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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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Air Force One
Air Force One (the ATC callsign of any U.S. Air Force aircraft carrying the President) has, since 1990, consisted of two specifically-configured, highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft. The planes' three floors (4,000 square feet – 372 m²) include multiple modifications including the president's executive suite which includes a private dressing room, workout room, lavatory, shower, and private office.

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Did you know

..that an aircraft's pitot-static system allows a pilot to monitor airspeed, Mach number, altitude, and altitude trend?


...that the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight contains the world's oldest airworthy survivor of the Battle of Britain, alongside ten other historic aircraft - two of which fought over Normandy on D-Day? ...that the Pterodactyl Ascender (pictured) has been one of the most influential designs in ultralight aviation?

Selected Aircraft

F-4E from 81st Tactical Fighter Squadron dropping 500 lb (230 kg) Mark 82 bombs

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
...Archive/Nominations

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Selected biography

Coleman-Bessie 01.jpg
Elizabeth 'Bessie' Coleman (January 26, 1892 – April 30, 1926), popularly known as "Queen Bess", was the first African American (male or female) to become an airplane pilot, and the first American of any race or gender to hold an international pilot license. Growing up in Chicago, she heard tales of the world from pilots who were returning home from World War I. They told stories about flying in the war, and Coleman started to fantasize about being a pilot. She could not gain admission to American flight schools because she was black and a woman. No black U.S. aviator would train her either. Coleman took French language class at the Berlitz school in Chicago, and then traveled to Paris on November 20, 1920. Coleman learned to fly in a Nieuport Type 82 biplane.

In the news

Wikinews Aviation portal
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Today in Aviation

