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Device designed to sustain itself in atmosphere above Earth’s surface, to which it may be attached by tether that offers no support. Two fundamental classes are aerodynes and aerostats. Aircraft need have no means of locomotion (balloons are borne along with gross motion of atmosphere, while kites are tethered and lifted by motion of atmosphere past them), or any control system, nor means for aerodynamic or aerostatic lift (eg, jet VTOL aircraft need be no more than jet engine arranged to direct efflux downwards). Free-falling spacecraft qualifies as aircraft if, after re-entry, its shape endows it with sufficient L/D ratio to glide extended distance, irrespective of whether or not it can control its trajectory.

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