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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.

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 picture

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.

Did you know

...that the Fairey Seafox was a Second World War reconnaissance floatplane of the Fleet Air Arm?

...that the Cessna 165 aircraft was instrumental in the recovery of the Cessna Aircraft Company in the years following the Great Depression?

... that Flying Officer (later Air Commodore) Frank Lukis was one of the original twenty-one officers in the RAAF when it was formed in 1921?

Selected Aircraft

Concorde at Heathrow

Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde supersonic transport (SST), along with the Tupolev Tu-144, was one of only two models of supersonic passenger airliners to have seen commercial service.

Concorde had a cruise speed of Mach 2.02 (around 2170 km/h or 1,350 mph) and a maximum cruise altitude of 60,000 feet (18 300 metres) with a delta wing configuration and a reheat-equipped evolution of the engines originally developed for the Avro Vulcan strategic bomber. The engines were built by Rolls-Royce. Concorde was the first civil airliner to be equipped with an analogue fly-by-wire flight control system. Commercial flights, operated by British Airways and Air France, began on January 21, 1976 and ended on October 24, 2003, with the last "retirement" flight on November 26 that year.

Construction of the first two prototypes began in February 1965. Concorde 001 was built by Aerospatiale at Toulouse and Concorde 002 by BAC at Filton, Bristol. Concorde 001 took off for the first test flight from Toulouse on March 2, 1969 and the first supersonic flight followed on October 1. As the flight programme of the first development aircraft progressed, 001 started off on a sales and demonstration tour beginning on September 4, 1971. Concorde 002 followed suit on June 2, 1972 with a sales tour of the Middle and Far East. Concorde 002 made the first visit to the United States in 1973, landing at the new Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to commemorate its opening.

  • Span: 84 ft 0 in (25.6 m).
  • Length: 202 ft 4 in[2] (61.66 m)
  • Height: 40 ft 0 in (12.2 m )
  • Engines: 4× Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593 Mk 610 afterburning turbojets 170 kN each.
  • Cruising Speed: Mach 2.04 (1,350 mph, 2,170 km/h)
  • First Flight: March 2, 1969
  • Number built: 20 (including prototypes)

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Selected biography

Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson (1 July 1903 - 5 January 1941) C.B.E. was a pioneering British aviatrix.

Born in Kingston upon Hull, Johnson graduated from University of Sheffield with a Bachelor of Arts in economics. She was introduced to flying as a hobby, gaining a pilot's A Licence No. 1979 on 6 July 1929 at the London Aeroplane Club. In that same year, she became the first British woman to gain a ground engineer's C License.

Johnson achieved worldwide recognition when, in 1930, she became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia. She left Croydon on 5 May of that year and landed in Darwin, Australia on 24 May after flying 11,000 miles. Her aircraft for this flight, a De Havilland Gipsy Moth (registration G-AAAH) named Jason, can still be seen in the Science Museum in London. She received the Harmon Trophy as well as a CBE in homage to this achievement, and was also honoured with the No. 1 civil pilot's licence under Australia's 1921 Air Navigation Regulations.

In July 1931, Johnson and her co-pilot Jack Humphreys became the first pilots to fly from London to Moscow in one day, completing the 1,760-mile journey in approximately 21 hours. From there, they continued across Siberia and on to Tokyo, setting a record time for flying from England to Japan. The flight was completed in a De Havilland Puss Moth.

In the news

Wikinews Aviation portal
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Today in Aviation

