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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.

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Ben Gurion Tel Aviv by David Shankbone.JPG
Ben Gurion International Airport is the largest and busiest international airport in Israel, with about 10.2 million passengers passing through it in 2007. It was known as Wilhelma Airport when it was first founded by the British Mandate of Palestine. It was known as Lod Airport from 1948 until 1973, when the name was changed to honor Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion.

The airport is located near the city of Lod, 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Tel Aviv. It is operated by the Israel Airports Authority, a government-owned corporation that manages all public airports and border crossings in Israel. Ben Gurion Airport is on Highway 1, the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway, accessible by car or public bus.

Ben Gurion Airport is the hub of El Al, Israir Airlines, Arkia Israel Airlines, and Sun d'Or International Airlines. During the 1980s and 1990s, it was a focus city of the now-defunct Tower Air. Today, Terminal 3 is used for international flights, and Terminal 1 is used for domestic flights. The airport has three runways and is used by commercial, private, and military aircraft.

Ben Gurion Airport is considered to be among the five best airports in the Middle East due to its passenger experience and its high level of security. Security forces such as Israel Police officers, IDF and Israel Border Police soldiers are complemented by airport security guards who operate both in uniform and undercover. The airport has been the target of several terrorist attacks, but no attempt to hijack a plane departing from Ben Gurion airport has succeeded.

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Did you know

...that the Brimstone missile, an anti-tank guided missile, is carried by three Royal Air Force aeroplane types? ...that the Ryan X-13 Vertijet aircraft landed by using a hook on its nose to hang itself on a wire? ... that when Lilian Bland built an aircraft in 1910, she used her aunt's ear-trumpet and a whisky bottle to feed petrol to the engine?

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[[File:|right|250px|The two YC-130 prototypes; the blunt nose was replaced with radar on later production models.]] The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop cargo aircraft and the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. Over 40 models and variants of the Hercules serve with more than 50 nations. On December 2006 the C-130 was the third aircraft (after the English Electric Canberra in May 2001 and the B-52 Stratofortress in January 2005) to mark 50 years of continuous use with its original primary customer (in this case the United States Air Force).

Capable of short takeoffs and landings from unprepared runways, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship, and for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refuelling and aerial firefighting. The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history. During more than 50 years of service the family has participated in military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations.

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Orville Wright
Wilbur Wright

The Wright brothers, Orville Wright (August 19, 1871 - January 30, 1948) and Wilbur Wright (April 16, 1867 - May 30, 1912), are generally credited with making the first controlled, powered, heavier-than-air flight on December 17, 1903. In the two years afterward, they developed their flying machine into the world's first practical airplane, along with many other aviation milestones.

In 1878 Wilbur and Orville were given a toy "helicopter" by their father. The device was made of paper, bamboo and cork with a rubber band to twirl its twin blades, and about a foot long. The boys played with it until it broke, then built their own. In later years, they pointed to their experience with the toy as the initial spark of their interest in flying.

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Wikinews Aviation portal
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Today in Aviation

