Aviation

Aviation

Overview
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.

Many cultures have built devices that travel through the air, from the earliest projectiles such as stones and spears, the
boomerang
Boomerang
A boomerang is a flying tool with a curved shape used as a weapon or for sport.-Description:A boomerang is usually thought of as a wooden device, although historically boomerang-like devices have also been made from bones. Modern boomerangs used for sport are often made from carbon fibre-reinforced...

 in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, the hot air Kongming lantern, and kite
Kite
A kite is a tethered aircraft. The necessary lift that makes the kite wing fly is generated when air flows over and under the kite's wing, producing low pressure above the wing and high pressure below it. This deflection also generates horizontal drag along the direction of the wind...

s. There are early legends of human flight such as the story of Icarus
Icarus
-Space and astronomy:* Icarus , on the Moon* Icarus , a planetary science journal* 1566 Icarus, an asteroid* IKAROS, a interplanetary unmanned spacecraft...

, and Jamshid
Jamshid
Jamshid is a mythological figure of Greater Iranian culture and tradition.In tradition and folklore, Jamshid is described as having been the fourth and greatest king of the epigraphically unattested Pishdadian dynasty . This role is already alluded to in Zoroastrian scripture Jamshid (Middle-...

 in Persian myth, and later, somewhat more credible claims of short-distance human flights appear, such as the flying automaton of Archytas
Archytas
Archytas was an Ancient Greek philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, statesman, and strategist. He was a scientist of the Pythagorean school and famous for being the reputed founder of mathematical mechanics, as well as a good friend of Plato....

 of Tarentum
Taranto
Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, Southern Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Taranto and is an important commercial port as well as the main Italian naval base....

 (428–347 BC), the winged flights of Abbas Ibn Firnas
Abbas Ibn Firnas
Abbas Ibn Firnas , also known as Abbas Qasim Ibn Firnas and عباس بن فرناس , was a Muslim Andalusian polymath: an inventor, engineer, aviator, physician, Arabic poet, and Andalusian musician. Of Berber descent, he was born in Izn-Rand Onda, Al-Andalus , and lived in the Emirate of Córdoba...

 (810–887), Eilmer of Malmesbury
Eilmer of Malmesbury
Eilmer of Malmesbury was an 11th-century English Benedictine monk best known for his early attempt at a gliding flight using wings.- Life :...

 (11th century), and the hot-air Passarola of Bartolomeu Lourenço de Gusmão (1685–1724).

The modern age of aviation began with the first untethered human lighter-than-air flight on November 21, 1783, in a hot air balloon
Hot air balloon
The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. It is in a class of aircraft known as balloon aircraft. On November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, the first untethered manned flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in a hot air...

 designed by the Montgolfier brothers
Montgolfier brothers
Joseph-Michel Montgolfier and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier were the inventors of the montgolfière-style hot air balloon, globe aérostatique. The brothers succeeded in launching the first manned ascent, carrying Étienne into the sky...

.
Discussion
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Unanswered Questions
Quotations

When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.

Leonardo da Vinci

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.

William Blake

Pilots take no special joy in walking. Pilots like flying.

Neil Armstrong

The way I see it, you can either work for a living or you can fly airplanes. Me, I'd rather fly.

Len Morgan|Len Morgan

Pilots are a rare kind of human. They leave the ordinary surface of the word, to purify their soul in the sky, and they come down to earth, only after receiving the communion of the infinite.

José Maria Velasco Ibarra|José Maria Velasco Ibarra, President of Ecuador.

If God had intended us to fly, He would have given us wings.

Anonymous proverb. Note that many humorous variations have been made from this, replacing the second half of the sentence with things such as, "He would have given us more money" or "He would have bought us the tickets" or in the quixotic commentery of Michael Flanders, "he would never have given us railways".

If God had intended us to fly, he wouldn't have invented Spanish air traffic control.

Dave Lister, Red Dwarf

Any landing that you can walk away from is a good one!

Anonymous

Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.

Amelia Earhart

Ours is the commencement of a flying age, and I am happy to have popped into existence at a period so interesting.

Amelia Earhart 20 Hrs 40 Mins 1928.
Encyclopedia
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.

History


Many cultures have built devices that travel through the air, from the earliest projectiles such as stones and spears, the
boomerang
Boomerang
A boomerang is a flying tool with a curved shape used as a weapon or for sport.-Description:A boomerang is usually thought of as a wooden device, although historically boomerang-like devices have also been made from bones. Modern boomerangs used for sport are often made from carbon fibre-reinforced...

 in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, the hot air Kongming lantern, and kite
Kite
A kite is a tethered aircraft. The necessary lift that makes the kite wing fly is generated when air flows over and under the kite's wing, producing low pressure above the wing and high pressure below it. This deflection also generates horizontal drag along the direction of the wind...

s. There are early legends of human flight such as the story of Icarus
Icarus
-Space and astronomy:* Icarus , on the Moon* Icarus , a planetary science journal* 1566 Icarus, an asteroid* IKAROS, a interplanetary unmanned spacecraft...

