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Aviation is 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 hot air 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. (Full article...)

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Airbus A380, the largest passenger jet in the world, entered commercial service in 2007.
Airbus A380, the largest passenger jet in the world, entered commercial service in 2007.
Airbus SAS is an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace consortium. Based in Toulouse, France and with significant activity across Europe, the company produces around half of the world's jet airliners. Airbus began as a consortium of aerospace manufacturers. Consolidation of European defence and aerospace companies around the turn of the century allowed the establishment of a simplified joint stock company in 2001, owned by EADS (80%) and BAE Systems (20%). After a protracted sale process BAE sold its shareholding to EADS on 13 October 2006. Airbus employs around 57,000 people at sixteen sites in four European Union countries: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain. Final assembly production is at Toulouse (France) and Hamburg (Germany). Airbus has subsidiaries in the United States, Japan and China. (Full article...)

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The Lockheed SR-71, commonly known as the "Blackbird," was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft that flew from 1964–98. The SR-71 was one of the first aircraft to be shaped to have an extremely low radar signature. The aircraft flew so fast and so high that if the pilot detected a surface-to-air missile launch, the standard evasive action was simply to accelerate. During its entire operational life, more than 3,000 missiles were fired at the aircraft, yet no SR-71 was ever shot down.

Did you know

...that Communist Romania's Foreign Minister, Grigore Preoteasa, was killed in an aircraft accident after refusing to wear a seat belt during landing? ...that Pepsi offered a Harrier fighter jet in their Pepsi Billion Dollar Sweepstakes game and the Pepsi Stuff game for people accumulating a certain number of points? ... that Arthur Hartley developed the Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation which is credited with safely landing 2,500 aircraft during World War Two?

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B-17 on bomb run.jpg

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is an American four-engine heavy bomber aircraft developed for the U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC). Competing against Douglas and Martin for a contract to build 200 planes, the airplane outperformed both the other entries and the Air Corps' expectations. Although losing the contract due to an accident, the Air Corps was so in favor of the B-17 that they ordered 13 B-17s regardless. Evolving through numerous design stages, from B-17A to G, the Flying Fortress is considered the first truly mass-produced large aircraft. From its pre-war inception, the USAAC touted the aircraft as a strategic weapon; it was a high-flying, long-ranging potent bomber capable of defending itself. With the ability to return home despite extensive battle damage, its durability, especially in belly-landings and ditchings, quickly took on mythical proportions.

The B-17 was primarily involved in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial targets. The United States Eighth Air Force based in England and the Fifteenth Air Force based in Italy complemented the RAF Bomber Command's night-time area bombing in Operation Pointblank, which helped secure air superiority over the cities, factories and battlefields of Western Europe in preparation for Operation Overlord. The B-17 also participated, to a lesser extent, in the War in the Pacific.

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Selected biography

Charles Yeager
Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager (born February 13, 1923) is a retired Brigadier-General in the United States Air Force and a noted test pilot. In 1947, he became the first pilot (at age 24) to travel faster than sound in level flight and ascent.

His career began in World War II as a private in the U.S. Army Air Forces. After serving as an aircraft mechanic, in September 1942 he entered enlisted pilot training and upon graduation was promoted to the rank of Flight Officer (WW 2 U.S. Army Air Forces rank equivalent to Warrant Officer) and became a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot. After the war he became a test pilot of many kinds of aircraft and rocket planes. Yeager was the first man to break the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, flying the experimental Bell X-1 at Mach 1 at an altitude of 45,000 ft (13,700 m). Although Scott Crossfield was the first man to fly faster than Mach 2 in 1953, Yeager shortly thereafter exceeded Mach 2.4.[1] He later commanded fighter squadrons and wings in Germany and in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, and in recognition of the outstanding performance ratings of those units he then was promoted to Brigadier-General. Yeager's flying career spans more than sixty years and has taken him to every corner of the globe, even into the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War.

In the news

Wikinews Aviation portal
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Today in Aviation

