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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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PanAm Airbus A310-222
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...)
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A Polish Yakovlev Yak-18; Góraszka Air Picnic 2008

Did you know

...that sailplane winglets were first successfully implemented by American inventor Peter Masak? ... that the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan houses the only SR-71B Blackbird in existence?

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Erich Alfred "Bubi" Hartmann (19 April 1922 – 20 September 1993), also nicknamed "The Blond Knight of Germany" by friends and "The Black Devil" by his enemies, was a German fighter pilot and still is the highest scoring fighter ace in the history of aerial combat. He scored 352 aerial victories (of which 345 were won against the Soviet Air Force, and 260 of which were fighters) in 1,404 combat missions and engaging in aerial combat 825 times while serving with the Luftwaffe in World War II. During the course of his career Hartmann was forced to crash land his damaged fighter 14 times. This was due to damage received from parts of enemy aircraft he had just shot down, or mechanical failure. Hartmann was never shot down or forced to land due to enemy fire.[1]

Hartmann, a pre-war glider pilot, joined the Luftwaffe in 1940 and completed his fighter pilot training in 1942. He was posted to Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52) on the Eastern front and was fortunate to be placed under the supervision of some of the Luftwaffe's most experienced fighter pilots. Under their guidance Hartmann steadily developed his tactics which would earn him the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds on 25 August 1944 for claiming 301 aerial victories.

He scored his 352nd and last aerial victory on 8 May 1945. He and the remainder of JG 52 surrendered to United States Army forces and were turned over to the Red Army. Convicted of false "War Crimes" and sentenced to 25 years of hard labour, Hartmann would spend 10 years in various Soviet prison camps and gulags until he was released in 1955. In 1956, Hartmann joined the newly established West German Luftwaffe and became the first Geschwaderkommodore of Jagdgeschwader 71 "Richthofen". Hartmann resigned early from the Bundeswehr in 1970, largely due to his opposition of the F-104 Starfighter deployment in the Bundesluftwaffe and the resulting clashes with his superiors over this issue. Erich Hartmann died in 1993.

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The Yakovlev Yak-42 is a line of tri-jet aircraft produced by the aircraft company Yakolev. The Yak 42 was produced from 1980-2003.

Historically, the yak-42 was competition for older Russian aircraft companies. The Yak-42 was only made in one passenger variant, but it was used in many tests of equipment.

  • Crew: 3
  • Span: 114 ft 5 in (34.88 m)
  • Length: 119 ft 4 in (36.38 m)
  • Height: 32 ft 3 in (9.83 m)
  • Engines: 3× Lotarev D-36 turbofan
  • Cruise Speed: 740 km/h (399 knots, 460 mph) (economy cruise)
  • Range: 4,000 km (2,158 nmi, 2,458 mi) (with maximum fuel)

