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Aviation history

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Leonardo da Vinci's "aerial screw" design. Aviation history refers to the history of development of mechanical flight²from the earliest attempts in kites and gliders to powered heavier-than-air, supersonic and spaceflights. The first form of man-made flying objects were kites.[1] The earliest known record of kite flying is from around 200 B.C. in China, when a general flew a kite over enemy territory to calculate the length of tunnel required to enter the region.[2] Chinese emperors also tied prisoners to paper kites, most of whom fell to their death.[3] Yuan Huangtou, a Chinese prince, survived by tying himself to the kite. Centuries later, the first glider flight was demonstrated by Abbas Ibn Firnas in Córdoba, Spain in 875 A.D.[4][5] Leonardo da Vinci's (15th c.) dream of flight found expression in several designs, but he did not attempt to demonstrate flight by literally constructing them.

Leonardo da Vinci's Ornithopter design. Earliest record of the use of buoyancy to achieve unmanned flight is as old as the 3rd century, when Zhuge Liang used hot air balloons for military signaling and to scare away enemy troops. With the efforts to analyze the atmosphere in the 17th and 18th century, gases such as hydrogen were discovered which in turn led to the invention of hydrogen balloons.[1] Various theories in mechanics by physicists during the same period of time²notably fluid dynamics and Newton's

laws of motion²led to the foundation of modern aerodynamics. Tethered balloons filled with hot air were used in the first half of the 19th century and saw considerable action in several midcentury wars, most notably the American Civil War, where balloons provided observation during the battle of Petersburg. Experiments with gliders laid a groundwork to build heavier-than-air crafts, and by the early 20th century advancements in engine technology and aerodynamics made controlled, powered flight possible for the first time.




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1 Early flight o 1.1 Ancient Greece o 1.2 Hot air balloons and kites in China o 1.3 Parachutes and gliders in Umayyad Iberia and England o 1.4 From Renaissance to the 18th century 2 Modern flight o 2.1 Lighter than air o 2.2 Heavier-than-air  2.2.1 Sustaining the aircraft  2.2.2 Controlling the flight  2.2.3 Powering the aircraft 3 The "Pioneer Era" (1900±1914) o 3.1 Lighter than air o 3.2 Heavier than air  3.2.1 Langley  3.2.2 Gustave Whitehead  3.2.3 The Wright Brothers  3.2.4 Other early flights  3.2.5 Helicopter  3.2.6 Seaplane 4 First performances steps under World War I (1914±1918) o 4.1 Combat schemes 5 Technology and performance advances in aviation's "Golden Age" (1918±1939) 6 Progress goes on and massive production, World War II (1939±1945) 7 1945±1991: The Cold War 8 2001±present 9 See also 10 References 11 Further reading 12 External links

who fabricated a variety of tools such as kites and wings.. the mechanical bird was suspended on a string or pivot and was powered by a "concealed aura or spirit".[edit] Early flight Illustration of mythological beings Icarus and Daedalus attempting to fly using wax wings. Its invention is usually attributed to the general Zhuge Liang (180±234 AD. Archytas. apparently steam powered[7] model named "The Pigeon" (Greek: "Peristera"). or the Pushpaka Vimana of the Ramayana in king Ravana . . See also: List of early flying machines and First flying machine Human ambition to fly is illustrated in mythological literature of several cultures. the device based on a lamp in a paper shell is documented earlier. served a variety of functions in Chinese religious ceremonies.[6] Kites. military and signaling. the first flying objects crafted by human hands. and the bag floated in the air due to the lamp heating the air. the wings made out of wax and feathers by Daedalus in Greek mythology. However. for instance. which is said to have flown some 200 meters. thinking that some divine force was helping him. the Greek philosopher.[1] [edit] Ancient Greece Around 400 B..C..[8][9] According to Aulus Gellius. statesman and strategist. and according to Joseph Needham. who is said to have used them to scare the enemy troops: An oil lamp was installed under a large paper bag.[10][11] [edit] Hot air balloons and kites in China The Kongming lantern (proto hot air balloon) was known in China from ancient times. in the real world the very first steps towards flight were taken by anonymous craftsmen in China. . astronomer. mathematician. honorific title Kongming). hot-air balloons in China were known from the 3rd century BC. The enemy was frightened by the light in the air. These inventions were inspired by birds. designed and built a bird-shaped.[12] However.

