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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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Microburst schematic from NASA. Note the downward motion of the air until it hits ground level, then spreads outward in all directions. The wind regime in a microburst is completely opposite to a tornado.
Wind shear, sometimes referred to as windshear or wind gradient, is a difference in wind speed and direction over a relatively short distance in the atmosphere. Wind shear can be broken down into vertical and horizontal components, with horizontal wind shear seen across weather fronts and near the coast, and vertical shear typically near the surface, though also at higher levels in the atmosphere near upper level jets and frontal zones aloft.

Wind shear itself is a microscale meteorological phenomenon occurring over a very small distance, but it can be associated with mesoscale or synoptic scale weather features such as squall lines and cold fronts. It is commonly observed near microbursts and downbursts caused by thunderstorms, weather fronts, areas of locally higher low level winds referred to as low level jets, near mountains, radiation inversions that occur due to clear skies and calm winds, buildings, wind turbines, and sailboats. Wind shear has a significant effect during take-off and landing of aircraft due to their effects on steering of the aircraft, and was a significant cause of aircraft accidents involving large loss of life within the United States.

Sound movement through the atmosphere is affected by wind shear, which can bend the wave front, causing sounds to be heard where they normally would not, or vice versa. Strong vertical wind shear within the troposphere also inhibits tropical cyclone development, but helps to organize individual thunderstorms into living longer life cycles which can then produce severe weather. The thermal wind concept explains with how differences in wind speed with height are dependent on horizontal temperature differences, and explains the existence of the jet stream.

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Credit: NASA

An F/A-18 Hornet performs an automated aerial refueling operation on another. This was part of a study by the Dryden Flight Research Center to evaluate the ability of the F/A-18 as an in-flight refueling tanker to develop analytical models for an automated aerial refueling system for unmanned aerial vehicles. The project is documenting how an operational tanker's drogue basket responds when in the presence of the receiver aircraft.

...Archive/Nominations

Did you know

...that Astro Flight, Incorporated of Marina del Rey, California created the world's first practical electric-powered radio controlled model airplane and the world's first full-scale solar-powered airplane?

...that the Blohm und Voss Bv 144 was an attempt by Nazi Germany to develop an advanced commercial airliner for post-war service?

... that the loss of nine military crew members and passengers when Buffalo 461 was shot down over Syria in 1974, remains the largest single-incident loss of life in Canadian peacekeeping history?

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C-GSYN Adlair Aviation Ltd Beechcraft King Air 100 (BE10) 03.JPG

The Beechcraft King Air is a line of twin-turboprop aircraft produced by the Beech Aircraft Corporation (now the Beechcraft Division of Hawker Beechcraft). The King Air has been in continuous production since 1964, the longest production run of any civilian turboprop aircraft. It has outlasted all of its previous competitors and as of 2006 is one of only two twin-turboprop business airplanes in production (the other is the Piaggio Avanti).

Historically, the King Air family comprises a number of models that fall into four families, the Model 90 series, Model 100 series, Model 200 series, and Model 300 series. The last two types were originally marketed as the Super King Air, but the "Super" moniker was dropped in 1996. As of 2006, the only small King Air in production is the conventional-tail C90GT.

  • Span: 50 ft 3 in (15.33 m)
  • Length: 35 ft 6in (10.82 m)
  • Height: 14 ft 3 in (4.35 m)
  • Engines: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-21 turboprops , 550 shp (410 kW) each
  • Cruising Speed: 284 mph (247 knots ,457 km/h)
  • First Flight: May 1963
...Archive/Nominations

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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

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][5]
  • 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. ^ Cite error: The named reference armyaircrews was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ "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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