August 21

  • 2009 - An Indian Navy British Aerospace Sea Harrier FRS.51 crashes shortly after take-off from Dabolim Airport near Goa, India. The aircraft on a routine flight crashed in to the Arabian Sea of the coast of Goa killing the pilot Lt. Cdr. Saurav Saxena.
  • 1998 - A Lumbini Airways de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter crashed in a mountainous region near Ghorepani, Nepal. All of the 18 people on board were killed.
  • 1998 - An Insitu Aerosonde named Laima becomes the first UAV to cross the Atlantic Ocean, completing the flight in 26 hours.
  • 1989 - Unlimited class racer Rare Bear, a highly-modified Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat, sets a new piston-powered speed record of 850.24 kilometers per hour (528.32 miles per hour) at Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • 1961 - A Canadian Pacific Air Lines Douglas DC-8 sets two world records during a single test flight. First, it reaches 50,000 feet (15,240 m) at a weight of 107,600 pounds (48,807 kg), a new altitude record for a loaded transport jet. Then, in a dive from that altitude, it reaches Mach 1.012 with a true air speed of 662.5 mph (1,066.8 km/hr) at an altitude of 39,614 feet (12,074 m), becoming the first airliner to break the sound barrier.
  • 1956 - Flying a Vought F8U-1 Crusader fighter, U. S. Navy Commander R. W. "Duke" Windsor sets a U. S. national speed record over a 15 km (9.3 mi) course, averaging 1,015.428 mph (1,635.150 km/hr) at China Lake, California.
  • 1954 - Col. Einar Axel Malmstrom, vice wing commander at Great Falls Air Force Base, Montana, is killed in the crash of a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star trainer, 52-9630, near the base. Local citizens then urge the renaming of the facility in his honor. The base was renamed on 15 June 1956.
  • 1953 - A new world's altitude record of 83,235 feet is set by Marion Carl in the Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket.
  • 1953 - United Airlines Flight 615, a Douglas DC-6 B with FAA registration N37550, was operating as Flight 615, which was a transcontinental east-west service serving Boston-Hartford-Cleveland-Chicago-Oakland-San Francisco. The plane was transporting 50 persons (44 passengers and 6 crew members). The flight departed Chicago at 10:59 p. m. CST en route to Oakland. At around 4:16 a. m., the plane was approaching Oakland. At this time, the pilot, Marion W. Heddin of Los Altos, had talked with the control tower of the Civil Aeronautics Administration at the airport preparing for his landing, and had mentioned no trouble. At 4:25 a. m. Flight 615 was cleared for the straight-in approach into Oakland. This was the last radio transmission received from the flight. The plane crashed into mountainous terrain 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Oakland, careening into Tolman Peak and over its knoll, scattering on the downslope and into Dry Gulch Canyon below in a fiery explosion. All 50 persons on board perished.
  • 1951 - A Lockheed T-33A-1-LO Shooting Star, 49-917, of the 5th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 52d Fighter-Interceptor Group, crashes on take off from McGuire Air Force Base into a scrub pine forest at adjacent Fort Dix, New Jersey, killing the two crew and spraying burning fuel over a group of 54 U.S. Army soldiers assigned to B battery of the Ninth division's 26th Field Artillery Battalion, wrapping up an army communications exercise, killing 11 and injuring 20. The trainer, unable to gain altitude, clips trees at the edge of a clearing and impacts 50 feet (15 m) from an army six-by-six troop carrier vehicle upon which some soldiers had already boarded. Others were lined up in formation close by. Eight died almost instantly and three succumbed later in hospital. All Army fatalities were 22 or younger, all hailed from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and all had been in the army for less than five months. Also killed were pilot Capt. William H. Raub, (also reported as William H. Rauh ) 31, of Seattle, and his passenger, Maj. Theodore Deakyne, 30, of Levittown, New York. "It was an unfortunate tragedy -- a remarkable coincidence of circumstances which brought the plane to the spot where the men were on the verge of moving out. Thirty seconds later might have made a lot of difference," Lt. Bertram Brinley, Fort Dix public information officer, said.
  • 1944 - Lieutenant John M. Armitage, USNR, is killed while conducting air firing tests of a Tiny Tim rocket at the Naval Ordnance Test Station at Inyokern, California. He flew into the ground from 1,500 ft (460 m). in an Curtiss SB2C-1C Helldiver, BuNo 018248, and was killed after the launching the rocket. Accident investigators discovered that the shock wave from the rocket's blast caused a jam in the SB2C's flight controls. Airfield dedicated 30 May 1945 in his honor as Armitage Field, now part of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California.
  • 1942 - Flying a Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat fighter, U. S. Marine Corps Captain John L. Smith scores the first aerial victory by a Henderson Field-based aircraft, shooting down a Mitsubishi A6M Zero between Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, and Savo Island.
  • 1941 - 24 year-old Lt. Eugene M. Bradley of Antlers, Oklahoma, assigned to the 64th Pursuit Squadron. While piloting in a dogfight training drill, Lt. Bradley's P-40 crashed on August 21, 1941 at the Army Airfield, Windsor Locks, Connecticut. The airfield was renamed Army Air Base, Bradley Field, Connecticut on January 20, 1942 and is now Bradley International Airport.
  • 1927 - The first Canadian-built, modern, all metal, low wing monoplane, the Northrup Delta, was flown from the St Lawrence at Longueuil.
  • 1923 - The first electric airway beacons start appearing at airfields in the United States to assist in night flying operations.
  • 1908 - Wilbur Wright moves to Camp d'Auvours, 11 km (6.8 mi) east of Le Mans, where all his flights for the remainder of the year will be based.
  • 1908 - The Antoinette II flies the first circle by a monoplane at Issy-les-Moulineaux. It lasts 1 min, 36 seconds.


  1. ^ Sieff, Kevin, "General's Plane Hit in Afghanistan," The Washington Post, August 22, 2012, p. A9.

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