Slovak Air Force officer who became the first Slovak citizen to fly in space
  • 1961 – Brigadier General Barnie B. McEntire, Jr., commander of the South Carolina Air National Guard, is killed when his Lockheed F-104A-25-LO Starfighter, 56-0853, suffers engine failure on take off from Olmsted Air Force Base, Pennsylvania, and he stays with the jet to crash into the Susquehanna River rather than risk it crashing into populated areas of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Congaree Air National Guard Base near Eastover, South Carolina is subsequently renamed in his honor in October 1961 by Governor Ernest F. Hollings.
  • 1960 – A Vickers Valiant of No.214 Squadron, captained by Squadron Leader J. H. Garstin, takes off for the first non-stop flight between the UK and Singapore.
  • 1958 – USAF Lockheed RC-121D-LO Warning Star, 55-123, of the 551st AEWCW, burns out on the ramp at Otis AFB, Massachusetts, 0 dead.
  • 1955 – Convair B-36J-5-CF Peacemaker, 52-2818A, c/n 374, of the 6th Bomb Wing, call sign Abbott 27, on a routine training flight, crashes at ~2305 hrs. CST, in the SW corner of Glasscock County, Texas, on the Drannon Ranch, ~18.5 miles (29.8 km) SW of Sterling City, Texas. The aircraft had apparently disintegrated due to thunderstorm or tornadic activity, losing its outer wing panels and all tail control surfaces, and impacted in a flat attitude with little forward motion. Aircraft wreckage was found in a 25 X 3-mile (4.8 km) path on a heading of 66 degrees true. None of the 15 members of crew L-22 were able to escape the damaged bomber and all hatches and ports were found still in place. The wings and forward fuselage burned on impact, with only the rear fuselage remaining. The aircraft had been preparing to land at Walker AFB, New Mexico, when it was lost. Due to the extended period that the crash site was kept secured while crew remains were recovered and identified, and wreckage from the disintegration was searched for (almost a week), there was some question as to whether the B-36 was armed with a nuclear weapon, but there is no evidence to support this.
  • 1954 – United States Navy (USN) ZPG2 airship, flown by Commander M. H. Eppes and crew, lands at Key West Florida after being airborne for just over 200 hours.
  • 1951 – First delivery of The English Electric Canberra B2, first-generation jet-powered light bomber, to replace the Lincolns of No. 101 Squadron at Binbrook, Lincolnshire.
  • 1950 – The first prototype of Arsenal VG 90 turbojet strike fighter design for the Aéronavale, VG-90.01, F-WFOE, first flown 27 September 1949, crashes this date killing the pilot Pierre Decroo.
  • 1943 – (Overnight) 759 British bombers attack Düsseldorf, Germany. Pathfinder aircraft fail to concentrate markers on the target and the raid fails when the bombers spread their bombs widely throughout the countryside.
  • 1949 – Silverplate Boeing B-29 Superfortress, 44-27299, of the 97th Bomb Group, Biggs AFB, Texas, suffers fire in number 4 (starboard outer) engine shortly after take-off for routine navigation and radar training mission. Unable to extinguish blaze, crew bails out but navigator's parachute does not open and he is killed - believed that he had struck his head on nose gear operating assembly while departing bomber. B-29 makes two-mile circle, then comes down 35 miles NE of El Paso, Texas, exploding on impact.
  • 1939 – Sole Grumman XSBF-1, BuNo. 9996, (the XSF-2 airframe modified with a triangular frame beneath the engine mounting to carry one 500 lb (227 kg) or two 100 lb (45 kg) bombs, flown 18 February 1936), crash lands near Leonardtown, Maryland, killing one crew.
  • 1938 – During the Spanish Civil War the Italian Aviazione Legionaria bombs of Alicante.
  • 1937 – The first letter to encircle the world by commercial air mail despatched from New York via San Francisco to Hong Kong, Penang, Amsterdam and Brazil is back to New York.
  • 1937 – First flight of the Gasuden Koken, Japanese long-range research aircraft, single-engined low wing cantilever monoplane with a retractable undercarriage designed to break the world record for longest flight.
  • 1929 – Lieutenant William Gosnell Tomlinson, USN, took first place in the Curtiss Marine Trophy race held at Naval Air Station Anacostia. He flew the XF7 C-1 with an average speed of 162.52 MPH. He completed the 100-mile race course before his nearest competitor had entered the final 20 miles
  • 1928 – First flight of the Sikorsky S-38, American twin-engined 8-seat amphibious aircraft sometimes called "The Explorer's Air Yacht" and Sikorsky's first widely produced amphibious flying boat.
  • 1928Umberto Nobile's Airship Italia crashes on the ice on the attempt to reach the North Pole. Radio operator Biagi salvages radio, constructs a radio mast and begins transmitting SOS.
  • 1927 – Lieutenant James Doolittle was the first person to do an outside loop in an Army Racer.
  • 1919 – A Handley Page V/1500, flying from Risalpur piloted by Captain Halley and with Lt E. Villiers as observer reached Kabul in three hours and bombed the Royal Palace during the Third Anglo-Afghan War, being the first decisive use of strategic bombing.
  • 1917 – French WWI fighter ace Georges Marie Ludovic Jules Guynemer, scores 4 victories this day.
  • 1917 – A mass air-raid by 21 Gotha G.V bombers attacks Folkestone in Kent, England, killing 95 people and injuring 174. Seventy-four British aircraft take off to intercept, but shoot down only one Gotha. It is the first of 22 German heavier-than-air raids on England during World War I.
  • 1917 – Death of René Pierre Marie Dorme, French WWI fighter ace, killed in action in his SPAD VII.
  • 1913 – Birth of Oskar-Heinz (Heinrich) "Pritzl" Bär, German Luftwaffe flying ace who served throughout WWII in Europe. He flew over a thousand combat missions, and fought in all major German theatres of the war, including the Western, Eastern and Mediterranean fronts. On 18 occasions he survived being shot down and he was credited with 220 aerial victories, around 16 of which were in a Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.
  • 1912 – First plane of the Royal Norwegian Navy to arrive in Norway is the HNoMS Start, an Etrich Taube (fighter, bomber, surveillance plane and trainer).
  • 1910 – Orville Wright takes his 82-year-old father for his first airplane ride. Also on this day, Wilbur and Orville fly together for the only time in a six-and-one-half minute flight at Simms Station, near Dayton, Ohio.
  • 1905Ferdinand Ferber makes his first aerial tests in Chalais-Meodon, France with his No.6 bis glider fitted with a 12-hp Peugeot motor.
  • 1902 – Birth of Henri Guillaumet, pioneer of French aviation in the Andes, the South Atlantic and the North Atlantic.
  • 1898 – Birth of Harry Christopher Travers Gompertz, British WWI flying ace (Observer).
  • 1889 – Birth of Léon Jean Pierre Bourjade, French WWI fighter ace and leading balloon busting ace. Post-war, he completed his theological studies and devoted the remainder of his life to service as a medical missionary to lepers.
  • 1889 – Igor Sikorsky, American aviation engineer who developed the first successful helicopter was born.
  • 1866 – The Aereon N°2, American dirigible airship, flew over New York City.
  • 1864 – Birth of Anne Löwenstein-Wertheim Princess of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg (born Lady Anne Savile), British aviation pioneer.


  1. ^ Solar Impulse: What Happened in 2012?
  2. ^ Solar Impulse: Solar Impulse's HB-SIA Obtains Two New World Records

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