" he eventually crashed and sustained injury which some contemporary critics attributed to a lack of tail. While "alighting again on the place whence he had started. In 852. more than a century later. During the Mongol Empire. Ibn Firnas is said to have jumped off the top in a parachute-like apparatus. Almost identical floating lights with a rectangular lamp in thin paper scaffolding are common in Tibetan celebrations and in the Indian festival of lights. His device is now considered to have been a prototype of the modern parachute.) under rulers like Kublai Khan. or which may have been an early glider. at the age of 65. With this umbrella-like apparatus. there is no evidence that these were used for human flight. the rectangular lamps became popular in festivals. the design may have spread along the Silk Route into Central Asia and the Middle East.[16] [edit] From Renaissance to the 18th century . However. and he escaped with minor injuries.[13] supported by the Emir Abd ar-Rahman II. Ibn Firnas is said to have flown from the hill Jabal al'arus by employing a rudimentary glider. Ibn Firnas jumped off the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba²while he could not fly. During the Yuan dynasty (13th c. During the 6th century AD. In 852 he made a set of wings with cloth stiffened by wooden struts.In the 5th century BCE Lu Ban invented a 'wooden bird' which may have been a large kite. capital of the Northern Qi] on a large man-carrying Kite. He landed safely. [edit] Parachutes and gliders in Umayyad Iberia and England Minaret of the Great Mosque at Córdoba. Diwali. who would fly for about 200 meters using a similar glider (circa 1010).[14][15] His flight may have been an inspiration for Eilmer of Malmesbury. his apparatus slowed his fall. and survived with minor injuries. when they would attract huge crowds. Islamic Iberia during the Umayyad renaissance under the Caliphate of Cordoba witnessed several attempts at flight by the Arab polymath and inventor Abbas Ibn Firnas. Twenty-five years later. Yuan Huangtou was launched (albeit against his will) from the Tower of the Golden Phoenix [in Ye.

1709. and some other designs. such as the four-person screw-type helicopter have severe flaws. and using materials that would have been available to him. descending from eminences. In 1633 Lagâri Hasan Çelebi made the first manned rocket flight. According to contemporary reports. A model he built for a test flight in 1496 did not fly. in which he expressed the greatest confidence. In 1670 Francesco Lana de Terzi published work that suggested lighter than air flight would be possible by having copper foil spheres that contained a vacuum that would be lighter than the displaced air. begging a privilege for his invention of an airship. In 1709. lift an airship (rather literal from his drawing).Leonardo da Vinci's Ornithopter wings Some six centuries after Ibn Firnas.[17] However. and whether his actual ideas would have flown is not known. Bartolomeu de Gusmão presented a petition to King John V of Portugal. he did fail to realize that the pressure of the surrounding air would smash the spheres. in Istanbul. however. [edit] Modern flight [edit] Lighter than air Main article: History of ballooning . 1709. his sketchy design was interpreted with modern knowledge of aerodynamic principles. which was set for June 24. Based on his drawings. While his drawings exist and are deemed flightworthy in principle. when he propelled a ball to the roof by combustion. he himself never flew in it. did not take place. in the hall of the Casa da Índia in Lisbon. It is certain that Gusmão was working on this principle at the public exhibition he gave before the Court on August 8. Leonardo da Vinci came up with a hang glider design in which the inner parts of the wings are fixed. and some control surfaces are provided towards the tips (as in the gliding flight in birds). Gusmão appears to have made several less ambitious experiments with this machine. The public test of the machine. a prototype constructed in the late 20th century was shown to fly. While not being completely off the mark.

when the first fully controllable free-flight was made in a French Army electric-powered airship. La France.000-cubic-foot (1. sustained lighter-than-air flight is believed to have taken place in 1852 when Henri Giffard flew 15 miles (24 km) in France. by Charles Renard and Arthur Krebs. . Work on developing a steerable (or dirigible) balloon (now called an airship) continued sporadically throughout the 1800s. Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes went 8 km (5 miles) in a hot air balloon invented by the Montgolfier brothers. with a steam engine driven craft. it flew wherever the wind took it. Non-steerable balloons were employed during the American Civil War by the Union Army Balloon Corps.900 m3) airship covered 8 km (5 miles) in 23 minutes with the aid of an 8½ horsepower electric motor. The first powered. controlled. 66. Another advance was made in 1884. The navigable balloon created by Giffard in 1852 Ballooning became a major "rage" in Europe in the late 18th century. providing the first detailed understanding of the relationship between altitude and the atmosphere. The balloon was powered by a wood fire. and was not steerable: that is. in fact people had been flying repeatedly for more than 100 years.The 1884 La France. The first generally recognized human flight took place in Paris in 1783. the first fully controllable airship Although many people think of human flight as beginning with the aircraft in the early 1900s. The 170-foot (52 m) long .