, and Jamshid
Jamshid
Jamshid is a mythological figure of Greater Iranian culture and tradition.In tradition and folklore, Jamshid is described as having been the fourth and greatest king of the epigraphically unattested Pishdadian dynasty . This role is already alluded to in Zoroastrian scripture Jamshid (Middle-...

 in Persian myth, and later, somewhat more credible claims of short-distance human flights appear, such as the flying automaton of Archytas
Archytas
Archytas was an Ancient Greek philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, statesman, and strategist. He was a scientist of the Pythagorean school and famous for being the reputed founder of mathematical mechanics, as well as a good friend of Plato....

 of Tarentum
Taranto
Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, Southern Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Taranto and is an important commercial port as well as the main Italian naval base....

 (428–347 BC), the winged flights of Abbas Ibn Firnas
Abbas Ibn Firnas
Abbas Ibn Firnas , also known as Abbas Qasim Ibn Firnas and عباس بن فرناس , was a Muslim Andalusian polymath: an inventor, engineer, aviator, physician, Arabic poet, and Andalusian musician. Of Berber descent, he was born in Izn-Rand Onda, Al-Andalus , and lived in the Emirate of Córdoba...

 (810–887), Eilmer of Malmesbury
Eilmer of Malmesbury
Eilmer of Malmesbury was an 11th-century English Benedictine monk best known for his early attempt at a gliding flight using wings.- Life :...

 (11th century), and the hot-air Passarola of Bartolomeu Lourenço de Gusmão (1685–1724).

The modern age of aviation began with the first untethered human lighter-than-air flight on November 21, 1783, in a hot air balloon
Hot air balloon
The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. It is in a class of aircraft known as balloon aircraft. On November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, the first untethered manned flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in a hot air...

 designed by the Montgolfier brothers
Montgolfier brothers
Joseph-Michel Montgolfier and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier were the inventors of the montgolfière-style hot air balloon, globe aérostatique. The brothers succeeded in launching the first manned ascent, carrying Étienne into the sky...

. The practicality of balloons was limited because they could only travel downwind. It was immediately recognized that a steerable, or dirigible
Airship
An airship or dirigible is a type of aerostat or "lighter-than-air aircraft" that can be steered and propelled through the air using rudders and propellers or other thrust mechanisms...

, balloon was required. Jean-Pierre Blanchard
Jean-Pierre Blanchard
Jean-Pierre Blanchard , aka Jean Pierre François Blanchard, was a French inventor, most remembered as a pioneer in aviation and ballooning....

 flew the first human-powered dirigible in 1784 and crossed the English Channel in one in 1785.

In 1799 Sir George Cayley set forth the concept of the modern airplane as a fixed-wing flying machine with separate systems for lift, propulsion, and control. Early dirigible developments included machine-powered propulsion (Henri Giffard
Henri Giffard
Henri Giffard was a French engineer. In 1852 he invented the steam injector and the powered airship.-Career:Baptiste Henri Jacques Giffard was born in Paris in 1825...

, 1852), rigid frames (David Schwarz
David Schwarz (aviation inventor)
David Schwarz was a Hungarian aviation pioneer of Jewish descent.Schwarz created the first flyable rigid airship. It was also the first airship with an external hull made entirely of metal. He died before he could see it finally fly...

, 1896), and improved speed and maneuverability (Alberto Santos-Dumont
Alberto Santos-Dumont
Alberto Santos-Dumont , was a Brazilian early pioneer of aviation. The heir of a wealthy family of coffee producers, Santos Dumont dedicated himself to science studies in Paris, France, where he spent most of his adult life....

, 1901)



While there are many competing claims
First flying machine
There are conflicting views as to what was the first flying machine.Much of the debate surrounding records of early flying machines depends on the exact definition of what constitutes a "flying machine", "flight", and even "first"....

 for the earliest powered, heavier-than-air flight, the most widely-accepted date is December 17, 1903 by the Wright brothers
Wright brothers
The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur , were two Americans credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903...

