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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, parachutes, 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; then a largest 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 with the introduction of the jet which permitted a major form of transport throughout the world.


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Microburst schematic from NASA. Note the downward motion of the air until it hits ground level, then spreads outward in all directions. The wind regime in a microburst is completely opposite to a tornado.
Wind shear, sometimes referred to as windshear or wind gradient, is a difference in wind speed and direction over a relatively short distance in the atmosphere. Wind shear can be broken down into vertical and horizontal components, with horizontal wind shear seen across weather fronts and near the coast, and vertical shear typically near the surface, though also at higher levels in the atmosphere near upper level jets and frontal zones aloft.

Wind shear itself is a microscale meteorological phenomenon occurring over a very small distance, but it can be associated with mesoscale or synoptic scale weather features such as squall lines and cold fronts. It is commonly observed near microbursts and downbursts caused by thunderstorms, weather fronts, areas of locally higher low level winds referred to as low level jets, near mountains, radiation inversions that occur due to clear skies and calm winds, buildings, wind turbines, and sailboats. Wind shear has a significant effect during take-off and landing of aircraft due to their effects on steering of the aircraft, and was a significant cause of aircraft accidents involving large loss of life within the United States.

Sound movement through the atmosphere is affected by wind shear, which can bend the wave front, causing sounds to be heard where they normally would not, or vice versa. Strong vertical wind shear within the troposphere also inhibits tropical cyclone development, but helps to organize individual thunderstorms into living longer life cycles which can then produce severe weather. The thermal wind concept explains with how differences in wind speed with height are dependent on horizontal temperature differences, and explains the existence of the jet stream.

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Credit: Library of Congress LOT 13403, no. 12 [P&P]. Author unknown.

1786 description of the historic Montgolfier Brothers' 1783 balloon flight. Illustration with engineering proportions and description.

...Archive/Nominations

Template:/box-header ...that five USAAF airmen were awarded the Medal of Honor following Operation Tidal Wave, a low-level bombing of Romanian oil refineries on 1 August 1943?

...that the BAE Systems HERTI is the first and only fully autonomous UAV to have been certificated by the United Kingdom?

... that the PZL SM-4 Łątka never flew, because its engine was not approved for use in flight? Template:/box-footer

Selected Aircraft

XB-36 first flight.jpg
The Convair B-36 was a strategic bomber built by Convair for the United States Air Force, the first to have truly intercontinental range. Unofficially nicknamed the "Peacemaker", the B-36 was the first thermonuclear weapon delivery vehicle, the largest piston aircraft ever to be mass-produced, and the largest warplane of any kind.

The B-36 was the only American aircraft with the range and payload to carry such bombs from airfields on American soil to targets in the USSR, as storing nuclear weapons in foreign countries was diplomatically delicate. The nuclear deterrent the B-36 afforded may have kept the Soviet Army from fighting alongside the North Korean and Chinese armies during the Korean War. Convair touted the B-36 as an "aluminum overcast," a "long rifle" to give SAC a global reach. When General Curtis LeMay headed SAC (1949-57) and turned it into an effective nuclear delivery force, the B-36 formed the heart of his command. Its maximum payload was more than four times that of the B-29, even exceeding that of the B-52.

  • Span: 230 ft 0 in (70.10 m)
  • Length: 162 ft 1 in (49.40 m)
  • Height: 46 ft 9 in (14.25 m)
  • Engines: 6× Pratt & Whitney R-4360-53 "Wasp Major" radials, 3,800 hp (2,500 kW) each
  • Cruising Speed: 230 mph (200 kn, 380 km/h) with jets off
  • Range: 6,795 mi (5,905 nmi, 10,945 km) with 10,000 lb (4,535 kg) payload
  • First Flight: 8 August 1946


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Infrastructure Transport US Air Force Royal Air Force


Selected biography

Sir Hugh Trenchard (cropped).jpg
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Hugh Montague Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard GCB OM GCVO DSO (3 February 1873 – 10 February 1956) was a British officer who was instrumental in establishing the Royal Air Force. He has been described as the Father of the Royal Air Force.

During his formative years Trenchard struggled academically, failing many examinations and only just succeeding in meeting the minimum standard for commissioned service in the British Army. As a young infantry officer, Trenchard served in India and in South Africa. During the Boer War, Trenchard was critically wounded and as a result of his injury, he lost a lung, was partially paralysed and returned to Great Britain. While convalescing in Switzerland he took up bobsleighing and after a heavy crash, Trenchard found that his paralysis was gone and that he could walk unaided. Some months later, Trenchard returned to South Africa before volunteering for service in Nigeria. During his time in Nigeria, Trenchard commanded the Southern Nigeria Regiment for several years and was involved in efforts to bring the interior under settled British rule and quell inter-tribal violence.

In 1912, Trenchard learned to fly and was subsequently appointed as second in command of the Central Flying School. He held several senior positions in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I, serving as the commander of Royal Flying Corps in France from 1915 to 1917. In 1918, he briefly served as the first Chief of the Air Staff before taking up command of the Independent Air Force in France. Returning as Chief of the Air Staff under Winston Churchill in 1919, Trenchard spent the following decade securing the future of the Royal Air Force. He was Metropolitan Police Commissioner in the 1930s and a defender of the RAF in his later years.


