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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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British Airways Boeing 747-400 taking off at Heathrow Airport in October 2007
British Airways Boeing 747-400 taking off at Heathrow Airport in October 2007
British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom and its largest airline based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations. When measured by passengers carried it is second-largest, behind easyJet. The airline is based in Waterside near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. A British Airways Board was established by the United Kingdom government in 1972 to manage the two nationalised airline corporations, British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways, and two smaller, regional airlines, Cambrian Airways, from Cardiff, and Northeast Airlines, from Newcastle upon Tyne. On 31 March 1974, all four companies were merged to form British Airways. After almost 13 years as a state company, British Airways was privatised in February 1987 as part of a wider privatisation plan by the Conservative government. The carrier soon expanded with the acquisition of British Caledonian in 1987, Dan-Air in 1992 and British Midland International in 2012. British Airways is a founding member of the Oneworld airline alliance, along with American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and the now defunct Canadian Airlines. The alliance has since grown to become the third-largest, after SkyTeam and Star Alliance. British Airways merged with Iberia on 21 January 2011, formally creating the International Airlines Group (IAG), the world's third-largest airline group in terms of annual revenue and the second-largest in Europe. (Full article...)

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Did you know

...that on October 5, 1914, a French Voisin III pilot scored the first air-to-air kill of World War I? ... that the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan houses the only SR-71B Blackbird in existence? ... that in the middle of building Fagernes Airport, Leirin, the authorities changed their minds and gave the airport more than twice the runway length?

Selected Aircraft

Dash 8 300 landing at Bristol (UK)

The de Havilland Canada DHC-8, popularly the Dash 8, is a series of twin-turboprop airliners designed by de Havilland Canada in the early 1980s. They are now made by Bombardier Aerospace which purchased DHC from Boeing in 1992. Since 1996 the aircraft have been known as the Q Series, for "quiet", due to installation of the Active Noise and Vibration Suppression (ANVS) system designed to reduce cabin noise and vibration levels to near those of jet airliners.

Notable features of the Dash 8 design are the large T-tail intended to keep the tail free of propwash during takeoff, a very high aspect ratio wing, the elongated engine nacelles also holding the rearward-folding landing gear, and the pointed nose profile. First flight was in 1983, and the plane entered service in 1984 with NorOntair. Piedmont Airlines (formerly Henson Airlines) was the US launch customer for the Dash 8 in 1984.

The Dash 8 design had better cruise performance than the earlier Dash 7, was less expensive to operate, and more notably, much less expensive to maintain. The Dash 8 had the lowest costs per passenger mile of any feederliner of the era. The only disadvantage compared to the earlier Dash 7 was somewhat higher noise levels, but only in comparison as the Dash 7 was notable in the industry for extremely low noise due to its four very large and slow-turning propellers.

  • Length: 107 ft 9 in (32.84 m)
  • Wingspan: 93 ft 3 in (32.84 m)
  • Height: 27 ft 5 in (8.34 m)
  • Powerplant: 2× Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A turboprops, 5,071 shp (3,781 kW) each
  • Cruise speed: 360 knots (414 mph, 667 km/h)
  • Maiden Flight: June 20, 1983

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Selected biography

Francis Gabreski color photo in pilot suit.jpg
Francis Stanley "Gabby" Gabreski (Franciszek Gabryszewski) (28 January 1919 - January 31, 2002) was the top American fighter ace in Europe during World War II, a jet fighter ace in Korea, and commanded numerous fighter squadrons, groups, and wings during his Air Force career.

Assigned as a P-40 pilot with the 45th Fighter Squadron of the 15th Fighter Group at Wheeler Field, Hawaii, 2nd Lt. Gabreski witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but did not become airborne in time to engage the attackers.

In March 1943 Gabreski became part of the 56th Fighter Group, flying the P-47 Thunderbolt, and in May was promoted to Major and named commander of the 61st Fighter Squadron, which included six Polish nationals as pilots in 1944. He made his 28th kill on July 5, 1944, passing Eddie Rickenbacker's record from World War I to become America's top ace (although several pilots passed him by the end of the war).

