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The Boeing 747, one of the most iconic aircraft in history.

Aviation or air transport are 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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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.

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VMS Artificial Horizon.jpg

An attitude indicator (AI), gyro horizon or artificial horizon, is an instrument used in an aircraft to inform the pilot of the orientation of the airplane relative to earth.

...Archive/Nominations

Did you know

...that Ansett Airlines Flight 232 from Adelaide to Alice Springs in 1972 was the first aircraft hijacking to take place in Australia? ...that Garuda Indonesia flight 152 was the deadliest air disaster of 1997, claiming the lives of over 230 people? ... that a USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft crashed shortly after take-off at Bakers Creek, Queensland in 1943, killing 40 of the 41 service personnel on board and making it Australia's worst aviation disaster?

Selected Aircraft

Singapore Airlines B773 9V-SWA.jpg

The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twinjet and is commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven". The aircraft has seating for over 300 passengers and has a range from 5,235 to 9,380 nautical miles (9,695 to 17,372 km) depending on model. Its distinguishing features include the largest diameter turbofan engines of any aircraft, six wheels on each main landing gear, a circular fuselage cross-section, and blade-shaped tail cone. Developed in consultation with eight major airlines, the 777 was designed to replace older wide-body airliners and bridge the capacity difference between the 767 and 747. As Boeing's first fly-by-wire airliner, it has computer mediated controls; it is also the first entirely computer-designed commercial aircraft.

The 777 is produced in two fuselage lengths. The original 777-200 model first entered service in 1995, followed by the extended range 777-200ER in 1997; the stretched 777-300, which is 33.3 ft (10.1 m) longer, began service in 1998. The longer-range 777-300ER and 777-200LR variants entered service in 2004 and 2006, respectively, while a freighter version, the 777F, debuted in 2008. Both longer-range versions and the freighter feature General Electric GE90 engines, as well as extended and raked wingtips. Other models are equipped with either the GE90, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, or Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines. The 777-200LR ranks as the world's longest-range airliner and holds the record for longest distance flown by an unrefuelled commercial aircraft, with the demonstrated capability to fly more than halfway around the world.

United Airlines first placed the 777 into commercial airline service in 1995. As of October 2009, 56 customers have placed orders for 1,116 aircraft of all variants, with 822 delivered. The most common variant used worldwide is the 777-200ER, with 412 aircraft delivered, and Emirates operates the largest 777 fleet, with 78 aircraft. The airliner has had one hull-loss accident, with no passenger fatalities, attributed to a Trent 800 engine fuel component as of October 2009.

Through the 2000s, the 777 has emerged as one of its manufacturer's best-selling models. Because of rising fuel costs, airlines have acquired the type as a comparatively fuel-efficient alternative to other wide-body jets and have increasingly used the aircraft on long-haul, transoceanic routes. Direct market competitors include the Airbus A330-300 and the A340, with the upcoming A350 XWB and Boeing 787 programs currently in development.

  • Span: 212 ft 7 in (64.8 m)
  • Length: 242 ft 4 in (73.9 m)
  • Height: 61 ft 5 in (18.7 m)
  • Engines: 2 X GE 90-115B
  • Cruising speed: 0.84 Mach (555 mph, 892 km/h, 481 kn) at 35,000 ft (11,000 m) cruise altitude
  • First flight: 12 June 1994
  • Number built: 649 as of August 2007
...Archive/Nominations

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Selected biography

Frank Whittle speaking to employees of the Flight Propulsion Research Laboratory (now known as the NASA Glenn Research Center), USA, in 1946
Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle (1 June 1907 – 9 August 1996) was a Royal Air Force officer and was one of the inventors of jet propulsion. By the end of the war, Whittle's efforts resulted in engines that would lead the world in performance through the end of the decade.

Born in Earlsdon, Coventry, England on June 1, 1907, Whittle left Leamington College in 1923 to join the Royal Air Force (RAF). Through his early days as an Aircraft apprentice he maintained his interest in the Model Aircraft Society where he built replicas, the quality of which attracted the eye of his commanding officer, who was so impressed that he recommended Whittle for the Officer Training College at Cranwell in Lincolnshire in 1926, a rarity for a "commoner" in what was still a very class-based military structure. A requirement of the course was that each student had to produce a thesis for graduation. Whittle decided to write his thesis on future developments in aircraft design, in which he described what is today referred to as a motorjet.

