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.
General aviation in the United Kingdom
has been defined as a civil aircraft
operation other than a commercial air transport
flight operating to a schedule. Although the International Civil Aviation Organization
excludes any form of remunerated aviation from its definition, some commercial operations are often included within the scope of general aviation in the UK
. The sector operates business jets
and jet-engined fixed-wing aircraft
of all descriptions, and lighter than air
craft. Public transport operations include business (or corporate) aviation and air taxi
services, and account for nearly half of the economic contribution made by the sector. There are 28,000 Private Pilot Licence
holders, and 10,000 certified glider pilots
. Although GA operates from more than 1,800 aerodromes
and landing sites, ranging in size from large regional airports
to farm strips, over 80 per cent of GA activity is conducted at 134 of the larger aerodromes. GA is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority
, although regulatory powers are being increasingly transferred to the European Aviation Safety Agency
. The main focus is on standards of airworthiness
and pilot licensing
, and the objective is to promote high standards of safety.
Did you know
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic fighter-bomber originally developed for the U.S. Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. Proving highly adaptable, it became a major part of the air wings of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force. It was used extensively by all three of these services during the Vietnam War, serving as the principal air superiority fighter for both the Navy and Air Force, as well as being important in the ground-attack and reconnaissance roles by the close of U.S. involvement in the war.
First entering service in 1960, the Phantom continued to form a major part of U.S. military air power throughout the 1970s and 1980s, being gradually replaced by more modern aircraft such as the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon in the U.S. Air Force; the F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet in the U.S. Navy; and the F/A-18 in the U.S. Marine Corps. It remained in use by the U.S. in the reconnaissance and Wild Weasel roles in the 1991 Gulf War, finally leaving service in 1996. The Phantom was also operated by the armed forces of 11 other nations. Israeli Phantoms saw extensive combat in several Arab-Israeli conflicts, while Iran used its large fleet of Phantoms in the Iran-Iraq War. Phantoms remain in front line service with seven countries, and in use as an unmanned target in the U.S. Air Force.
Phantom production ran from 1958 to 1981, with a total of 5,195 built. This extensive run makes it the second most-produced Western jet fighter, behind the F-86 Sabre at just under 10,000 examples.
- Span: 38 ft 4.5 in (11.7 m)
- Length: 63 ft 0 in (19.2 m)
- Height: 16 ft 6 in (5.0 m)
- Engines: 2× General Electric J79-GE-17A axial compressor turbojets, 17,845 lbf (79.6 kN) each
- Cruising Speed: 506 kn (585 mph, 940 km/h)
- First Flight: 27 May 1958
- Number built: 5,195
In the news
Today in Aviation
- 2012 - A Mexican Navy AS656MB Panther went missing, aircraft was found six days later with all on board dead.
- 2012 - A Mexican Air Force SF260EU crashed into a mountain in western Mexico, two crew killed.
- 2009 - A United States Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16CM Fighting Falcon, 89-2108, from the 421st Fighter Squadron, 388th Fighter Wing, based at Hill Air Force Base, Ogden, Utah crashes on a night training flight on the Utah Test and Training Range. The pilot, Capt. George B. Houghton, dies in the crash which occurred 35 miles (56 km) S of Wendover, Utah.
- 2009 - A United States Army Bell TH-67 Creek crashed near Hartfield, Alabama on a training mission, one of the two occupants killed.
- 2007 - STS-117, Space Shuttle mission flown by Space Shuttle Atlantis to the ISS, 250th orbital human spaceflight, is back on earth.
- 2000 - Wuhan Airlines Flight 343, a Xian Y-7, is struck by lightning and crashes in Hanyang District, Wuhan, killing all 42 on board and another 7 on the ground in the worst ever accident involving the Y-7.
- 1984 - First flight of the Rutan Voyager, first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refueling.
- 1982 - Magyar Légier?, Hungarian Air Force Mil Mi-24D, 113, crashes, killing one crew.
- 1976 - Launch of Salyut 5 (OPS-3), 3rd and last Almaz reconnaissance space station to be launched for the Soviet military.
- 1973 - Skylab 2, First manned mission to Skylab, the First U. S. orbital space station, is back on earth.
- 1962 - Air France Flight 117, an international scheduled multi-leg Boeing 707 crashes in a forest hill on the island of Guadeloupe, while approaching Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport; 113 die in that accident with no survivors; the worst accident in Guadeloupe; the cause of the crash is never determined.
- 1955 - US air patrol plane shot down above Bering sea.
- 1951 - Pan Am Flight 151, a Lockheed L-049 Constellation en route from Accra, Ghana (then the Gold Coast Territory) to Monrovia, Liberia, crashes into a hill near Sanoye in Bong County, Liberia, 54 miles (86 km) from the airport; all 31 passengers and 6 crew members die.
- 1951 - Entered Service: Supermarine Attacker with 800 Naval Air Squadron, the Fleet Air Arm's first jet.
