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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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The Luftwaffe Balkenkreuz (balk cross) was carried on the upper and lower wings and the fuselages of practically all German military aircraft between 1935 and 1945. It was essentially the national marking used by the German Air Service in the last year of World War I.
The Luftwaffe Balkenkreuz (balk cross) was carried on the upper and lower wings and the fuselages of practically all German military aircraft between 1935 and 1945. It was essentially the national marking used by the German Air Service in the last year of World War I.
The German Luftwaffe was one of the strongest, doctrinally advanced, and battle-experienced air forces in the world when World War II started in Europe in September 1939. Officially unveiled in 1935, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, its purpose was to support Hitler's Blitzkrieg across Europe. The aircraft that were to serve in the Luftwaffe were of a new age and far superior to that of most other nations in the 1930s. Types like the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka and Messerschmitt Bf 109 came to symbolize German aerial might.

The Luftwaffe became an essential component in the "Blitzkrieg" battle plan. Operating as a tactical close support air force, it helped the German armies to conquer the bulk of the European continent in a series of short and decisive campaigns in the first nine months of the war, experiencing its first defeat during the Battle of Britain in 1940 as it could not adapt into a strategic role, lacking heavy bombers with which to conduct a strategic bombing campaign against the British Isles.

Despite this setback the Luftwaffe remained formidable and in June 1941 embarked on Adolf Hitler's quest for an empire in eastern Europe by invading the USSR, with much initial success. However, the Luftwaffe's striking victories in the Soviet Union were brought to a halt in the Russian winter of 1942-1943. From then on, it was forced onto the strategic defensive contesting the ever increasing numbers of Soviet aircraft, whilst defending the German homeland and German occupied Europe from the growing Allied air forces pounding all aspects of German industry.

Having failed to achieve victory in the Soviet Union in 1941 or 1942, the Luftwaffe was drawn into a war of attrition which extended to North Africa and the Channel Front. The entry of the United States into the war and the resurgence of the Royal Air Force's (RAF) offensive power created the Home Front, known as Defense of the Reich operations. The Luftwaffe's strength was slowly eroded and by mid 1944 had virtually disappeared from the skies of Western Europe leaving the German Army to fight without air support. It continued to fight into the last days of the war with revolutionary new aircraft, such as the Messerschmitt Me 262, Messerschmitt Me 163 and the Heinkel He 162, even though the war was already hopelessly lost. (Full article...)

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Atlantis on Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.jpg

Did you know

...that among the earliest accounts of the use of a man-lifting kite is in the story of Ishikawa Goemon's robbery from Nagoya Castle?

Aichi D1A

... the Safety Promotion Center, established by Japan Airlines after the worst single aircraft accident in history, has passengers' farewell letters and wreckage on display to educate employees about safety?

Selected Aircraft

Lufthansa A340-600 D-AIHF.jpg

The Airbus A340 is a long-range four-engined widebody commercial passenger airplane manufactured by Airbus. The latest variants (-600 & A340E) now compete with Boeing's 777 series of aircraft on long-haul and ultra long-haul routes.

The A340-600 flies 380 passengers in a three-class cabin layout (419 in 2 class) over 7,500 nautical miles (13,900 km). It provides similar passenger capacity to a 747 but with twice the cargo volume, and at lower trip and seat costs.

The A340-600 is more than 10 m longer than a basic -300, making it the second longest airliner in the world, more than four meters longer than a Boeing 747-400.

  • Span: 63.45 m (208 ft 2 in)
  • Length: 75.30 m n(246 ft 11 in)
  • Height: 17.30 m (56 ft 9 in)
  • Engines: four 56,000 lbf (249 kN) thrust Rolls-Royce Trent 556 turbofans
  • Cruising Speed: Mach 0.83 (885 km/h, 550 mph)
  • First Flight: October 25, 1991
...Archive/Nominations

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Sir Hugh Trenchard (cropped).jpg
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Hugh Montague Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard GCB OM GCVO DSO (3 February 1873 – 10 February 1956) was a British officer who was instrumental in establishing the Royal Air Force. He has been described as the Father of the Royal Air Force.

During his formative years Trenchard struggled academically, failing many examinations and only just succeeding in meeting the minimum standard for commissioned service in the British Army. As a young infantry officer, Trenchard served in India and in South Africa. During the Boer War, Trenchard was critically wounded and as a result of his injury, he lost a lung, was partially paralysed and returned to Great Britain. While convalescing in Switzerland he took up bobsleighing and after a heavy crash, Trenchard found that his paralysis was gone and that he could walk unaided. Some months later, Trenchard returned to South Africa before volunteering for service in Nigeria. During his time in Nigeria, Trenchard commanded the Southern Nigeria Regiment for several years and was involved in efforts to bring the interior under settled British rule and quell inter-tribal violence.