. The Wright brothers were the first to fly in a powered and controlled aircraft. Previous flights were gliders (control but no power) or free flight (power but no control), but the Wright brothers combined both, setting the new standard in aviation records. Following this, the widespread adoption of aileron
Aileron
Ailerons are hinged flight control surfaces attached to the trailing edge of the wing of a fixed-wing aircraft. The ailerons are used to control the aircraft in roll, which results in a change in heading due to the tilting of the lift vector...

s versus wing warping made aircraft much easier to control, and only a decade later, at the start of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, heavier-than-air powered aircraft had become practical for reconnaissance, artillery spotting, and even attacks against ground positions.

Aircraft began to transport people and cargo as designs grew larger and more reliable. In contrast to small non-rigid blimps
Non-rigid airship
A blimp, or non-rigid airship, is a floating airship without an internal supporting framework or keel. A non-rigid airship differs from a semi-rigid airship and a rigid airship in that it does not have any rigid structure, neither a complete framework nor a partial keel, to help the airbag...

, giant rigid airship
Rigid airship
A rigid airship is a type of airship in which the envelope retained its shape by the use of an internal structural framework rather than by being forced into shape by the pressure of the lifting gas within the envelope as used in blimps and semi-rigid airships.Rigid airships were produced and...

s became the first aircraft to transport passengers and cargo over great distances. The best known aircraft of this type were manufactured by the German Zeppelin
Zeppelin
A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship pioneered by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century. It was based on designs he had outlined in 1874 and detailed in 1893. His plans were reviewed by committee in 1894 and patented in the United States on 14 March 1899...

 company.

The most successful Zeppelin was the Graf Zeppelin
LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin
LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin was a German built and operated passenger-carrying hydrogen-filled rigid airship which operated commercially from 1928 to 1937. It was named after the German pioneer of airships, Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who was a Graf or Count in the German nobility. During its operating life,...

. It flew over one million miles, including an around-the-world flight in August 1929. However, the dominance of the Zeppelins over the airplanes of that period, which had a range of only a few hundred miles, was diminishing as airplane design advanced. The "Golden Age" of the airships ended on May 6, 1937 when the Hindenburg caught fire, killing 36 people. Although there have been periodic initiatives to revive their use, airships have seen only niche application since that time.

Great progress was made in the field of aviation during the 1920s and 1930s, such as Charles Lindbergh's
Charles Lindbergh
Charles Augustus Lindbergh was an American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist.Lindbergh, a 25-year-old U.S...

 solo transatlantic flight in 1927, and Charles Kingsford Smith
Charles Kingsford Smith
Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith MC, AFC , often called by his nickname Smithy, was an early Australian aviator. In 1928, he earned global fame when he made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia...

's transpacific flight the following year. One of the most successful designs of this period was the Douglas DC-3
Douglas DC-3
The Douglas DC-3 is an American fixed-wing propeller-driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made...

, which became the first airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

 that was profitable carrying passengers exclusively, starting the modern era of passenger airline service. By the beginning of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, many towns and cities had built airports, and there were numerous qualified pilots available. The war brought many innovations to aviation, including the first jet aircraft and the first liquid-fueled rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

s.


After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, especially in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, there was a boom in general aviation
General aviation
General aviation is one of the two categories of civil aviation. It refers to all flights other than military and scheduled airline and regular cargo flights, both private and commercial. General aviation flights range from gliders and powered parachutes to large, non-scheduled cargo jet flights...

, both private and commercial, as thousands of pilots were released from military service and many inexpensive war-surplus transport and training aircraft became available. Manufacturers such as Cessna
Cessna
The Cessna Aircraft Company is an airplane manufacturing corporation headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, USA. Their main products are general aviation aircraft. Although they are the most well known for their small, piston-powered aircraft, they also produce business jets. The company is a subsidiary...

, Piper
The New Piper Aircraft
Piper Aircraft, Inc., is a manufacturer of general aviation aircraft, located at the Vero Beach Municipal Airport in Vero Beach, Florida. Along with Beechcraft and Cessna, it is considered one of the "Big Three" in the field of general aviation construction....

, and Beechcraft
Beechcraft
Beechcraft is an American manufacturer of general aviation and military aircraft, ranging from light single engine aircraft to business jets and light military transports. Previously a division of Raytheon, it has been a brand of Hawker Beechcraft since 2006....

 expanded production to provide light aircraft for the new middle-class market.

By the 1950s, the development of civil jets grew, beginning with the de Havilland Comet
De Havilland Comet
The de Havilland DH 106 Comet was the world's first commercial jet airliner to reach production. Developed and manufactured by de Havilland at the Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom headquarters, it first flew in 1949 and was a landmark in aeronautical design...

, though the first widely-used passenger jet was the Boeing 707
Boeing 707
The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

, because it was much more economical than other planes at the time. At the same time, turboprop
Gas turbine
A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of internal combustion engine. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between....

 propulsion began to appear for smaller commuter planes, making it possible to serve small-volume routes in a much wider range of weather conditions.

