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Tracks & Trails

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Hunter Phillips
Hunter Phillips


An airplane (American English), or aeroplane (Commonwealth English), informally plane, is a fixed-wing aircraft that is propelled forward by thrust from a jet engine, propeller, or rocket engine. Airplanes come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and wing configurations. The broad spectrum of uses for airplanes includes recreation, transportation of goods and people, military, and research. Worldwide, commercial aviation transports more than four billion passengers annually on airliners[1] and transports more than 200 billion tonne-kilometers[2] of cargo annually, which is less than 1% of the world's cargo movement.[3] Most airplanes are flown by a pilot on board the aircraft, but some are designed to be remotely or computer-controlled such as drones.



The Wright brothers invented and flew the first airplane in 1903, recognized as "the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight".[4] They built on the works of George Cayley dating from 1799, when he set forth the concept of the modern airplane (and later built and flew models and successful passenger-carrying gliders)[5] and the work of German pioneer of human aviation Otto Lilienthal, who, between 1867 and 1896, also studied heavier-than-air flight. Lilienthal's flight attempts in 1891 are seen as the beginning of human flight.[6]Following its limited use in World War I, aircraft technology continued to develop. Airplanes had a presence in all the major battles of World War II. The first jet aircraft was the German Heinkel He 178 in 1939. The first jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet, was introduced in 1952. The Boeing 707, the first widely successful commercial jet, was in commercial service for more than 50 years, from 1958 to at least 2013.

In the United States and Canada, the term "airplane" is used for powered fixed-wing aircraft. In the United Kingdom and Ireland and most of the Commonwealth, the term "aeroplane" (/ˈɛərəpleɪn/[11]) is usually applied to these aircraft.

In 1799, George Cayley set forth the concept of the modern airplane as a fixed-wing flying machine with separate systems for lift, propulsion, and control.[17][18] Cayley was building and flying models of fixed-wing aircraft as early as 1803, and he built a successful passenger-carrying glider in 1853.[5] In 1856, Frenchman Jean-Marie Le Bris made the first powered flight, by having his glider "L'Albatros artificiel" pulled by a horse on a beach.[19] Then the Russian Alexander F. Mozhaisky also made some innovative designs. In 1883, the American John J. Montgomery made a controlled flight in a glider.[20] Other aviators who made similar flights at that time were Otto Lilienthal, Percy Pilcher, and Octave Chanute.

Between 1867 and 1896, the German pioneer of human aviation Otto Lilienthal developed heavier-than-air flight. He was the first person to make well-documented, repeated, successful gliding flights. Lilienthal's work led to him developing the concept of the modern wing,[23][24] his flight attempts in 1891 are seen as the beginning of human flight,[25] the "Lilienthal Normalsegelapparat" is considered to be the first airplane in series production and his work heavily inspired the Wright brothers.[26]

In 1906, the Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont made what was claimed to be the first airplane flight unassisted by catapult[30] and set the first world record recognized by the Aéro-Club de France by flying 220 meters (720 ft) in less than 22 seconds.[31] This flight was also certified by the FAI.[32][33]

World War I served as a testbed for the use of the airplane as a weapon. Airplanes demonstrated their potential as mobile observation platforms, then proved themselves to be machines of war capable of causing casualties to the enemy. The earliest known aerial victory with a synchronized machine gun-armed fighter aircraft occurred in 1915, by German Luftstreitkräfte Leutnant Kurt Wintgens. Fighter aces appeared; the greatest (by number of Aerial Combat victories) was Manfred von Richthofen.

Most airplanes are constructed by companies with the objective of producing them in quantity for customers. The design and planning process, including safety tests, can last up to four years for small turboprops or longer for larger planes.

In the case of international sales, a license from the public agency of aviation or transport of the country where the aircraft is to be used is also necessary. For example, airplanes made by the European company, Airbus, need to be certified by the FAA to be flown in the United States, and airplanes made by U.S.-based Boeing need to be approved by the EASA to be flown in the European Union.[50]

Early airplane engines had little power, and lightness was very important. Also, early airfoil sections were very thin, and could not have a strong frame installed within. So, until the 1930s, most wings were too lightweight to have enough strength, and external bracing struts and wires were added. When the available engine power increased during the 1920s and 30s, wings could be made heavy and strong enough that bracing was not needed any more. This type of unbraced wing is called a cantilever wing.

