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August 24, 2009

In flight

Just over 100 years since the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight, flying machines are now commonplace, used for transport, freight, warfare, rescue and pleasure just for starters. Aerospace technology is still the realm of both big business and entrepreneurs - Moscow recently hosted an airshow in which contracts totaling $10 billion were signed, and Virgin Galactic is still working toward a private spaceliner business. Collected here are recent photographs of various flying machines in action or on display around the world. (40 photos total)

Eurocopter EC120 Colibri helicopters from the Spanish Air Force's aerobatic team Patrulla Aspa perform during an aerial exhibition over San Lorenzo beach in Gijon, northern Spain July 26, 2009. (REUTERS/Eloy Alonso)

A U.S. KC-135 Stratotanker refuels a F15 fighter jet in the air above the Forward Operating Base Shank in Logar Province, Afghanistan on July 30, 2009. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov) #

Residents watch a fire fighting helicopter drop water on a burning forest at Agios Stephanos, a suburb north of Athens, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Nikolas Giakoumidis) #

People standing near a Russian Tu-144 watch fighter jets perfoming tricks overhead during the MAKS 2009 international aerospace show outside Moscow in Zhukovsky on August 20, 2009. (DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

The new 90 foot high tech catamaran belonging to America's Cup defender Alinghi is airlifted on August 7, 2009 near Aosta, Italy, flying from Switzerland over the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images) #

The Virgin Galactic WhiteKnight2 mothership "Eve" makes its first public debut at the world's largest air show at Oshkosh, Wisconsin July 27, 2009. WhiteKnight2 is the largest composite aircraft ever built and will be the aircraft that ferries the first commercial SpaceShip2 aloft for passenger flight to space. (REUTERS/Mark Greenberg/Virgin Galactic) #

Vortices from rotoer tips are visible in the air as Marine One, with President Barack Obama on board, prepares to land on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 29, 2009. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Russian MIG-29 performs during the MAKS 2009 international aerospace show outside Moscow on August 22, 2009. (DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

Farmer Wu Zhongyuan, 22, sits in his self-made helicopter in Jiuxian county, Henan province, China on August 1, 2009. The local government later halted Wu's plan to fly the helicopter out of safety concerns. The aircraft, powered by a 150cc engine, took Wu two months to build and cost more than 10,000 yuan ($1,460), China Daily reported. (REUTERS/China Daily) #

A helicopter with tourists on board flies in front of Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall, also known as "Salto Angel" at Canaima National Park, in southeastern Venezuela on August 23, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva) #

A Macedonian army Mi-24 helicopter fires rockets during a military exercise at Krivolak's training centre, 100 km (60 miles) from Skopje, Macedonia on July 30, 2009. (REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski) #

A helicopter flies over a controlled burn behind an evacuated home in an attempt to reduce the amount of fuel for a wildfire burning on Mount McLean in Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck) #

A MiG-35 jet performs a low pass during the MAKS-2009 international air show in Zhukovsky, Russia on August 21, 2009. (REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin) #

South Korean special warfare command soldiers parachute down from a helicopter during a sea infiltration drill in Taean, south of Seoul, August 5, 2009. (REUTERS/Lee Jin-man) #

The aerobatics team "Russkie vityazi" (Russian Knights) in Su-27 fighter jets fly away from just-launched defensive flares during the MAKS 2009 international aerospace show outside Moscow on August 23, 2009. (DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

Hungarian pilot Peter Besenyei flies over the Hungarian Parliament Building during a practice session for the fourth round of the 2009 Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Budapest on August 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh) #

On his way to place second, British Paul Bonhomme flies over the river Danube in front of the Parliament building during the final of the 2009 Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Budapest on August 20, 2009. (ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images) #

Beach-goers watch as flying C-101 Aviojets from the Spanish Air Force aerobatic group Patrulla Aguila fly over San Lorenzo beach in Gijon, northern Spain, during an aerial exhibition on July 26, 2009. (REUTERS/Eloy Alonso) #

A U.S. Chinook helicopter carries an M777A2 howitzer to a base in the outskirts of Spin Boldak, about 100 kilometers (63 miles) southeast of Kabul, Afghanistan on Friday, July 31, 2009. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) #

