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The Aviation Portal

Aviation includes 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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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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Swiss rescue helicopter in action.

Did you know

...that the mysterious objects known as Black Triangles may actually be hybrid airships?

...that the Spartan Cruiser (pictured) was originally designed as mail plane and even flew a test flight to Karachi as such, but was then transformed into a passenger airplane in 1932?

.. that five UH-1 Iroquois helicopters of the Experimental Military Unit were shot down by a single Viet Cong soldier armed with an AK-47 rifle?

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

In the news

Wikinews Aviation portal
  • May 29: Austrian Airlines cancels Moscow-bound flight after Russia refuses a reroute outside Belarusian airspace
  • August 8: Passenger flight crashes upon landing at Calicut airport in India
  • June 4: Power firm helicopter strikes cables, crashes near Fairfield, California
  • January 29: Former basketball player Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash, aged 41
  • January 13: Iran admits downing Ukrainian jet, cites 'human error'
  • January 10: Fire erupts in parking structure at Sola Airport, Norway
  • October 27: US announces restrictions on flying to Cuba
  • October 3: World War II era plane crashes in Connecticut, US, killing at least seven
  • September 10: Nevada prop plane crash near Las Vegas leaves two dead, three injured
  • August 6: French inventor Franky Zapata successfully crosses English Channel on jet-powered hoverboard

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Selected biography

Air Marshal Sir George Jones KBE, CB, DFC (18 October 1896 – 24 August 1992) was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He rose from being a private soldier in World War I to Air Marshal in 1948. He served as Chief of the Air Staff from 1942 to 1952, the longest continuous tenure of any RAAF chief. Jones was a surprise appointee to the Air Force’s top role, and his achievements in the position were coloured by a divisive relationship during World War II with his head of operations and nominal subordinate, Air Vice Marshal William Bostock.

Jones first saw action as an infantryman in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, before transferring to the Australian Flying Corps the following year. Initially an air mechanic, he undertook flying training in 1917 and was posted to a fighter squadron in France, achieving seven victories to become an ace. After a short spell in civilian life following World War I, he joined the newly-formed RAAF in 1921, rising steadily through training and personnel commands prior to World War II.

He did not actively seek the position of Chief of the Air Staff before being appointed in 1942, and his conflict with Bostock—with whom he had been friends for 20 years—was partly the result of a divided command structure, which neither man had any direct role in shaping. After World War II Jones had overall responsibility for transforming what was then the world's fourth largest air force into a peacetime service that was also able to meet overseas commitments in Malaya and Korea. Following his retirement from the RAAF he continued to serve in the aircraft industry and later ran unsuccessfully for political office.

