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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.

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UA93 path.svg
United Airlines Flight 93 was a scheduled U.S. domestic passenger flight from Newark International Airport, in Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco International Airport. It was hijacked by four men as part of the September 11, 2001 attacks, over 40 minutes into the flight the hijackers breached the cockpit, overpowered the pilots and took over control of the aircraft, diverting it toward Washington, D.C. Several passengers and crew members made telephone calls aboard the flight and learned about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As a result, the passengers decided to mount an assault against the hijackers and wrest control of the aircraft.

The plane crashed in a field just outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, about 150 miles (240 km) northwest of Washington, D.C., killing all 44 people aboard, including the hijackers. Many witnessed the impact from the ground and news agencies began reporting on the event within an hour, the plane fragmented upon impact, leaving a crater, and some debris was blown miles from the crash site. The remains of everyone on board the aircraft were later identified. Subsequent analysis of the flight recorders revealed how the actions taken by the passengers prevented the aircraft from reaching either the White House or United States Capitol. A permanent memorial is planned for construction on the crash site, the chosen design has been the source of criticism and is scheduled to be dedicated in 2011.

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Did you know

...that four planes were simultaneously hijacked in the 1970 Dawson's Field hijackings? ...that Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney was only twenty-eight years old when he helped found Pan American World Airways? ... that Wing Commander John Lerew, ordered to defend Rabaul against Japanese invasion in 1942, signaled headquarters the legendary gladiatorial phrase "We who are about to die salute you"?

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[[File:|right|250px|The two YC-130 prototypes; the blunt nose was replaced with radar on later production models.]] The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop cargo aircraft and the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. Over 40 models and variants of the Hercules serve with more than 50 nations, on December 2006 the C-130 was the third aircraft (after the English Electric Canberra in May 2001 and the B-52 Stratofortress in January 2005) to mark 50 years of continuous use with its original primary customer (in this case the United States Air Force).

Capable of short takeoffs and landings from unprepared runways, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship, and for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refuelling and aerial firefighting. The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history, during more than 50 years of service the family has participated in military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations.

...Archive/Nominations

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Erich Alfred "Bubi" Hartmann (19 April 1922 – 20 September 1993), also nicknamed "The Blond Knight of Germany" by friends and "The Black Devil" by his enemies, was a German fighter pilot and still is the highest scoring fighter ace in the history of aerial combat. He scored 352 aerial victories (of which 345 were won against the Soviet Air Force, and 260 of which were fighters) in 1,404 combat missions and engaging in aerial combat 825 times while serving with the Luftwaffe in World War II. During the course of his career Hartmann was forced to crash land his damaged fighter 14 times, this was due to damage received from parts of enemy aircraft he had just shot down, or mechanical failure. Hartmann was never shot down or forced to land due to enemy fire.[1]

Hartmann, a pre-war glider pilot, joined the Luftwaffe in 1940 and completed his fighter pilot training in 1942, he was posted to Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52) on the Eastern front and was fortunate to be placed under the supervision of some of the Luftwaffe's most experienced fighter pilots. Under their guidance Hartmann steadily developed his tactics which would earn him the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds on 25 August 1944 for claiming 301 aerial victories.

He scored his 352nd and last aerial victory on 8 May 1945, he and the remainder of JG 52 surrendered to United States Army forces and were turned over to the Red Army. Convicted of false "War Crimes" and sentenced to 25 years of hard labour, Hartmann would spend 10 years in various Soviet prison camps and gulags until he was released in 1955; in 1956, Hartmann joined the newly established West German Luftwaffe and became the first Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 71 "Richthofen". Hartmann resigned early from the Bundeswehr in 1970, largely due to his opposition of the F-104 Starfighter deployment in the Bundesluftwaffe and the resulting clashes with his superiors over this issue. Erich Hartmann died in 1993.

In the news

Wikinews Aviation portal
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Today in Aviation