[edit] Heavier-than-air [edit] Sustaining the aircraft Sir George Cayley's governable parachute The first published paper on aviation was "Sketch of a Machine for Flying in the Air" by Emanuel Swedenborg published in 1716. but suggested it as a start and was confident that the problem would be solved. perhaps in time to come some one might know how better to utilize our sketch and cause some addition to be made so as to accomplish that which we can only suggest. This flying machine consisted of a light frame covered with strong canvas and provided with two large oars or wings moving on a horizontal axis. a strong spiral spring. He said." Swedenborg would prove prescient in his observation that powering the aircraft through the air was the crux of flying. arranged so that the upstroke met with no resistance while the downstroke provided lifting power. their development has been largely overshadowed by heavier-than-air craft. Yet there are sufficient proofs and examples from nature that such flights can take place without danger. During the last years of the 18th century. Sir George Cayley started the first rigorous study of the physics of flight. and not mind an arm or leg. these aircraft were generally short-lived and extremely frail. for it requires greater force and less weight than exists in a human body. during which he invented most of basic aerodynamics and introduced such terms as lift and drag. Swedenborg knew that the machine would not fly. and continue on a limited basis to this day. "It seems easier to talk of such a machine than to put it into actuality. In 1799 he exhibited a plan for a glider. although when the first trials are made you may have to pay for the experience.However. Routine. controlled flights would not come to pass until the advent of the internal combustion engine (see below. which except for planform was completely modern in having a separate tail for control and having the pilot suspended below the center of gravity to provide stability. and flew it as a model in 1804. If these advantages and requisites are observed.) Although airships were used in both World War I and II. namely. The science of mechanics might perhaps suggest a means. He used both internal and external combustion . Over the next five decades Cayley worked on and off on the problem.

Jan Wn k made several public flights of substantial distances between 1866 and 1869. and could only count on his knowledge about nature based on observation of birds' flight and on his own builder and carver skills. but it was left to Alphonse Pénaud to make powering models simple. Recently. Wn k was illiterate and self-taught. Several trials were made with the plane. The tower stood 45 m high and was located on top of a 50 m hill. first flying it unmanned in 1849. carnivals and New Year celebrations. Frenchman Jean-Marie Le Bris made the first flight higher than his point of departure. In 1848. Professor Tadeusz Seweryn. England. sculptor and carpenter by the name of Jan Wn k built and flew a controllable glider. In 1856. Albatros II. by having his glider "L'Albatros artificiel" pulled by a horse on a beach. Jean-Marie Le Bris and his flying machine. John Stringfellow had a successful indoor test flight of a steam-powered model. over a distance of 200 meters. with a wingspan of 13 meters and a weight of only 80 kilograms (without the driver). director of the Kraków Museum of Ethnography [5]. near Scarborough in Yorkshire. glided for a short time and returned safely to the . a large plane made of aluminium in Brest. Later Cayley turned his research to building a full-scale version of his design. thus having no impact on aviation progress. Somerset. with rubber power. 1868.[4] Church records indicate that Jan Wn k launched from a special ramp on top of the Odporyszów church tower. fueled by gunpowder. Kraków Museum of Ethnography. In 1866 a Polish peasant. France. Félix du Temple built the "Monoplane". Wn k left no known written records or drawings. Model of Jan Wn k's glider. especially during religious festivals. Jan Wn k was firmly strapped to his glider by the chest and hips and controlled his glider by twisting the wing's trailing edge via strings attached to stirrups at his feet. and it is generally recognized that it achieved lift off under its own power after a ski-jump run. and in 1853 his coachman made a short flight at Brompton. has unearthed church records with descriptions of Jan Wn k's activities.engines. He reportedly achieved a height of 100 meters. in Chard. making a 95 m (311 ft) high launch above the valley below. In 1874.