February 24

  • 2012 - A United States Navy F/A-18F on a training flight crashed into a dry lake bed 30 miles from Naval Air Station Fallon. The crew was recovered by helicopter.
  • 2011 - Launch: Space Shuttle Discovery STS-133 at (21:53:24 UTC. Mission highlights: ISS assembly flight ULF5, PMM Leonardo (to be left permanently attached), ELC 4. Final flight of Discovery.
  • 2010 - The fourth Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner test plane (N7874) makes its first flight.
  • 2010 - A Philippine Air Force North American OV-10 Bronco crashed during training at 1455 hrs. Two Philippine Air Force pilots were killed.
  • 2010 - A Fuerza Aérea Mexicana Cessna 182S Skylane crashed during take off near San Diego de Alcalá, Chihuahua resulting in 3 injured and 2 fatalities.
  • 2003 - The 777-300ER completes its first flight.
  • 1996 - Brothers to the Rescue shoot-down: A Cuban Air Force MiG-29UB fighter shoots down two Cessna Skymasters of the Cuban exile activist group Brothers to the Rescue off Havana, Cuba, killing four members of the group, including pilot Carlos Costa. A third Skymaster escapes.
  • 1991 - The U. S.-led Coalition's ground attack against Iraqi forces in Kuwait begins. In its first hours, 60 United States Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters carry the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) 75 miles (120 km) inside Iraq, where the brigade seizes a forward operating base. The brigade's sudden appearance unnerves Iraqi defenders so badly that they surrender quickly, with some surrendering to helicopters before American troops begin to land.
  • 1989 - United Airlines Flight 811, a Boeing 747, suffers an explosive decompression shortly after takeoff from Honolulu, Hawaii, United States caused by a cargo door which burst open during flight. Of 355 people on board, nine passengers are sucked out of the plane, but the crew manage to land safely at Honolulu.
  • 1985 - Dornier Do 228 "Polar 3?: Polar 3 was a Dornier Do 228 airplane of the Alfred Wegener Institute that was shot down south of Dakhla by guerrillas of the Polisario Front over Western Sahara on 24 February 1985.
  • 1983 - The youngest pilot known to have made a solo flight in a powered, heavier-than-air, flying machine takes to the air for the first time at age of 9 years 316 days. The flight takes place near Mexicali, Mexico and the aircraft the boy pilots is a Cessna 150.
  • 1965 - U. S. Air Force aircraft fly a massive number of tactical air sorties to break up a Communist ambush of South Vietnamese ground forces in Vietnam's Central Highlands.
  • 1957 - Scandinavian Airline Services (SAS) opens the first regular scheduled service from Europe to the Far East over the North Pole, with departure from Copenhagen, Denmark and Tokyo, Japan; the DC-7 C aircraft will circle the pole en route.
  • 1956 - USAF Douglas C-124C Globemaster II, 53-021, en route from Goose Bay, Labrador to Upper Heyford in the United Kingdom, lost power in number one and four engines (port and starboard outer). Restricted data cargo was jettisoned over the North Atlantic, including nuclear weapon firing and maintenance sets from an altitude of 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,700 m). The Air Force assumed that the cargo packaging ruptured and sank after impact with the sea. Impact area searched, nothing recovered. On its return flight to the Warner-Robins AFB, Georgia, in the U.S. on 2 March, the aircraft crashed in the Atlantic ~225 nmi (417 km). SW of Keflavik, Iceland. The aircraft and 17 crew were lost in 3,000 feet (910 m) of water. "The plane ran into difficulty on the northbound trip when two motors failed and it was thought that the ship would have to be ditched. However, it was shepherded into a safe landing with the assistance of the air-sea rescue planes from Keflavik base in Iceland. The two motors were replaced and the ship thoroughly inspected before starting the return trip. Just after midnight of Friday the plane radioed three of its four engines were dead and it was losing altitude rapidly. Then the radio went dead. Later Saturday morning [3 March] search planes found only two bits of wreckage - a flame-scarred oxygen bottle and a shattered piece of plywood - picked up near the position from which the final message had been radioed." One of the victims was T/Sgt. Joseph Kaltner, 32, of Crestview, Florida, a 14-year veteran of the Air Force who had seen action as a gunner in WW II and in the Korean campaign. He was assigned at Warner-Robins AFB. He is survived by his widow, the former Roslyn Clary, of Crestview; one child, Keitha, 1; his mother, Mrs. Anna Kaltner, and two sisters, Mrs. Theresa Lampman and Mrs. Anna Sapp, all of Trenton, New Jersey, Sgt. Kaltner's home prior to his marriage.
  • 1955 - First flight of the BOMARC surface-to-air missile
  • 1943 - The second of three top German night fighter aces to die during the month, Paul Gildner, is killed in a crash after an electrical failure aboard his Messerschmitt Bf 110. Like Reinhold Knacke, who died earlier in the month, he has 44 night victories when he dies; his overall score is 48 kills.
  • 1941 - (Overnight) - The Avro Manchester bomber makes its combat debut in a Royal Air Force Bomber Command raid on Brest, France.
  • 1940 - The 2,000-hp prototype Hawker Typhoon prototype P5212 fighter makes its first flight in England.
  • 1931 - John Lankester Parker makes the first flight of the prototype Short S.17 Kent flying boat, from the river Medway in Kent, England.
  • 1930 - Replacement second prototype Parnall Pipit, N233, also suffers failure of tail unit in flight, this time losing both fin and rudder, Martlesham test pilot Sqn. Ldr. Sydney Leo Gregory Pope (DFC, AFC) bails out at under 1,000 feet over the Parnall Yate airfield, successfully parachuting down. Flutter of rudder due to heavy tail lamp in its trailing edge which both counteracted the large horn balance as well as substantially increased the moment of inertia about an unsupported hinge tube is cause, exacerbated by a lack of rigidity in the rear fuselage. Air Ministry regards the Pipit as wholly unacceptable, and this will represent the Parnall firm's last attempt to produce an effective fighter design.
  • 1921 - First flight of the Douglas Cloudster. It is the first airplane to lift a useful load exceeding its own weight.
  • 1921 - Lieutenant William D. Coney completes a solo flight from Rockwell Field, San Diego to Jacksonville, in 22 hours and 27 min flying time.
  • 1898 - Kurt Tank, German aeronautical engineer and test pilot, was born (d. 1983). Kurt Waldemar Tank was a resourceful German aeronautical engineer and test pilot, heading the design department at Focke-Wulf from 1931-45. He designed several important aircraft of World War II, including the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter aircraft.


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