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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...)

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A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine driven rotors. In contrast with fixed-wing aircraft, this allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards and laterally. These attributes allow helicopters to be used in congested or isolated areas where fixed-wing aircraft would not be able to take off or land. The capability to efficiently hover for extended periods of time allows a helicopter to accomplish tasks that fixed-wing aircraft and other forms of vertical takeoff and landing aircraft cannot perform.

The word 'helicopter' is adapted from the French hélicoptère, coined by Gustave de Ponton d'Amecourt in 1861, which originates from the Greek helix/helik- (?-) = 'spiral' or 'turning' and pteron () = 'wing'.

Helicopters were developed and built during the first half-century of flight, with some reaching limited production, but it was not until 1942 that a helicopter designed by Igor Sikorsky reached full-scale production, with 131 aircraft built. Though most earlier designs used more than one main rotor, it was the single main rotor with antitorque tail rotor configuration of this design that would come to be recognized worldwide as the helicopter. (Full article...)

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A newsreel showing the breaking of the sound barrier on 14 October 1947 by Chuck Yeager in the rocket-powered Bell X-1. Flying at an altitude of 45,000 ft (13.7 km), Yeager became the first person to break the sound barrier in level flight.

Did you know

..that an aircraft's pitot-static system allows a pilot to monitor airspeed, Mach number, altitude, and altitude trend? ...that on May 3, 2002 a military MiG-21bis aircraft crashed into the Bank of Rajasthan in India, killing eight? ... that on 28 May 1931, a Bellanca CH-300 fitted with a Packard DR-980 diesel engine set a 55-year record for staying aloft for 84 hours and 32 minutes without being refueled?

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The following are images from various aviation-related articles on Wikipedia.

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Wikinews Aviation portal
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Selected biography

William Lendrum Mitchell (full shot).jpg
Billy Mitchell (1879-1936) was an early aviation pioneer who rose to become a chief of the U.S. Army Air Service. Mitchell was born in Nice, France and raised on his family estate near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He attended George Washington University before enlisting in the Army at age 18 during the Spanish-American War. Due to his family connection he quickly received a commission Signal Corps where he had the opportunity to witness a flight demonstration by the Wright brothers in 1908. In 1916 he took private flight lessons and was transferred to the Aeronautical Division.

Mitchell deployed to France in 1917 when the United States entered World War I. While there he was promoted to brigadier general and placed in command American combat air units in France. After the war Mitchell was appointed the deputy director of the Air Service became a passionate advocate of air power. In 1921 he set up a demonstration to show the capability of airpower against naval vessels. During the course of the demonstrations aircraft successfully sank a captured German destroyer, the light crusier Frankfurt, and the battleship Ostfriesland.

Mitchell regularly sparred with his superiors over the role of airpower in the military. In 1925 he was reverted to his permanent rank of colonel and was transferred to San Antonio, Texas. Later that year, after a series of aviation accidents he accused Army and Navy leadership of incompetence and "almost treasonable administration of the national defense." In response he was court-martialed for insubordination, found guilty, and sentenced to a five-year suspension from active duty. Mitchell resigned on 1 February 1926 in lieu of serving the sentence. He continued to advocate airpower as a civilian until his death in 1936. In 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt posthumously promoted Mitchell to major general in recognition of his contributions to air power.

Selected Aircraft

Space Shuttle Discovery

NASA's Space Shuttle, officially called the Space Transportation System (STS), is the spacecraft which was used by the United States government for its human spaceflight missions. At launch, it consists of a rust-colored external tank (ET), two white, slender Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), and the orbiter, a winged spaceplane which is the space shuttle in the narrow sense.

The orbiter carries astronauts and payload such as satellites or space station parts into low Earth orbit, into the Earth's upper atmosphere or thermosphere. Usually, five to seven crew members ride in the orbiter. The payload capacity is 22,700 kg (50,000 lb). When the orbiter's mission is complete it fires its Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) thrusters to drop out of orbit and re-enters the lower atmosphere. During the descent and landing, the shuttle orbiter acts as a glider, and makes a completely unpowered ("dead stick") landing.

  • Span: 78.06 ft (23.79 m)
  • Length: 122.17 ft (37.24 m)
  • Height: 58.58 ft (17.25 m)
  • Engines: 3 Rocketdyne Block 2 A SSMEs
  • Cruising Speed: 25,404 ft/s (7,743 m/s, 27,875 km/h, 17,321 mi/h)
  • First Flight: August 12, 1977 (glider), April 12, 1981 (powered).
  • Operational Altitude: 100 to 520 nmi (185 to 1,000 km)
  • Number built: 6 (+2 mockups)

