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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, parachutes, 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.


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A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship pioneered by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century. Due to the outstanding success of the Zeppelin design, the term zeppelin in casual use came to refer to all rigid airships. The German defeat in World War I halted the business temporarily, but under the guidance of Hugo Eckener, the successor of the deceased count, civilian Zeppelins experienced a renaissance in the 1920s. They reached their zenith in the 1930s, when the airships LZ127 "Graf Zeppelin" and LZ129 "Hindenburg" profitably operated regular transatlantic passenger flights. The Hindenburg disaster in 1937 triggered the fall of the "giants of the air", though other factors, including political issues, contributed to the demise.

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A Bell 212 with a helicopter bucket
Credit: Mila Zinkova

A Bell 212 Twin Huey carrying a helicopter bucket, a specialized bucket suspended on a cable to deliver water for helitack operations, which is aerial firefighting using helicopters. Helitack crews are used to attack a wildfire and gain early control of it, especially when inaccessibility would make it difficult or impossible for ground crews to respond in the same amount of time.

...Archive/Nominations

Template:/box-header ...that Chris Phatswe committed suicide by crashing his Air Botswana plane into two other planes belonging to the airline, effectively crippling operations?

...that the BAE Systems HERTI is the first and only fully autonomous UAV to have been certificated by the United Kingdom?

... that the PZL SM-4 Łątka never flew, because its engine was not approved for use in flight? Template:/box-footer

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XB-36 first flight.jpg
The Convair B-36 was a strategic bomber built by Convair for the United States Air Force, the first to have truly intercontinental range. Unofficially nicknamed the "Peacemaker", the B-36 was the first thermonuclear weapon delivery vehicle, the largest piston aircraft ever to be mass-produced, and the largest warplane of any kind.

The B-36 was the only American aircraft with the range and payload to carry such bombs from airfields on American soil to targets in the USSR, as storing nuclear weapons in foreign countries was diplomatically delicate. The nuclear deterrent the B-36 afforded may have kept the Soviet Army from fighting alongside the North Korean and Chinese armies during the Korean War. Convair touted the B-36 as an "aluminum overcast," a "long rifle" to give SAC a global reach. When General Curtis LeMay headed SAC (1949-57) and turned it into an effective nuclear delivery force, the B-36 formed the heart of his command. Its maximum payload was more than four times that of the B-29, even exceeding that of the B-52.

  • Span: 230 ft 0 in (70.10 m)
  • Length: 162 ft 1 in (49.40 m)
  • Height: 46 ft 9 in (14.25 m)
  • Engines: 6× Pratt & Whitney R-4360-53 "Wasp Major" radials, 3,800 hp (2,500 kW) each
  • Cruising Speed: 230 mph (200 kn, 380 km/h) with jets off
  • Range: 6,795 mi (5,905 nmi, 10,945 km) with 10,000 lb (4,535 kg) payload
  • First Flight: 8 August 1946


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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.