August 22

  • 2012 – A Brazilian Air Force AMX hit a bird.All the eletrical system and the engine were damaged. The pilot successfully landed.
  • 2011 – The Government of Niger begins patrols by Niger Air Force aircraft over its border with Libya to avoid infiltration of Niger's territory by armed groups from Libya and the crossing of the border by mercenaries from the Sahel heading to Sabha, Libya, and to end the smuggling of military forces and resources out of Libya.[2]
  • 2007 – UH-60L Black Hawk 06-27077 crashes in northern Iraq, killing all 14 U.S. soldiers. The military said initial indications showed the aircraft experienced a mechanical problem.[3][4][5][6]
  • 2002 – A Twin Otter carrying 18 people, including tourists from Germany, the United States and Britain, crashed in Nepal, killing all aboard.
  • 1999China Airlines Flight 642, a McDonnell Douglas MD-11, crashes on landing at Hong Kong International Airport during "Typhoon" Sam; of the 315 people on board, three die.
  • 1997 – The crew of an Eglin Air Force Base General Dynamics F-16B Block 15L Fighting Falcon, 82-1037, of the 39th Flight Test Squadron, "ET" tailcode, ejected over the Gulf of Mexico after their jet suffered separation of engine fourth stage at speeds past Mach, about seven miles south of Destin, Florida. The airmen were rescued by the crew and passengers of Top Gun, a charter fishing boat out of Destin, who saw the crash. The airmen were members of the Eglin's Development Test Center's 39th Flight Test Squadron. The plane was returning to Eglin after flying as a chase plane in a mission with an Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle.Divers located the jet in 70 feet of water a week following the accident. A barge carried the wreckage to a hangar at Eglin where investigators hoped to find clues as to what caused the crash.
  • 1985British Airtours Flight 28M, a Boeing 737, aborts its takeoff from Manchester, England because of an engine fire. While 82 passengers and crew escape alive, 55 are killed, most from smoke inhalation.
  • 1981Far Eastern Air Transport Flight 103, a Boeing 737, disintegrates during flight and crashed near Taipei, Taiwan; severe corrosion in the fuselage structure leads to explosive decompression and disintegration at high altitude; all 110 on board are killed.
  • 1973 – RAF McDonnell Douglas/Hawker Siddeley F-4M Phantom FGR.2, XV427, 'X', of 17 Squadron, RAF Brüggen, flies into high ground at Arfeld, Bad Berleburg, West Germany killing both crew. Aircraft had fallen out of a four ship formation during a turn and the pilot attempted to rejoin by ‘cutting a corner’ but impacted rising terrain.
  • 1970 – Two Sikorsky HH-53 C helicopters complete a non-stop transpacific flight of 9,000 miles (14,484 km) using in-flight refueling.
  • 1966 – Second (of five) Ling-Temco-Vought XC-142As, 62-5922, returned to flight status on 23 July 1966 after wing replacement, is delivered to the U.S. Air Force at Edwards AFB, California for Cat II testing, but on this date during one the airframe's first flights at that base, a chip detector warning light for the number three propeller illuminates, so the engine is shut down and the prop feathered. Heavy braking during extended roll-out as a result of landing with the collective lever disengaged causes brake fires in the main gear pods. Damage takes until 2 September to repair.
  • 1965 – Ellen Church, First American airline stewardess, dies. (b. 1904).
  • 1963 – Joe Walker in the X-15 test plane reaches altitude of 106 km (67 miles).
  • 1951 – The aircraft carrier USS Essex (CV-9) joins Task Force 77 off the northeast coast of Korea. Embarked aboard Essex is Fighter Squadron 172 (VF-172), equipped with F2H-2 Banshee fighters. It is the first deployment of the Banshee to a war zone.
  • 1951 – Bell X-1D, 48-1386, suffers fire/explosion internally while being carried aloft for its first flight, jettisoned from mothership, Boeing B-29-96-BO Superfortress, 45-21800, impacting on Rogers Dry Lakebed, Edwards AFB, California.
  • 1944 – Operation Goodwood, a series of Royal Navy air strikes by the aircraft carriers HMS Formidable, HMS Furious, HMS Indefatigable, HMS Nabob, and HMS Trumpeter against the German battleship Tirpitz at her anchorage in Norway, begins with a day strike designated Goodwood I, which is foiled by heavy cloud cover over the target area. An evening strike, Goodwood II, also is unsuccessful, and Nabob is so badly damaged by a torpedo from the German submarine U-354 that she never again sees action.
  • 1938 – The Civil Aeronautics Act becomes effective in the United States, coordinating all non-military aviation under the Civil Aeronautics Authority.
  • 1932 – Gerald P. Carr, American astronaut was born. Col. Carr was the commander of Skylab 4, launched November 16, 1973, and concluded February 8, 1974. This was the longest manned flight (84 days, 1 h, 15 min) in the history of manned space exploration to that date.
  • 1922 – First flight of the Vickers Victoria (serial no. J6869), a military transport, taking off from Brooklands, England with Stan Cockerell at the controls.
  • 1918 – Lieutenant Frigyes Hefty of the Austro-Hungarian Air Corps successfully parachutes from his burning fighter after a dogfight with Italian aircraft. He is the first person to survive a combat parachute jump.
  • 1914 – An Avro 504 on patrol over Belgium is shot down by German rifle fire, the first Royal Flying Corps aircraft destroyed in action.
  • 1914 – An early attempt to get a Lewis gun into action in air-to-air combat fails when a Royal Flying Corps Farman armed with one scrambles to intercept a German Albatros and takes 30 min to climb to 1,000 feet (305 m) because of the gun’s weight. On landing, the pilot is ordered to remove the Lewis gun and carry a rifle on future missions.
  • 1909 – The first great aviation meeting in Bétheny, France, opens as 23 European airplanes make 87 flights during one week. The meeting will have a strong influence on the technical and military aspects of flight.


  1. ^ Windram, Robert, "Senior al-Qaida Leader Killed in Drone Strike in Pakistan, Jihadis, U.S. Officials Say," NBC News, December 7, 2012.
  2. ^ Felix, Bate (22 August 2011). "Niger Launches Air Surveillance on Libyan Border". Reuters. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  3. ^ "14 US troops die in copter crash in Iraq". Associated Press. 2007-08-22. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
  4. ^ "14 U.S. soldiers die in Iraq helicopter crash". CNN. 2007-08-22. Retrieved 2010-02-16.
  5. ^ Reuters (2007-08-22). "Helicopter crash in Iraq kills 14 U.S. troops". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-02-16. [dead link]
  6. ^ Associated Press (2007-08-22). "14 United States Soldiers Die in Helicopter Crash". Forbes. Retrieved 2010-02-16. [dead link]

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