In this Wednesday Aug. 19, 2009 photo, Spc. Paul Pickett, 22, of Minden La., right, of the U.S. Army's Apache Company, 2nd Battalion 87th Infantry Regiment, covers an injured U.S. soldier as a helicopter lands to evacuate the wounded after their armored vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in the Tangi Valley of Afghanistan's Wardak Province. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #

A Russian Mig-29 fighter jet flies in front of the sun during the MAKS air show outside Moscow on August 22, 2009. (DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

A view of the wreckage of an Ilyushin Il-62 passenger jet in Mashhad, Iran on July 24, 2009. The jet overshot the runway on landing, with 160 people on board, smashing through a perimiter fence, killing at least 17 and injuring 30 others. (REUTERS/ IRNA Stringer) #

A British Airways passenger jet flies past the moon over Zurich in this June 30, 2009 photo. (REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann) #

A member of the ground crew works in the cockpit of a U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet at Bagram air base, north of Kabul, Afghanistan on August 10, 2009. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne) #

The Italian Air Force aerobatic team "Frecce Tricolori" performs during their training flight at the Moscow International Air Show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow, August 19, 2009. (REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin) #

A firefighting helicopter flies over the village of Marathon, Greece on August 22, 2009. A raging forest fire threatened homes near Athens, causing authorities to declare a state of emergency and ordering residents to evacuate, as they worked to bring the blaze under control. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images) #

French aerobatics team Patrouille de France performs during the MAKS 2009 international aerospace show in Zhukovsky, Russia on August 22, 2009. (DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Canadian Navy CH-124 Sea King helicopter from the frigate HMCS Toronto flies by the terrain of Baffin Island along the shores of Frobisher Bay in the Canadian Arctic August 19, 2009. (REUTERS/Andy Clark) #

The aerobatics team Russian Falcons in Su-27 fighter jets perform at the Moscow International Air Show on August 23, 2009. (DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

Condensation clouds form over the wings of a Sukhoi Su-35 jet as it peforms a tight turn during the Moscow International Air Show on Friday, Aug. 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev) #

Women sunbathe on the beach while firefighting planes fill up with water in a resort of Nea Makri in eastern Athens, Greece on August 24, 2009. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images) #

The passenger plane carrying Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi home to Libya, takes off from Glasgow airport on August 20, 2009 in Glasgow, Scotland. Abdelbaset ali al-Megrahi had been serving a life sentence for the 1988 Pan-AM flight 103 Lockerbie bombing, which killed 270 people, and had been released on compassionate grounds due to his health - he is terminally ill with prostate cancer. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) #

A drone equipped with a thermic camera for sea pollution surveillance overflies a beach in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Villefranche harbour, southern France on July 30, 2009. (STEPHANE DANNA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Hungarian Air Force's Gripens fly over Budapest's Heroes Square during Hungary's National Day on August 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh) #

French military Patrouille de France Alphajet airplanes perform during the MAKS-2009 International air show in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, August 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin) #

A badly damaged Su-27 jet from the Russian air force elite aerobatic team Russkiye Vityazi (Russian Knights), dives toward the ground just seconds after the aircraft collided with a two-seat Su-27 (not seen) near Zhukovsky airfield on Aug. 16, 2009. The two Russian air force jets collided Sunday, killing one pilot and sending one fighter crashing into nearby vacation homes, a military official said. One pilot and a civilian on the ground were killed. (AP Photo/Dmitry Karpov) #

A fire-fighting airplane drops water over a fire in Varnava village, northeast of Athens, Greece on August 22, 2009. (REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis) #

A B-17 Flying Fortress, from the Yankee Air Museum performs a flyover prior to the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2009 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR) #

An army helicopter flies over a bombarded area in Cano Cabra during a media trip organised by the Colombian military on July 25, 2009. Colombian forces killed at least 18 leftist guerrillas of the 27th Front of the FARC on Saturday in an aerial bombardment in the southern jungle province of Meta, the country's military command said. (REUTERS/Fredy Builes) #

A hot-air balloon flies over the morning mist near Immenstadt in Allgaeu, southern Germany, on August 24, 2009. (SEBASTIAN WIDMANN/AFP/Getty Images) #

 
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