August 5

  • 2012 - An Israeli airstrike halts an attempt by a group of gunmen to use commandeered Egyptian armored vehicles to ram their way through an Israeli border crossing from Egypt into Israel.[2]
  • 2009 - SATA International Flight 466, an Airbus A320-214, registration CS-TKO, makes a very heavy landing at Lisbon Portela Airport, Portugal, with a force of 4.6G being recorded. The aircraft is substantially damaged but may have flown twice since.
  • 2009 - A Pakistan Air Force Chengdu FT-7 crashes near Attock, northwest Pakistan, killing the pilot.
  • 1994 - Clive Robertson Caldwell, British fighter pilot, dies at 84.
  • 1984 - An Aeroflot Antonov AN-12 loses all four engines after flying into heavy hail and crashes in Pakistan, killing all 23 aboard.
  • 1981 - Ronald Reagan fires 11,359 striking air-traffic controllers who ignored his order for them to return to work.
  • 1973 - Arab terrorists open fire inside and toss grenades inside a terminal at Athens Airport, killing three and injuring 55. The attack was intended for passengers traveling to Israel, but the Tel Aviv flight had already departed--most of the victims were waiting for a flight to New York. The attackers are captured and executed.
  • 1971 - Entered Service: McDonnell Douglas DC-10 with American Airlines
  • 1970 - A USAF McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II of the 36th TFW, Bitburg, Germany, TDY to Zaragoza Air Base, Spain, crashes on a gunnery range 25 miles from Zaragoza, killing pilot Capt. Charles A. Baldwin, 28, of Charleston, West Virginia, and navigator Capt. Stephen N. Smith, 27, of Pinebrook, New Jersey.
  • 1969 - The space probe Mariner 7 makes its closest approach to Mars, beaming back photos and data from just around 10,000 miles above the Martian surface.
  • 1966 - The Soviet Union protests damage to one of its merchant ships in a North Vietnamese port due to American air attacks.
  • 1964 - US Navy aircraft attack North Vietnamese naval bases, spearheading direct US involvement in the Vietnam War.
  • 1954 - As the first pre-production Douglas A2D-1 Skyshark, BuNo 125480, piloted by George Jansen, is flown on a test flight out of Edwards AFB, California, the temperamental gearbox transferring the Allison XT-40A power to counter-rotating propellers fails, and even though the powerplant continues to partially function, the props automatically feather. Unable to spot a reasonable landing spot, the pilot ejects, suffering back injuries that leave him a plaster cast for several months. The Skyshark program is cancelled one month later, with only six of ten pre-production A2D-1s completed ever being flown.
  • 1952 - Convair B-36D-25-CF Peacemaker, 49-2661, c/n 121, on bailment to Convair, San Diego, California, crashes into San Diego Bay at 1430 PDT, while on a normal shakedown flight following completion of "San-San" project modification. The number 5 engine catches fire in flight and then falls off the wing. The aircraft is destroyed by impact and explosion. Four of the eight crewmembers, all Convair flight test employees, receive minor injuries, two are uninjured, and two are lost, first flight engineer W. W. Hoffman, by drowning, while the pilot, David H. Franks, 40, stays with the plane to manoeuvre it out to sea and away from occupied land. His body is never found. Coast Guard planes rescue four and Navy ships pick up two. The rescued, none seriously injured, are R. W. Adkins, co-pilot; Kenneth Rogers, flight engineer, W. F. Ashmore, Roy E. Sommers, D. R. Maxion and W. E. Wilson, all of San Diego. The UB88 Project dive team determined that the bomber actually came down in the Pacific off of Mission Beach.
  • 1950 - AA USAF Boeing B-29-85-BW Superfortress, 44-87651, of the 99th Bomb Squadron, 9th Bomb Group, 9th Bomb Wing, carrying a Mark 4 nuclear bomb, suffers two runaway propellers and landing gear problems on takeoff at Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base, Fairfield, California. The crew attempts an emergency landing but crashes, causing a huge explosion that kills 19 aboard the plane and on the ground, including mission commander Brig. Gen. Robert F. Travis; the airfield is later renamed Travis Air Force Base in his honor. Numerous nearby mobile homes are severely damaged and many civilians, firefighters, and USAF ground crew are injured- 60 required hospital treatment and 47 suffered superficial injuries according to newspaper reports, but other sources place the total as high as 173. The USAF attributes the explosion to ten or twelve conventional 500-pound HE bombs aboard the B-29 and claims that the nuclear bomb's fuel capsule was aboard a different aircraft, but admits that the bomb casing contained depleted uranium used as ballast, and later orders a public health assessment of the crash site.
  • 1946 - Second (of only 14 built) Douglas C-74 Globemaster, 42-65403, c/n 13914, crashes at Torrance, California when it loses a wing during an overload dive test. All four crew bail out successfully.
  • 1945 - First production Martin JRM-1 Mars flying boat, BuNo 76819 named "Hawaii Mars", crashes on test flight in the Chesapeake Bay after porpoising during landing - never delivered to the US Navy.
  • 1944 - During test flight out of the Fisher plant at Cleveland, Ohio, third Fisher XP-75 Eagle, 44-32161, crashes at Fairfield Village, Ohio, three miles (5 km) N of Cleveland, after an explosion and fire at 23,000 feet (7,000 m) - pilot Russell Stuart Weeks bailed out at 4,000 feet (1,200 m).
  • 1943 - The Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) and the 319th Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD), both organizations of civilian women ferry pilots employed by the U. S. Army Air Forces Air Transport Command, are merged to form the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).
  • 1940 - No. 2 SFTS was officially opened at Uplands Airport, Ontario, by the Governor-General.
  • 1936 - Five Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 bombers are among aircraft covering a convoy of merchant ships carrying 3,000 Nationalist soldiers and their equipment from Spanish Morocco to Spain.
  • 1930 - Neil Armstrong, Ohio, X-15 pilot, 1st Moonwalker (Gemini 8, Apollo 11) was born.
  • 1925 - Lloyd Aero Boliviano commences operations.
  • 1918 - The commander of the Imperial German Navy's Naval Airship Division, Fregattenkapitän Peter Strasser, is killed in action when the Zeppelin in which he is riding as an observer, L70, is shot down in flames over the coast of England.
  • 1918 - The first American night patrol of the war takes place when a Felixstowe F.2 A flying boat crewed by Ens. Ashton W. Hawkins and Lt. George F. Lawrence take off on patrol from RAF Killinghome, England.
  • 1917 - The first Aero Squadron of the Signal Corps leaves the United States for Europe under the command of Maj. Ralph Royce.
  • 1905 - Nineteen-year old Welshman Ernest Willows makes the first flight of Willows No. 1 a semi-rigid airship he had built.


  1. ^ Yeager, Chuck and Janos, Leo. Yeager: An Autobiography. p. 252 (paperback). New York: Bantam Books, 1986. ISBN 0-553-25674-2.
  2. ^ Londoño, Ernesto, "Egypt Targets Militants in Sinai," The Washington Post, August 9, 2012, pp. A1, A8.
  3. ^ "Libya Live Blog: Friday, August 5, 2011  - 19:11". Al Jazeera. 5 August 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  4. ^ "US Navy and US Marine Corps BuNos-Third Series (160007 to 163049)". Retrieved . [dead link]
  5. ^ "Curtis A. Utz, Mark L. Evans, Dale J. Gordon. The Year in Review. Naval Aviation News, July-August 2005" (PDF). Retrieved .

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