Main page   Categories & Main topics   Tasks and Projects


The Boeing 747, one of the most iconic aircraft in history. This one flew for Pan Am, an airline which was also an icon in aviation.

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

Hot air balloon
The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. On November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, the first manned flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in a hot air balloon created by the Montgolfier brothers.

A hot air balloon consists of a bag called the envelope that is capable of containing heated air. Suspended beneath is the gondola or wicker basket (in some long-distance or high-altitude balloons, a capsule) which carries the passengers and a source of heat. The heated air inside the envelope makes it buoyant since it has a lower density than the relatively cold air outside the envelope. Unlike gas balloons, the envelope does not have to be sealed at the bottom since the air near the bottom of the envelope is at the same pressure as the surrounding air. In today's sport balloons the envelope is generally made from nylon fabric and the mouth of the balloon (closest to the burner flame) is made from fire resistant material such as Nomex.

Recently, balloon envelopes have been made in all kinds of shapes, such as hot dogs, rocket ships, and the shapes of commercial products. Hot air balloons that can be propelled through the air rather than just being pushed along by the wind are known as airships or, more specifically, thermal airships.

Selected image

Credit: User:Arpingstone

The UK Utterly Butterly display team perform an aerobatic maneuver with their Boeing Stearmans, at an air display in England.

...Archive/Nominations

Did you know

...that British Airways unveiled a new corporate identity in 1997 which involved repainting its fleet with around 20 daring tailfin designs by world artists? ...that passengers aboard JetBlue Airways Flight 292 were able to watch their own malfunctioning aircraft circle Los Angeles International Airport on the satellite television screens at each seat until the flight crew disabled the system in preparation for the aircraft's successful emergency landing? ...that a Cambridge University society has launched high altitude balloons that have taken a picture of the earth's curvature from a height of 32 km?

Selected Aircraft

C-GSYN Adlair Aviation Ltd Beechcraft King Air 100 (BE10) 03.JPG

The Beechcraft King Air is a line of twin-turboprop aircraft produced by the Beech Aircraft Corporation (now the Beechcraft Division of Hawker Beechcraft). The King Air has been in continuous production since 1964, the longest production run of any civilian turboprop aircraft. It has outlasted all of its previous competitors and as of 2006 is one of only two twin-turboprop business airplanes in production (the other is the Piaggio Avanti).

Historically, the King Air family comprises a number of models that fall into four families, the Model 90 series, Model 100 series, Model 200 series, and Model 300 series. The last two types were originally marketed as the Super King Air, but the "Super" moniker was dropped in 1996. As of 2006, the only small King Air in production is the conventional-tail C90GT.

  • Span: 50 ft 3 in (15.33 m)
  • Length: 35 ft 6in (10.82 m)
  • Height: 14 ft 3 in (4.35 m)
  • Engines: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-21 turboprops , 550 shp (410 kW) each
  • Cruising Speed: 284 mph (247 knots ,457 km/h)
  • First Flight: May 1963
...Archive/Nominations

Related portals

Selected biography

Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong (born August 5, 1930) is a former American astronaut, test pilot, university professor, and United States Naval Aviator. He was the first person to set foot on the Moon. His first spaceflight was aboard Gemini 8 in 1966, for which he was the command pilot. On this mission, he performed the first manned docking of two spacecraft together with pilot David Scott. Armstrong's second and last spaceflight was as mission commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission on July 20, 1969. On this mission, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent 2.5 hours exploring while Michael Collins orbited. Armstrong is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Before becoming an astronaut, Armstrong was in the United States Navy and saw action in the Korean War. After the war, he served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station, now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center, where he flew over 900 flights in a variety of aircraft. As a research pilot, Armstrong served as project pilot on the F-100 Super Sabre A and C aircraft, F-101 Voodoo, and the Lockheed F-104A Starfighter. He also flew the Bell X-1B, Bell X-5, North American X-15, F-105 Thunderchief, F-106 Delta Dart, B-47 Stratojet, KC-135 Stratotanker and Paresev. He graduated from Purdue University.

