Civilian

On This Day in Aviation History

On This Day in Aviation History

1905 – Birth of Elizabeth Muriel Gregory “Elsie” MacGill, known as the “Queen of the Hurricanes;” she becomes the world’s first female aircraft designer. 1936 – First flight of the Fokker D.XXI (shown), a Dutch low-wing monoplane fighter. 1945 – Operation Starvation, the aerial mining of Japan’s ports and waterways, begins. The mining runs are […]
DRACO: The Ultimate STOL Bushplane

DRACO: The Ultimate STOL Bushplane

Short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft have been in development since the mid-1930s, when the Germans produced the Fieseler Storch. The Storch was famously used to rescue deposed Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini from his 9000ft high mountain-top prison in the Gran Sasso Massif in Italy, and was flown by Hanna Reisch on a trip to […]

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Reno Air Race Memories

Reno Air Race Memories

Back in 1991, my friend Jim McRae and I decided to drive from Vancouver to Reno to see the 28th National Championship Air Races and the associated air show. The races featured many well-known pilots, three time winner Lyle Shelton in Rare Bear, Bill Destefani in Strega and Skip Holm in Tsunami. A totally new […]
Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser Spaceplane

Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser Spaceplane

Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser Spaceplane Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser is about 30 feet (9 meters) long and can carry up to 12,125 lbs. (5,500 kilograms) of cargo up to the International Space Station. The spacecraft has a wingspan of roughly 23 feet (7 meters). Dream Chaser’s design is based on the HL-20, a 1980s NASA […]

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Fairey Rotodyne Compound Gyroplane

Fairey Rotodyne Compound Gyroplane

The Fairey Rotodyne was a 1950’s British compound gyroplane designed and built by Fairey Aviation and intended for commercial and military uses. The Fairey Rotodyne’s first flight was on 6 November 1957. The first transitions to horizontal powered flight were begun in April 1958. Initial problems with tip jet reignition at altitude were solved by […]
BMW Electric Wingsuit reaches 186mph!

BMW Electric Wingsuit reaches 186mph!

BMW partnered with German automaker Designworks and Peter Salzman, a professional skydiver and BASE jumper to test fly a chest-mounted twin jet power pack. After 3 years of testing in an indoor wind tunnel, Salzman dropped from a helicopter at 10,000 feet and reached 186mph on the inaugural flight—about 3X faster than a standard nonpowered […]

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Largest Flying Boat Never Built—the Witteman Air Liner

Largest Flying Boat Never Built—the Witteman Air Liner

The Witteman Air Liner was proposed in 1915 by Charles R. Witteman, but never built. It was touted as an inherently stable design with controls “arranged for operating by either one or two persons.” It had a planned span of 50 feet, length of 96 feet and was to be powered by two motors spinning […]
Airbus Reveals Zero-Emission Concept Planes

Airbus Reveals Zero-Emission Concept Planes

Airbus has revealed three concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft which could enter service by 2035. These concepts each represent a different approach to achieving zero-emission flight, exploring various technology pathways and aerodynamic configurations in order to support the company’s ambition of leading the way in the decarbonization of the entire aviation industry. […]

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Record-Setting Transcontinental Glider Flight

Record-Setting Transcontinental Glider Flight

After the Wright brothers’ first successful flights on December 17, 1903, it wasn’t long before adven­turous souls of both sexes began attempting to set distance and speed records. It was truly the golden age of barnstorming and of stunt flying. In 1911, for instance, Calbraith Perry Rodgers piloted the Vin Fiz, the first airplane to […]
A Canadian Staggerwing: Then & Now

A Canadian Staggerwing: Then & Now

The classic Beechcraft D17S Staggerwing first appeared in 1937 and was a follow-on design for Walter Beech of the original fixed gear Model 17 of the early 1930s. It was considered to be one of the finest and fastest aircraft of the time. It was expensive with prices quoted between $14,000 and $17,000 US dollars […]
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