He died the next day. publishing his research in 1889.[18] Members of the Society used the tunnel and learned that cambered wings generated considerably more lift than expected by Cayley's Newtonian reasoning. when a gust of wind broke the wing of his latest design. He rigorously documented his work. what remained was the problem of controlling the flight and powering them. fracturing his spine. Percy Pilcher and Octave Chanute. Another person who advanced the art of flying was Francis Herbert Wenham. characterized by the "gentleman scientists" who represented most research efforts until the 20th century. His type of aircraft is now known as a hang glider. causing him to fall from a height of roughly 56 ft (17 m). This clearly demonstrated the ability to build practical heavier-than-air flying machines. because they would have more leading edge for their weight. instead of simply designing a powered machine on paper and hoping it would work. who unsuccessfully attempted to build a series of unmanned gliders. it flew in a controlled manner outside of San Diego on August 28. making it the first successful powered flight in history. although the flight was only a short distance and a short time. During his work he found that the majority of the lift from a bird-like wing appeared to be generated at the front. Montgomery. and in 1891 was able to make flights of 25 meters or more routinely. He also produced a series of ever-better gliders. . Today this measure is known as aspect ratio. He presented a paper on his work to the newly formed Royal Aeronautical Society of Great Britain in 1866.ground. 1883. with lift-to-drag ratios of about 5:1 at 15 degrees. including photographs. suggesting that researchers should start with gliders and work their way up. and concluded that long. Félix du Temple's 1874 Monoplane. He also promoted the idea of "jumping before you fly". Three people in particular were active: Otto Lilienthal. It was not until many years later that his efforts became well known. One of the first truly modern gliders appears to have been built by John J. and decided to prove it by building the world's first wind tunnel in 1871. [edit] Controlling the flight The 1880s became a period of intense study. By the time of his death in 1896 he had made 2500 flights on a number of designs. Otto Lilienthal of Germany duplicated Wenham's work and greatly expanded on it in 1874. Lilienthal had been working on small engines suitable for powering his designs at the time of his death. and for this reason is one of the best known of the early pioneers. Starting in the 1880s advancements were made in construction that led to the first truly practical gliders. with his last words being "small sacrifices must be made". thin wings would be better than the bat-like ones suggested by many. Another delta hang-glider had been constructed by Wilhelm Kress as early as 1877 near Vienna.

because as the angle of attack of a wing increased. he heavily documented his work while photographing it. which would be the first self-propelled "long distance" flight in history. . Much more difficult to understand was the mixing of lateral/directional stability and control. Indiana. Throughout this period. as Lilienthal did). Like Lilienthal. Without immediate correction. the Avion III reportedly managed to cover 300 meters at a very small height. Octave Chanute took up aircraft design after an early retirement. and funded the development of several gliders. and was busy corresponding with like-minded hobbyists around the world. crashing out of control. driven by compressed air. Russia. Ader then worked on a larger design which took five years to build. the craft would pitch up and stall. one which birds corrected for by instant corrections. The most disconcerting problem was longitudinal instability (divergence). eventually deciding that the best was a biplane design that looks surprisingly modern. Alexander Mozhaysky's monoplane design made what is now considered to be a power assisted take off or 'hop' of 60±100 feet (20±30 meters) near Krasnoye Selo. [edit] Powering the aircraft Patent drawings of Clément Ader Eole Clément Ader Avion III (1897 photograph). In 1884.Australian Lawrence Hargrave invented the box kite and dedicated his life to constructing flying machines. the center of pressure moved forward and made the angle increase more. In the 1880s he experimented with monoplane models and by 1889 Hargrave had constructed a rotary airplane engine. However the majority of these efforts were doomed to failure. Chanute was particularly interested in solving the problem of aerodynamic instability of the aircraft in flight. In France Clément Ader built the steam-powered Eole and may have made a 50-meter flight near Paris in 1890. In the summer of 1896 his troop flew several of their designs many times at Miller Beach. In a test for the French military. but one that humans would have to address with stabilizing and control surfaces (or moving center of gravity. a number of attempts were made to produce a true powered aircraft. being designed by hobbyists who did not have a full understanding of the problems being discussed by Lilienthal and Chanute. Picking up where Lilienthal left off.