Col. Gabreski flew combat again during the Korean War, as commander of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, piloting an F-86 Sabre. He was credited with 6.5 MiG-15 kills, making him one of seven U.S. pilots to be aces in more than one war (the others are Col. Harrison Thyng, Col. James P. Hagerstrom, Major William T. Whisner, Col. Vermont Garrison, Major George A. Davis, Jr., and Lt.Col. John F. Bolt, USMC).

He ended his career as a commander of several tactical and air defense wings, his last assignment being commander of the 52d Fighter Wing at Suffolk County Air Force Base in Westhampton Beach, New York.

In the news

Today in Aviation

May 19

  • 2011 - (Overnight) NATO aircraft raid Libyan Navy bases at Tripoli, Khoms, and Sirte in the largest attack against Libyan government naval forces thus far in the Libyan Civil War. During the Khoms raids, British aircraft hit two corvettes at Khoms with laser-guided bombs and damage an inflatable-boat manufacturing facility, and NATO aircraft set a warship at Tripoli afire. NATO aircraft also hit a police academy in Tripolis Tajoura neighborhood.[1]
  • 2009 - A United States Navy Sikorsky HH-60H Seahawk crashes into the Pacific Ocean 16 miles (26 km) SW of San Diego, California. The aircraft was on a routine training flight and returning to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz when the accident occurred off of Point Loma, California, killing all 5 members of its crew. Only 3 bodies were recovered.
  • 2008 - First flight of the Sukhoi Superjet 100, Russian modern fly-by-wire regional jet in the 75- to 95-seat category.
  • 2003 - CH-46E Sea Knight 156424 of HMM-364 crashes in Al-Hilla, killing four Marines; another Marine drowns trying to rescue the crew.[2]
  • 2000 - Launch: Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-101 at 6:11 am EDT. Mission highlights: ISS supply.
  • 1996 - Launch: Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-77 at 6:30:00.066 am EDT. Mission highlights: SPACEHAB; SPARTAN, Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau's second trip into space.
  • 1993 - Sikorsky VH-60A Sea Hawk, BuNo 163267,1] of HMX-1, MCAS Quantico, Virginia, crashes ~35 miles SW of Washington, D.C. during a routine inspection flight, killing Maj. William S. Barkley Jr., Capt. Scott J. Reynolds, Staff Sgt. Brian D. Haney, and Sgt. Timothy D. Sabel.
  • 1982 - A Royal Navy Westland Sea King HC.4 ZA294, transferring from HMS Hermes to HMS Intrepid during the Falklands/Malvinas conflict, crashes into the sea after a bird strike with a Black-browed Albatross. The crash results in 22 fatalities including 18 members of the 22 Squadron SAS, one fatality each from the Royal Signals and Royal Air Force.
  • 1978 - First prototype Sikorsky YUH-60A Black Hawk, 73-21650, crashes during testing at the Sikorsky plant, Stratford, Connecticut, killing three company personnel. Army investigation reveals that during routine maintenance the night before the fatal flight, the airspeed sensor for the tailplane actuating system was inadvertently left unconnected. As the aircraft transitioned from hover to forward flight, the tailplane did not automatically change its angle and as speed built up, it forced the helicopter's nose down until an attitude was reached from which recovery was impossible. A manual back-up system was available and functioning, and could have been used to correct the tailplane angle, but for unexplained reasons it was not used, possibly due to failure to analyze the nature of the problem in time. Minor modifications are introduced as a result of this accident.
  • 1971 - Boeing announces that it has canceled its Supersonic Transport (SST) project.
  • 1971 - Launch of Mars 2, Soviet unmanned lander and orbiter, first human artifacts to impact the surface of Mars.
  • 1967 - American aircraft strike military targets in downtown Hanoi.
  • 1961 - Venera 1, first planetary probe launched to Venus by the Soviet Union, passed within 100,000 km of Venus and entered a heliocentric orbit.