Since the 1960s, composite
Composite material
Composite materials, often shortened to composites or called composition materials, are engineered or naturally occurring materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties which remain separate and distinct at the macroscopic or...

 airframes and quieter, more efficient engines have become available, and Concorde
Concorde
Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner, a supersonic transport . It was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty, combining the manufacturing efforts of Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation...

 provided supersonic passenger service for more than two decades, but the most important lasting innovations have taken place in instrumentation and control. The arrival of solid-state
Transistor
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and power. It is composed of a semiconductor material with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals changes the current...

 electronics, the Global Positioning System
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

, satellite communications
Communications satellite
A communications satellite is an artificial satellite stationed in space for the purpose of telecommunications...

, and increasingly small and powerful computer
Computer
A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one kind of problem...

s and LED
Light-emitting diode
A light-emitting diode is a semiconductor light source. LEDs are used as indicator lamps in many devices and are increasingly used for other lighting...

 displays, have dramatically changed the cockpits of airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

s and, increasingly, of smaller aircraft as well. Pilots can navigate much more accurately and view terrain, obstructions, and other nearby aircraft on a map or through synthetic vision
Synthetic vision
A Synthetic Vision System is a computer-mediated reality system for aerial vehicles, that uses 3D to provide pilots with clear and intuitive means of understanding their flying environment....

, even at night or in low visibility.

On June 21, 2004, SpaceShipOne became the first privately funded aircraft to make a spaceflight
Spaceflight
Spaceflight is the act of travelling into or through outer space. Spaceflight can occur with spacecraft which may, or may not, have humans on board. Examples of human spaceflight include the Russian Soyuz program, the U.S. Space shuttle program, as well as the ongoing International Space Station...

, opening the possibility of an aviation market capable of leaving the Earth's atmosphere. Meanwhile, flying prototypes of aircraft powered by alternative fuels, such as ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

, electricity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

, and even solar energy, are becoming more common.

Civil aviation



Civil aviation includes all non-military flying, both general aviation
General aviation
General aviation is one of the two categories of civil aviation. It refers to all flights other than military and scheduled airline and regular cargo flights, both private and commercial. General aviation flights range from gliders and powered parachutes to large, non-scheduled cargo jet flights...

 and scheduled air transport.

Air transport



There are five major manufacturers of civil transport aircraft (in alphabetical order):
  • Airbus
    Airbus
    Airbus SAS is an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace company. Based in Blagnac, France, surburb of Toulouse, and with significant activity across Europe, the company produces around half of the world's jet airliners....

    , based in Europe
    Europe
    Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

  • Boeing
    Boeing
    The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

    , based in the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

  • Bombardier
    Bombardier Aerospace
    Bombardier Aerospace is a division of Bombardier Inc. and is the third-largest airplane manufacturer in the world. It is headquartered in Dorval, Quebec, Canada.- History :...

    , based in Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

  • Embraer
    Embraer
    Embraer S.A. is a Brazilian aerospace conglomerate that produces commercial, military, and executive aircraft and provides aeronautical services....

    , based in Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

  • United Aircraft Corporation
    United Aircraft Corporation
    United Aircraft Corporation may refer to one of the following:* United Aircraft Corporation, formerly United Aircraft and Transport Corporation; now known as United Technologies Corporation....

    , based in Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...



Boeing, Airbus, Ilyushin
Ilyushin
Open Joint Stock Company «Ilyushin Aviation Complex» , operating as Ilyushin or Ilyushin Design Bureau, is a Russian design bureau and aircraft manufacturer, founded by Sergey Vladimirovich Ilyushin. Ilyushin was established under the Soviet Union. Its operations began on January 13, 1933, by...

 and Tupolev
Tupolev
Tupolev is a Russian aerospace and defence company, headquartered in Basmanny District, Central Administrative Okrug, Moscow. Known officially as Public Stock Company Tupolev, it is the successor of the Tupolev OKB or Tupolev Design Bureau headed by the Soviet aerospace engineer A.N. Tupolev...

 concentrate on wide-body and narrow-body jet airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

s, while Bombardier, Embraer and Sukhoi
Sukhoi
Sukhoi Company is a major Russian aircraft manufacturer, headquartered in Begovoy District, Northern Administrative Okrug, Moscow, famous for its fighters...

 concentrate on regional airliner
Regional airliner
A regional airliner or a feederliner is a small airliner designed to fly up to 100 passengers on short-haul flights, usually feeding larger carriers' hubs from small markets. This class of airliners are typically flown by the regional airlines that are either contracted by or subsidiaries of the...

s. Large networks of specialized parts suppliers from around the world support these manufacturers, who sometimes provide only the initial design and final assembly in their own plants. The Chinese ACAC consortium
ACAC consortium
The AVIC I Commercial Aircraft Company is a subsidiary of Aviation Industries of China I , formed in 2002 by various Chinese aviation companies, including:* Shanghai Aircraft Research Institute...

 will also soon enter the civil transport market with its ACAC ARJ21
ACAC ARJ21
The Comac ARJ21 Xiangfeng is a twin-engined regional airliner. It is the first regional passenger jet to be developed and indigenously produced by the People's Republic of China...

 regional jet.