The Gull and The Hawk. when he was able to test a number of smaller designs powered by gasoline. on July 31.) The most successful early pioneering pilot of this type of aircraft was the Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont who effectively combined a balloon with an internal combustion engine. realizing that it would be unsafe to fly. In the United Kingdom an attempt at heavier-than-air flight was made by the aviation pioneer Percy Pilcher. powered by two advanced lowweight steam engines which delivered 180 hp (134 kW) each. No. recent research has shown. Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution (SI Neg. with the craft "flying" on the rails. The Beetle. which he flew successfully during the mid to late 1890s. he instead had a 1. and. . eventually building a monstrous 7.000 lb (3. and after reaching over 42 mph (68 km/h) about 600 ft (180 m) down the track the machine produced so much lift it pulled itself free of the track and crashed after flying at low altitudes for about 200 feet (60 m). Pilcher had built several working gliders. Maxim built it to study the basic problems of construction and power and it remained without controls. he died in a glider accident before he was able to test it. 1901 he flew his airship "Number 6" over Paris from the Parc Saint Cloud around the Eiffel Tower and back in under 30 minutes to win the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize. would have been capable of flight. After a number of test runs working out problems.175 kg) design with a wingspan of 105 feet (32 m).800 foot (550 m) track constructed for test runs. Declining fortunes left him unable to continue his work until the 1900s. On October 19. 85-3941) The first aircraft to make routine controlled flights were non-rigid airships (later called "blimps". However. The Bat.Sir Hiram Maxim studied a series of designs in England. [edit] The "Pioneer Era" (1900±1914) [edit] Lighter than air Main article: Airship Main article: Zeppelin Santos-Dumont's "Number 6" rounding the Eiffel Tower in the process of winning the Deutsch Prize. In the afternoon the crew of three fired the boilers to full power. 1894 they started a series of runs at increasing power settings. and his plans were forgotten for many years. The first two were successful. In 1899 he constructed a prototype powered aircraft which.

October 7.2 ps (10. was driven by two 14. at a speed of . as the hall could easily be aligned with the wind. On May 6. rigid body dirigibles would be far more capable than fixed wing aircraft in terms of pure cargo carrying capacity for decades. Samuel Pierpont Langley started a serious investigation into aerodynamics at what is today the University of Pittsburgh. Construction of the first Zeppelin airship began in 1899 in a floating assembly hall on Lake Constance in the Bay of Manzell. Two flights were made that afternoon. In 1891 he published Experiments in Aerodynamics detailing his research. It would be several years before the Count was able to raise enough funds for another try. one of 1. Virginia. and then turned to building his designs. rigid airships were also becoming more advanced. Subsequent controversy surrounding his and others' competing claims with regard to aircraft overshadowed his unparalleled contributions to the development of airships.5 made the first successful sustained flight of an unpiloted. 1896. The prototype airship LZ 1 (LZ for "Luftschiff Zeppelin") had a length of 128 m.Santos-Dumont went on to design and build several aircraft.300 ft).300 ft) and a second of 700 m (2. The first Zeppelin flight occurred on July 2. 1900. Friedrichshafen. Ferdinand von Zeppelin.6 kW) Daimler engines and balanced by moving a weight between its two nacelles. with which he solved the serious balance problems the suspending gondola had shown in previous flight attempts. It lasted for only 18 minutes. Indeed. beating the 6 m/s velocity record of French airship La France by 3 m/s. enginedriven heavier-than-air craft of substantial size. Indeed. Upon repair. 1903 After a distinguished career in astronomy and shortly before becoming Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Dirigible design and advancement was brought about by the German count. Langley's Aerodrome No. but could not yet convince possible investors. as LZ 1 was forced to land on the lake after the winding mechanism for the balancing weight had broken. This was intended to ease the starting procedure. it was not until 1902 when Spanish engineer Leonardo Torres Quevedo developed his own zeppelin airship. It was launched from a spring-actuated catapult mounted on top of a houseboat on the Potomac River near Quantico. At the same time that non-rigid airships were starting to have some success. the technology proved its potential in subsequent flights. [edit] Heavier than air [edit] Langley Main article: Samuel Pierpont Langley First failure of Langley's manned Aerodrome on the Potomac River.005 m (3.