In the news

Wikinews Aviation portal
Read and edit Wikinews

Today in Aviation

May 23

  • 2013 – Solar Impulse aircraft HB-SIA completes the second and longest leg of its trip across the continental United States, arriving at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas after a 957-mile (1,541-km) flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, at an average speed-over-ground of 52 mph (83.7 km/h), reaching an altitude of 27,000 feet (8,230 meters). The flight, which takes 18 hours 21 minutes, sets a new world distance record for a solar-powered flight, exceeding the previous record, also established by HB-SIA, in a flight from Switzerland to Spain on 25 May 2012.[1][2]
  • 2012 – A Pakistan Army School of Aviation Schweizer 300C crashed into the Chenab river in Pakistan, two occupants killed.
  • 2011 – France and the United Kingdom announce that they will begin to use attack helicopters in Libya to increase the accuracy of NATO airstrikes and allow more precise strikes against urban targets.[3]
  • 2006 – A Greek Lockheed Martin F-16C Block 52 Fighting Falcon, 514, of 343 Mira, and Turkish Lockheed Martin F-16C Fighting Falcon, 93-0684, of 192 Filo, collide over the Aegean Sea as the Greek pilot attempts to intercept the Turkish, after an alleged airspace violation. The Greek pilot, Flight Lieutenant Konstantinos Iliakis, is presumed dead, but the Turkish pilot, 1st Lieutenant Halil Ibrahim Ozdemir, is rescued.
  • 1969 – A drunken U.S. Air Force assistant crew chief, Sgt. Paul Adams Meyer, 23, of Poquoson, Virginia, suffering anxiety over marital problems, starts up a Lockheed C-130E Hercules, 63-7789, c/n 3856, of the 36th Tactical Airlift Squadron, 316th Tactical Airlift Wing, on hardstand 21 at RAF Mildenhall and takes off in it at 0655 hrs. CET, headed for Langley AFB, Virginia. At least two North American F-100 Super Sabres from RAF Lakenheath, a C-130 from Mildenhall, and two RAF English Electric Lightnings are sent aloft to try to make contact with the stolen aircraft. The Hercules crashes into the English Channel off Alderney (5000N, 0205W) ~90 minutes later. In the last transmission from Meyer, to his wife, in a link-up over the side-band radio, he stated "Leave me alone for about five minutes, I've got trouble." There is speculation whether the Hercules was shot down. Some wreckage was recovered but the pilot's body was never found. Meyer had been arrested for being drunk and disorderly earlier in the morning in the village of Freckenham and had been remanded to quarters, but sneaked out to steal the Hercules.
  • 1967 – President Lyndon B. Johnson‘s administration prohibits any American air attacks within a 10-mile (16-km) radius of Hanoi.
  • 1966 – (23-26) Round-the-world demonstration flight by a new Learjet 24 to exhibit its capabilities; flight time was 50 hours and 20 min.
  • 1958 – Flying a Douglas F4D-1 Skyray, USMC Major Edward N. LeFaivre breaks 5 world climb-to-height records, including 15,000 m (49,221 feet) in 2 min 36 seconds.
  • 1958 – A Nike Ajax missile of Battery B, 526th AAA Missile Battalion, exploded accidentally at a battery at Site NY-53 near Leonardo, New Jersey at 1315 hrs. on this date, setting off six other missiles of A Section, killing 6 soldiers and 4 civilians. The nearest missile in B Section had its booster ignited by flying shrapnel and it flew into a nearby hill, but the warhead fortunately failed to explode. This was the first fatal Nike Ajax accident. A memorial can be found at Fort Hancock in the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area.
  • 1958 – First flight of The PZL-102 Kos, Polish two-seat touring and training monoplane.
  • 1958Explorer 1 (first Earth satellite of the USA) stopped transmission of data when its batteries died. It remained in orbit for more than 12 years
  • 1950 – AWhile flying Supermarine Attacker F.1, WA469, to test airbrakes, Supermarine pilot Leslie R. Colquhoun makes a high-speed run over South Marston airfield, experiences a sudden nose-down pitch as the starboard wingtip folds upwards. Using only the rudder - the ailerons had jammed - he makes a wide circuit and touches down at ~200 knots (370 km/h), coming to a stop just short of the end of the runway with a burst tyre. He receives the George Medal for saving the aircraft under daunting circumstances.
