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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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BAE Systems' headquarters
BAE Systems' headquarters
BAE Systems is a British defence and aerospace company headquartered at Farnborough, UK, which has worldwide interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is the world's third-largest defence contractor and the largest in Europe. BAE was formed on 30 November 1999 by the £7.7 billion merger of two British companies: Marconi Electronic Systems, the defence electronics and naval shipbuilding subsidiary of the General Electric Company plc (GEC) and aircraft, munitions and naval systems manufacturer British Aerospace (BAe). It has increasingly disengaged from its businesses in continental Europe in favour of investing in the United States. Since its formation it has sold its shares of Airbus, EADS Astrium, AMS and Atlas Elektronik. BAE Systems is involved in several major defence projects, including the F-35 Lightning II, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. The company has been the subject of criticism, both general opposition to the arms trade and also specific allegations of unethical and corrupt practices, including the Al-Yamama contracts with Saudi Arabia that have earned BAE and its predecessor £43 billion in twenty years. (Full article...)

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A C-141 Starlifter leaves vapour trails over Antarctica
Credit: Staff Sgt. Simons, USAF
A C-141 Starlifter leaves vapour trails over Antarctica as it prepares for an airdrop during Operation Deep Freeze.

Did you know

...that after the Red Baron, French ace René Fonck had the most confirmed World War I aerial victories? ..that Elm Farm Ollie in 1930 became the first cow to be milked while flying in an airplane? ... that Jimmy Doolittle commanded a 22 plane demonstration celebrating the opening of Henderson, Kentucky's Audubon Memorial Bridge in 1932?

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Selected biography

Frank Whittle speaking to employees of the Flight Propulsion Research Laboratory (now known as the NASA Glenn Research Center), USA, in 1946
Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle (1 June 1907 – 9 August 1996) was a Royal Air Force officer and was one of the inventors of jet propulsion. By the end of the war, Whittle's efforts resulted in engines that would lead the world in performance through the end of the decade.

Born in Earlsdon, Coventry, England on June 1, 1907, Whittle left Leamington College in 1923 to join the Royal Air Force (RAF). Through his early days as an Aircraft apprentice he maintained his interest in the Model Aircraft Society where he built replicas, the quality of which attracted the eye of his commanding officer, who was so impressed that he recommended Whittle for the Officer Training College at Cranwell in Lincolnshire in 1926, a rarity for a "commoner" in what was still a very class-based military structure. A requirement of the course was that each student had to produce a thesis for graduation. Whittle decided to write his thesis on future developments in aircraft design, in which he described what is today referred to as a motorjet.

Whittle and Hans von Ohain met after the war and initially Whittle was angry with him as he felt Ohain had stolen his ideas. Ohain eventually convinced him that his work was independent and after that point the two became good friends.

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

September 28

  • 2009 – A Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) NAMC YS-11 a twin-engined turboprop transport crashed while landing at JMSDF Ozuki Air Field in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. The landing in light rain, the aircraft suffered an overshoot of the runway and crashed through the airfield perimeter fence, crossing a service road and plunged nose-first into a rice field. The 11 JMSDF crew members of the aircraft were uninjured and the NAMC YS-11 aircraft suffered bent propellers.
  • 2000 – A U.S. Navy Beechcraft T-34C Turbo-Mentor of VT-10 crashes in a hayfield in Baldwin County near Silverhill, Alabama, killing both crew. Navy flight instructor, Lt. James S. McComber, 31, of Apple Valley, Minnesota, and his student pilot, Air Force 2nd Lt. Alex Velkov, 23, of Mountain View, California, an Air Force navigator, were flying out of NAS Whiting Field when the afternoon accident occurred. "The plane looked like it was in trouble," said witness Danny Brand, who was questioned by investigators. "(The plane) began rolling to the right, tried to fire up the engine and then corkscrewed straight down to the ground."
  • 1981 – During a Navair weapons release test over the Chesapeake Bay, a McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18A-3-MC Hornet, BuNo 160782, c/n 8, out of NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, drops a vertical ejector bomb rack with an inert Mk. 82 bomb from the port wing, which shears off the outer starboard wing of Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk camera chase plane, BuNo 156896, c/n 13989, which catches fire as it begins an uncontrolled spin. Two crew successfully eject before the Skyhawk impacts in the bay, the whole sequence caught on film from a second chase aircraft. Video of this accident is widely available on the web.
  • 1980 – Jaromir Wagner was the first to fly the Atlantic standing on wing.
  • 1977Japan Airlines Flight 472, a Douglas DC-8, is hijacked after taking off from Mumbai, India by Japanese Red Army (JRA) terrorists, who force the plane to land in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where they demand US$6,000,000 and the release of nine imprisoned JRA members being held in Japan; the Japanese government complies and all of the hostages are eventually released.
  • 1971 – A USN Lockheed P-3 Orion, on patrol over the Sea of Japan, is fired on by a Soviet Sverdlov class cruiser in international waters. The P-3 was checking a group of Soviet Navy ships cruising off the shore of Japan when crew members reported seeing tracer rounds fired well ahead of the Orion. Immediately following the incident, authorities recalled the P-3 to its base at MCAS Iwakuni, and all surveillance craft were pulled back five miles.
  • 1954 – Fourth of 13 North American X-10s, GM-19310, c/n 4, on Navaho X-10 flight number 10, a structural test flight, successfully makes extreme manoeuvres at Mach 1.84. However automated landing system attempts to make landing flare 6 m below the runway level at Edwards AFB, California. Vehicle impacts at high speed and is destroyed. However the flight sets a speed record for a turbojet-powered aircraft.
  • 1952 – Nos. 416, 421 and 430 Squadrons flew in stages from Canada to their new base at Grostenquin, Germany, where they formed No. 2 Fighter Wing.
  • 1934 – Lufthansa, Germany’s national airline flies its millionth customer.
  • 1933 – Lemoine sets a new altitude record of 13,661 m (44,820 ft) in a Potez 50
  • 1921 – Piloting the same United States Army Air Service Packard-Le Peré LUSAC-11 fighter that set a world altitude record on February 27, 1920, Lieutenant John A. Macready sets a new world altitude record of 10,518 m (34,508 feet). Macready receives the Mackay Trophy for the flight.
  • 1920 – American pilot Howard Rinehart, flying a Dayton-Wright R. B Racer, becomes the first person to fly an airplane fitted with retractable landing gear.
  • 1912Wright Model B, U.S. Army Signal Corps serial number 4, crashes at College Park Airport, Maryland killing two crew, Lieutenant L.C. Rockwell and Corporal Frank S. Scott. On 20 July 1917, the Signal Corps Aviation School is named Rockwell Field in honor of 2nd Lt. Lewis C. Rockwell, killed in this crash, and Scott Field, Illinois is named for the first enlisted personnel killed in an aviation crash. Scott Air Force Base remains the only U.S. Air Force base named for an enlisted man.


  1. ^ Pradhan, Prateek (September 28, 2012). "Plane Going to Mount Everest Region Crashes, Killing 19". Katmandu (Nepal);Mount Everest: The New York Times(Nytimes.com). Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  2. ^ Gurubacharya, Binaj (September 28, 2012). "Everest Plane Crash Kills 19 Trekkers". (Huffington Post)Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved December 2, 2012.