On both occasions the Aerodrome No. On November 28.6. another successful flight was made with the Aerodrome No.6.approximately 25 miles per hour (40 km/h). Manly. He contracted Stephen Balzer to build one.790 ft). but was disappointed when it delivered only 8 horsepower (6 kW) instead of 12 hp (9 kW) as he expected. So little remained of the original aircraft that it was given the new designation of Aerodrome No. 1896. Langley started looking for funding to build a full-scale man-carrying version of his designs. the resulting aircraft proved to be too fragile. 6. Langley planned on building a scaled-up version known as the Aerodrome A.6 was actually Aerodrome No. Spurred by the SpanishAmerican War. was rescued each time. because in order to save weight. Connecticut. government granted him $50. With the success of the Aerodrome No. 1901. On August 14. The pilot. of 1. With the basic design apparently successfully tested.S. was witnessed and photographed by Alexander Graham Bell. Nine days after his second abortive launch on December 8. Gustave Whitehead reportedly flew his enginepowered Number 21 for 800 meters at 15 meters height.000 to develop a man-carrying flying machine for surveillance. Charles M. 1901. Langley put the two together with great hopes. the Wright brothers successfully flew their aptly-named Flyer. and then again with a newer and more powerful engine in 1903. he then turned to the problem of a suitable engine. The Aerodrome No. This flight. Now with both power and a design. which flew twice on June 18. 1901. the U. and his efforts ended.[citation needed] [edit] Gustave Whitehead Main article: Gustave Whitehead The sketch by Dick Howell.5 landed in the water as planned. Two launches in late 1903 both ended with the Aerodrome immediately crashing into the water.460 m (4. Langley's attempts to gain further funding failed. a feat that took years to duplicate.4 greatly modified. in Fairfield. To his dismay. 5 and its follow-on No. then reworked the design into a five-cylinder water-cooled radial that delivered 52 horsepower (39 kW) at 950 rpm. Langley's assistant. it was not equipped with landing gear. and simply scaling up the original small models resulted in a design that was too weak to hold itself together. and started with the smaller Quarter-scale Aerodrome. according to articles in the Bridgeport . He had apparently overlooked the effects of minimum gauge. Manly. Glenn Curtiss made several modifications to the Aerodrome and successfully flew it in 1914²the Smithsonian Institution thus continued to assert that Langley's Aerodrome was the first machine "capable of flight". August 14.

by establishing their rigorous system of designing. North Carolina flight by more than two years. Whitehead had flown about 1 km (half a mile) in Pittsburgh as early as 1899. In January 1902. but not as well as the Wrights had expected based on the experiments and writings of their 19th century predecessors. This flight ended in a crash when Whitehead tried to avoid a collision with a three-story building by flying over the house and failed. aircraft models. kites and motors for flying craft. Rather than giving up. he claimed to have flown 10 km (7 miles) over Long Island Sound in the improved Number 22. the brothers built and tested a series of kite and glider designs from 1900 to 1902 before attempting to build a powered design. and it performed far better than the previous models. after landing the flying machine was merely turned around and a further "leap" was taken back to Howard Avenue.) The Aeronautical Club of Boston and manufacturer Horsman in New York hired Whitehead as a specialist for hang gliders. had only about half the lift they anticipated. built the following year." [19] (According to maps this distance is 200 m (600 ft). After this crash Whitehead was forbidden any further flying experiments in Pittsburgh and he moved to Bridgeport. the Wrights not only built a working aircraft but also helped advance the science of aeronautical engineering. . Dick Howell. most of them attesting to Whitehead flights. This date precedes the Wright brothers' Kitty Hawk. the Wrights constructed their own wind tunnel and created a number of sophisticated devices to measure lift and drag on the 200 wing designs they tested. They flew it successfully hundreds of times in 1902. In the end. wind-tunnel testing of airfoils and flight testing of full-size prototypes. In the 1930s. The New York Herald and the Boston Transcript. Whitehead flew short distances in his glider. who was present in addition to Whitehead helpers and other witnesses. performed even more poorly. According to witness reports. witnesses gave 15 sworn and signed affidavits.Herald. Two modern replicas of his Number 21 have been flown successfully. Their second glider. No photographs were taken. For example: "In the summer of 1901 he flew that machine from Howard Avenue East to Wordin Avenue. Their first glider. As Harworth recalls. discovering aerodynamic forces then controlling the flight. but a sketch of the plane in the air was made by a reporter for the Bridgeport Herald. The gliders worked. Several witnesses have sworn and signed affidavits about many other flights during the summer 1901 before the event described above which was publicized. the Wrights corrected earlier mistakes in calculations regarding drag and lift. one attests to the flight over the Sound. launched in 1900. flying it along the border of a property belonging to a gasworks. Their testing and calculating produced a third glider with a larger aspect ratio and true three-axis control.[20] As a result. [edit] The Wright Brothers Main article: Wright brothers Following a step by step method.