  • 1958 - Vickers Viscount N7410 of Capital Airlines collides in mid-air with a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star of the Air National Guard. All eleven on board the Viscount are killed when it crashes at Brunswick, Maryland, as is one of the two crew members of the T-33. (This is repeated on 20 May)
  • 1956 - First flight of the Aerfer Sagittario 2, Italian prototype all-metal single-seat lightweight fighter aircraft, first Italian aircraft to break the sound barrier in controlled flight.
  • 1952 - First flight of the Grumman XF10F Jaguar, American prototype swing-wing fighter aircraft.
  • 1951 - RCAF No. 410 Squadron began re-equipping with North American Sabre fighters. It was the first RCAF squadron to receive this new fighter.
  • 1949 - A JRM Mars sets a new record of 308 for the largest number of people to be carried on a single aircraft.
  • 1947 - The crash of a Beechcraft C-45F Expeditor, 44-87142, of the 4000th AAF Base Unit, two miles S of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, kills three officers and two enlisted men of the 4140th Base Unit, Wright Field, Ohio, who had departed that base at 1805 hrs. on a flight to Selfridge Field, Michigan, to make advance preparations for air shows throughout the country. The twin-prop, twin-tailed aircraft came down in an open area during a driving rainstorm at ~2105 hrs. and broke into six major pieces. One crew attempted to parachute but was unsuccessful. The plane impacted within 500 yards of St. Mary's academy girls' school on the outskirts of Windsor
  • 1945 - First flight of Tupolev TU-10, a Soviet twin-engine, high speed daylight bomber, an evolution of the TU-2.
  • 1943 - Northrop N-9M-1, one-third scale flying testbed for the Northrop XB-35 flying wing design, crashes approximately 12 mi (19 km) W of Muroc Army Air Base, California, killing pilot Max Constant. First flown 27 December 1942, airframe had only logged 22.5 hours, and little data was accumulated before the loss. Post-crash investigation suggested that: "...while Constant was conducting stalls and aft centre of gravity stability tests, aerodynamic forces developed full aft, which were too strong for Constant to overcome, trapping him in the cockpit. To prevent this happening on future flights, a one-shot hydraulic boost device was installed to push the controls forward in an emergency."
  • 1937 - Prototype Sud-Est LeO H-47 flying boat sustains fatigue failure damage to hull bottom on take-off and, upon landing at Antibes at 19,000 kg (42,000 lb), took in water that displaced the centre of gravity, sinking the aircraft.
  • 1934 - First flight of the Russian Tupolev ANT-20 Maxim Gorky, Soviet eight-engine aircraft, at this time the largest aircraft in the world. Capable of carrying 80 passengers, it was used mainly as a mobile propaganda office.
  • 1918 - First prototype Sopwith Salamander, E5429, crashes during test program while with No. 65 Squadron when the pilot has to avoid a tender crossing the aerodrome responding to another crash.
  • 1918 - Raoul Lufbery, commander of the US 94th Aero Squadron|94th (Hat in the Ring) Aero Squadron and second highest scoring American ace with 17 victories, is killed in air combat.
  • 1917 - A Royal Naval Air Service Curtiss H-12 Large America flying boat bombs and sinks the German submarine U-36 in the North Sea near the North Hinder light ship while flying a "Spider Web" patrol. U-36 becomes the only German submarine sunk by an aircraft during World War I. (This is repeated on 20 May)
  • 1910 - Birth of Jean Niland (Aka James Williams), French early parachutist and record setter.
  • 1891 - Birth of Oswald Boelcke, WWI German flying ace and one of the most influential patrol leaders and tacticians of the early years of air combat.


  1. ^ "NATO Bombs Gadhafi Warships". MSNBC. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Marine Deaths in Iraq, Marines killed in Action, May 18-19, 2003". Retrieved . CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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