Like all activities involving combustion, fossil-fuel-powered aircraft release soot and other pollutants into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) are also produced. In addition, there are environmental impacts specific to airplanes: for instance,

Airplane ear (ear barotrauma) is the stress on your eardrum that occurs when the air pressure in your middle ear and the air pressure in the environment are out of balance. You might get airplane ear when on an airplane that's climbing after takeoff or descending for landing.

When an airplane climbs or descends, the air pressure changes rapidly. The eustachian tube often can't react fast enough, which causes the symptoms of airplane ear. Swallowing or yawning opens the eustachian tube and allows the middle ear to get more air, equalizing the air pressure.

If you're prone to severe airplane ear and must fly often or if you're having hyperbaric oxygen therapy to heal wounds, your doctor might surgically place tubes in your eardrums to aid fluid drainage, ventilate your middle ear, and equalize the pressure between your outer ear and middle ear.

The United States of America has been authorized to seize an Airbus A319-100 (the Airbus) owned and controlled by sanctioned Russian oligarch Andrei Skoch, pursuant to a seizure warrant from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which found that the airplane is subject to seizure and forfeiture based on probable cause of violation of the federal anti-money laundering laws.

Air pressure changes when airplanes take off and land. That change happens faster than your eustachian tubes can react. The same thing happens if you do deep-water diving, as water pressure quickly changes. Ear barotrauma can happen more frequently if you have congestion from a cold or allergies. Congestion may block or inflame your eustachian tubes, making it even harder for them to manage air pressure changes.

Ear barotrauma (airplane ear) typically happens when people fly in airplanes, but it may also affect people who scuba dive. Here are some suggestions that may help prevent ear barotrauma during air travel:

Many symptoms ease as soon as your eustachian tubes can manage air or water pressure changes. In some cases, you may need medication to manage congestion or inflammation. In that case, it may be a few days before your ears feel normal. Rarely, airplane ear causes ruptured eardrums. In that case, you may need surgery.

Results: Of the 925 people on the airplanes, 802 (86.7 percent) responded. All 11 contacts with positive tuberculin skin tests who were on the April flights and 2 of 3 contacts with positive tests who were on the Baltimore-to-Chicago flight in May had other risk factors for tuberculosis. More contacts on the final, 8.75-hour flight from Chicago to Honolulu had positive skin tests than those on the other three flights (6 percent, as compared with 2.3, 3.8, and 2.8 percent). Of 15 contacts with positive tests on the May flight from Chicago to Honolulu, 6 (4 with skin-test conversion) had no other risk factors; all 6 had sat in the same section of the plane as the index patient (P=0.001). Passengers seated within two rows of the index patient were more likely to have positive tuberculin skin tests than those in the rest of the section (4 of 13, or 30.8 percent, vs. 2 of 55, or 3.6 percent; rate ratio, 8.5; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.7 to 41.3; P=0.01).

We ask that residents report airplane noise to both Massport and the City of Somerville. Official complaints help the Federal Aviation Administration and Massport find ways to lessen airplane noise in the City.

The Roundtable is the result of work led by the Cities Association, to gather together Santa Clara and Santa Cruz cities and counties, the San Jose Airport and the FAA, in a forum for discussion of airplane noise issues. The Roundtable will serve as a public forum for residents, and as an effective advocate to the FAA. Prior to its disbandment in May, the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on South Flow Arrivals - a committee made up of elected officials representing cities in Santa Clara county - identified the Roundtable as an appropriate hearing body to continue the work started by the Committee, and follow up on the airplane noise mitigating recommendation made to the FAA.

Partially in response to the City's request for assistance to help address airplane noise, Congressman Ro Khanna's district staff coordinated a regional meeting with the cities of Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Cupertino and San Jose. The Congressman's office provided a summary of the March 22, 2017 meeting.

1907, air-plane, from air (n.1) + plane (n.1); though the earliest uses are British, the word predominated in American English, where it largely superseded earlier aeroplane (1873 in this sense and still common in British English). Aircraft as "airplane" also is from 1907. Lord Byron, speculating on future travel, used air-vessel (1822); and in 1865 aeromotive (based on locomotive) was used, also air-boat (1870). 041b061a72


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