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The Aviation Portal

Aviation includes 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...)

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Mirabel Satellite photo
Mirabel Satellite photo
Montréal-Mirabel International Airport is a large airport located in Mirabel, Quebec, near Montreal and was opened 4 October 1975. The airport serves mainly cargo flights, and is a manufacturing base of Bombardier Aerospace, where final assembly of regional jets (CRJ700 and CRJ900) aircraft is conducted. It is part of the National Airports System. It is the second largest airport in the world in terms of area, covering more land area than the five New York City boroughs.

The airport's location and lack of transport links, as well as Montreal's economic decline relative to Toronto, made it unpopular with airlines. Eventually relegated to the simple role of a cargo airport, Mirabel became an embarrassment widely regarded in Canada as being a boondoggle, or a "white elephant," and one of the best examples of a failed megaproject. (Full article...)

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Hapag-Lloyd Express
Credit: Hapag-Lloyd Express
Hapag-Lloyd Express was a no-frills, high-frequency, express airline based in Hanover, Germany.

Did you know

...that in the late 1940s the USAF Northrop YB-49 set both an unofficial endurance record and a transcontinental speed record?

Bede BD-4

...that Yekaterina Zelenko was the only woman to perform an aerial ramming and the only female pilot in the Winter War?

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The following are images from various aviation-related articles on Wikipedia.

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Selected biography

Orville Wright
Wilbur Wright

The Wright brothers, Orville Wright (August 19, 1871 - January 30, 1948) and Wilbur Wright (April 16, 1867 - May 30, 1912), are generally credited with making the first controlled, powered, heavier-than-air flight on December 17, 1903. In the two years afterward, they developed their flying machine into the world's first practical airplane, along with many other aviation milestones.

In 1878 Wilbur and Orville were given a toy "helicopter" by their father. The device was made of paper, bamboo and cork with a rubber band to twirl its twin blades, and about a foot long. The boys played with it until it broke, then built their own. In later years, they pointed to their experience with the toy as the initial spark of their interest in flying.

Selected Aircraft

Pregnant Guppy NASA.jpg

The Pregnant Guppy was a large, wide-bodied cargo aircraft built in the USA and used for ferrying outsized cargo items, most notably NASA's components of the Apollo moon program. The Pregnant Guppy was the first of the Guppy line of aircraft produced by Aero Spacelines, Inc. The design also inspired similar designs such as the jet-powered Airbus Beluga, and the Boeing 747 LCF designed to deliver Boeing 787 parts.

  • Span:141 feet, 3 inches.
  • Length: 127 feet.
  • Height: 31 feet, 3 inches.
  • Engines: 4 3500hp P&W R-4360.
  • Cruising Speed: 250 mph
  • First Flight:September 19, 1962
  • Number built: 1
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Today in Aviation