Today in Aviation

February 16

  • 2010 – An Indian Air Force Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-27 fighter went down near Siliguri in West Bengal killing the pilot, a squadron leader.
  • 2009 – An entire South African Airways crew is arrested at London Heathrow Airport after five kilos of cocaine are allegedly discovered in a bag. It is the second drug arrest of an entire SAA crew for drug smuggling within three weeks.
  • 2009 – 90-09, a HESA IrAn-140 operated by the Iranian Police crashes on approach to Isfahan International Airport, Iran and is destroyed, killing all five people on board.
  • 2001 – A Royal New Zealand Air Force Douglas A-4K Skyhawk, NZ6211, from No. 2 Squadron RNZAF crashes near HMAS Albatross in New South Wales while practicing maneuvers for an upcoming air show, killing the aircraft's pilot.
  • 1999 – Gulfstream II carrying film director Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, Men in Black II, and Wild, Wild West), slid off runway at Van Nuys, California; Sonnenfeld was uninjured.
  • 1998China Airlines Flight 676, an Airbus A300, crashes into a residential area while attempting to land in Taipei, Taiwan. All 196 people on board are killed, in addition to six on the ground.
  • 1991 – A U. S. Air Force F-16 C crashes while making an instrument landing approach in Saudi Arabia.
  • 1986 – Ouadi Doum air raid is carried out by eight Jaguars escorted by four Mirage F1 s, against the Libyan airbase of Ouadi Doum in northern Chad, during the Chadian – Libyan conflict.
  • 1982 – The first production Airbus Industries A310 is rolled out at the factory in Toulouse, France, destined for Swissair as the launch customer.
  • 1980 – The Aeropuerto de Vitoria (IATA: VIT – OACI: LEVT) opens.
  • 1980 – Death of Geoffrey Hornblower Cock, British WWI fighter ace, highest scoring ace to fly the Sopwith 1½ Strutter.
  • 1977 – Death of Silvio Scaroni, Italian WWI fighter pilot credited with 26 victories. He was the second ranking Italian ace of WWI.
  • 1968 – No. 434 Tactical Fighter OTU was formed at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta.
  • 1967Garuda Indonesia Flight 708, a Lockheed L-188 Electra, crashes on landing at Sam Ratulangi Airport, killing 22 of 84 passengers on board; all 8 crew survive.
  • 1967 – First flight of the MBB Bö 105 D-HDCI, a German light, twin-engine, multi-purpose utility helicopter.
  • 1965 – Death of George Arthur ‘Art’ Welsh, Canadian WWI flying ace, WWII soldier, Politician and Sheriff.
  • 1961 – Launch of Explorer 9 (S56 A), US satellite for Atmospheric density measurements.
  • 1957 – The Nord 1405 Gerfaut II, French jet fighter prototype, established a number of time-to-height records from a standing start, including a climb to a height of 6,000 m in 1 min 17 seconds and to 9,000 m in 1 min 34 seconds.
  • 1956 – B-47 51-2059 (later RCAF X059) arrived at Cartierville where Canadair would modify it to test the Orenda Iroquois engine for the Avro Arrow.
  • 1956 – First crash of a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress when B-52B-30-BO, 53-0384, c/n 16863, of the 93rd Bomb Wing, Castle Air Force Base, suffered an explosion of an electrical power panel located on the alternator deck blowing off the cover and causing a fire. The cover jammed the regulator valve of the left hand forward alternator disabling the over speed protection and resulting in an over speed failure. Wreckage comes down near Sacramento, California. Four crew eject, four killed. The failure mode was determined later when another B-52 experienced a similar incident that blew off the rear right hand electrical power shield cover but did not cause a fire and Boeing pilot, Ed Hartz, landed safely at Boeing Field in Seattle.
  • 1948 – Death of Jesse Orin Creech, American WWI flying ace.
  • 1946 – First flight of the Sikorsky H-5, modified version of the YR-5 A, American helicopter with a greater rotor diameter, carrying capacity, and gross weight.
  • 1945 – (16-17) Eleven fleet aircraft carriers and five light aircraft carriers of the U. S. Navy’s Task Force 58 conduct the first carrier-based airstrikes against Japan proper since the April 1942 Doolittle Raid, attacking targets in and around Tokyo and Tokyo Bay. U. S. Navy aircraft fly 2,761 sorties, claiming 341 Japanese planes shot down and 190 destroyed on the ground, several ships and craft sunk in Tokyo Bay, and damage to Japanese airframe and aircraft engine plants in exchange for 60 U. S. aircraft lost in combat and 28 more lost due to non-combat causes.
  • 1945 – U. S. Navy surface ships conduct a two-day pre-invasion bombardment of Iwo Jima. Operating from the escort aircraft carrier USS Wake Island (CVE-65), U. S. Navy Observation Composite Squadron 1 (VOC-1) makes the Pacific Theater debut for such squadrons, in which pilots trained in artillery observation direct surface ship gunfire from fighters and torpedo bombers, augmenting or replacing the more vulnerable shipboard floatplanes carried for that purpose.
  • 1945 – During the U. S. seizure of Corregidor, the United States Army’s 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team conducts a paratrooper assault onto the island.
  • 1944 – Focke-Wulf Ta 152 V19, Werke Nummer 110019, prototype for the Ta 152B-5/R11 (Ta 152C-3/R11) with 1,750 hp (1,300 kW) Jumo 213A engine, is written off in a crash during test flight out of Langenhagen. Airframe had been damaged in 1943 wheels-up landing during testing but was repaired.
  • 1939 – The Spanish Republican Air Force reports that it has only 25 Polikarpov I-15 and I-16 fighters, two squadrons of Tupolev SB-2 bombers, and three squadrons of Polikarpov R-5 bombers.
  • 1937 – Birth of Valentin Vasiliyevich Bondarenko, Soviet fighter pilot and cosmonaut.
  • 1936 – (16-19) On February 16, Marshal Pietro Badoglio orders Italian ground forces not to pursue Ethiopian forces after they begin to retreat from Amba Aradam and assigns the task of exploitation of Italy’s victory to the Italian Royal Air Force (Regia Aeronautica), a novel task for an air force. Italian aircraft drop 40 tons (36,288 kg) of bombs on retreating Ethiopian forces over the last four days of the battle with devastating effect, and on February 19 a strafing aircraft mortally wounds the Ethiopian military leader Ras Mulugeta Yeggazu, who dies eight days later.
  • 1934 – While on a familiarization flight for impending flights of the U.S. Mail, Lt. J. Y. Eastham is killed in the crash of a Douglas Y1B-7 in fog at night near Jerome, Idaho.
  • 1934 – Crash of Curtiss A-12 Shrike, 33-244, in bad weather at Oakley, Utah, kills two crew, 2nd Lt. Jean Donant Grenier and crewmate Lt. E. D. White, while flying an advance route to determine time and distance for carrying the mail between Salt Lake City and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Grenier Army Air Field, Massachusetts, later Grenier Air Force Base, is named in Lt. Grenier's honor on 22 February 1942.
  • 1932 – First flight of the Martin B-10, first all-metal monoplane bomber to go into regular use by the United States Army Air Corps and first mass-produced bomber.
  • 1922 – Birth of Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, German Luftwaffe night fighter pilot and highest scoring (121) night fighter ace in the history of aerial warfare.
  • 1912 – Frank Coffyn takes aerial views of New York City with a cinema camera while controlling his airplane with his feet and knees.
  • 1903Traian Vuia presented to the Académie des Sciences of Paris the possibility of flying with a heavier-than-air mechanical machine and his procedure for taking off, but it was rejected for being an utopia, adding the comments: The problem of flight with a machine which weighs more than air cannot be soled and it is only a dream.
  • 1899 – Birth of Ronald Cory Berlyn, British WWI flying ace.
  • 1897 – Birth of Thomas Frederick Le Mesurier, British WWI flying ace.
  • 1895 – Birth of Jean Charles Augustin Dubois de Gennes, French WWI flying ace.
  • 1890 – Birth of Francesco De Pinedo, Italian raid aviator.
  • 1889 – Birth of John Thompson Guy Murison, British WWI flying ace.