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The Aviation Portal

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...)

Selected article

CG render of McDonnell Douglas MD-11 HB-IWF
CG render of McDonnell Douglas MD-11 HB-IWF
Swissair Flight 111 was a Swissair McDonnell Douglas MD-11 on a scheduled airline flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, United States to Cointrin International Airport in Geneva, Switzerland. This flight was also a codeshare flight with Delta Air Lines. On Wednesday, 2 September 1998, the aircraft used for the flight, registered HB-IWF, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Halifax International Airport at the entrance to St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia. The crash site was 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from shore, roughly equidistant from the tiny fishing and tourist communities of Peggys Cove and Bayswater. All 229 people on board died—the highest death toll of any aviation accident involving a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 and the second-highest of any air disaster in the history of Canada, after Arrow Air Flight 1285. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada's (TSB) official report of their investigation stated that flammable material used in the aircraft's structure allowed a fire to spread beyond the control of the crew, resulting in a loss of control and the crash of the aircraft. Swissair Flight 111 was known as the "U.N. shuttle" due to its popularity with United Nations officials; the flight often carried business executives, scientists, and researchers. (Full article...)

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The airship USS Akron} flying over the southern tip of Manhattan circa 1931–1933. The Akron was a commissioned 'ship' of the United States Navy, built for them by the Goodyear Zeppelin Corporation in Akron, Ohio. She cast off for her maiden voyage on 2 November 1931, but crashed less than two years later.

Did you know

Luftschiff Haenlein.jpg

... that Paul Haenlein was the first to create a dirigible airship powered by an internal combustion engine? ...that No. 112 Squadron RAF was the first unit from any air force to use the "Shark Mouth" logo on P-40 fighter planes? ...that a Cambridge University society has launched high altitude balloons that have taken a picture of the earth's curvature from a height of 32 km?

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Selected biography

Portrait of Flynn taken in 1929.

The Reverend John Flynn (25 November 1880 – 5 May 1951) was an Australian Presbyterian minister and aviator who founded the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the world's first air ambulance.

Throughout his ministerial training, Flynn had worked in various then-remote areas through Victoria and South Australia. As well as tending to matters spiritual, Flynn quickly established the need for medical care for residents of the vast Australian outback, and established a number of bush hospitals. By 1917, Flynn was already considering the possibility of new technology, such as radio and the aeroplane, to assist in providing a more useful acute medical service, and then received a letter from an Australian pilot serving in World War I, Clifford Peel, who had heard of Flynn's speculations and outlined the capabilities and costs of then-available planes. Flynn turned his considerable fund-raising talents to the task of establishing a flying medical service.

The first flight of the Aerial Medical Service was in 1928 from Cloncurry. In 1934 the Australian Aerial Medical Service was formed, and gradually established a network of bases nationwide. Flynn remained the public face of the organisation (through name changes to its present form) and helped raise the funds that kept the service operating.

Selected Aircraft

Douglas Dakota DC-3 (G-ANAF) of the Air Atlantique Historic Flight.

The Douglas DC-3 is a fixed-wing, propeller-driven aircraft which revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s, and is generally regarded as one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made.

The DC-3 was engineered by a team led by chief engineer Arthur E. Raymond and first flew on December 17, 1935 (the 32nd. anniversary of the Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk). The plane was the result of a marathon phone call from American Airlines CEO C.R. Smith demanding improvements in the design of the DC-2. The amenities of the DC-3 (including sleeping berths on early models and an in-flight kitchen) popularized air travel in the United States. With just one refuelling stop, transcontinental flights across America became possible. Before the DC-3, such a trip would entail short hops in commuter aircraft during the day coupled with train travel overnight.

During World War II, many civilian DC-3s were drafted for the war effort and thousands of military versions of the DC-3 were built under the designations C-47, C-53, R4D, and Dakota. The armed forces of many countries used the DC-3 and its military variants for the transport of troops, cargo and wounded. Over 10,000 aircraft were produced (some as licensed copies in Japan as Showa L2D, and in the USSR as the Lisunov Li-2).

  • Span: 95 ft (28.96 m)
  • Length: 64 ft 5 in (19.65 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 11 in (5.16 m)
  • Engines: 2× Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3G 14-cylinder radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) or Wright Cyclone
  • Cruising Speed: 170 mph (274 km/h)
  • First Flight:December 17, 1935
  • Number built: 13,140 (including license built types)