Today in Aviation

June 28

  • 2012 - A Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27UB crashed near Besovets during a weather-check flight, two pilots ejected safely but all Russian Su-27s were grounded pending investigation.
  • 2012 - The U.S. military announces that wreckage revealed by a retreating glacier in Alaska and discovered during June 2012 is that of a U.S. Air Force C-124A Globemaster II which crashed into Mount Gannett on 22 November 1952, killing all 52 people on board. Originally identified on 28 November 1952, the wreckage had become buried in ice and snow and had been lost for nearly 60 years.[1][2][3]
  • 2007 - TAAG Angola Airlines crash was a fatal accident in which a Boeing 737-2 M2 owned by TAAG Angola Airlines undershot the runway upon landing in M'banza-Kongo, causing the collapse of the right main landing gear. The plane collided with two cars and a building, resulting in the deaths of four passengers and one crew member.
  • 2004 - First non-stop 10,000-mile-plus passenger airline flight. Singapore Airlines launched a non-stop 18 1/2 h, 10,335-mile flight on the long-range Airbus 340-500 between Singapore to Newark, New Jersey (June 28-29).
  • 1976 - First woman was admitted to Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Co.
  • 1976 - ?SA flight 001 registration OK-NAB was an Ilyushin Il-18 B 4 engine turboprop, operating as a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Prague's Ruzyn? airport to Bratislava-Ivanka Airport, both in Czechoslovakia, which crashed into the Zlaté Piesky (Golden Sands) Lake while attempting to land in Bratislava. All 6 crew members and 70 out of 73 passengers died.
  • 1958 - The 22-year operational career of the Avro Anson comes to an end with asix-plane formation fly-past over their base by the Southern Communications Squadron at Bovington, Hampshire, in the United Kingdom.
  • 1957 - In two separate accidents, two newly delivered Lockheed U-2s of the SAC's 4028th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (SRS) based at Laughlin Air Force Base, Del Rio, Texas, are lost on the same day. At 08:55 Lt. Ford Lowcock is killed when his aircraft, U-2A 56-6699, Article 366, crashes while on the approach to Laughlin. Less than two hours later, Lt. Leo Smith is also killed when his aircraft, U-2C 56-6702, Article 369, crashes in the New Mexico desert. At this time U-2s are not equipped with ejection seats to save weight, but at around this point this policy is reversed. Three months later on 26 September, the squadron's Commanding Officer, Col. Jack Nole climbs out of his disabled U-2A, 56-6694, Article 361, the first airframe of the initial USAF order, (wing flaps deployed in flight) near Del Rio, Texas, making the highest ever parachute escape to date, from 53,000 feet.
  • 1956 - An Argentine Air Force Vickers VC.1 Viking T-5 crashed at Resistencia, Argentina.
  • 1952 - American Airlines Flight 910, a Douglas DC-6 carrying 55 passengers and 5 crew collides with a Temco Swift private plane on final approach to Dallas Love Field, killing both occupants of the Swift; the DC-6 lands safely with no injuries to the passengers or crew.
  • 1945 - 485 B-29 s drop 3,519 tons (3,192,416 kg) of bombs on Okayama, Sasebo, and Moji, Japan.
  • 1944 - A/C AD Ross, Sgt JR St Germain, Cpl M Marquet, LAC MM McKenzie, and LAC RR Wolfe made repeated attempts to rescue the crew of a burning bomber of No. 425 Squadron in spite of bomb explosions. All of the crew were saved. Ross, St Germain and Marquet were awarded the George Medal; McKenzie and Wolfe the British Empire Medal.
  • 1943 - To increase the visibility of the national insignia on its military aircraft, the United States replaces the marking adopted in June 1942 with a new marking consisting of a white star centered in a blue circle flanked by white rectangles, with the entire insignia outlined in red. The new marking will cause confusion with Japanese markings and will remain in use only until September 1943.
  • 1943 - (Overnight) 608 British bombers attack Cologne, Germany, losing 25 of their number. In Cologne, 4,377 people are killed - by far the highest number killed in any single Bomber Command raid so far - 10,000 injured and 230,000 rendered homeless. In the next two raids, Cologne will incur another 1,000 killed and 120,000 made homeless
  • 1941 - At the end of the first week of Operation Barbarossa, the Luftwaffe has destroyed 4,017 Soviet aircraft in exchange for 150 of its own.
  • 1941 - In the early morning hours, 35 British bombers attempting an attack on Bremen stray so far off course that they mistakenly bomb Hamburg - 110 km (68 mi) northeast of Bremen - Instead, losing five of their number to German night fighters over the city while killing seven people, injuring 39, and leaving 280 homeless.
  • 1939 - The Pan Am Yankee Clipper, the largest airplane of the day, left Botwood on the first scheduled transatlantic passenger flight. The New York-to-Southampton route was made with stops at Shediac, Botwood and Foynes.
  • 1919 - The Treaty of Versailles is signed. Among its many provisions is one which prohibits Germany from ever again possessing armed aircraft.
  • 1918 - First flight between Hawaiian Islands.
  • 1917 - An aircraft takes off successfully from a flying-off platform mounted on a warship's gun turret for the first time when Royal Naval Air Service Flight Commander F. J. Rutland takes off from a platform aboard the British light cruiser HMS Yarmouth in a Sopwith Pup.
  • 1911 - The first airplane charter flight is made by English aviator Thomas Sopwith who is hired by Wannamaker's New York store to deliver repaired glasses to Philadelphia merchant W. A. Burpee.


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