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AMT 112

Theory of Flight

Prepared by: FDC

Theory of Flight
a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something,
especially one based on general principles independent of the thing
to be explained.

the action or process of flying through the air.

The prehistory of flight

Human beings have always dreamed of flight. They did not, however
dreamed of the aircraft that we used today. The flight to which
humans traditionally aspired was that of the birds.

Myths and legends from different culture proved the attempts

of man to flight. In the most famous of these ancient stories, the skilled
craftsman Daedalus makes wings of feather s and wax so he and his son
Icarus can escape their imprisonment on the island of Crete. The
technology improbably works, but Icarus flies too close to the sun and
melts the wax, falling his doom.

Instruments to fly
Myth and Folklore were also rich in tales of airworthy vehicles
that might carry the weight of a human, from various chariots of the
gods to witches broom sticks.

The idea of a flying machine was

picked up by a English philosopher-monk
Roger Bacon in the 13th century -- a man
regarded as one of the founders of modern
scientific traditions. Bacon declared
himself certain that humans could built
Instrument to fly, involving mechanism
that would flap wings.
However according to Italian
Renaissance genius Leonardo Da Vinci.
The only truly promising idea is a screw
like propeller that he hoped would spiral
into the air.

In 1670, Proposing
yet another impractical
design this time for an
airship lifted by spheres
from which the air had been
pumped to create a vacuum
Italian Jesuit Father
Francesco De Lana pointed
out that such a vehicle
could be used to land troops
to capture a city in a
surprise attack, or to
fireballs and bombs

Lighter than air flight

Although de Lanas vacuum lifted airship was a nonstarter, it did

point the way to the first successful human flight. De Lanas goal was to
make a machine lighter than the air itself . This cant be done with
vacuum spheres, but it could with a balloon filled with hot gas air or a
light gas such as hydrogen.
In 1783 paper manufacturers Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier
brought a hot air balloon to Paris.

manned flight followed on
November 21 the same
Jean-Franois Piltre de
d'Arlandes drifted paris
covering 8km for about 25
imagination much as flying
machines would in the
early 20th century. Crowds
flocked to demonstration
flights and fliers became
national heroes.

Scientific Progress

One of the many individuals

fascinated and inspired by reports of the
early balloon flights was George Cayley.
He made the first serious practical and
theoretical progress toward heavier than
air flight. He wrote, the whole problem is
confined within these limits, to make a
surface support a given weight by the
application of power to the resistance of

Cayley addressed himself to these

problems of lift and drag through
observation of bird flight, systematic
calculations. Through the next decade he
built both model and full size gliders. The
wing had ceased to be the means of
propulsion, becoming instead purely a
device to generate lift.

Cayleys calculation of lift and

drag, and his comments on how an
aircraft could be stabilized and controlled,
constituted a solid basis for potential
progress towards heavier than air flight.
Unfortunately, they were largely ignored.
The awakening
of a more sustained interest in
heavier than air flight did not
come for another 30 years. It
was provoked by the success of
the steam engine applied to
transportation systems. In 1843
patented an Aerial Steam
Carriage For conveying letters,
goods, and passengers from
place to place.

Hensons grandiose
plans for an Aeriel Steam
momentarily attracted the
interest of investors, the
flights spanning the globe
rendered credible by fanciful
carriage soaring over exotic
locations. But doubt and
materialized, he could not
find anyone ready to put up
the cash for the development
aerial experiment for good.

Worlds first manned heavier than air flight

Yet interest in flight had been stimulated afresh not atleast

in the heart of Sir George Cayley, who now embarked on a new round
of experiments that culminated in the worlds first manned heavier
than air flight in a glider in 1853. The pilot was Cayleys coachman.
The glider was rolled down on a valley, lifted into air, and briefly flew
before coming down uncomfortably. Cayleys success, achieved in the
privacy of his estate. The story of the coachmans flight only came to
light long after Cayleys death in 1857.

Cayleys glider replica 1973

Practical efforts to progress in heavier than air manned flight in

the late 19th century divided into three approaches
Powered Flight was it possible to find an
engine powerful enough

Unpowered Flight understanding the secrets

of flight as exhibited by the birds.
Model Building

The Flying Man

At an early age Otto Lilienthal was fascinated by bird flight.
Lilienthal was far more scientific and practical in his exploration of flight
than the previous inventors. From a scrupulous study of bird flight and bird
anatomy, he concluded that a curved or cambered wing was essential to
produce lift. He proceeded to carry out experiments with specially
constructed test equipment to see precise wing shape, would give maximum
lift. Even more striking than Lilienthal researches was his commitment
through flying himself.
Lilienthal designed a
glider that was light made
from cotton material over
willow and bamboo ribs. His
experiment actually flew. In
all Lilienthal carried out
more than 2000 flights the
longest covering a distance of
1150ft (350m). On august 9,
1896 while performing glide
test, his glide caught in a
sudden gust of wind, his
glider stalled and crashed.
He died of his injuries the
following day

Fight to be the First

By 1900, the dream of achieving powered flight was close to
becoming a reality.
Wilbur and Orville Wright

The pioneer in the worlds

first heavier than air manned
controlled flight has no background
on aerodynamics. They owned a
bicycle factory. In May 1899 Wrights
studied existing and previous works
on the quest for flight. After studying
the works they identified an area
that seemed to have been neglected:


The worlds first powered flight

On December 17, 1903 the Wright Flyer lifted off the sands in
the first ever manned flight. Orville was at the controls and Wilbur
caught midstride watches in amazement.