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Aviation is 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 hot air 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. (Full article...)

Selected article

Kai Tak Airport in 2009
Kai Tak Airport in 2009
Kai Tak Airport (Chinese: 啟德機場) was the international airport of Hong Kong from 1925 until 1998. It was officially known as the Hong Kong International Airport (Chinese: 香港國際機場) from 1954 to July 6, 1998, when it was closed and replaced by the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, 30 km to the west. It is often known as Hong Kong Kai Tak International Airport (Chinese: 香港啟德國際機場), or simply Kai Tak, to distinguish it from its successor which is often referred to as Chek Lap Kok Airport (Chinese: 赤鱲角機場).

With numerous skyscrapers and mountains located to the north and its only runway jutting out into Victoria Harbour, landings at the airport were dramatic to experience and technically demanding for pilots. The History Channel program Most Extreme Airports ranked it as the 6th most dangerous airport in the world.

The airport was home to Hong Kong's international carrier Cathay Pacific, as well as regional carrier Dragonair, freight airline Air Hong Kong and Hong Kong Airways. The airport was also home to the former RAF Kai Tak. (Full article...)

Selected image

Boeing-Stearman NS-1 Bi-plane
Credit: U.S. Navy
Boeing-Stearman Model 75's. Taken in 1936 at NAS Pensacola during training of the first class of the Naval Aviation Cadet program. Photo includes Boone Guyton (plane in rear) who later became a test pilot for Chance-Vought (Vought Sikorsky) in 1939.

Did you know

..that an aircraft's pitot-static system allows a pilot to monitor airspeed, Mach number, altitude, and altitude trend? ...that the crash of Crossair Flight LX498 was initially attributed to cell phone use, and led to bans of cell phones in airplanes in several countries? ...that the asymmetrical monoplane BV 141 is one of many military aircraft designed by Richard Vogt?

Selected Aircraft

Concorde at Heathrow

Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde supersonic transport (SST), along with the Tupolev Tu-144, was one of only two models of supersonic passenger airliners to have seen commercial service.

Concorde had a cruise speed of Mach 2.02 (around 2170 km/h or 1,350 mph) and a maximum cruise altitude of 60,000 feet (18 300 metres) with a delta wing configuration and a reheat-equipped evolution of the engines originally developed for the Avro Vulcan strategic bomber. The engines were built by Rolls-Royce. Concorde was the first civil airliner to be equipped with an analogue fly-by-wire flight control system. Commercial flights, operated by British Airways and Air France, began on January 21, 1976 and ended on October 24, 2003, with the last "retirement" flight on November 26 that year.

Construction of the first two prototypes began in February 1965. Concorde 001 was built by Aerospatiale at Toulouse and Concorde 002 by BAC at Filton, Bristol. Concorde 001 took off for the first test flight from Toulouse on March 2, 1969 and the first supersonic flight followed on October 1. As the flight programme of the first development aircraft progressed, 001 started off on a sales and demonstration tour beginning on September 4, 1971. Concorde 002 followed suit on June 2, 1972 with a sales tour of the Middle and Far East. Concorde 002 made the first visit to the United States in 1973, landing at the new Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to commemorate its opening.

  • Span: 84 ft 0 in (25.6 m).
  • Length: 202 ft 4 in[2] (61.66 m)
  • Height: 40 ft 0 in (12.2 m )
  • Engines: 4× Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593 Mk 610 afterburning turbojets 170 kN each.
  • Cruising Speed: Mach 2.04 (1,350 mph, 2,170 km/h)
  • First Flight: March 2, 1969
  • Number built: 20 (including prototypes)

Related portals

Selected biography

Benjamin Delahauf Foulois in flying helmet.jpg
Benjamin Delahauf Foulois (1879-1967) was an early aviation pioneer who rose to become a chief of the U.S. Army Air Corps. The son of a French immigrant, he was born and raised in Connecticut. He enlisted in the Army at age 18 to serve in the Spanish–American War. After just a few month he was separated because of disease he had picked up in Puerto Rico. He re-enlisted in 1899 and was sent to the Philippines where he received a commission as a Second Lieutenant. Foulois believed that the new airplane would replace the cavalry for reconnaissance and in 1908 transferred into the Signal Corps.

Foulois conducted the acceptance test for the Army's first aircraft, a Wright Model A, in 1909. He participated in the Mexican Expedition from 1916–17 and was part of the American Expeditionary Force in France during World War I where he was responsible for the logistics and maintenance of the U.S. air fleet. During World War I he and Billy Mitchell began a long and hostile relationship over the direction of military aviation and the best method to get there. After the war he served as a military attaché to Germany where he gathered a great deal of intelligence on German aviation. He later went on to command the 1st Aero Squadron and ultimately commanded the Air Corps.

He retired in 1935 as part of the fallout from the Air Mail scandal. Foulois continued to advocate for a strong air service in retirement. In 1959, at the invitation of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Foulois began touring Air Force bases advocating national security. He died of a heart attack on 25 April 1967 and is buried in his home town of Washington, Connecticut.