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)
More selected aircraft

Today in Aviation

December 9

  • 2012 – An American unmanned aerial vehicle fires a missile into a house in Tabbi in North Waziristan, Pakistan, killing the al-Qaeda commander Mohammad Ahmed al-Mansoor.[1]
  • 2006 – Launch: Space Shuttle Discoverys STS-116 at 01:47:35 UTC. Mission highlights: ISS assembly flight 12A.1: P5 Truss & Spacehab-SM, crew rotation.
  • 2005 – The Venus Express, the first exploration mission of the European Space Agency, launched from Kazakhstan. It arrived on Venus the following April, and is funded to continue to send back data until December of 2012.
  • 2004 – The U. S. Army issues a request for proposals (RFP) for the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH).
  • 2004 – AH-64A Apache 91-0012 from A Company, 1–151st Aviation Regiment hit a UH-60L Black Hawk 82-23668 from N Company/4-278th ACR on the ground at a Mosul base, killing the two Apache pilots and wounding four soldiers on board the Black Hawk. Both helicopters destroyed
  • 2003 – Two Belgian Air Force F-16A collide near Havelange. One pilot ejects safely, the other is killed.
  • 1999TAESA Flight 725, a DC-9 (registered XA-TKN), crashed a few minutes after leaving the Uruapan airport en route to Mexico City, killing all 18 on board. It was determined that the pilots had not completed the proper checklist prior to departure and became disoriented, raising the nose to a high attitude on takeoff. This caused a stall from which they were unable to recover.
  • 1999 – During a "Fast Rope" training exercise, a Boeing-Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter of HMM-166 departs the USS Bonhomme Richard and approaches the fantail landing pad of the USNS Pecos, cruising ~15 miles (24 km) WSW of Point Loma, California at 1316 hrs. The port rear landing gear leg of the helicopter snags a safety net on the deck edge and the chopper tips backwards into the Pacific, sinking within five seconds. Eleven of 18 on board escape and are picked up by Navy SEALS following the USNS Pecos in zodiac boats. The bodies of six U.S. Marines and one U.S. Navy corpsman, from the 1st Force Recon, 5th Platoon, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at Camp Pendleton, California, are recovered from a depth of 3,600 feet.
  • 1999 – The last Classic 737 is rolled off the Renton, Wash., assembly line, ending a production run of 1,988 airplanes.
  • 1982Aeronor Flight 304, a Fairchild F-27, crashes near La Florida Airport, Chile; all 46 on board are killed.
  • 1967 – Launch of the Apollo 4 mission, an unmanned Saturn V, the largest launch vehicle ever to fly successfully.
  • 1961 – USAF Major Robert M White takes the X-15 to a height of 30,970 m (101,610 ft).
  • 1958 – B-52E-85-BO Stratofortress, 56-0633, c/n 17316, of the 11th Bomb Wing, crashes near Altus AFB, Oklahoma, due to improper use of stabilizer trim during an overshoot. Returning from a routine night training mission, aircraft makes a GCA approach, requests climb to altitude for another penetration, experiences stab trim problems, crashes ~four miles from base at 2345 hrs. Pilot Major Byard F. Baker, 39, of Azle, Texas, ejects; eight other crew die.
  • 1958 – U.S. Army Major General Bogardus Snowden "Bugs" Cairns was killed instantly when his Bell H-13 Sioux helicopter crashed minutes after take off in dense woods northwest of Fort Rucker, Alabama headquarters. He was en route to Matteson Range to observe a firepower rehearsal in preparation for a full-scale armed helicopter display. He was commander of the Aviation Center and Commandant of the Aviation School. Ozark Army Airfield at Fort Rucker was subsequently renamed Cairns Army Airfield in his honor in January 1959. H-13 was taking off from field site when it hit a wire extended between two tents causing pilot to lose control and fly into trees.
  • 1956Trans-Canada Air Lines Flight 810, a Canadair North Star, crashes near Hope, British Columbia, Canada, killing all 62 people on board; the wreckage is located several months later. Aboard were four members of the Canadian Football League Saskatchewan Roughriders, and former Iowa Hawkeye Outland Trophy winner Cal Jones.
  • 1955 – A USAF Republic F-84F-45-RE Thunderstreak, 52-6692, based at RAF Sculthorpe, suffers flame-out and after several failed attempts at a relight, the pilot, Lt. Roy G. Evans, 24, ejects at 3,500 feet. The fighter comes down on the Lodge Moor Infectious Diseases Hospital on the outskirts of Sheffield at 1700 hrs., striking two wards, killing one patient, Mrs. Elsie Murdock, 46, of South Road, Sheffield, and injuring seven others. Fires are under control by 1930 hrs.
  • 1951 – First flight of the Fiat G.80, Italy’s first true jet.
  • 1944 – No. 664 (Air Observation Post) Squadron was formed at Andover, England. The flying personnel came from the Royal Canadian Artillery and other personnel from the RCAF.
  • 1942 – (9 – 18) U. S. Army Air Forces B-17 Flying Fortresses conduct the first major air strike against the Japanese airfield at Munda Point on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands. Air strikes against the airfield become routine thereafter.
  • 1940 – No. 2 Squadron was formed at Digby, Lincolnshire, England on the renumbering of No. 112 (AC) Squadron.
  • 1937 – PO3/c Kanichi Kashimura, of the 13th Air Group, Imperial Japanese Navy, downs a Curtiss Hawk Model 75 over Nanchang, China during combat in a Mitsubishi A5M, '4-115', then collides with another aircraft (an unknown type that could have been either Chinese or Japanese), tearing off the outer third of his port wing. Through skillful piloting, he brings damaged aircraft back to base at Shanghai, China, and makes four landing attempts. On final approach, the fighter violently somersaults onto its back upon ground contact, tearing off its tail, but pilot walks away unscathed. Local news reporters dispatch the story back to Japan where Kashimura gains instant fame as "the pilot who returned on one wing."
  • 1937 – (9 & 22) Air battles take place between Imperial Japanese Navy and Nationalist Chinese aircraft over Nanchang on December 9 and December 22, during which the Japanese claim the destruction of 29 Chinese aircraft in the air and 25 on the ground.
  • 1932 – Wolfgang von Gronau and crew in a Dornier Wal complete the first flight around the world by a seaplane. Their flight takes a mere 111 days.
  • 1930 – First airline flight from New York to Panama.
  • 1909 – American Dr. Henry W. Walden makes the first flight with his triplane known as the Walden III. It is powered by a three-cylinder, 22-HP Anzani engine and takes off from Mineola, Long Island, N. Y.
  • 1904 – The Wright brothers discontinued trials with Flyer II after completing 105 tests and 80 brief flights since they began flying the new machine in May. Wilbur Wright flies for five minutes, four seconds over Huffman Prairie, Ohio, flying just under 3 miles.


  1. ^ Mahsud, Ishtiaq, "Pakistan: US Drone Strike Kills al-Qaida Commander," Associated Press, December 10, 2012, 9:19:46 a.m. PST
  2. ^ Anonymous, "Jenni Rivera: Plane or Pilot to Blame for Crash?", Fox News Latino, December 10, 2012.

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