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The Aviation Portal

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; then a largest 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 with the introduction of the jet which permitted a major form of transport throughout the world.

Selected article

British Airways Boeing 747-400 taking off at Heathrow Airport in October 2007
British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom and its largest airline based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations. When measured by passengers carried it is second-largest, behind easyJet, the airline is based in Waterside near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. A British Airways Board was established by the United Kingdom government in 1972 to manage the two nationalised airline corporations, British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways, and two smaller, regional airlines, Cambrian Airways, from Cardiff, and Northeast Airlines, from Newcastle upon Tyne. On 31 March 1974, all four companies were merged to form British Airways, after almost 13 years as a state company, British Airways was privatised in February 1987 as part of a wider privatisation plan by the Conservative government. The carrier soon expanded with the acquisition of British Caledonian in 1987, Dan-Air in 1992 and British Midland International in 2012. British Airways is a founding member of the Oneworld airline alliance, along with American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and the now defunct Canadian Airlines. The alliance has since grown to become the third-largest, after SkyTeam and Star Alliance. British Airways merged with Iberia on 21 January 2011, formally creating the International Airlines Group (IAG), the world's third-largest airline group in terms of annual revenue and the second-largest in Europe.

Selected picture

F-15 wingtip vortices.jpg
Credit: US Air Force photo

Wingtip vortices are visible trailing from an F-15E Strike Eagle as it disengages from midair refueling with a KC-10 Extender during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

...Archive/Nominations

Did you know

Luftschiff Haenlein.jpg

... that Paul Haenlein was the first to create a dirigible airship powered by an internal combustion engine?

...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 the airline Vildanden started its first route with wet leased aircraft from Coast Air?

Selected Aircraft

Dash 8 300 landing at Bristol (UK)

The de Havilland Canada DHC-8, popularly the Dash 8, is a series of twin-turboprop airliners designed by de Havilland Canada in the early 1980s. They are now made by Bombardier Aerospace which purchased DHC from Boeing in 1992, since 1996 the aircraft have been known as the Q Series, for "quiet", due to installation of the Active Noise and Vibration Suppression (ANVS) system designed to reduce cabin noise and vibration levels to near those of jet airliners.

Notable features of the Dash 8 design are the large T-tail intended to keep the tail free of propwash during takeoff, a very high aspect ratio wing, the elongated engine nacelles also holding the rearward-folding landing gear, and the pointed nose profile. First flight was in 1983, and the plane entered service in 1984 with NorOntair. Piedmont Airlines (formerly Henson Airlines) was the US launch customer for the Dash 8 in 1984.

The Dash 8 design had better cruise performance than the earlier Dash 7, was less expensive to operate, and more notably, much less expensive to maintain, the Dash 8 had the lowest costs per passenger mile of any feederliner of the era. The only disadvantage compared to the earlier Dash 7 was somewhat higher noise levels, but only in comparison as the Dash 7 was notable in the industry for extremely low noise due to its four very large and slow-turning propellers.

  • Length: 107 ft 9 in (32.84 m)
  • Wingspan: 93 ft 3 in (32.84 m)
  • Height: 27 ft 5 in (8.34 m)
  • Powerplant: 2× Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A turboprops, 5,071 shp (3,781 kW) each
  • Cruise speed: 360 knots (414 mph, 667 km/h)
  • Maiden Flight: June 20, 1983

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Selected biography

Francis Gabreski color photo in pilot suit.jpg
Francis Stanley "Gabby" Gabreski (Franciszek Gabryszewski) (28 January 1919 - January 31, 2002) was the top American fighter ace in Europe during World War II, a jet fighter ace in Korea, and commanded numerous fighter squadrons, groups, and wings during his Air Force career.

Assigned as a P-40 pilot with the 45th Fighter Squadron of the 15th Fighter Group at Wheeler Field, Hawaii, 2nd Lt. Gabreski witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but did not become airborne in time to engage the attackers.

In March 1943 Gabreski became part of the 56th Fighter Group, flying the P-47 Thunderbolt, and in May was promoted to Major and named commander of the 61st Fighter Squadron, which included six Polish nationals as pilots in 1944, he made his 28th kill on July 5, 1944, passing Eddie Rickenbacker's record from World War I to become America's top ace (although several pilots passed him by the end of the war).