Wikinews Aviation portal
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  • 2012 – A Sudanese Air Force PT-6A crashed at Port Sudan city airport, two crew killed.
  • 2009 – Deceased: American aviator Kenneth L. Reusser, 89.
  • 1996 – Launch: Space Shuttle Columbia STS-78 at 10:49:00.0075 a.m. EDT. Mission highlights: Spacelab mission.
  • 1979 – Nikola Kavaja, a Serbian nationalist and anti-communist, hijacks American Airlines Flight 293, a Boeing 727, shortly before it lands in Chicago, Illinois, intending to gain control of an aircraft that he can crash into Yugoslav Communist Party headquarters in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. He allows the passengers and most of the crew to debark, then orders the crew to fly the 727 to LaGuardia Airport in New York City. There he demands and receives a Boeing 707, which he orders to be flown to Shannon, Ireland, where he intends to take control of the 707 for the suicide flight to Belgrade, but the hijacking ends when he surrenders to authorities in Shannon.
  • 1973Aeroméxico Flight 229, a Douglas DC-9, crashes into the side of Las Minas Mountain while on approach to Lic. Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport; all 27 on board die.
  • 1972 – Airline pilots hold a worldwide strike, calling for tighter security
  • 1956Linea Aeropostal Flight 253, a Lockheed L-749 Constellation, crashes into the Atlantic Ocean off Asbury Park, New Jersey. All 74 passengers and crew on board are killed.
  • 1955 – Exercise Carte Blanche. It was the largest NATO air defence exercise, involving all 12 RCAF Air Division squadrons. Some 300 aircraft took part, nearly 2500 RCAF sorties.
  • 1951 – First flight of the Bell X-5, first aircraft with swing wings flies for 30 min at Edwards, California.
  • 1951 – The first aircraft completely designed and built in Canada, the first example of the Orenda-powered Avro Canada CF-100 Mk 2 Canuck, flies for the first time at Malton, Ontario.
  • 1944TWA Flight 277, a Douglas C-54 Skymaster, crashes into Fort Mountain, Maine in severe weather, killing all 7 passengers and crew on board.
  • 1944 – On the second and final day of the Battle of the Philippine Sea, 216 Task Force 58 aircraft make the only raid of the battle against the Japanese fleet at extremely long range at sunset, sinking the aircraft carrier Hiyo- and damaging the aircraft carriers Zuikaku and Chiyoda, battleship Haruna, and heavy cruiser Maya. In addition to 20 aircraft missing and presumed shot down, Task Force 58 loses 80 planes, which ditch due to fuel exhaustion or crash while attempting night landings on U. S. carriers. During the day, the Japanese lose another 65 carrier aircraft, leaving them with only 35; during the two days of battle, they have lost 476 carrier- and land-based aircraft and battleship- and cruiser-based floatplanes.
  • 1944 – Los Negros-based U. S. Army Air Forces B-24 Liberators of the Thirteenth Air Force bomb Woleai.
  • 1944 – Allied aircraft begin concentrated attacks on Japanese forces on Noemfoor. By July 1, they will have dropped about 800 tons (725,755 kg) of bombs on the island.
  • 1942 – In North Africa, Axis forces begin the final phase of the Battle of Gazala with a massive aerial bombardment of Tobruk by between 296 and 306 aircraft. Tobruk surrenders the next day.
  • 1941 – The United States Department of War creates the United States Army Air Forces, with General Henry H. Arnold as its first commander. As part of the reorganization, General Headquarters Air Force is renamed Air Force Combat Command; the new Army Air Forces organization consists of Air Force Combat Command (its combat element) and the United States Army Air Corps (its logistics and training element).
  • 1939 – Test flight of first rocket plane using liquid propellants.
  • 1926 – The United States Coast Guard opens the first permanent Coast Guard Air Stations.
  • 1925 – Off New England, a United States Coast Guard Vought UO-1 becomes the first aircraft to pursue a rum-runner.
  • 1917 – The British war cabinet decides to increase the size of the Royal Flying Corps from 108 to 200 squadrons, with most of increase coming in bomber squadrons.
  • 1914 – While the Austro-Hungarian airship Militärluftschiff III (or M.III) hovers over Fischamend testing new camera equipment, an Austro-Hungarian Army pilot tries to loop M.III in a Farman biplane. The airplane strikes the top of the airship, tearing a hole and igniting the escaping hydrogen gas. Both aircraft are destroyed, and both men in the airplane and all seven men aboard M.III are killed. It is the end of the Austro-Hungarian airship program.
  • 1913 – First fatality in U.S. Naval aviation occurs when flight instructor Ens. W.D. Billingsley is thrown from pilot seat of the second Wright CH seaplane, B-2, at height of 1,600 feet in turbulent air over Annapolis, Maryland. Passenger Lt. John Henry Towers stays with airplane, sustaining injuries when it hits water. Design was modified conversion of Wright Model B with two pusher propellers driven through chains connected to a 60 hp (45 kW) Wright engine.
  • 1897 – Percy Pilcher is towed about 750 feet in the Hawk, the fourth of his hang gliders
  • 1540 – Joao Torto, in Viseu, Portugal, builds two pairs of cloth-covered wings, an upper and lower, which are connected by iron hoops. While preparing to jump from the town’s cathedral to the nearby St. Matthew’s fields, he is killed when the elaborated helmet slips over his eyes and he falls onto a roof.




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