In 1912, Trenchard learned to fly and was subsequently appointed as second in command of the Central Flying School. He held several senior positions in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I, serving as the commander of Royal Flying Corps in France from 1915 to 1917. In 1918, he briefly served as the first Chief of the Air Staff before taking up command of the Independent Air Force in France. Returning as Chief of the Air Staff under Winston Churchill in 1919, Trenchard spent the following decade securing the future of the Royal Air Force. He was Metropolitan Police Commissioner in the 1930s and a defender of the RAF in his later years.

In the news

Wikinews Aviation portal
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Today in Aviation

March 5

  • 2012 – An Indian Air Force Dassault Mirage 2000TH crashed near Babanbas. The two crew ejected safely.
  • 2011 – Opposition forces shoot down a Libyan Air Force jet fighter over Ra's Lanuf after it attempts to bomb the town, killing its two pilots.[1][2]
  • 2003 – At Saint-Forget, France a Socata Rallye MS.892 (registered as F-BLSO) collided midair with a Cessna F150 (registered as F-BSIQ) killing the instructor and student pilot in the latter aircraft. After investigation, the BEA called for obligatory use of transponders in a large zone around Paris.[3]
  • 1991Aeropostal Alas de Venezuela Flight 108 took off from La Chinita International Airport in Maracaibo, Venezuela, on a short-haul flight to Santa Barbara Ed-L Delicias Airport in Venezuela with 45 passengers and crew. Some minutes later the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 crashed on the side of a foggy mountain near La Valesa in the La Aguada sector of the Páramo Los Torres and burst into flames. All 45 people on board died.
  • 1981 – Venera 14, a Soviet space probe for intended to explore Venus, arrives at its destination. The aircraft has a twin-ship, Venera 13, which launched and also arrived 5 days prior.
  • 1979 – Voyager 1 makes its closest approach to Jupiter at a distance of 172,000 miles.
  • 1978 – The Landsat 3 launches, third in a series of photo satellites. Its Earth-snapping work would last five years until March of 1983.
  • 1976 – The last flight of the second Concorde prototype aircraft to the Fleet Air Arm Museum at the Royal Naval Air Station, Yeovilton, England.
  • 1975 – Entered Service: Shin Meiwa US-1 with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.
  • 1974 – A USN North American RA-5C Vigilante crashes in the Gulf of Mexico 35 miles W of Tampa, Florida. Both crew eject, two chutes observed, but only the navigator is recovered, by a fishing boat.
  • 1974 – A USAF Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker of the 7th Air Refuelling Squadron, 7th Bomb Wing, en route from Eielson AFB, Alaska to its homebase at Carswell AFB, Texas, suffered explosive decompression when a small window blew out at 35,000 feet at 1630 hrs. EST about 40 miles SE of Fort Nelson, British Columbia. One passenger of the 25 aboard died from the effects of the rapid decompression; others and eight crew okay. The tanker made an emergency landing at a Canadian Armed Forces Base at Edmonton, Alberta.
  • 1974 – A USAF Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker, 57-1500, of the 91st Air Refuelling Squadron, 384th Air Refuelling Wing, crashed and burned shortly after take-off from McConnell AFB, Kansas, killing two of seven crew. Air Force spokesmen reported that the aircraft was carrying 136,000 pounds of fuel when it crashed 3,000 feet from the main runway, after it apparently lost power.
  • 1967Lake Central Flight 527, a Convair 340, crashes near Marseilles, Ohio after a propeller detaches and severs the fuselage, causing a loss of control; all 38 on board die.
  • 1967 – U.S. Coast Guard Grumman HU-16 Albatross, 1240, out of St. Petersburg, Florida, deploys to drop a dewatering pump to a sinking 40-foot yacht, "Flying Fish", off of Carrabelle, Florida. Shortly after making a low pass after the sinking vessel to drop the pump, the flying boat crashes a short distance away, with loss of all six crew. Submerged wreck not identified until 2006.
  • 1966 – For the first time, the United States employs the Alpha section (listing major fixed ground targets in North Vietnam) of a U. S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Rolling Thunder order.
  • 1966BOAC Flight 911, a Boeing 707 bound for Hong Kong, crashes at Mount Fuji near Gotenba, Japan, killing all 124 passengers and crew.
  • 1963 – Country music star Patsy Cline and three others are killed in the crash of a Piper Comanche near Camden, Tennessee.
  • 1962 – A Convair B-58 (serial no. 59-2458) of the Forty-third Bombardment Wing breaks three records during a round trip between New York and Los Angeles in 4 hours 41 min 14.98 seconds. The fastest transcontinental crossing between Los Angeles and New York is accomplished in 2 hours 58.71 seconds at an average speed of 1,214.65 mph. The third record notches the fastest time between New York and Los Angeles.
