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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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Rear view of CFM56-5
Rear view of CFM56-5
The CFM International CFM56 series is a family of high-bypass turbofan aircraft engines made by CFM International with a thrust range of 18,500 to 34,000 pound-force (lbf) (80 to 150 kilonewtons (kN)). CFMI is a 50–50 joint-owned company of SNECMA and GE Aviation. Both companies are responsible for producing components and each has its own final assembly line. The CFM56 first ran in 1974 and, despite initial political problems, is now one of the most prolific jet engine types in the world: more than 20,000 have been built in four major variants. It is most widely used on the Boeing 737 airliner and under military designation F108 replaced the Pratt & Whitney JT3D engines on many KC-135 Stratotankers in the 1980s, creating the KC-135R variant of this aircraft. It is also one of two engines used to power the Airbus A340, the other being the Rolls-Royce Trent. The engine is also fitted to Airbus A320 series aircraft. Several fan blade failure incidents were experienced during the CFM56's early service, including one failure that was noted as a cause of the Kegworth air disaster, and some variants of the engine experienced problems caused by flight through rain and hail. However, both these issues were resolved with engine modifications. (Full article...)

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Cumulus clouds are characterized by dense individual elements in the form of puffs, mounds or towers, with flat bases and tops that often resemble cauliflower. They are formed due to convection. Buoyant, upward air currents, known as thermals rise to a height at which the moisture in the air can condense. Because of this, they "grow" vertically instead of horizontally. Though most common in warm, summer weather, cumulus clouds can be formed at any time of year.

Did you know

Fokker Spin

...that the Fokker Spin (pictured) was the first aircraft built by Anthony Fokker, in which he taught himself to fly and earned his pilot license? ...that Frenchman Jean-Marie Le Bris accomplished the world's first powered flight in 1856, with a glider that was pulled behind a running horse? ...that Washington Senators outfielder Elmer Gedeon, who pulled a crew member from a burning wreck, died while piloting a B-26 bomber over France?

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Elizabeth Muriel Gregory "Elsie" MacGill (27 March 1905 – 4 November 1980), known as the Queen of the Hurricanes, was the world's first female aircraft designer. She worked as an aeronautical engineer during the Second World War and did much to make Canada a powerhouse of airplane construction during her years at Canada Car and Foundry (CC&F) in Fort William, Ontario. After her work at CC&F she ran a successful consulting business. Between 1967–1970 she was a commissioner on the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada, published in 1970.

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

June 2

  • 2009 – Deceased: British Air Vice-Marshal John Ernsting, 81.
  • 2009 – 8Q-MAG, a DHC-6 Twin Otter operated by Maldavian Air Taxi is destroyed when it crashes into the sea at the Haliveli Atoll, Maldives. All seven people on board survive.
  • 2009 – A Royal Jordanian Air Force Slingsby T-67 Firefly while on a routine training flight being flown by a cadet pilot and instructor, crashes near the Al-Hassan Industrial Estate, Irbid, Jordan. The pilot, due to a technical fault, was unable to recover from a spin leaving 1 crew dead and 1 injured.
  • 2002 – n Angolan Armed Forces Mil Mi-17 helicopter crashes in poor weather killing 20 of the 25 on board. Among those on board were top military officials that were going to attend a disarmament ceremony by UNITA rebels.
  • 1998 – Launch: Space Shuttle Discovery STS-91 at 18:06:24 EDT. Mission highlights: Last Shuttle-Mir docking.
  • 1995 – A U. S. Air Force F-16 C was shot down by a Bosnian Serb surface-to-air missile while on a NATO air patrol in northern Bosnia; the pilot, Capt. Scott F. O’Grady, was rescued six days later.
  • 19941994 Scotland RAF Chinook crash: A Royal Air Force Boeing Chinook HC.2 helicopter, ZD576, 'G', of Odiham Wing, crashes near Campbeltown, Scotland, killing 29 crew and passengers, including several top officials of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
  • 1986 – The greatest distance achieved by a hang-glider is made by American Randy Haney who flies an unpowered hang-glider 199.75 miles (321.47 km) from his takeoff point.
  • 1984 – Flight readiness firing of Discovery’s main engines.
  • 1983Air Canada Flight 797, a McDonnell-Douglas DC-9, catches fire during flight over Kentucky; 23 of 46 passengers die from smoke inhalation even after the crew successfully lands the aircraft in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • 1982 – A Royal Air Force Avro Vulcan B.2 XM597 on Operation Black Buck during the Falklands War is forced to divert to Brazil after breaking a refuelling-probe. The aircraft was interned at the Brazilian air force base, Aérea de Santa Cruz, Rio de Janeiro and was allowed to leave nine days later due to the arrival of Pope John Paul II on a pastoral visit to Brazil.
  • 1948 – Entered Service: Convair B-36 Peacemaker with the United States Air Force’s 7th Bombardment Wing (Heavy)
  • 1945 – (2-3) Carrier aircraft of Task Group 38.4 strike Kyushu.
  • 1944 – 54 Japanese planes attack U. S. landing forces off Biak, losing 12 of their number and inflicting almost no damage.
  • 1943 – An hour into a routine training flight from the USS Lexington (CV-16) over the Gulf of Paria off Venezuela, 1939 Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick develops severe oil leak, cannot recover to either the carrier or land, and ditches his F4F Wildcat.[207] Although rescue forces arrive at the scene in eight minutes, neither he nor his plane are found, only an oil slick. Kinnick was the first Heisman winner to die. The University of Iowa renames their football stadium "Kinnick Stadium" in 1972.
  • 1942 – Nos. 8, 111 and 118 Squadrons moved to Alaska to join No. 115 Squadron already there, to work with the US Forces against the Japanese threat.
  • 1941 – First British Consolidated LB-30 Liberator II, AL503, on its acceptance flight for delivery from the Consolidated Aircraft Company plant at San Diego, California, crashes into San Diego Bay when flight controls freeze, killing all five civilian crew, CAC Chief Test Pilot William Wheatley, co-pilot Alan Austen, flight engineer Bruce Kilpatrick Craig, and two chief mechanics, Lewis McCannon and William Reiser. Craig, who had been commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1935 following Infantry ROTC training at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering, had applied for a commission in the Army Air Corps before his death. This was granted posthumously, with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, and on 25 August 1941, the airfield in his hometown of Selma, Alabama was renamed Craig Field, later Craig Air Force Base. Investigation into the cause of the accident causes a two month delay in deliveries, so the RAF does not begin receiving Liberator IIs until August 1941.
  • 1941 – The United States Navy commissions USS Long Island (AVG-1), its first escort aircraft carrier – At the time designated an “aircraft escort vessel” (AVG) – At Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia.
  • 1938 – Nationalist aircraft bomb Granollers, Spain, a town without military significance, killing about 100 people. Most of the dead are women and children.
  • 1917 – Captain William Avery Bishop, 60 Squadron, flying a Nieuport 17, made a single-handed attack on a German aerodrome and shot down three enemy aircraft. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for this action.
  • 1794 – J. M. J. Coutelle and N. J. Conte of the French army’s “Aerostiers” at Mauberge, France make the first military use of a balloon, when they observe enemy positions from their captive balloon.


  1. ^ "Gaddafi To Send Representative to OPEC". Al Jazeera. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011.