Whittle and Hans von Ohain met after the war and initially Whittle was angry with him as he felt Ohain had stolen his ideas. Ohain eventually convinced him that his work was independent and after that point the two became good friends.

In the news

Wikinews Aviation portal
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Today in Aviation

January 23

  • 2013 – An American unmanned aerial vehicle attacks a ground vehicle in Al-Masna`Ah, Yemen, killing six Islamic militants, including two senior al-Qaeda commanders.[1]
  • 2010 – A United States Navy Beechcraft T-34C Turbo-Mentor, an upgraded version of the T-34 Mentor, crash-landed in Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans. One pilot was rescued and the other was missing. The plane, on a routine nighttime instrument training mission, crashed about 1845 hrs. and was 1-nautical-mile (1.9 km) north of Lakefront Airport in New Orleans on an apparent approach to land. Coast Guard teams rescued the student pilot about 9 p.m. with mild hypothermia and moderate injuries from the 57 degree water. The pilot, Lt. Clinton Wermers, 33, from Mitchell, South Dakota, was presumed dead. He had been assigned to Naval Air Station Whiting Field since March 2007. A memorial service was held for Lt. Wermers on 1 February at Whiting Field.
  • 2008crashes: A Polish military airplane EADS CASA C-295, '019', c/n S-043, crashed in forested area near Polish city Miroslawiec killing all 20 people aboard - 16 Polish Air Force officers (incl. one general, Gen. Andrzej Andrzejewski, who survived an ejection from a Su-22M-4K on 18 August 2003, and six colonels) and 4 crew.
  • 2007 – A Blackwater USA MD 530F helicopter is shot down by hostile fire in Baghdad. All of the 5 man crew are killed in the incident, likely executed after surviving the crash. The remaining survivor was also killed under unclear circumstances, when another Blackwater helicopter descended to the crash site.[2][3]
  • 2004 – ESA announced the discovery of water ice in the South Polar ice cap, using data taken on January 18 with the OMEGA instrument of Mars Express.
  • 2004 – An OH-58D Kiowa (93-0950) from 3–17 Cavalry Regiment crashes just after take-off outside Mosul, killing both pilots.
  • 2003 – The final communication is made between Earth and Pioneer 10, a spacecraft intended to fly past Jupiter. It was launched in 1972, and its last trajectory would have the craft the first artificial object to leave the solar system.
  • 2001Yemenia Flight 448, a Boeing 727, is hijacked 15 minutes after takeoff from Sana'a International Airport; the crew makes an emergency landing at Djibouti; the hijacker is subdued with no casualties to the 101 on board.
  • 1998 – First flight of the AEA Explorer (sometimes called the Explorer Explorer), an Australian large single-engine utility aircraft.
  • 1991 – Iraqi antiaircraft fire downs a U. S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon over Kuwait, and a United States Marine Corps AV-8 B Harrier II and a U. S. Army attack helicopter are lost to non-combat causes. U. S. Navy A-6E Intruders attack Iraqi ships, disabling a tanker, sinking a Winchester-class hovercraft refueling from the tanker, and sinking a Zhuk-class patrol boat.
  • 1990 – Mid-air collision between two Blue Angels McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18 aircraft during a practice session at El Centro. One airplane, Angel Number 2, BuNo 161524, piloted by Capt. Chase Moseley (ejected) was destroyed and the other, Angel Number 1, badly damaged but managed to land safely. Both pilots survived unharmed.
  • 1982World Airways Flight 30, a McDonnell-Douglas DC-10, overshoots the runway at Boston, Massachusetts; two passengers were reported missing.
  • 1979 – Aeronautica Militare Italiana, Italian Air Force Lockheed C-130H Hercules MM62000, '46-14', c/n 4497, of the 46 Aerobrigata, jumped chocks during engine run-up, hit tree, written-off. Parts used to support c/n 4491, MM61995 damaged in hard landing, Pisa, January 1999. Hull at Milan-Malpensa, Italy, December 1979, 1989.
  • 1972 – The United States suspects that SA-3 Goa surface-to-air missiles have become operational in North Vietnam.
  • 1970 – Launch of ITOS-1, NASA operational sun-synchronous meteorological spacecraft.
  • 1961 – Death of Redford Henry “Red” Mulock, first Canadian WWI flying ace and the first in the RNAS, High ranking RCAF post WWI before joining Canadian Airways.