Until the 1970s, most major airlines were flag carrier
Flag carrier
A flag carrier is a transportation company, such as an airline or shipping company, that, being locally registered in a given country, enjoys preferential rights or privileges, accorded by the government, for international operations. It may be a state-run, state-owned or private but...

s, sponsored by their governments and heavily protected from competition. Since then, open skies
Open skies
Open skies is an international policy concept which calls for the liberalization of rules and regulations on international aviation industry most specially commercial aviation - opening a free market for the airline industry...

 agreements have resulted in increased competition and choice for consumers, coupled with falling prices for airlines. The combination of high fuel prices, low fares, high salaries, and crises such as the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

 and the SARS epidemic
Severe acute respiratory syndrome
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome is a respiratory disease in humans which is caused by the SARS coronavirus . Between November 2002 and July 2003 an outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong nearly became a pandemic, with 8,422 cases and 916 deaths worldwide according to the WHO...

 have driven many older airlines to government-bailouts, bankruptcy or mergers. At the same time, low-cost carrier
Low-cost carrier
A low-cost carrier or low-cost airline is an airline that generally has lower fares and fewer comforts...

s such as Ryanair
Ryanair
Ryanair is an Irish low-cost airline. Its head office is at Dublin Airport and its primary operational bases at Dublin Airport and London Stansted Airport....

, Southwest
Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines Co. is an American low-cost airline based in Dallas, Texas. Southwest is the largest airline in the United States, based upon domestic passengers carried,...

 and Westjet
WestJet
WestJet Airlines Ltd. is a Canadian low-cost carrier that provides scheduled and charter air service to 71 destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Founded in 1996, WestJet is currently the second largest Canadian air carrier, behind Air Canada, operating an average of...

 have flourished.

General aviation




General aviation includes all non-scheduled civil flying, both private
Private aviation
Private aviation is the part of civil aviation that does not include flying for hire. In most countries, private flights are always general aviation flights, but the opposite is not true: many general aviation flights are commercial in that the pilot is hired and paid...

 and commercial
Commercial aviation
Commercial aviation is the part of civil aviation that involves operating aircraft for hire to transport passengers or cargo...

. General aviation may include business flights, air charter
Air charter
Air charter is the business of renting an entire aircraft as opposed to individual aircraft seats...

, private aviation, flight training, ballooning
Hot air balloon
The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. It is in a class of aircraft known as balloon aircraft. On November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, the first untethered manned flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in a hot air...

, parachuting
Parachuting
Parachuting, also known as skydiving, is the action of exiting an aircraft and returning to earth with the aid of a parachute. It may or may not involve a certain amount of free-fall, a time during which the parachute has not been deployed and the body gradually accelerates to terminal...

, gliding
Glider (sailplane)
A glider or sailplane is a type of glider aircraft used in the sport of gliding. Some gliders, known as motor gliders are used for gliding and soaring as well, but have engines which can, in some cases, be used for take-off or for extending a flight...

, hang gliding
Hang gliding
Hang gliding is an air sport in which a pilot flies a light and unmotorized foot-launchable aircraft called a hang glider ....

, aerial photography
Aerial photography
Aerial photography is the taking of photographs of the ground from an elevated position. The term usually refers to images in which the camera is not supported by a ground-based structure. Cameras may be hand held or mounted, and photographs may be taken by a photographer, triggered remotely or...

, foot-launched powered hang gliders
Powered Hang Glider
A foot-launched powered hang glider , also called powered harness, nanolight, or hangmotor, is a powered hang glider harness with a motor and propeller in pusher configuration...

, air ambulance, crop dusting, charter flights, traffic reporting
Traffic reporting
Traffic reporting is the distribution of information about road conditions such as traffic congestion, detours, and traffic accidents, generally as part of a radio or television broadcast program. The reports help commuters anticipate and avoid traffic problems. Many reports mention alternate...

, police air patrols and forest fire fighting.

Each country regulates aviation differently, but general aviation usually falls under different regulations depending on whether it is private or commercial and on the type of equipment involved.

