27 April 2005

Airbus A380 aircraft has its maiden test flight.

The Airbus A380 is a remarkable feat of aviation engineering, known for being the world’s largest passenger airliner. This double-deck aircraft was developed by Airbus Industries, a European aerospace corporation, and made its first flight on April 27, 2005.

Capacity and Design: The A380 can typically seat around 500 to 850 passengers depending on the airline’s configuration, spread across its two decks. It features a wide-body design that allows for various cabin innovations, including lounges, first-class suites, and even showers.

Engineering and Performance: Powered by four turbofan engines, the A380 is capable of flights up to 8,500 nautical miles or 15,700 kilometers. This range allows it to perform long-haul international flights with ease.

Economic and Environmental Aspects: Despite its size, the A380 is designed to be more efficient per passenger than similar large aircraft. It boasts advanced aerodynamics, materials, and systems to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, although its overall environmental impact is significant due to its size and the resources required for its operation.

Commercial Success and Challenges: The A380 initially received a strong positive response from airlines due to its capacity and range capabilities. However, the trend in aviation has shifted towards smaller, more fuel-efficient twin-engine jets, leading to lower demand for very large aircraft like the A380. Consequently, Airbus announced in 2019 that it would end production of the A380 in 2021.

Operational Use: Many airlines use the A380 on their busiest long-haul routes to maximize passenger numbers and profitability. Some of the prominent operators have included Emirates, Singapore Airlines, and Qantas.

The Airbus A380 represents a significant milestone in commercial aviation, symbolizing both the apex of jumbo jet design and the shifting dynamics of global air travel preferences.

27 April 2007

Israeli archaeologists discover the tomb of Herod the Great south of Jerusalem.

Herod the Great (c. 73 BCE – 4 BCE) was a king of Judea who reigned from 37 BCE until his death. He is known for his ambitious building projects, including the expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and for his brutal methods of maintaining power, which included the murder of several members of his own family.

Herod was appointed king of Judea by the Roman Senate, with the support of Mark Antony and Octavian (later Emperor Augustus). He was a skilled politician and military leader, but his rule was marked by violence and cruelty. He executed anyone he saw as a threat to his power, including members of his own family, and he was responsible for the massacre of infants in Bethlehem, which was an attempt to kill the baby Jesus.

Despite his ruthless reputation, Herod is also remembered for his impressive building projects. He constructed a magnificent palace in Jerusalem and rebuilt the Second Temple, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. Herod’s Temple was one of the largest and most impressive religious buildings in the ancient world, and it was a symbol of his power and wealth.

Herod died in 4 BCE, and his kingdom was divided among his sons. Although he is a controversial figure, Herod the Great is an important historical figure and his reign had a significant impact on the political and religious landscape of Judea during the Roman period.

27 April 2011

The 2011 Super Outbreak devastates parts of the Southeastern United States, especially the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee. 205 tornadoes touched down on April 27 alone, killing more than 300 and injuring hundreds more.

27 April 1981

Xerox introduces the first computer mouse.

On April 27, 1981, the Xerox marketing team introduced the 8010 Star Information System to the public, the first workstation shipped with a dedicated mouse. Though primitive designs for a handheld device existed as early as 1952, none were widely adopted until the Macintosh 128K and its single-button Lisa Mouse took the world by storm in 1984.

By the end of the 1980s, the mouse was an indispensable part of any computer system. The flood of desktop workstations into the home and office made the technology ubiquitous, particularly as each successive iteration was easier to use. As the mouse became more refined, laser optics replaced moving parts, providing better precision and tracking for the user.

With the rise of touchscreens on mobile phones and tablets, some are left to wonder if the age of the computer mouse is nearing its end. The movement toward tap-to-type interfaces and multi-touch surfaces certainly threatens to render the clicking of buttons obsolete, yet it is extremely likely the humble mouse will remain a part of computing in some capacity, likely for specialists — similar to what it began in the PARC offices four decades ago.

27 April 1941

German troops enter Athens during World War Two.

The Battle of Greece also known as Operation Marita, German: Unternehmen Marita is the common name for the invasion of Allied Greece by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in April 1941 during World War II. The Italian invasion in October 1940, which is usually known as the Greco-Italian War, was followed by the German invasion in April 1941. German landings on the island of Crete came after Allied forces had been defeated in mainland Greece. These battles were part of the greater Balkan Campaign of Germany.

Following the Italian invasion on 28 October 1940, Greece repulsed the initial Italian attack and a counter-attack in March 1941. When the German invasion, known as Operation Marita, began on 6 April, the bulk of the Greek Army was on the Greek border with Albania, then a protectorate of Italy, from which the Italian troops had attacked. German troops invaded from Bulgaria, creating a second front. Greece had already received a small, inadequate reinforcement from British, Australian and New Zealand forces in anticipation of the German attack, but no more help was sent afterward. The Greek army found itself outnumbered in its effort to defend against both Italian and German troops. As a result, the Metaxas defensive line did not receive adequate troop reinforcements and was quickly overrun by the Germans, who then outflanked the Greek forces at the Albanian border, forcing their surrender. British, Australian and New Zealand forces were overwhelmed and forced to retreat, with the ultimate goal of evacuation. For several days, Allied troops played an important part in containing the German advance on the Thermopylae position, allowing ships to be prepared to evacuate the units defending Greece. The German Army reached the capital, Athens, on 27 Aprila and Greece’s southern shore on 30 April, capturing 7,000 British, Australian and New Zealand personnel and ending the battle with a decisive victory. The conquest of Greece was completed with the capture of Crete a month later. Following its fall, Greece was occupied by the military forces of Germany, Italy and Bulgaria.

Hitler later blamed the failure of his invasion of the Soviet Union, which had to be delayed, on Mussolini’s failed conquest of Greece. The theory that the Battle of Greece delayed the invasion of the Soviet Union has been refuted by the majority of historians, who have accused Hitler of trying to deflect blame from himself to his ally, Italy. It nevertheless had serious consequences for the Axis war effort in the North African theatre. Enno von Rintelen, who was the military attaché in Rome, emphasizes from the German point of view, the strategic mistake of not taking Malta.

27 April 1810

Beethoven composes Für Elise.

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Ludwig van Beethoven, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest composers of all time, is thought to have completed his masterpiece “Für Elise” on this day in 1810.

Ludwig van Beethoven was born on 17 December 1770 in Bonn, Germany, and died on 26 March 1827 in Vienna, Austria. Amongst his complete oeuvre are two masterpieces that are familiar to even the least discerning ear, the Fifth Symphony and “Für Elise”. Passages from both of these pieces of music are instantly recognisable and remain famous all over the world.

Beethoven completed “Für Elise” on 27 April 1810, but it was not actually discovered and published until 1867, a full 40 years after his funeral. The original autographed score was found by a German music scholar, Ludwig Nohl, who had it transcribed and published. However, this original manuscript is now lost, and some have even suggested that it never actually existed, adding mystery to the music.

The other great mystery about “Für Elise” surrounds the identity of the dedicatee, Elise. Some scholars have suggested that Nohl may have transcribed the title incorrectly, and that it was actually called “Für Therese” in honour of Therese Malfatti von Rohrenbach zu Dezza. This generously named Therese was a friend and former student of Beethoven’s, whom he had fallen in love with and proposed to in 1810—only to be turned down in favour of the Austrian nobleman Wilhelm von Drossdik.