Today in Aviation

November 29

  • 2012 - Fighting between government and rebel forces near Damascus International Airport in Damascus, Syria, closes the road to the airport.[1] The airline Emirates suspends flights to Damascus, and an Egyptian airliner that has landed at Damascus International as scheduled and discharged its passengers safely is ordered to take off and return to Cairo without passengers if its pilot feels the situation is too dangerous to allow the plane to stay long enough to embark its passengers for the return flight.[2]
  • 2006 - Two members of the Australian Army are killed and seven are injured when a Sikorsky S-70A-9 Black Hawk helicopter, A25-221, of 171 Aviation Squadron, hits the deck of HMAS Kanimbla and crashes off Fiji.
  • 2004 - A U.S. Army Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk, crashes shortly after taking off from Fort Hood, Texas, when it strikes guy-wires supporting the television antenna of KSWO-TV, near Waco, Texas, killing all seven soldiers aboard. Conditions were foggy and the warning lights on the tower were not lit, in violation of both Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) regulations. Victims included Brigadier General Charles B. Allen of Lawton, Oklahoma; Specialist Richard L. Brown of Stonewall, Louisiana; Chief Warrant Officer Todd T. Christmas of Wagon Mound, New Mexico; Chief Warrant Officer Doug Clapp of Greensboro, North Carolina; Chief Warrant Officer Mark W. Evans of Killeen, Texas; Chief Warrant Officer David H. Garner of Mason City, Iowa; and Colonel James M. Moore of Peabody, Massachusetts.
  • 2003 - An Air Force of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Antonov An-26, 9T-TAD, blows out a tire during landing in Boende, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and overruns the runway and crashes into a market square. Of the 24 people on board, 20 are killed and 13 people on the ground die.
  • 1997 - The US Airways Arena in Washington DC, aka the Capital Center, shuts down.
  • 1987 - Korean Air Flight 858, a Boeing 707, crashes into the Andaman Sea after a bomb explodes on board. All 115 people on board are killed.
  • 1982 - Shortly after completing a training mission, a USAF Boeing B-52G Stratofortress, 59-4766, suffered hydraulics fire in nose gear, exploded at the end of the runway at Castle AFB, California, but crew of nine escaped before it was fully engulfed. Aircraft commander ordered evacuation as soon as he learned of the wheel fire.
  • 1955 - Royal Air Force Gloster Javelin FAW.1, XA561, on flight out of RAF Boscombe Down, entered spiral at 39,000 feet (12,000 m) from which the pilot could not recover. He ejected and the aircraft came down, largely intact, at Ashley, Isle of Wight.
  • 1953 - American Airlines inaugurates the first regular commercial service between New York and Los Angeles. The plane for the job: The Douglas DC-7.
  • 1949 - American Airlines Flight 157, a Douglas DC-6, en route from New York City to Mexico City with 46 passengers and crew, veers off the runway and strikes buildings after the flight crew loses control on final approach to Dallas Love Field; 26 passengers and 2 flight attendants die.
  • 1949 - Fairey Gannet, VR546, crashes on take-off from Fairey's flight test airfield at White Waltham, Berkshire, following violent porpoising at unstick speed. Repairs take three months and test flying does not resume until March 1950.
  • 1945 - A U. S. Army Sikorsky R-5 helicopter off the coast of Long Island, New York, makes the first air-sea rescue.
  • 1944 - The U. S. Navy submarine USS Archerfish torpedoes and sinks the Japanese aircraft carrier Shinano southeast of Shing?, Japan, with the loss of 1,436 lives. There are 1,080 survivors.
  • 1944 - (Overnight) 29 B-29s conduct the first night incendiary raid against Japan, attacking industrial areas in Tokyo and destroying an estimated 0.1 square mile (0.15 square kilometer) of the city.
  • 1944 - Douglas A-26 Invader, A-26B-10-DT 43-22298 and A-26B-15-DT 43-22336 both of 641st Squadron USAF collided during formation after take-off from Warton Aerodrome Lancashire. All crew were killed. Both aircraft remained on Freckleton Marsh and were partially recovered as part of a UK Channel 4 Time Team Programme in 2005.
  • 1929 - Bristol Type 101, a single-bay, biplane two-seat fighter design powered by a 450 hp Bristol Jupiter VI, and later, VIA radial engine, is rejected outright by the Air Ministry due to its all-wooden construction. Continued as a private venture, it first flies at Filton on 8 August 1927, piloted by Cyril Uwins, registered G-EBOW. With the VIA powerplant, Uwins achieves second place in the 1928 King's Cup race at an average speed of 159.9 mph. Subsequently used as a company hack and as a test bed for the 485 hp Bristol Mercury II nine-cylinder radial, it suffers wing centre section failure on this date while being subjected to engine overspeeding tests, the pilot, C. R. I. Shaw, bailing out successfully. This was the last wooden fighter built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company.


  1. ^ Bradley Secker and Kristen Gillespie (29 November 2012). "Syrian rebels battling for airport amid Internet shutdown". USA Today. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ Oliver Holmes (29 November 2012). "Damascus fighting cuts off Internet, airport". Reuters. Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ Anonymous, "X-47B Drone Meets the Fleet," Aviation History, March 2013, p. 10.

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