Many small aircraft manufacturers, including Cessna
Cessna
The Cessna Aircraft Company is an airplane manufacturing corporation headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, USA. Their main products are general aviation aircraft. Although they are the most well known for their small, piston-powered aircraft, they also produce business jets. The company is a subsidiary...

, Piper
The New Piper Aircraft
Piper Aircraft, Inc., is a manufacturer of general aviation aircraft, located at the Vero Beach Municipal Airport in Vero Beach, Florida. Along with Beechcraft and Cessna, it is considered one of the "Big Three" in the field of general aviation construction....

, Diamond
Diamond Aircraft Industries
Diamond Aircraft Industries is an Austrian-based manufacturer of general aviation aircraft and motor gliders, which also has a large manufacturing facility in London, Ontario, Canada...

, Mooney
Mooney Airplane Company
The Mooney Aviation Company, Inc. is a U.S. manufacturer of single-engined general aviation aircraft. Mooney has been a leader in civil aviation even though the company has gone bankrupt and changed ownership several times...

, Cirrus Design
Cirrus Design
The Cirrus Aircraft Corporation is an aircraft manufacturer that was founded in 1984 by Alan and Dale Klapmeier to produce the VK-30 kit aircraft....

, Hawker Beechcraft
Hawker Beechcraft
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation is an aerospace manufacturing company that builds the Beechcraft and Hawker business jet lines of aircraft....

 and others serve the general aviation market, with a focus on private aviation and flight training.

The most important recent developments for small aircraft (which form the bulk of the GA fleet) have been the introduction of advanced avionics
Avionics
Avionics are electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft.Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles...

 (including GPS
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

) that were formerly found only in large airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

s, and the introduction of composite material
Composite material
Composite materials, often shortened to composites or called composition materials, are engineered or naturally occurring materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties which remain separate and distinct at the macroscopic or...

s to make small aircraft lighter and faster. Ultralight
Ultralight aviation
The term "ultralight aviation" refers to light-weight, 1- or 2-person airplanes., also called microlight aircraft in the UK, India and New Zealand...

 and homebuilt aircraft
Homebuilt aircraft
Also known as amateur-built aircraft or kit planes, homebuilt aircraft are constructed by persons for whom this is not a professional activity. These aircraft may be constructed from "scratch," from plans, or from assembly kits.-Overview:...

 have also become increasingly popular for recreational use, since in most countries that allow private aviation, they are much less expensive and less heavily regulated than certified aircraft.

Military aviation



Simple balloons
Balloon (aircraft)
A balloon is a type of aircraft that remains aloft due to its buoyancy. A balloon travels by moving with the wind. It is distinct from an airship, which is a buoyant aircraft that can be propelled through the air in a controlled manner....

 were used as surveillance aircraft as early as the 18th century. Over the years, military aircraft
Military aircraft
A military aircraft is any fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft that is operated by a legal or insurrectionary armed service of any type. Military aircraft can be either combat or non-combat:...

 have been built to meet ever increasing capability requirements. Manufacturers of military aircraft compete for contracts to supply their government's arsenal. Aircraft are selected based on factors like cost, performance, and the speed of production.

Types of military aviation

  • Fighter aircraft
    Fighter aircraft
    A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

    's primary function is to destroy other aircraft. (e.g. Sopwith Camel
    Sopwith Camel
    The Sopwith Camel was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter introduced on the Western Front in 1917. Manufactured by Sopwith Aviation Company, it had a short-coupled fuselage, heavy, powerful rotary engine, and concentrated fire from twin synchronized machine guns. Though difficult...

    , A6M Zero
    A6M Zero
    The Mitsubishi A6M Zero was a long-range fighter aircraft operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service from 1940 to 1945. The A6M was designated as the , and also designated as the Mitsubishi A6M Rei-sen and Mitsubishi Navy 12-shi Carrier Fighter. The A6M was usually referred to by the...

    , F-15, MiG-29, Su-27, and F-22).
  • Ground attack aircraft are used against tactical
    Tactical bombing
    Tactical bombing is the aerial bombing aimed at targets of immediate military value, such as troops, military installations or equipment. This is in contrast to strategic bombing, attacking enemy's cities and factories to debilitate the enemy's capacity to wage war, the enemy's future military...

     earth-bound targets. (e.g. Junkers Stuka
    Junkers Ju 87
    The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka was a two-man German ground-attack aircraft...

    , A-10
    A-10 Thunderbolt II
    The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American single-seat, twin-engine, straight-wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. The A-10 was designed for a United States Air Force requirement to provide close air support for ground forces by attacking tanks,...