  • 1948 – In the early evening, ex-RAF Handley Page Halifax C.MK 8, registered G-AIZO, ex-PP293, and operated by Bond Air Services Ltd. carrying a cargo of apricots from Valencia, Spain, crashes at Studham, Bedfordshire while on a Standard Beam Approach (SBA) to RAF Bovingdon in bad weather. After a steep turn to port and losing height rapidly, the Halifax sideslips towards the ground until, seeming to recover and flying straight and level and with engines at full power, the aircraft strikes the ground flat and disintegrates, breaking into its component sections. Miraculously, the crew escape alive. After initial suspicions that the cargo may have shifted in flight, the subsequent AAIB report blames loss of control by the pilot while the aircraft was too close to the ground for recovery.
  • 1947 – First flight of the SNCAC NC.1070, French twin engine carrier born bomber prototype.
  • 1945 – (23-25) The seventh Kikusui attack off Okinawa involves 165 kamikazes. They sink a destroyer-transport and two smaller ships and damage a destroyer and a destroyer-transport on May 25.
  • 1944 – First flight of the British Martin-Baker MB 5 (actually second Martin-Baker MB 3), prototype fighter aircraft.
  • 1943 – An aircraft sinks an enemy submarine with air-to-surface rockets for the first time, as a Fairey Swordfish from the British escort carrier HMS Archer sinks the German submarine U-752 in the Atlantic.
  • 1941 – German aircraft attack British positions around Fallujah for the first time, with little effect.
  • 1940 – S/L FM Gobeil, an RCAF exchange officer and CO of No. 242 Squadron RAF, was the first RCAF officer to enter combat. He engaged a Messerschmitt Bf 109 near Berck, France.
  • 1933 – Birth of Bruce A. Peterson, American engineer and NASA test pilot. He flew a wide variety of airplanes including the F5D-1, F-100, F-104, F-111 A, B-52, NT-33 A Variable Stability Trainer, the wingless lifting bodies and numerous general aviation aircraft as well as several types of helicopters and sailplanes.
  • 1925 – Death of Rudolf Rienau, German WWI flying ace, Post War instructor, killed in a flying accident.
  • 1924 – The first scheduled air service in Canada began. Laurentide Air Service Ltd. (which still exists today) offered flights between Angliers, Lake Fortune and Rouyn, Quebec.
  • 1923 – Birth of Walter Wolfrum, German WWII fighter ace (127 credited), and later a successful aerobatics pilot, winning the German Championship in 1962 and taking second place in 1961, 1963, 1964 and 1966.
  • 1915 – Italy enters World War I, declaring war on Austria-Hungary.
  • 1914 – Death of Gustav Hamel, pioneer British aviator, over the English Channel while returning from Paris in a new 80hp Morane-Saulnier monoplane he had just collected
  • 1908 – Crash of the AEA White Wing (or Aerodrome #2), early US aircraft. Unusual for aircraft of its day, it featured a wheeled undercarriage. The wings were equipped with ailerons controlled by a harness worn around the pilot's body; leaning in one direction would cause the aircraft to bank to follow.
  • 1908 – First Airship disaster in the USA. A Morrell airship, 450 ft. long, collapsed 300 ft. above the earth, hurling its 16 occupants at Berkekey Ca.
  • 1908 – Birth of Hélène Boucher, French aviatrix who set altitude and speed records, pupil of Michel Detroyat.
  • 1848Otto Lilienthal, key figure in the history of flying, is born in Anklam, Germany. He became the first man to fly (glide) with both regularity and control. The Wright brothers regarded his 1899 book as their bible.


  1. ^ Chow, Denise, "Solar Plane Completes Longest Leg of Cross-Country Flight," via Yahoo News, May 23, 2013.
  2. ^ Dallas
  3. ^ Irish, John; Abbad, Mohammed (23 May 2011). "France and Britain To Use Attack Helicopters in Libya". Reuters. Retrieved 15 August 2011.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Short SC.1

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:






Learning resources

Travel guides