June 18

  • 2013 – A tornado passes between Runways 34R and 34L at Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado, passing 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) east of the airport's A gates, causing thousands of people to take cover in stairwells, restrooms, and other safe areas. The anemometer at the airport's weather station records a peak wind gust of 97 mph (156 km/h) before breaking. Nine flights are diverted to other airports during the 40-minute tornado warning.[2][3]
  • 2009 – An Indian Air Force Mikoyan MiG-21 Bison from the Chabua Air Force Station, Assam, India crashes due to a technical fault while on a routine training flight, the pilot successfully ejecting from the aircraft.
  • 2004 – Airblue flies its first flight, a private airline in Pakistan
  • 1986Grand Canyon Airlines Flight 6, a De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, collides with a Bell 206 helicopter over the Tonto Plateau, killing all 25 on board both aircraft.
  • 1983 – Launch: Space shuttle Challenger STS-7 at 11:33:00 UTC. Mission highlights: First US woman in space Sally Ride; Multiple comsat deployments; First deployment and retrieval of a satellite SPAS.
  • 1972British European Airways Flight 548, a Hawker Siddeley Trident, undergoes a series of stalls as a result of pilot error, followed by a deep stall, crashing near Staines, United Kingdom; all 118 on board are killed.
  • 1972 – General Dynamics F-111A, 67-0082, c/n A1-127, crashes near Eglin AFB, Florida, shortly after takeoff. Lost control after an external fuel fire and explosion. Unsuccessful ejection, crew killed.
  • 1965 – Lockheed NF-104A Starfighter, 56-0756, c/n 183-1044, assigned to Air Force Systems Command Test Pilot School, Edwards AFB, California, suffers rocket oxidizer explosion this date, blowing off portion of the tail, pilot landed safely. Repaired and flown again.
  • 1965 – On the very first Operation Arc Light mission flown by Boeing B-52 Stratofortress aircraft of SAC to hit a target in South Vietnam, a total of 30 B-52Fs depart Andersen AFB, Guam just after midnight, flying in ten cells of three aircraft, to hit a suspected Viet Cong stronghold in the Bến Cát District, 40 miles N of Saigon. Unexpected tailwinds from a typhoon cause the bombers to arrive seven minutes early at their refuelling point with KC-135 tankers over the South China Sea at a point between South Vietnam and the island of Luzon, the three planes of Green Cell, in the lead, begin a 360 degree turn to make their rendezvous, and in doing so cross the path of Blue Cell and directly towards oncoming Yellow Cell. In the darkness, Boeing B-52F-105-BO Stratofortress, 57-0047, and Boeing B-52F-70-BW Stratofortress, 57-0179, both of the 441st Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Wing, attached to the 3960th Strategic Wing, collide, killing eight crew, with four survivors, plus one body recovered, the four are located and picked up by an HU-16A-GR Albatross amphibian, 51-5287 (?), but it is damaged on take-off by a heavy sea state and those on board have to transfer to a Norwegian freighter and a Navy vessel, the Albatross sinking thereafter. Another B-52 loses a hydraulic pump and radar, cannot rendezvous with the tankers and aborts to Okinawa. Twenty-seven Stratofortresses drop on a one-mile by two-mile target box from between 19,000 and 22,000 feet, a little more than 50 percent of the bombs falling within the target zone, the force returns to Andersen except for one bomber with electrical problems that recovers to Clark AFB, the mission having lasted 13 hours. Post-strike assessment by teams of South Vietnamese troops with American advisors find evidence that the VC had departed the area before the raid, and it is suspected that infiltration of the south's forces have tipped off the north because of the ARVN troops involved in the post-strike inspection.
  • 1962 – To reduce the chances of Viet Cong forces slipping away from large South Vietnamese ground units by fleeing operations areas in small groups, U. S. Marine Corps helicopters operating in South Vietnam begin to use the “Eagle Flight” tactic, in which Marine transport helicopters circle contested areas and drop off South Vietnamese troops when and where they are needed to block escaping Viet Cong forces, it will become a proven tactic by the middle of July.
  • 1953 – A United States Air Force Douglas C-124A Globemaster II, 51-0137, c/n 43471, crashes at Kodaira, Japan after engine failure on take-off at Tachikawa Air Force Base, Tokyo, Japan. 129 die, making this the deadliest recorded disaster in aviation history at the time.
  • 1951 – An infamous day in the history of RAF Biggin Hill when three Gloster Meteors and their pilots are killed in accidents, all three crashing in an area of about 100 yards. The first, a Mk.8 piloted by Flight Lieutenant Gordon McDonald of 41 Squadron, crashed shortly after take off, corkscrewing as pieces of structure fell from the aircraft. The aircraft hit a bungalow killing the pilot, the jet wash of his flight leader was named as a possible cause. Within seconds of this accident two Mk.4 Meteors of 600 Sqn, piloted by Sergeant Kenneth Clarkson and Squadron Leader Phillip Sandeman, both circling over the wreckage and preparing to land, collided at 2,000 feet (610 m) above the scene. Although Sandeman managed to bail out he was killed when his parachute failed to open. Clarkson was killed in his aircraft. A week after this incident, another Meteor overshot the runway, narrowly missing passing cars, after these incidents, several residents stated they would be "selling up" and there were calls for traffic lights to be sited on the Bromley road for use during take-offs and landings. Princess Elizabeth, soon to be Queen Elizabeth II, was visiting the base on this day.
  • 1940 – The last deployed element of the RAF’s Advanced Air Striking Force – some Hurricane fighters – withdraws from France and the Channel Islands to the United Kingdom.
  • 1939 – The first direct transatlantic seaplane service is begun by Pan American Airways. It flies from New York to Southampton, England, by way of Botwood, Newfoundland, and Foynes, Ireland.
  • 1935 – The Seversky SEV-2XP is heavily damaged (perhaps intentionally) while en route to Wright Field, Ohio, for the 1935 U.S. Army Air Corps competition for a new single-seat fighter. The two-seat design is reworked into a single-seater with retractable undercarriage when the Air Corps delays the competition until April 1936.
  • 1928 – A Latham 47 flying boat carrying Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen and five others on a flight to search for survivors of the Italian airship Italia disappears. Their bodies are never found.
  • 1922 – The first soaring flight of one hour in slope lift (using hill currents) is made by Arthur Martens in a Vampyr sailplane designed by Wolfgang Klemmperer at the Wasserkuppe, Rhön, Germany.
  • 1920 – The first aircraft were taken on strength by the Canadian Air Force. They were four Avro 504 ks, registered G-CYAA to G-CYAD.
  • 1916 – First German ace Max Immelmann (17 victories) is killed at ~2215 hrs. when his Fokker E.III monoplane, 246-16, crashes after breaking up in the air when the interrupter gear malfunctions and he shoots away his own propeller. He had been engaging an F.E.2b piloted by 2nd Lt. G. R. Gubbin with Cpl. J. H. Waller as gunner. Gubbin and Waller were credited with the victory, but another theory posits that Immelmann may have taken hits from friendly AAA, as the propeller failure would not necessarily have caused the complete airframe disintegration that occurred.
  • 1877 – Samuel Archer King makes a two-hour airmail flight of 26 miles between Nashville and Gallatin, Tennessee, in the balloon Buffalo.
  • 1861 – Thaddeus S. C. Lowe transmits the first telegraphic message ever sent from a balloon during a test at the Columbia Armory, Washington, D. C.


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