aviatic /ay'vee at"ik, av'ee-/, adj.
/ay'vee ay"sheuhn, av'ee-/, n.
1. the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, esp. heavier-than-air aircraft.
2. military aircraft.
[1865-70; < F; see AVI-, -ATION]

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Development and operation of aircraft.

In 1783 the balloon became the first aircraft to carry humans. Production of a successful glider in 1891 and refinement of the internal-combustion engine led to the first successful engine-powered airplane flight by Wilbur and Orville Wright in 1903. World War I accelerated the expansion of aviation, and in the 1920s the first small airlines began carrying mail and passengers. World War II was another period of innovation in aircraft size, speed, and range. In the late 1940s the jet engine made possible the subsequent development of commercial airlines throughout the world. See also airship; helicopter; seaplane.

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▪ 2003

      January 27, Northeastern Chechnya. A military transport helicopter goes down near the village of Shelkovskaya, killing 21 persons; despite an initial report that the helicopter was shot down, Russian authorities later assert that the wreckage shows no signs that the aircraft was fired on.

      January 28, Southern Colombia. An Ecuadoran airliner reportedly flying in heavy mist crashes on the slopes of the Nevado de Cumbal volcano; all 92 persons aboard the plane are killed.

      February 12, Western Iran. An Iranian airliner flying in bad weather conditions with at least 117 persons aboard crashes in mountains near the city of Khorramabad; there are no survivors.

      February 21, Near Arkhangelsk, Russia. A military cargo plane crashes while attempting to make an emergency landing; 17 persons die, most of them Russian naval officers.

      March 14, Baez, Cuba. A single-engine charter plane crashes into a pond, reportedly after one of the plane's wings has broken off; at least 16 persons are killed.

      April 15, Near Busan, S.Kor. An Air China Boeing 767 en route from Beijing to Busan slams into a hill while making its approach to land in rainy and foggy conditions; 39 of the reported 166 passengers and crew members aboard the plane survive the crash.

      May 4, Near Kano, Nigeria. An airliner en route from Kano to Lagos crashes in a heavily populated suburb shortly after takeoff; at least 148 persons die.

      May 7, Near Tunis, Tun. An Egypt Air Boeing 737-500 flying through fog, rain, and sandy wind blowing from the Sahara Desert crashes on a hillside while attempting to land; 18 persons are killed, and 25 are injured.

      May 7, Near Dalian, China. A China Northern Airlines MD-82 jet goes down in the Bo Hai Sea, apparently after a fire in the plane's cabin; all 112 persons aboard the aircraft perish.

      May 25, Off the coast of Taiwan. A China Airlines Boeing 747 bound for Hong Kong from Taipei with 225 persons aboard splits into four pieces over the Taiwan Strait; there are no survivors.

      June 2, Near Ndalatando, Angola. A military helicopter crashes in bad weather; 20 persons die, including Lieut. Gen. José Domingues Ngueto, commander of the Kwanza-Bengo region.

      July 1, Baden-Württemberg state, Ger. A midair collision between a Boeing 757 cargo plane and a Russian airliner near Lake Constance on the German-Swiss border claims the lives of all 71 persons aboard the two aircraft.

      July 4, Bangui, Central African Republic. A cargo plane goes down in a residential area while attempting to land because of mechanical problems; 23 of the 25 persons aboard are killed, but no one on the ground appears to have been injured.

      July 27, Lviv, Ukraine. A fighter jet crashes into spectators during an air show; 76 persons die, and more than 100 are injured; the jet was performing a low-altitude stunt when its wing hit the runway, causing the jet to cartwheel into the crowd.

      July 28, Moscow. Shortly after takeoff from the Sheremetyevo airport, a cargo plane crashes in a forest, killing 15 persons.

      August 22, Near Pokhara, Nepal. A small plane flying in bad weather slams into a mountain about 200 km (125 mi) west of Kathmandu; the 15 foreign tourists and 3 Nepalese crew members aboard are killed.

      October 1, Near Panaji, Goa state, India. A midair collision between navy transport planes during an air show kills all 12 persons aboard both planes and 5 persons on the ground.

      November 6, Luxembourg. A twin-engine passenger plane crashes in thick fog near Luxembourg's international airport, killing 18 of the 22 persons aboard the craft.

      November 11, Manila. A twin-engine commuter plane goes down in Manila Bay shortly after takeoff, killing 19 of the 34 persons aboard; engine failure is the suspected cause of the crash.

      December 23, Central Iran. A Ukrainian passenger plane en route from Kharkiv to the Iranian city of Isfahan crashes while preparing to land; all 46 persons aboard the plane—mostly Ukrainian and Russian aerospace scientists who were traveling to Iran to test a new airplane—are killed.

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 the development and operation of heavier-than-air aircraft. The term “civil aviation” refers to the air-transportation service provided to the public by airlines, while “military aviation” refers to the development and use of military aircraft.

      A brief treatment of aviation follows. For full treatment of military aviation, see military aircraft. For civil aviation, see airplane: History of flight (airplane).

      The first man-made objects to fly were balloons (balloon), which were pioneered in France by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783. Some of the basic scientific principles of heavier-than-air flight were laid down in England in the early 19th century by Sir George Cayley. In the 1890s Otto Lilienthal (Lilienthal, Otto) of Germany became the first person to make and fly successful gliders (glider). The American brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright were inspired by Lilienthal and by 1902 had developed a fully practical biplane (double-winged) glider that could be controlled in every direction. Fitting a small engine and two propellers to another biplane, the Wrights on Dec. 17, 1903, made the world's first successful man-carrying, engine-powered, heavier-than-air flight at a site near Kitty Hawk, on the coast of North Carolina.

 The Wright brothers' success soon inspired successful aircraft designs and flights by others, and World War I (1914–18) further accelerated the expansion of aviation. Though initially used for aerial reconnaissance, aircraft were soon fitted with machine guns to shoot at other aircraft and with bombs to drop on ground targets; military aircraft with these types of missions and armaments became known, respectively, as fighters and bombers.

      By the 1920s the first small commercial airlines had begun to carry mail, and the increased speed and range of aircraft made possible the first nonstop flights over the world's oceans, poles, and continents. In the 1930s more efficient monoplane (single-wing) aircraft with an all-metal fuselage (body) and a retractable undercarriage became standard. Aircraft played a vitally important role in World War II (1939–45), developing in size, weight, speed, power, range, and armament. The war marked the high point of piston-engined propeller craft while also introducing the first aircraft with jet engines (jet engine), which could fly at higher speeds. Jet-engined craft became the norm for fighters in the late 1940s and proved their superiority as commercial transports beginning in the '50s. The high speeds and low operating costs of jet airliners led to a massive expansion of commercial air travel in the second half of the 20th century.

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Universalium. 2010.

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