  • 1960 – Birth of Patrick de Gayardon, French skydiver, skysurfer and BASE jumper.
  • 1957 – First Flight of the Nord 1500-02 Griffon II, 2nd experimental ramjet-powered fighter aircraft, evolution of the Griffon I.
  • 1953 – First peacetime award of DFC to member of the RCAF granted to F/L Ernie Glover for his Korean fighter exploits (3 Migs destroyed, 2 damaged).
  • 1951 – Birth of Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III, American airliner pilot, safety expert, and accident investigator, famous for having ditched an Airbus A320-214 in the Hudson River off Manhattan, New York City, saving the lives of all 155 people on the aircraft.
  • 1949 – Birth of Robert Donald Cabana, USMC test pilot and NASA astronaut.
  • 1946 – Death of Heinrich Bongartz Pour le Merite, Royal House Order of Hohenzollern, Iron Cross, German WWI fighter ace. He also served as a night fighter commander in WWII.
  • 1944 – Off the Anzio beachhead, a raid by 55 German aircraft sinks the British destroyer HMS Janus with a torpedo and damages the destroyer HMS Jervis with a Fritz X radio-guided bomb.
  • 1943 – The pilot of a Japanese Nakajima A6 M2-N (Allied reporting name “Rufe”) floatplane fighter discovers that American forces have occupied Amchitka. Japanese aircraft from Kiska begin frequent raids against Amchitka that day and continue them for almost four weeks.
  • 1939 – Sole prototype Douglas 7B twin-engine attack bomber, designed and built as a company project, suffers loss of vertical fin and rudder during demonstration flight over Mines Field (now Los Angeles International Airport, California), flat spins into parking lot of North American Aviation, burns. Another source states that the test pilot, in an attempt to impress the Gallic passenger, attempted a snap roll at low altitude with one engine feathered, resulting in the fatal spin. Douglas test pilot Johnny Cable bails out at 300 feet, chute unfurls but does not have time to deploy, killed on impact, flight engineer John Parks rides airframe in and dies, but 33-year old French Air Force Capt. Paul Chemidlin, riding in aft fuselage near top turret, survives with broken leg, severe back injuries, slight concussion. Presence of Frenchman, a representative of foreign purchasing mission, causes furor in Congress by isolationists over neutrality and export laws. Type will be developed as Douglas DB-7.
  • 1930 – Birth of William Reid Pogue, USAF test pilot and NASA Astronaut.
  • 1929 – Clennell Haggerston “Punch” Dickins delivered the first airmail to the Northwest Territories. A flight into the high Arctic, travelling through Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, and into Aklavik on the Arctic Circle. A feat challenged further by the fact his compass did not work because of its proximity to the magnetic pole, forcing him to fly by sight.--Bikeal (talk) 19:50, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
  • 1925 – First flight of the Blériot 118, Twin seat twin engine high wing monoplane amphibian Fighter/trainer prototype.
  • 1918 – First American Expeditionary Force (AEF) balloon ascent is made at the Balloon School at Cuperly in France.
  • 1917 – Death of Hans Imelmann, German WWI flying ace, killed when gun fire from a B. E.2c struck his fuel tank Near Miraumont.
  • 1916 – Birth of Siegfried Schnell, German WWII flying ace.
  • 1911 – First flight of the Siemens-Schuckert I, German dirigible.
  • 1909 – First flight of the Blériot XI, light and sleek monoplane constructed of oak and poplar. The flying surfaces were covered with cloth. One of the most successful monoplanes designed and built before WWI.
  • 1899 – Birth of George Pearson Glen Kidston, British record-breaking aviator and motor racing driver.
  • 1898 – Birth of Ulrich Neckel, German WWI fighter ace.
  • 1897 – Birth of Ernst Zindel, German Engineer and designer of the Junkers Ju-52.
  • 1894 – Birth of Eric Landon Simonson, Australian WWI flying ace.


  1. ^ Almasmari, Hakim, "Drone Strike Kills Six Suspected Militants in Yemen," CNN, January 24, 2013, 6:40 a.m. EST,
  2. ^ "5 die in private U.S. helicopter crash in Iraq". CBC news. 2007-01-23. Retrieved 2007-05-31.
  3. ^ "4 of 5 Blackwater employees shot after crash; fighting flares in Baghdad". MSNBC. 2007-01-24. Retrieved 2007-05-31.

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