- 1947 - Martin XB-48, 45-59585, makes first flight, a 37-minute, 73-mile hop from Martin's Baltimore, Maryland plant to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, but blows all four tires on its fore-and-aft mounted undercarriage on landing when pilot O. E. "Pat" Tibbs, Director of Flight for Martin, applies heavy pressure to specially designed, but very slow to respond, insensitive air-braking lever. Tibbs and co-pilot E. R. "Dutch" Gelvin are uninjured.
- 1946 - No. 436 Squadron was disbanded.
- 1945 - First flight of the Vickers VC.1 Viking, British twin-engine short-range airliner derived from the Vickers Wellington bomber.
- 1945 - 412 B-29 s drop 2,290 tons (2,077,474 kg) of bombs on Kure, Wakayama, and other cities in Japan.
- 1944 - The escort carriers USS Manila Bay (CVE-61) and USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62) catapult U. S. Army Air Forces P-47 Thunderbolts of the 19th Fighter Squadron off for use at Isely Field on Saipan. The first Allied aircraft to be based ashore in the Mariana Islands, the P-47 s are in action a few hours later, making rocket strikes against targets on Tinian.
- 1944 - Los Negros-based U. S. Army Air Forces B-24 Liberators of the Thirteenth Air Force again strike Woleai.
- 1944 - A Truk-based Japanese Mitsubishi G4 M (Allied reporting name "Betty") damages the American battleship USS Maryland (BB-46) off Saipan with a torpedo.
- 1943 - In order to better defend Sicily from Allied air attack, Italy and Germany agree to withdraw all of their bombers from Sicily and all but a few from Sardinia, concentrating instead on fighter operations in Sicily and southern Sardinia.
- 1941 - Royal Air Force Boeing Fortress I, AN522, of 90 Squadron, RAF Great Massingham, flown by F/O J. C. Hawley, breaks up in mid-air over Yorkshire during a training flight. Single survivor, a medical officer from RAE Farnborough, reports that the bomber entered a cumulo-nimbus cloud at 33,000 feet (10,100 m), became heavily iced-up with hailstones entering through open gunports, after which control was lost, the port wing detached, and the fuselage broke in two at 25,000 feet (7,600 m). Survivor, who was in the aft fuselage, was able to bail out at 12,000 feet (3,700 m).
- 1941 - Within the first hour of the war, Soviet pilot Lieutenant I I. Ivanov of the 46th Fighter Air Regiment rams a Heinkel He 111, the first of 10 Soviet aerial rammings that day and more than 200 during the war; Ivanov is killed in the ramming.
- 1941 - Soviet Tupolev SB-2 and Ilyushin DB-3 bombers suffer heavy losses in attacks on German airfields near Warsaw; German fighters shoot down 20 out of 25 Soviet bombers on one raid.
- 1941 - Germany invades the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). 1,489 Soviet aircraft are destroyed on the first day alone by the German Nazis.
- 1940 - Flight Lieutenant George Burge of the Royal Air Force, flying a Gloster Sea Gladiator nicknamed 'Faith', claims the First Italian bomber aircraft destroyed over Malta.
- 1940 - France surrenders to Germany.
- 1940 - General Albert Kesselring directs Hauptmann Wolfgang Falck to establish the Luftwaffe's first true night fighter unit, Nachtjagdgeschwader 1. It is the birth of the German specialized night fighter force of World War II.
- 1939 - During the Khalkhin Gol Incident, a dogfight rages for 2½ hours between 120 Imperial Japanese Army aircraft and 95 Soviet Air Force fighters. The Soviets shoot down 31 Japanese aircraft in exchange for 11 of their own.
- 1934 - First flight of the Fokker F.XXXVI, Dutch four-engined 32-passenger airliner, largest transport designed and built by Fokker.
- 1933 - The Tupolev ANT-25, Soviet long-range experimental aircraft which was also tried as a bomber. It was used by the Soviet Union for a number of record-breaking flights.
- 1927 - First flight of the Short S.6 Sturgeon, British prototype single-engined biplane naval reconnaissance aircraft, demonstrator of the corrosion resistance of duralumin aircraft structures.
- 1910 - The German firm "Delag" inaugurates the first regular passenger-carrying airship service. Between 1910-1914, its five Zeppelin airships carry nearly 35,000 passengers without a fatality over inland German routes.
- 1909 - Wycoof, Church & Partridge, auto dealers in New York city, acquired the Curtiss line to become the first airplane sales agency.
- 1907 - A military balloon falls and explodes in Debrecen, Austria-Hungary. Its crew of two French army officers and one Austrian army officer, and ten peasant men on the ground are killed. With thirteen fatalities it was the worst air accident until the 1913 Helgoland Island Air Disaster
- 1898 - Birth of John Rudkin, British WWI flying ace.
- 1897 - Birth of Theodor Quandt, German WWI fighter ace, and WWII fighter pilot.
- 1892 - Birth of Robert Ritter von Greim, German WWI fighter ace who was asked to set up a Chinese air force, He helped to rebuild the Luftwaffe and was appointed to the command of the First Luftwaffefighter pilot school. He has been the last commander of the Luftwaffe in WWII.