and. was the reason for low flying speed and for taking off in a head wind. but by the time three hundred feet had been covered. and all four flights in the gusty winds ended in a bumpy and unintended "landing". by surviving crashes. Orville described the final flight of the day: "The first few hundred feet were up and down. anhedral wings were less affected by crosswinds and were consistent with the low yaw stability. when out about eight hundred feet the machine began pitching again. because the canard could not be highly loaded. controlled. struck the ground. The frame supporting the front rudder was badly broken. Performance (rather than safety) was also the reason for the rear-heavy design. enabling them to gain adequate performance from their marginal engine power. four miles (8 km) south of Kitty Hawk. was recorded in a famous photograph. Relying on their wind tunnel data. combined with simultaneous yaw control with a steerable rear rudder. Although wingwarping was used only briefly during the history of aviation. The course for the next four or five hundred feet had but little undulation. as before. Both problems proved difficult. and a boy from the village. While many aviation pioneers appeared to leave safety largely to chance. The Wrights appear to be the first design team to make serious studied attempts to simultaneously solve the power and control problems. They solved the control problem by inventing wing warping for roll control. Almost as an afterthought. they designed and built a low-powered internal combustion engine. but the main part of the machine was not injured at all. According to the Smithsonian Institution and Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). However. In the fourth flight of the same day. . controlled aircraft. of 120 feet (37 m) in 12 seconds. powered heavier-than-air manned flight at Kill Devil Hills. 1903. The first flight by Orville Wright. the time of the flight was 59 seconds. Wilbur Wright flew 852 feet (260 m) in 59 seconds. The distance over the ground was measured to be 852 feet (260 m). a local businessman.[21][22] the Wrights made the first sustained. We estimated that the machine could be put in condition for flight again in about a day or two. but they never lost interest. North Carolina on December 17. North Carolina."[23] They flew only about ten feet above the ground as a safety precaution. the Wrights' design was greatly influenced by the need to teach themselves to fly without unreasonable risk to life and limb. so they had little room to maneuver. This emphasis. they also designed and carved wooden propellers that were more efficient than any before. The flights were witnessed by three coastal lifesaving crewmen. making these the first public flights and the first well-documented ones. in one of its darts downward. the machine was under much better control. when used with a rudder it proved to be a key advance in order to control an aircraft.The Wright Flyer: the first sustained flight with a powered. as well as marginal engine power.

They almost doubled the size of the elevator and rudder and moved them about twice the distance from the wings. they rebuilt the Flyer and made important design changes. placed it on a separate control handle.[25] the Wright brothers seemed to have the most advanced knowledge of heavier-than-air navigation at the time. Pearse himself said that although he had made a powered takeoff. it was at "too low a speed for [his] controls to work". flying consistently under full control and bringing its pilot back to the starting point safely and landing without damage. the same magazine issue also affirms that no public flight has been made in the United States before its April 1907 issue."[24] According to the April 1907 issue of the Scientific American magazine. When flights resumed the results were immediate. Good evidence exists that on March 31. Wilbur flew 24 miles (38. [6]. [edit] Other early flights The first in-flight film. Though. so repeated minor crashes were eliminated. made by a camera man flying with Wilbur Wright on 24 April 1909 Main article: List of aviation pioneers Around the years 1900 to 1910. then 20. though poorly controlled. In New Zealand. The first balloon flights took place in Australia in the late 1800s while Bill Wittber and escapologist Harry Houdini made Australia's first controlled flights in 1910. South Canterbury farmer and inventor Richard Pearse constructed a monoplane aircraft that he reputedly flew in early 1903. Hence. 1903 Pearse achieved a powered. Flights with the redesigned Flyer III started lasting over 10 minutes. flight of several hundred metres. The serious pitch instability that hampered Flyers I and II was significantly reduced. After a severe crash on 14 July 1905. Flyer III became the first practical aircraft (though without wheels and needing a launching device).The Wrights continued flying at Huffman Prairie near Dayton. On 5 October 1905. and gave the wings a very slight dihedral. a number of other inventors made or claimed to have made short flights. Lyman Gilmore claimed to have achieved success on 15 May 1902. Wittber was . They added two fixed vertical vanes(called "blinkers") between the elevators. then 30.9 km) in 39 minutes 23 seconds. Ohio in 1904±05. They disconnected the rudder from the wing-warping control. and as in all future aircraft. they devised the Scientific American Aeronautic Trophy in order to encourage the development of a heavier-than-air flying machine.