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Template:/box-header May 21

  • 2011Sol Líneas Aéreas Flight 5428, a Saab 340, crashes off Prahuaniyeu, Río Negro, Argentina while on approach to General Enrique Mosconi International Airport, Comodoro Rivadavia in heavy rain, killing all 22 passengers and crew on board.
  • 1996 – A Grumman F-14A-115-GR Tomcat, BuNo 161282, 'NF 101', of VF-154 crashes into the Pacific Ocean 500 miles W of Guam after suffering engine malfunction. Both crew eject safely.
  • 1973 – Death of Dieudonné Costes, French aviator, well known for long distance and record breaking flights (Costes with Maurice Bellonte, flew the Breguet 19 from Paris to New York, as the first aircraft in more difficult westbound direction, between North American and European mainlands), as well as being a fighter ace during World War I.
  • 1972Aeroflot Flight 1491, an Antonov An-24, suffers a in-flight structural failure while descending to land at Kharkov Airport in the Ukraine. All 122 passengers and crew on board are killed.
  • 1970 – National Airlines ends a 108-day strike by offering ground crews a 33% pay increase.
  • 1969 – Launch of Apollo 10, fourth manned mission in the American Apollo space program, for testing all of the procedures and components of a Moon landing without actually landing on the Moon itself.
  • 1969 – USMC Lockheed KC-130F Hercules BuNo 149814, c/n 3723, of VMGR-352, collided head-on with McDonnell F-4B Phantom II BuNo 151001 of VMFA-542, MAG-13, from Chu Lai (both crew killed), while refuelling two F-4Bs of VMFA-314 over South Vietnam near Phu Bai. Two crew of F-4B BuNo 151450, survived after jettisoning bombs and ejecting, while the second F-4B recovered safely to Chu Lai. Lars Olausson states that the KC-130F was from VMGR-352, while Chris Hobson claims it was assigned to VMGR-152.
  • 1967 – Prototype of the Dassault Mirage F1, French air-superiority fighter and attack aircraft, crashes due to flutter, killing its pilot.
  • 1966Kosmos 11, soviet spacecraft re-enters earth's atmosphere and breaks up.
  • 1961 – Commander J. L. Felsman, US Navy, is killed in a McDonnell F4H-1F Phantom II, BuNo 145316, during the first attempt at "Operation Sageburner" speed record at Edwards Air Force Base, California, when his aircraft disintegrated in the air after pitch damper failure. This was the first fatal Phantom II accident.
  • 1958 – An F-104A Starfighter sets a world speed record of 2,259.82 km/h (1,404.19 mph).
  • 1958 – In a Zero Length Launch (ZEL) experiment, a U. S. Air Force North American F-100D Super Sabre becomes airborne with no runway or take-off roll at all, using its own engine in afterburner and boosted by a 130,000-pound- (58,967-kg)-thrust Astrodyne rocket.
  • 1953 – First flight of the Douglas DC-7, American 4 engine transport aircraft, last major piston engine powered transport made by Douglas.
  • 1953 – Jackie Cochran becomes the first woman to break the sound barrier.
  • 1952 – Birth of Jeana Yeager, American aviatrix. most famous for co-piloting a non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world in the Rutan Voyager aircraft.
  • 1951 – First flight of the Vickers-Armstrongs Valiant, British four-jet bomber, once part of the Royal Air Force's V bomber nuclear force, originally developed for use as high-level strategic bomber, but its role, like other V bombers, was changed to low-level attacks.
  • 1951 – Gloster E.1/44, TX145, following test flight out of the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), Farnborough, suffers damage when starboard undercarriage leg collapses on landing. Probably not repaired as it is struck off charge on 2 August and sent to the Proof and Experimental Establishment (PEE) at Shoeburyness.
  • 1947 – A U.S. Navy pilot and two school boys are killed when a Vought F4U Corsair fighter crashes onto a school playground in Burlington, Iowa, during an airshow at the Municipal Airport. The fighter, one of 35 aircraft from Lambert Field, St. Louis, Missouri, performing a mock formation raid in front of 3,500 spectators to signal the start of National Naval Reserve week, went into a series of barrel rolls, then appeared to go out of control before it crashed onto the playground at the Perkins School where 14 youngsters were playing ball. At least five others were injured, and several homes were struck by debris from the crash.
  • 1942 – RCAF No. 423 (Coastal) Squadron was formed at Oban, England.
  • 1940 – First flight of the Pashinin I-21 (not to be confused with the Ilyushin TsKB-32, also known as "I-21") Soviet fighter prototype.
  • 1940 – First flight of Saab 17, Swedish bomber-reconnaissance aircraft.
  • 1935 – The Tupolev ANT-20, Maxim Gorky, the largest aircraft ever built to that time, flown by pilots I. V. Mikheyev and I. S. Zhurov, and three more planes (Tupolev ANT-14, Polikarpov R-5 and Polikarpov I-5) take off for a demonstration flight over Moscow. As a result of a poorly executed loop maneuver (a third such stunt on this flight) around the plane performed by an accompanying I-5 fighter, flown by Nikolai Blagin, both planes collide and the Maxim Gorky crashes into a low-rise residential neighborhood west of present-day Sokol station. Forty-five people are killed in the crash, including crew members and 33 family members of some of those who had built the aircraft. (While authorities announced that the fatal maneuver was impromptu and reckless, it has been recently suggested that it might have been a planned part of the show.) Also killed was the fighter pilot, Blagin, who was made a scapegoat in the crash and subsequently had his name used eponymously (Blaginism) to mean, roughly, a "cocky disregard of authority." However, Blagin was given a state funeral at Novodevichy Cemetery together with ANT-20 victims.
  • 1934 – Entered into service was the Douglas DC-2 with Transcontinental and Western Air.
  • 1929 – During the 1929 U.S. Army maneuvers, two Boeing P-12s of the 95th Pursuit Squadron, operating out of Norton Field (the first airfield to be built in central Ohio), collide over the Linden neighborhood on the north side of Columbus, Ohio, the propeller of 2nd Lt. Andrew F. Solter's XP-12A, 29-362, cutting into the rear fuselage of 2nd Lt. Edward L. Meadow's P-12 (possibly 29-361). Meadow is killed but Solter bails out and lands safely. Gen. Benjamin Foulois tells newsmen, "It's all in a day's work of the Air Corps. Although an unhappy occurrence, the accident will cause no change in the maneuver plans, which will be carried out as scheduled."
  • 1919Harry Hawker and Lt Cdr Kenneth Mackenzie-Grieve attempt a non-stop Atlantic crossing but are forced to ditch their aircraft only 2,253 (1,400 miles) after leaving Newfoundland. London's Daily Mail newspaper awards them a prize of £5,000 for their attempt anyway.
  • 1912 – Birth of Robert Hoover?, Nasa Test Pilot.
  • 1910 – International talks open in Paris to draw up a legal basis for flight between countries.




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