    , Il-2
    Ilyushin Il-2
    The Ilyushin Il-2 was a ground-attack aircraft in the Second World War, produced by the Soviet Union in very large numbers...

    , J-22 Orao, AH-64 and Su-25
    Sukhoi Su-25
    The Sukhoi Su-25 is a single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft developed in the Soviet Union by the Sukhoi Design Bureau. It was designed to provide close air support for the Soviet Ground Forces. The first prototype made its maiden flight on 22 February 1975...

    ).
  • Bomber
    Bomber
    A bomber is a military aircraft designed to attack ground and sea targets, by dropping bombs on them, or – in recent years – by launching cruise missiles at them.-Classifications of bombers:...

    s are generally used against more strategic
    Strategic bombing
    Strategic bombing is a military strategy used in a total war with the goal of defeating an enemy nation-state by destroying its economic ability and public will to wage war rather than destroying its land or naval forces...

     targets, such as factories and oil fields. (e.g. Zeppelin
    Zeppelin
    A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship pioneered by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century. It was based on designs he had outlined in 1874 and detailed in 1893. His plans were reviewed by committee in 1894 and patented in the United States on 14 March 1899...

    , Tu-95, Mirage IV
    Dassault Mirage IV
    The Dassault Mirage IV was a French jet-propelled supersonic strategic bomber and deep-reconnaissance aircraft. For many years it was a vital part of the nuclear triad of the Force de Frappe, France's nuclear deterrent striking force.-Development:...

    , and B-52
    B-52 Stratofortress
    The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber operated by the United States Air Force since the 1950s. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, who have continued to provide maintainence and upgrades to the aircraft in service...

    ).
  • Transport aircraft
    Military transport aircraft
    Military transport aircraft are typically fixed and rotary wing cargo aircraft which are used to deliver troops, weapons and other military equipment by a variety of methods to any area of military operations around the surface of the planet, usually outside of the commercial flight routes in...

     are used to transport hardware and personnel. (e.g. C-17 Globemaster III
    C-17 Globemaster III
    The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft. Developed for the United States Air Force from the 1980s to the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas, the C-17 is used for rapid strategic airlift of troops and cargo to main operating bases or forward operating bases throughout...

    , C-130 Hercules
    C-130 Hercules
    The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport...

     and Mil Mi-26
    Mil Mi-26
    The Mil Mi-26 is a Soviet/Russian heavy transport helicopter. In service with civilian and military operators, it is the largest and most powerful helicopter ever to have gone into production.-Design and development:...

    ).
  • Surveillance
    Surveillance aircraft
    A surveillance aircraft is an aircraft used for surveillance — collecting information over time. They are operated by military forces and other government agencies in roles such as intelligence gathering, battlefield surveillance, airspace surveillance, observation , border patrol and fishery...

     and reconnaissance
    Aerial reconnaissance
    Aerial reconnaissance is reconnaissance that is conducted using unmanned aerial vehicles or reconnaissance aircraft. Their roles are to collect imagery intelligence, signals intelligence and measurement and signature intelligence...

     aircraft obtain information about enemy forces. (e.g. Rumpler Taube
    Rumpler Taube
    The Etrich Taube, also known by the names of the various manufacturers who build versions of the type, such as the Rumpler Taube, was a pre-World War I monoplane aircraft. It was the first mass-produced military plane in Germany...

    , Mosquito
    De Havilland Mosquito
    The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British multi-role combat aircraft that served during the Second World War and the postwar era. It was known affectionately as the "Mossie" to its crews and was also nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder"...

    , U-2
    Lockheed U-2
    The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency . It provides day and night, very high-altitude , all-weather intelligence gathering...

    , OH-58 and MiG-25R).
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
    Unmanned aerial vehicle
    An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

     are used primarily as reconnaissance fixed-wing aircraft, though many also carry payloads. Cargo aircraft are in development. (e.g. RQ-7B Shadow, MQ-8 Fire Scout, and MQ-1C Gray Eagle).
  • Missiles deliver warheads, normally explosives, but also things like leaflets.

Air Traffic Control (ATC)



Air traffic control (ATC) involves communication with aircraft to help maintain separation — that is, they ensure that aircraft are sufficiently far enough apart horizontally or vertically for no risk of collision. Controllers may co-ordinate position reports provided by pilots, or in high traffic areas (such as the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

) they may use radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

 to see aircraft positions.

There are generally four different types of ATC:
  • center controllers, who control aircraft en route between airports
  • control towers (including tower, ground control, clearance delivery, and other services), which control aircraft within a small distance (typically 10–15 km horizontal, and 1,000 m vertical) of an airport.
  • oceanic controllers, who control aircraft over international waters between continents, generally without radar service.
  • terminal controllers, who control aircraft in a wider area (typically 50–80 km) around busy airports.


