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Introduction

The Boeing 747

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

PanAm Airbus A310-222
Pan American World Airways, most commonly known as "Pan Am", was the principal international airline of the United States from the 1930s until its collapse in 1991. Originally founded as a seaplane service out of Key West, Florida, the airline became a major company; it was credited with many innovations that shaped the international airline industry, including the widespread use of jet aircraft, jumbo jets, and computerized reservation systems. Identified by its blue globe logo and the use of "Clipper" in aircraft names and call signs, the airline was a cultural icon of the 20th century, and the unofficial flag carrier of the United States. Pan Am went through two incarnations after 1991. The second Pan Am operated from 1996 to 1998 with a focus on low-cost, long-distance flights between the U.S. and the Caribbean. The current incarnation, based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and known as the Pan Am "Clipper Connection", is operated by Boston-Maine Airways. The airline currently flies to destinations in the northeastern United States, Florida, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. (Full article...)

Selected image

Nevada test Site, August 7, 1957. The tail, or “After” section of a U.S. Navy Blimp is shown with the Stokes cloud in background. Blimp was in temporary free flight in excess of five miles from ground zero when collapsed by the shock wave from the blast. The airship was unmanned and was used in military effects experiments on blast and heat. Navy personnel on the ground in the vicinity of the experimental area were unhurt. On ground to the left are remains of the forward section.

Did you know

...in 1931 Amelia Earhart flew a Pitcairn PCA-2 autogyro to a then world altitude record of 18,415 feet (5613 m)? ...that Pepsi offered a Harrier fighter jet in their Pepsi Billion Dollar Sweepstakes game and the Pepsi Stuff game for people accumulating a certain number of points? ... that former USAF officer David P. Cooley who was the chief test pilot for the F-117 Nighthawk died in March 2009 while testing the F-22 Raptor?

Selected Aircraft

British Airways Boeing 747-400

The Boeing 747 is a widebody commercial airliner, often referred to by the nickname Jumbo Jet. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first widebody ever produced. Manufactured by Boeing's Commercial Airplane unit in the United States, the original version of the 747 was two and a half times the size of the Boeing 707, one of the common large commercial aircraft of the 1960s. First flown commercially in 1970, the 747 held the passenger capacity record for 37 years.

The four-engine 747 uses a double deck configuration for part of its length. It is available in passenger, freighter and other versions. Boeing designed the 747's hump-like upper deck to serve as a first class lounge or (as is the general rule today) extra seating, and to allow the aircraft to be easily converted to a cargo carrier by removing seats and installing a front cargo door. Boeing did so because the company expected supersonic airliners (whose development was announced in the early 1960s) to render the 747 and other subsonic airliners obsolete; while believing that the demand for subsonic cargo aircraft would be robust into the future. The 747 in particular was expected to become obsolete after 400 were sold but it exceeded its critics' expectations with production passing the 1,000 mark in 1993. As of June 2009, 1,416 aircraft have been built, with 107 more in various configurations remaining on order.

The 747-400, the latest version in service, is among the fastest airliners in service with a high-subsonic cruise speed of Mach 0.85 (567 mph or 913 km/h). It has an intercontinental range of 7,260 nautical miles (13,450 km; 8,350 mi). The 747-400 passenger version can accommodate 416 passengers in a typical three-class layout or 524 passengers in a typical two-class layout. The next version of the aircraft, the 747-8, is in production and scheduled to enter service in 2010. The 747 is to be replaced by the Boeing Y3 (part of the Boeing Yellowstone Project) in the future.

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Selected biography

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

Today in Aviation

September 26

  • 2008Yves Rossy, Swiss airline pilot and former fighter pilot, crosses the English Channel with his homemade jet-powered wing strapped on his back.
  • 1993 – Launch: Spot-3 satellite. Stopped functioning November 14, 1997.
  • 1983 – Cosmonauts Titov and Strekalov are saved from exploding Soyuz T-10.
  • 1981 – Vietnamese Cosmonaut Bùi Thanh Liêm (June 30, 1949–September 26, 1981), a native of Hanoi, Vietnam, is killed in a training flight in a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 over the Gulf of Tonkin this date.
  • 1977Laker Airways inaugurates its no-booking "Skytrain" service between London and New York
  • 1976 – A USAF Boeing KC-135A-BN Stratotanker, 61-0296, c/n 18203, of the 46th Air Refueling Squadron, Strategic Air Command, on a routine tanker training mission en route from K.I. Sawyer AFB, Michigan, to Offutt AFB, Nebraska (two sources list Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan as its destination), crashes at 0830 hrs. EDT in a densely wooded swampy area near Alpena, Michigan, killing 15 of the 20 on board. Possible cabin pressurization problem may have led to the accident.
  • 1974 – The first CF C-130 H was delivered to the RCAF 435 Squadron.
  • 1973 – The Concorde makes its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time, though the record would go on to be broken a few more times until the aircraft’s retirement in 2003.
  • 1967 – The governments of France, West Germany, and Britain sign a memorandum that calls for the development of the Airbus A300 wide-bodied jet airliner.
  • 1961 – A USAF Boeing RB-47K-BW Stratojet, 53-4279, of the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, loses number six engine during take-off from Forbes AFB, Kansas, crashes, killing all four crew, aircraft commander Lt. Col. James G. Woolbright, copilot 1st Lt. Paul R. Greenwalt, navigator Capt. Bruce Kowol, and crewchief S/Sgt. Myron Curtis. Cause was contaminated water-alcohol in assisted takeoff system.
  • 1957 – A3D-1 crash on USS Forrestal (CVA-59).
  • 1947 – General Carl A. Spaatz becomes the first Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force.
  • 1943 – A Vought OS2U Kingfisher from Naval Air Station New York, Floyd Bennett Field, crashes 7 miles S of Little Egg Inlet, near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Two survivors are picked up by Coast Guard 83-foot Patrol Boat WPB-83340.
  • 1939 – Flying a No. 803 Squadron Blackburn Skua from HMS Ark Royal, Lieutenant B. S. McEwen of the Fleet Air Arm’s No. 803 Squadron scores the second British victory over a German aircraft of World War II, shooting down a Dornier Do 18. Skuas were originally credited with the first confirmed kill, but an earlier victory by a Fairey Battle on 20 September 1939 over Aachen, was later confirmed by French sources.
  • 1917 – For the second time, French ace René Fonck shoots down six German aircraft in a day.
  • 1916 – Flying ace Leutnant Max Ritter von Mulzer (ten aerial victories credited), the first Bavarian fighter ace, first Bavarian ace recipient of the Pour le Merite, and first Bavarian knighted for his exploits, on this date sideslips Albatros D.I 426/16 into a hard bank, loses control, and crashes at Armee Flug Park 6, Valenciennes, with fatal result.
  • 1909 – The brothers Alexander and Anatol Renner fly an airship (which they had designed and built themselves) for the first time, making eight flights over the autumn fair at Graz. They are the first airship flights in Austria-Hungary.
  • 1897 – Arthur Rhys Davids, English pilot, is born (d. 1917). Davids was credited with having brought down Germany’s Werner Voss on 23 September 1917, in one of the most famous dogfights of World War I.

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