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GLOSSARY OF AERONAUTICAL TERMS
 
Aircraft: Anything that is designed to be flown in the air. The general term aircraft includes airplanes, helicopters, gliders, airships, balloons and kites. Airplane and aircraft are not synonymous; airplanes are aircraft, but not all aircraft are airplanes.
 
Airfoil: Any surface capable of producing lift. The wings are the primary airfoils of an airplane but the tail, propeller and fuselage produce lift as well. Thus, wings are airfoils but not all airfoils are wings; wing and airfoil are not synonymous.
 
Airplane: A mechanically or engine-driven, fixed wing, heavier-than-air craft that is supported in the air by lift. The term airplane (or aeroplane) frequently is shortened now to simply "plane."
 
Airship: A lighter-than-air craft with a propelling system and a means of controlling the direction of flight (steering). Blimps are an example of airships.
 
Ailerons: Literally "little wings": a pair of horizontal control surfaces (normally hinged along the trailing edge of wings in contemporary airplanes) that is designed to control or produce roll or bank, or the up and down motion of the wings. By varying the amount of lift each wing produces, ailerons permit a fixed-wing aircraft both to maintain level flight and to turn.
 
Balloon: A lighter-than-air craft that is without a propelling system. Balloons can be tethered (or "captive") or free-balloons.
 
Canard: A forward rather than rearward elevator.
 
Elevator: A horizontal control surface used to control and produce pitch or the up and down motion of the nose and tail of an aircraft.
 
Glider: A heavier-than-air aircraft that is supported in the air by lift and whose free flight does not depend on an engine.
 
Heavier-than-air: Aircraft, such as airplanes, gliders and helicopters, whose lift is produced by a reaction between airfoils and motion through the air. In the early days of aviation, powered heavier-than-air flight was also known as "mechanical"  flight, since lift was generated "mechanically"" by the movement of an airfoil through the air.
 
Kite: A tethered heavier-than-air craft. Kites range in size and complexity from simple toys to highly sophisticated craft with the capacity to lift large weights.
 
Lighter-than-air: Aircraft, such as balloons and airships, i.e., blimps, dirigibles, whose buoyancy for lifting capability depends on being inflated with a gas (such as hot air, hydrogen or helium) that is lighter than the air in which it is supported.
 
Lift: An aerodynamic reaction produced by air passing over an airfoil. The amount of lift an airfoil produces depends on such factors as the design of the airfoil and the speed of the air passing over it.
 
Rudder: A hinged vertical control surface that is used to produce or overcome yaw or the side to side motion of the nose and tail of an aircraft.
 
 
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THE 1928 CRASH OF THE AIRSHIP ITALIA