Col. Gabreski flew combat again during the Korean War, as commander of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, piloting an F-86 Sabre, he was credited with 6.5 MiG-15 kills, making him one of seven U.S. pilots to be aces in more than one war (the others are Col. Harrison Thyng, Col. James P. Hagerstrom, Major William T. Whisner, Col. Vermont Garrison, Major George A. Davis, Jr., and Lt.Col. John F. Bolt, USMC).

He ended his career as a commander of several tactical and air defense wings, his last assignment being commander of the 52d Fighter Wing at Suffolk County Air Force Base in Westhampton Beach, New York.

In the news

Wikinews Aviation portal
Read and edit Wikinews

Today in Aviation

April 22

  • 1999 – A Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-24MR Fencer disappears from radar at 1140 hrs. while descending through cloud during a coastal surveillance flight. Wreckage found ~9 miles (15 km) from Novorossiysk and 25 miles (40 km) from Anapa. Both crew, Lt. Col. A. Kovalenko and Maj. A. Malkerov, did not eject and are KWF.
  • 1996 – The prototype Lockheed Martin RQ-3 DarkStar crashes shortly after take off on its second flight due to incorrect aerodynamic modeling of the vehicle's flight control laws.
  • 1992 – The YF-22 prototype is damaged beyond repair
  • 1982 – During the Falklands War, British SAS troops deployed from HMS Antrim, attempt to reconnoitre Fortuna Glacier on South Georgia island in preparation for recapture by UK forces but are hit by bad weather. One Westland Wessex HAS.3 and two Westland Wessex HU.5 helicopters (XT464 and XT473) of 845 Naval Air Squadron attempt a rescue in difficult conditions. After loading the troops, one Wessex 5 crashes on the glacier but all aboard survive, the personnel are then redistributed onto the other two helicopters, whereupon the second Wessex 5 also crashes on lift-off, leaving seventeen stranded on the glacier (thirteen SAS and four helicopter crew). The Wessex 3 navigator Lt. Chris Parry, returning to the glacier as nightfall comes on, loads 17 into a helicopter able to carry 5, returns to the Antrim, which is pitching in a rough sea, and pilot Lt. Cmdr. Ian Stanley crashes the Wessex onto the deck, concluding the rescue of the seventeen stranded men, who would likely have perished had they not been evacuated from the glacier. Pilot Stanley and two other airmen are awarded the DSO for the rescue operation, although the Ministry of Defense suppresses news of the loss of three helicopters.
  • 1974Pan Am Flight 812, a Boeing 707-321B, crashes into mountainous terrain 42.5 nautical miles (78.7 km) northwest of Denpasar, Bali. All 107 passengers and crew on board are killed.
  • 1971 – Britain and France give the go-ahead for four more Concordes, bringing the total to ten.
  • 1958 – The prototype for the Boeing Vertol 107-II makes its first flight in Philadelphia. The Vertol 107 and its military cousin the CH-46 Sea Knight continue to serve around the globe.
  • 1946 – First flight of a tailless glider developed at National Research Council, Ottawa from a design by Prof GTR Hill. Flight was made from Namao, Alberta, the glider was piloted by S/L R. Kronfeld, RAF in a towed flight by an RCAF Douglas Dakota piloted for F/O Robertson.
  • 1944 – (22–23) Aircraft from eight U. S. Navy escort aircraft carriers support U. S. amphibious landings at Hollandia.
  • 1943 – The Air Cadet Corps was made a component of the RCAF by Order-in-Council.
  • 1942 – A B-24 Liberator of the Combat Crew Training School crashes near the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico while returning to Kirtland Field in Alberquerque, killing all nine people on board.
  • 1939 – Canadian pilot Marion Orr took her first flying lesson, to receive her private pilot’s license the following January. A couple of years later Marion began to operate a flying club, during World War II she got a job ferrying military aircraft for the RAF in England.
  • 1939 – First flight of Lockheed Vega Starliner five/six-seat low-wing cabin monoplane with retractable landing gear and an unusual powerplant


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