January 27

  • 2010 – Death of Lee Andrew Archer Jr. American Fighter aircraft pilot in the African-American WWII unit the Tuskegee Airmen, first African American military aviators in the United States Army Air Corps earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
  • 2002 – Boeing’s 737, the world’s most widely use twin jet, becomes the first jetliner in history to amass more than 100 million flying hours. The 737 was launched onto the market 1965.
  • 2002 – Shelkovskaya Mil Mi-8 crash in Chechnya killed 14 people, including senior Russian officers, among them the deputy Interior Minister Mikhail Rudchenko.
  • 2001 – The Oklahoma State University men’s basketball team plane crash occurred when a Beechcraft Super King Air 200, registration N81 PF carrying the Oklahoma State University basketball team, crashed near Strasburg, Colorado. The pilot had become disoriented in a snow storm. The plane was flying from Jefferson County Airport to Stillwater Regional Airport after a game against the Colorado Buffaloes men’s basketball. The plane was carrying two players, as well as the pilot and members of the media. There was a total of 10 fatalities.
  • 1998 – A Myanma Airways Fokker F27 crashed while taking off from Yangon, Myanmar killing 16 of the 45 people on board.
  • 1997 – Death of Cecil Arthur Lewis, British WWI flying ace, Vickers Instructor for Chinese pilots. Last surviving WWI ace, He co-founded the BBC and enjoyed a long career as a writer.
  • 1992 – Death of Harold Edgar Mott, Canadian WWI flying ace.
  • 1991 – Two U. S. Air Force F-15 C Eagles of the 53rd Tactical Fighter Squadron shoot down two Iraqi MiG-23 s and two Iraqi Mirage F1 s 60-100 miles (97-161 km) south of Baghdad using Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles. United States Central Command claims that Iraqi naval losses thus far in the Gulf War total one oil platform, two patrol boats, one tanker, and four unidentified ships presumed sunk and four mine warfare ships, one hovercraft, three patrol boats, and two unidentified vessels confirmed as sunk. Coalition aircraft have inflicted most of the losses.
  • 1989 – Thomas Sopwith, British aviation pioneer, dies (b. 1888). In June 1912 Sopwith with Fred Sigrist and others set up The Sopwith Aviation Company. The company produced key British World War I aircraft, most famously the Sopwith Camel.
  • 1985 – Landed: Space Shuttle Discovery STS-51-C at 21:23:23 UTC. KSC, Runway 15. Mission highlights: First classified Department of Defense (DoD) mission; Magnum satellite deployment.
  • 1983 – Five are killed and eight injured when a USAF Boeing B-52G-90-BW Stratofortress, 57-6507, c/n 464212, of the 319th Bomb Wing, catches fire due to an overheated fuel pump and explodes at 0930 hrs. on the ramp at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. The Stratofortress was undergoing routine fuel cell maintenance after flying a training mission the previous night.
  • 1973 – A ceasefire agreement between the United States, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam ends U. S. participation in the Vietnam War. Since January 1962, the United States Armed Forces have lost 3,339 fixed-wing aircraft in Southeast Asia, 2,430 of them in combat. American aircraft have shot down 200 enemy aircraft in exchange for 76 of their own lost in air-to-air combat. The United States has also lost 4,870 helicopters in Southeast Asia, 2,588 of them in combat.
  • 1973 – A U. S. Navy F-4 Phantom II from USS Enterprise (CVA(N)-65) piloted by Lieutenant Commander Harley Hall is shot down over South Vietnam near the Demilitarized Zone. It is the last American fixed-wing aircraft lost in the Vietnam War.
  • 1971 – Death of Norman William Reginald ‘Bill’ Mawle, British WWI flying ace.
  • 1967 – Apollo 1 launchpad fire kills three U.S. astronauts. Apollo 1 is the official name that was later given to the never-flown Apollo/Saturn 204 (AS-204) mission. Its command module, CM-012, was destroyed by fire during a test and training exercise at Pad 34 (Launch Complex 34, Cape Canaveral, then known as Cape Kennedy) atop a Saturn IB rocket. The crew aboard were the astronauts selected for the first crewed Apollo program mission: Command Pilot Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Senior Pilot Ed White and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee. Although the ignition source of the fire was never conclusively identified, the deaths were attributed to a wide range of lethal design hazards in the early Apollo command module. Among these were the use of a high-pressure 100 percent-oxygen atmosphere for the test, wiring and plumbing flaws, inflammable materials in the cockpit (such as Velcro), an inward-opening hatch that would not open in this kind of an emergency and the flight suits worn by the astronauts.
  • 1967 – The Outer Space Treaty, outlawing nuclear weapons in space, was signed by the United States, the UK and the USSR.
  • 1953 – A point to point record between London and Mauripur in Karachi starts with Flight Lieutenant L. M. Whittington and Flight Lieutenant J. A. Brown in an English Electric Canberra.
  • 1951 – First test of operation Ranger. For ‘Able’ test, A B-50 drops a 5 Kiloton Bomb over Nevada test site for Testing compression against critical mass.
  • 1947 – United States Army Air Force Silverplate Boeing B-29-36-MO Superfortress, 44-65385, of the 428th Base Unit, Kirtland Army Air Field, New Mexico, for Los Alamos bomb development testing, crashed immediately after take-off from Kirtland on routine maintenance test flight. No specific cause is documented - a fire in one engine and the pilot's failure to compensate for loss of power is believed to have caused the accident. Twelve crew KWF.
  • 1945 – Twentieth Air Force B-29 s based at Calcutta bomb Saigon, French Indochina.
  • 1944 – The Japanese have 150 operational aircraft in the Marshall Islands.
  • 1943 – The USAAF makes its first daylight raid on Germany over Wilhelmshaven. 91 B-17 s and B-24 s attack the U-Boat construction yards.
  • 1943 – (27-28) For the first time, Oboe-equipped British Mosquitos leading the way for a British raid on Düsseldorf drop ground markers rather than sky markers to guide follow-on Pathfinder aircraft, clearly improving British night-bombing accuracy over that experienced before.
  • 1941 – First combined operation between Malta’s reconnaissance and strike aircraft. German vessel Ingo (3,950 tons) is sunk by the Fairey Swordfish of No.830 and No.806 Squadrons Fleet Air Arm.
  • 1939 – First flight of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, a WWII American Twin-engine, single seat fighter aircraft. It had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament.
  • 1929 – First flight of the Saunders A.10, a private venture prototype four-gun fighter. single-seat, single-engined biplane.
  • 1928 – First rigid airship to aircraft carrier mooring is achieved when United States Navy (USN) dirigible (steerable airship) ‘Los Angeles’ moors to USS Sagatoga while the latter vessel is at sea.
  • 1928 – Death of Walbanke Ashby Pritt, British WWI flying ace.
  • 1927 – First flight of the Douglas T2D, an American twin engine torpedo bomber contracted by the military, and required to be usable on wheels or floats, and operating from aircraft carriers. first twin-engined aircraft to be operated from an aircraft carrier.
  • 1920 – Death of Louis Honore Martin, French WWI flying ace.
  • 1920 – Birth of Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, Japanese WWII fighter ace.
  • 1912 – Birth of Francis Melvin Rogallo, American aeronautical engineer inventor credited with the invention of the Rogallo wing, or “flexible wing”, a precursor to the modern hang glider and paraglider.
  • 1906 – Death of Stanley Spencer, early English aeronaut, famous for ballooning and parachuting in several countries.
  • 1905 – Death of Paul Haenlein, German engineer and flight pioneer.
  • 1898 – Birth of Charles Roger Lupton, British WWI flying ace.
  • 1897 – Birth of Kurt Wüsthoff, German WWI fighter ace, 2nd youngest winner of Germany’s highest decoration for valor, the Pour le Merite or Blue Max, Aerobatic pilot and flying advertiser.
  • 1897 – Birth of Rudolf Friedrich Otto Windisch, German WWI flying ace.
  • 1895 – Birth of Thomas Rose, DFC, British Flying Ace in WWI.
  • 1894 – Captain B. F. S. Baden-Powel (the brother of the first Chief Boy Scout) makes a kite ascent from Pirbright Army Camp, England in what appears to be the first use of man-carrying kites outside China.


  1. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 17 September 2009.