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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.

Selected article

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.

Selected image

P-51 Mustang edit1.jpg
Credit: Tech. Sgt. Ben Bloker (USAF)

A P-51 Mustang in a heritage flight during an airshow at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, USA. The P-51 was a long-range single-seat fighter aircraft that entered service with Allied air forces in the middle years of World War II. It remained in service with some air forces until the early 1980s.

...Archive/Nominations

Did you know

...that Swedish adventurer Saloman Andrée died in 1897 while trying to reach the geographic North Pole by hot-air balloon? ...that the Zagreb mid-air collision over Croatia in 1976 was one of the deadliest mid-air collisions?

Selected Aircraft

Me109 G-6 D-FMBB 1.jpg

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt in the early 1930s. It was one of the first true modern fighters of the era, including such features as an all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, and retractable landing gear. The Bf 109 was produced in greater quantities than any other fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced up to April 1945. Fighter production totalled 47% of all German aircraft production, and the Bf 109 accounted for 57% of all German fighter types produced.

The Bf 109 was the backbone of the Luftwaffe fighter force in World War II, although it began to be partially replaced by the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 from 1941. The Bf 109 was the most successful fighter of World War II, shooting down more aircraft than any of its contemporaries. Originally conceived as an interceptor, it was later developed to fulfill multiple tasks, serving as bomber escort, fighter bomber, day-, night- all-weather fighter, bomber destroyer, ground-attack aircraft, and as reconnaissance aircraft.

The Bf 109 was flown by the three top-scoring fighter aces of World War II: Erich Hartmann, the top scoring fighter pilot of all time with 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories, and Günther Rall with 275 victories. All of them flew with Jagdgeschwader 52, a unit which exclusively flew the Bf 109 and was credited with over 10,000 victories, chiefly on the Eastern Front. Hartmann chose to fly the Bf 109 in combat throughout the war, despite being offered the use of the Me 262. Hans-Joachim Marseille, the highest scoring German ace in the North African Campaign, also scored all of his 158 victories flying the Bf 109, against Western Allied pilots.

  • Span: 9.925 m (32 ft 6 in)
  • Length: 8.95 m (29 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 2.60 m (8 ft 2 in)
  • Engine: 1× Daimler-Benz DB 605A-1 liquid-cooled inverted V12, 1,475 PS (1,455 hp, 1,085 kW)
  • Cruising Speed: 590 km/h (365 mph) at 6,000 m (19,680 ft)
  • First Flight: 28 May 1935
...Archive/Nominations

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Selected biography

Amelia Earhart, c. 1928
Amelia Mary Earhart (July 24, 1897 – missing as of July 2, 1937), daughter of Edwin and Amy Earhart, was an American aviator and noted early female pilot who mysteriously disappeared over the Pacific Ocean during a circumnavigational flight in 1937.

By 1919 Earhart had enrolled at Columbia University to study pre-med but quit a year later to be with her parents in California. Later in Long Beach she and her father went to a stunt-flying exhibition and the next day she went on a ten minute flight.

Earhart had her first flying lesson at Kinner Field near Long Beach. Her teacher was Anita Snook, a pioneer female aviator. Six months later Earhart purchased a yellow Kinner Airster biplane which she named "Canary". On October 22, 1922, she flew it to an altitude of 14,000 feet, setting a women's world record.

After Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927, Amy Guest, a wealthy American living in London, England expressed interest in being the first woman to fly (or be flown) across the Atlantic Ocean, but after deciding the trip was too dangerous to make herself, she offered to sponsor the project, suggesting they find "another girl with the right image." While at work one afternoon in April 1928 Earhart got a phone call from a man who asked her, "Would you like to fly the Atlantic?" (more...)

In the news

Wikinews Aviation portal
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Today in Aviation