In the news

Today in Aviation

January 25

  • 2013 – (Overnight) Airborne French special forces join ground forces in capturing a key bridge and airport at Gao, Mali, from Islamist forces.[1][2]
  • 2009 – The operating licence of Swedish airline Nordic Airways is suspended, the Swedish Transport Agency stating that the airline is "no longer able to fulfill its commitments and duties to its passengers."[3]
  • 2007 – A UH-60 Black Hawk shot down by gunfire near Hit. All aboard survive the incident.
  • 2004 – Opportunity, MER-B (Mars Exploration Rover – B), American robotic rover lands on the planet Mars.
  • 2004 – An OH-58D Kiowa (93-0957) from 3–17 Cavalry Regiment crashes into the Tigris River during a rescue mission, after hitting electrical wires, killing both pilots.
  • 2001 – A Douglas DC-3 crashes near Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela killing 24.
  • 2001 – RUTACA Airlines Flight 225, operated by Douglas DC-3 C YV-224-C, crashed at Ciudad Bolívar killing all 24 on board plus one person on the ground.
  • 1994 – Launch of Clementine, NASA space probe to test sensors and spacecraft components under extended exposure to the space environment and to make scientific observations of the Moon and the near-Earth asteroid 1620 Geographos.
  • 1990Avianca Flight 52, a Boeing 707, runs out of fuel and crashes while attempting to land at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Of the 158 people on board, 85 survive.
  • 1979 – Roll-out at Burbank of the first CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft.
  • 1975 – First flight of the Birdman TL-1, athe lightest piloted powered aircraft.
  • 1972 – Death of Erhard Milch, German Field Marshal who oversaw the development of the Luftwaffe as part of the re-armament of Germany following WWI.
  • 1967 – Death of Eric John Stephens, Australian WWI flying ace and early Qantas airliner pilot.
  • 1966 – Lockheed SR-71A, 61-7952, Article 2003, crashes near Tucumcari, New Mexico during test flight out of Edwards Air Force Base, California. Pilot Bill Weaver survives, but RSO Jim Zwayer KWF.
  • 1965 – Death of Sumner Sewall, American WWI fighter ace, Airline executive and politician.
  • 1964 – A Thor Agena rocket launched Echo 2, American metalized balloon satellite acting as a passive reflector of microwave signals.
  • 1959 – First domestic airline to fly its own jets is American Airlines Flying Boeing 707 s.
  • 1957 – The first launch attempt of an Douglas XSM-75 Thor IRBM, 56-6751, vehicle number 101, delivered in October: 1956, fails. As vehicle lifts off from Pad LC-17, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, it reaches an apogee of 6 inches (150 mm) whereupon contamination destroys a LOX supply valve causing the engine to lose thrust. The Thor slides backwards through the launch ring and explodes on contact with the thrust deflector. Vehicle destroyed by low-order detonation. Serious pad damage occurs.[citation needed]
  • 1956 – Death of Otto Könnecke, German WWI flying ace, one of the founding pilots of Deutsche Luft Hansa and who had a great involvement in the development of the new Luftwaffe after WWI.
  • 1952 – Death of Paul Joseph “Ginty” McGinness, Australian WWI flying ace who also served the RAAF during WWII, co-founder of Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (QANTAS).
  • 1947 – In the 1947 Croydon Dakota accident, a Spencer Airways Douglas C-47 A fails to get airborne at Croydon Airport, United Kingdom and crashes into a parked ČSA aircraft; 12 of the 22 on board are killed.
  • 1934 – The Wright Bellanca WB-2 ‘Columbia’ rechristened ‘Maple leaf’ is destroyed in a hangar fire at the Bellanca factory in Newcastle, Delaware.
  • 1933 – Mr. H. J. Penrose accompanied by Air Commodore P. F. M. Fellowes, set out from Westland aerodrome to perform a test climb which would prove that Everest could be cleared by a comfortable margin. They returned after an absence of an hour and forty minutes, having taken the Westland PV.3 to a height of over 10500 m, where the temperature was less than -60 °C.
  • 1921 – Committee on Law of Aviation of the American Bar Association files an initial report on the necessity of aerial legislation.
  • 1918 – Second Lieutenant Carl Mather is killed in an aircraft collision at Ellington Field, Texas. The future Mather Air Force Base, later Sacramento Mather Airport, at Rancho Cordova, California, will be named for him.
  • 1895 – Birth of Theophile Henri Condemine, French WWI balloon buster and WWII high-ranking officer.
  • 1894 – Birth of Alfred Michael Koch, Candian WWI flying ace.
  • 1889 – Birth of Giuseppe ‘Jean’ Cei, Italian aviation pioneer.
  • 1886 – Birth of Dean Ivan Lamb, American pilot, hired as a mercenary during the Mexican Revolution who made that was quite possibly the first dogfight in history (pilots firing pistols at each other) against Phil Rader. He also helped to establish the Honduran Air Force.


  1. ^ Anonymous, "Mali: French-Led Troops Retake Gao From Islamists," The Telegraph, January 26, 2013, 6;46 p.m. GMT
  2. ^ Larson, Krista, "French, Mali Forces Head Toward Timbuktu," Associated Press, January 27, 2013, 2:16 p.m.
  3. ^ "Sweden pulls Nordic Airways' license". Moldova.org. Retrieved 2 November 2009.

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