  • 1960 – A Fairchild C-119G Flying Boxcar, 53-8152A, c/n 255, of the 12th Troop Carrier Squadron, 322d Air Division, Dreux Air Base, France, departed Adana, Turkey with 3 crew, 15 passengers and 7,614 lbs. of cargo, made a fuelling stop at Athens, Greece, departing at 1600 hrs. for Naples, Italy. Two hours into an expected 3:02 flight, the port engine began to over-speed. Attempts to cut off and/or feather the propeller failed and the aircraft lost altitude. The pilot elected to shut down the engine by turning off the fire wall shut off. The engine did stop, but the propeller shaft sheared with the propeller wind-milling at an increased rate. The aircraft began to descend at a rate of 500 feet per minute. Realizing that the aircraft will not reach the chosen emergency airfield, at Crotone, Italy, the pilot circled the aircraft over the small town of Botricello ordering the passengers and radio operator to bail out - all landing safely with only minor injuries. Pilot Harold Cliffton Hardesty and co-pilot Harry Francis Dawley, Jr. then landed the C-119 on the nearby beach at 1830 hrs. (dusk) with gear down, full flaps, landing light on, with an approach speed of 120 kts. and touch-down at 90 kts. The roll out was straight for 800-1,000 feet before the C-119 veered to the right and into the water, with the cockpit filling to about the level of the side window. The two crew evacuated through the top hatch, sliding off the left wing and swam ashore. Although the plane had stopped basically intact, the wave action overnight destroyed the airframe.
  • 1960 – Late pre-production English Electric Lightning F.1, XG334, c/n 95023, of the Air Fighting Development Squadron, RAF Coltishall, Norfolk, aircraft 'A', crashed near Wells-next-the-Sea after suffering complete hydraulic failure, resulting in loss of all control-surface power and hydraulic services. The pilot, Sqn. Leader Harding, ejected safely, descending near Syderstone, in North Norfolk. Total flights 34, hours flown 23 h 35 min. This was the first loss of the type. Extensive sea search around Roaring Middle Light failed to find any trace of the missing Lightning.
  • 1958 – Explorer 2 launches, but due to a mechanical failure, does not reach orbit.
  • 1957 – A Blackburn Beverley C Mark I heavy transport aircraft, XH117, c/n 1023, of 53 Squadron Royal Air Force crashed on approach to RAF Abingdon, England following engine failure due to fuel starvation. Eighteen occupants killed and two on the ground.
  • 1947 – RCAF accepts its first helicopter, Sikorsky H-5 at Trenton.
  • 1943 – Twelve German Heinkel He 111 bombers attack Convoy RA-53 during its voyage from Murmansk in the Soviet Union to Loch Ewe, Scotland, but cause no damage.
  • 1943 – In the North Atlantic Ocean, the first U. S. Navy antisubmarine hunter-killer group begins combat operations, centered around the escort aircraft carrier USS Bogue (CVE-9) and the aircraft of Composite Squadron 9 (VC-9) embarked aboard her.
  • 1943 – (Overnight) Royal Air Force Bomber Command begins a bombing campaign against the Ruhr area of Germany with an Oboe-marked raid on Essen. Known as the Battle of the Ruhr, it will last until mid-July. The first raid destroys 53 buildings in the Krupp complex and destroys 160 acres (65 ha) of Essen
  • 1942 – The Civil Air Patrol begins maritime patrols off the United States East Coast.
  • 1936 – First Wapiti delivered to the RCAF.
  • 1936 – First flight of the Supermarine Spitfire. The single-seat fighter would play a major role in World War II, with over 20,300 being built over the following 10 years.
  • 1923 – The great aeronautical pioneer Igor Sikorsky sets up the Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corp. in the United States with the financial help of several important leading figures, including Sergey Rachmaninoff. Sikorsky left Russia in 1917 when revolution threatened his work and his life.
  • 1923Martin GMT (Glenn Martin Transatlantic), USAAS 62949, McCook Field project code 'P-87', loses power on one of two Liberty engines while en route to Chanute Field, Illinois, is unable to stay aloft on one only, crashes. Pilot Maj. Bradley escapes injury, but Lt. Stanley Smith is fatally injured.
  • 1906 – Traian Vuia begins testing his “Vuia 1″ at Montesson, France, by driving it as an automobile without its wings mounted. It is a high-wing monoplane powered by a carbonic acid gas engine, and is first aircraft with pneumatic tires. It has been described as the first man-carrying monoplane of basically modern configuration.


  1. ^ Michael, Maggie; Schemm, Paul (5 March 2011). "Libyan Jet Fighter Crashes in Rebel-Held East". Forbes. Associated Press. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Libya: Gaddafi Fighter Bomber Is Shot Down in Ras Lanuf". BBC News. 5 March 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Rapport: Accident survenu le 5 mars 2003 à Saint-Forget (78) à l’avion Socata Rallye MS 892 immatriculé F-BLSO et l’avion Cessna F150 immatriculé F-BSIQ" Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses, October 2010

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