ATC is especially important for aircraft flying under Instrument flight rules
Instrument flight rules
Instrument flight rules are one of two sets of regulations governing all aspects of civil aviation aircraft operations; the other are visual flight rules ....

 (IFR), where they may be in weather conditions that do not allow the pilots to see other aircraft. However, in very high-traffic areas, especially near major airports, aircraft flying under Visual flight rules
Visual flight rules
Visual flight rules are a set of regulations which allow a pilot to operate an aircraft in weather conditions generally clear enough to allow the pilot to see where the aircraft is going. Specifically, the weather must be better than basic VFR weather minimums, as specified in the rules of the...

 (VFR) are also required to follow instructions from ATC.

In addition to separation from other aircraft, ATC may provide weather advisories, terrain separation, navigation assistance, and other services to pilots, depending on their workload.

ATC do not control all flights. The majority of VFR flights in North America are not required to talk to ATC (unless they are passing through a busy terminal area or using a major airport), and in many areas, such as northern Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and low altitude in northern Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, ATC services are not available even for IFR flights at lower altitudes.

Environmental impact


Like all activities involving combustion
Combustion
Combustion or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat and conversion of chemical species. The release of heat can result in the production of light in the form of either glowing or a flame...

, operating powered aircraft (from airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

s to hot air balloons) release soot
Soot
Soot is a general term that refers to impure carbon particles resulting from the incomplete combustion of a hydrocarbon. It is more properly restricted to the product of the gas-phase combustion process but is commonly extended to include the residual pyrolyzed fuel particles such as cenospheres,...

 and other pollutants into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

es such as carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 (CO2) are also produced. In addition, there are environmental impacts specific to aviation:

  • Aircraft operating at high altitudes near the tropopause
    Tropopause
    The tropopause is the atmospheric boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere.-Definition:Going upward from the surface, it is the point where air ceases to cool with height, and becomes almost completely dry...

     (mainly large jet airliner
    Jet airliner
    A jet airliner is an airliner that is powered by jet engines. This term is sometimes contracted to jetliner or jet.In contrast to today's relatively fuel-efficient, turbofan-powered air travel, first generation jet airliner travel was noisy and fuel inefficient...

    s) emit aerosols and leave contrail
    Contrail
    Contrails or vapour trails are artificial clouds that are the visible trails of condensed water vapour made by the exhaust of aircraft engines...

    s, both of which can increase cirrus cloud
    Cirrus cloud
    Cirrus clouds are atmospheric clouds generally characterized by thin, wispy strands, giving them their name from the Latin word cirrus meaning a ringlet or curling lock of hair...

     formation — cloud cover may have increased by up to 0.2% since the birth of aviation.
  • Aircraft operating at high altitudes near the tropopause can also release chemicals that interact with greenhouse gases at those altitudes, particularly nitrogen compounds
    Nitrogen oxide
    Nitrogen oxide can refer to a binary compound of oxygen and nitrogen, or a mixture of such compounds:* Nitric oxide, also known as nitrogen monoxide, , nitrogen oxide* Nitrogen dioxide , nitrogen oxide...

    , which interact with ozone, increasing ozone concentrations.
  • Most light piston aircraft burn avgas
    Avgas
    Avgas is an aviation fuel used to power piston-engine aircraft. Avgas is distinguished from mogas , which is the everyday gasoline used in cars and some non-commercial light aircraft...

    , which contains tetra-ethyl lead
    Tetra-ethyl lead
    Tetraethyllead , abbreviated TEL, is an organolead compound with the formula 4Pb. An inexpensive additive, its addition to gasoline from the 1920's allowed octane ratings and thus engine compression to be boosted significantly, increasing power and fuel economy...

     (TEL). Some lower-compression piston engines can operate on unleaded mogas, and turbine engines and diesel engines — neither of which requires lead — are appearing on some newer light aircraft
    Light aircraft
    A light aircraft is an aircraft that has a maximum gross take-off weight of or less.Many aircraft used commercially for freight, sightseeing, photography and scheduled flights are light aircraft.Examples of light aircraft include:...

    .

See also


  • Aeronautics
    Aeronautics
    Aeronautics is the science involved with the study, design, and manufacturing of airflight-capable machines, or the techniques of operating aircraft and rocketry within the atmosphere...

  • Aviation, aerospace, and aeronautical terms
  • Environmental impact of aviation
  • List of aviation topics
  • Timeline of aviation
    Timeline of aviation
    This article does not contain direct references or citations but it builds upon other articles in Wikipedia which you can find in the links and in the year by year articles to the left. Those articles have references and citations...