October 10

  • 1997Austral Líneas Aéreas Flight 2553, a Douglas DC-9-32, crashes near Fray Bentos, Uruguay traveling from Posadas to Buenos Aires, resulting in the death of all 74 occupants – 5 crew members and 69 passengers.
  • 1984 – UThe first of three Northrop F-20 Tigersharks, 82-0062, c/n GG1001, N4416T, during a world sales tour, crashes at Suwon Air Base, South Korea, killing Northrop chief test pilot Darrell Cornell. During the last manoeuvre of the final demonstration flight at Suwon, the aircraft stalled at the top of an erratic vertical climb and dove into the ground from 1,800 feet. High-G pilot incapacitation was suspected as the cause, as the investigation found no evidence of airframe failure.
  • 1972 – Douglas A-3B Skywarrior, BuNo 138968, of VAQ-33, crashes 1.6 statute miles NW of Holland, Virginia on old Highway 58 in Nansemond (Suffolk, Virginia), off Glen Haven Drive. LTJG David H. Grant, 25, of Westbury, New York, pilot; LTJG Ronald B. Ritchie, 25, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, navigator; and LTJG Jeffery R. Haushalter, 25, of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, electronic-weapons officer, are KWF.
  • 1968 – Lockheed SR-71A, 61-7977, Article 2028, lost at end of runway, Beale Air Force Base, California after tire explosion and runway abort. Pilot Maj. Gabriel A. Kardong rode airframe to a standstill. RSO James A. Kogler ejected safely. Both survived.
  • 1962 – Vickers Viscount CF-THA was involved in a ground collision with CF-101 Voodoo 17452 of the Royal Canadian Air Force at RCAF Station Bagotville. The Voodoo had been given clearance to take-off before the Viscount had cleared the runway. It collided with the tail of the Viscount, killing a flight attendant and a passenger. The crew of the Voodoo ejected as the aircraft had been set on fire as a result of the collision. The Viscount was substantially damaged but it was repaired and returned to service.
  • 1958 – A C-123 B Provider serving as a maintenance support aircraft for the United States Air Force Thunderbirds air demonstration team flies into a flock of birds and crashes near Payette, Idaho, killing the entire flight crew of five and all 14 maintenance personnel on board. It remains the worst accident in Thunderbirds history.
  • 1956 – A United States Navy Douglas R6D-1 Liftmaster, BuNo 131588, c/n 43691/321, of VR-6, MATS, is lost at sea about 150 miles (240 km) north of the Azores. 59 died, 50 U.S. Air Force personnel from Lincoln AFB, and nine U.S. Navy personnel. Another source cites 11 October: as crash date.
  • 1947 Chuck Yeager's seventh powered flight. Chuck had the X-1 at .94 Mach when his controls suddenly ceased to function. Shock waves on the plane’s control surfaces made operation impossible. Always cool-headed in such situations, Chuck turned off the plane’s rockets to slow down and jettisoned the remaining fuel. He glided back in to the lakebed and explained to Ridley what had happened. Engineers had predicted that as the plane reached the speed of sound, its nose would pitch up or down. At .94 Mach, however, Chuck had lost the ability to operate the plane’s elevator. Without it, he could not correct for whatever pitch change might occur at Mach 1. It was Jack Ridley who came up with the solution.
  • 1944 – Aircraft from the 17 aircraft carriers of U. S. Navy Task Force 38 fly 1,396 sorties against targets on Okinawa and in the Ryukyu Islands, claiming 111 Japanese aircraft destroyed and sinking a submarine tender, 12 torpedo boats, two midget submarines, four cargo ships, and various smaller ships, in exchange for the loss of 21 U. S. aircraft, 5 pilots, and four aircrewmen. It is the closest Allied operation to Japan since the April 1942 Doolittle Raid.
  • 1944 – First Fisher P-75A-GC Eagle, 44-44549, crashes on flight test out of Eglin Field, Florida, when propellers apparently run out of oil, pilot Maj. Harold Bolster attempts dead-stick landing but crashes short on approach, dies.
  • 1933Fokker Y1O-27, 31-602, '3', of 30th Bombardment Squadron, Rockwell Field, California, en route from Burbank, California to Crissy Field, California, lands at Crissy with landing gear retracted. Both light and buzzer in cockpit that are supposed to activate when the throttles are retarded fail to function. Only serious damage is to the propellers but airframe is surveyed and dropped from inventory with 115 hours, 15 minutes flying time. Pilot 2nd Lt. Theodore B. Anderson uninjured.
  • 1933 – The United Airlines crash near Chesterton: a Boeing 247 is destroyed by a bomb over Chesterton, Indiana in the first proven case of air sabotage on a commercial aircraft; all seven on board are killed.
  • 1928 – Flying an Engineering Division XCO-5 observation aircraft, St. Clair “Bill” Streett (pilot) and Albert William Stevens (passenger) set an unofficial altitude record for an aircraft carrying a passenger of 11,538 m (37,854 feet). Temperatures of −61 C (–71 F) freeze the controls, preventing Streett from losing altitude or turning off the engine; he waits 20 min for the engine to run out of gasoline (petrol), then glides to a deadstick landing.
  • 1919 – On third day of transcontinental contest, an east-bound DH-4B, piloted by Maj. Albert Sneed, almost out of gas, makes fast landing at Buffalo, New York. Passenger Sgt. Worth C. McClure undoes his seatbelt and slides onto the rear fuselage to weight down the tail for a quicker stop. Plane bounces on landing, smashes nose-first into the ground, and McClure is thrown off and killed.
  • 1907 – Robert Esnault-Pelterie made the first airplane flight with a control stick; he used a single, broom handle-like lever.
  • 1898 – Augustus Herring pilots a powered biplane based on Octave Chanute’s glider design.


  1. ^ "Turkey, Seeking Weapons, Forces Syrian Jet to Land". New York Times. 10 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Turkey: Syrian plane was carrying ammunition". San Francisco Chronicle. 11 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Turkey: Syrian plane was carrying ammunition". Associated Press. 12 October 2012.
  4. ^ Wilkinson, Stephan, "Yak Sets Speed Record," Aviation History, March 2012, p. 10.
  5. ^ "Libya's NTC fighters stage final advance in Sirte holdout -". CNN. 12 October 2011.

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