. Many claims of flight are complicated by the fact that many early flights were done at such low altitude that they did not clear the ground effect. the Wright brothers had made a flight over 39 km in October 1905.000 feet (1. California area. flew in December 1908 near Blair Atholl in Perthshire.200 m) and landings made at predetermined locations. eyewitnesses claimed to have seen Preston Watson make his initial flights at Errol. despite occurring some years later. For example. Ohio and invited friends and relatives. Dunne's early work was sponsored by the British military. and by the complexities involved in the differences between unpowered and powered aircraft. however. the D4. Jatho's wing design and airspeed did not allow his control surfaces to act properly to control the aircraft. with launches as high as 4. Alberto Santos-Dumont made a public flight in Europe on 13 September 1906 in Paris. SantosDumont's flight was more important to society when it happened. Dunne's main contribution to early aviation was stability. Two English inventors Henry Farman and John William Dunne were also working separately on powered flying machines. Jatho. On 14 May 1908 Wilbur Wright piloted the first two-person fixed-wing flight. though by this time several longer flights had already been done. Farman won the Grand Prix d'Aviation by flying a 1 km circle. lack of photographic or documentary evidence makes the claim difficult to verify. since the earlier attempts of Pearse. Newspaper reporters did not pay attention after seeing an unsuccessful flight attempt in May 1904. especially in Europe and Brazil. near Dundee in the east of Scotland. which was a key problem with the planes designed by the Wright brothers and Samuel Cody. His best early design. He flew about 40 feet (12 m) before landing. Karl Jatho from Hanover conducted a short motorized flight in August 1903. and covered a distance of 60 m (200 ft). Once again. and the Wright brothers received far less attention from the popular press. with Charlie Furnas as a passenger.conducting taxiing tests in a Bleriot XI aircraft in March 1910 in South Australia when he suddenly found himself about five feet in the air. Andy Thomas. just a few months after Pearse. He used a canard elevator and pronounced wing dihedral. Also. Also in the summer of 1903. the first Arctic flight by South Australian born Sir Hubert Wilkins and the first Australian born astronaut. These flights received national media attention and demonstrated superior control of the design. and tested in great secrecy in Glen Tilt in the Scottish Highlands. Public exhibitions of high altitude flights were made by Daniel Maloney in the John Joseph Montgomery tandem-wing glider in March and April 1905 in the Santa Clara. Watson. this flight is considered by some (primarily Brazilians) as the first true powered flight. In January 1908. South Australia's other aviation firsts include the first flight from England to Australia by brothers Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith in their Vickers Vimy bomber. The Wright brothers conducted numerous additional flights (about 150) in 1904 and 1905 from Huffman Prairie in Dayton. Since the plane did not need headwinds or catapults to take off.

5 miles (39 km). On 22 October 1909 Raymonde de Laroche became the first woman to fly solo in a powered heavier -than-air craft. His flight from Calais to Dover lasted 37 minutes. near Paris. France. Enrico Forlanini developed an unmanned helicopter powered by a steam engine. The first time a manned helicopter is known to have risen off the ground was in 1907 at Cornu.On 8 July 1908 Thérèse Peltier became the first woman to fly as a passenger in an airplane when she made a flight of 656 feet (200 m) with Léon Delagrange in Milan. the Wright brothers had a sustained flight of 39 minutes and 24. built in 1907. although the idea has since been resurrected several times. The first powered flight in Britain was made in 1908 by American Sam Cody in a plane designed and built with the British Army. heavier-than-air aircraft able to take off autonomously. On 25 July 1909 Louis Blériot flew the Blériot XI monoplane across the English Channel winning the Daily Mail aviation prize. The first successful rotorcraft. For example. without a headwind and entirely driven by its own power. when. It rose to a height of 13 meters. for some reason. She was also the first woman in the world to receive a pilot's licence. was the first flying machine to have risen from the ground using rotating wings instead of fixed wings. Vuia piloted the aircraft he designed and built on 18 March 1906 at Montesson. These kind of rotorcrafts were mainly used until the development of modern helicopters. where it remained for some 20 seconds. in October 1905. None of his flights were longer than 100 feet (30 m) in length. but an autogyro invented by Spanish engineer Juan de la Cierva in 1919. In comparison. Controversy over who gets credit for invention of the aircraft has been fueled by Pearse's and Jatho's essentially non-existent efforts to inform the popular press and by the Wrights' secrecy while their patent was prepared. however. Thomas Selfridge became the first person killed in a powered aircraft on 17 September 1908. the Romanian engineer Traian Vuia (1872±1950) has also been claimed to have built the first self-propelled. Mrs Edith Berg [27] became the first American woman to fly as a passenger in an airplane when she flew with Wilbur Wright in Le Mans. circling over Huffman Prairie. wasn't a true helicopter.[26] In September 1908. when Orville Wright crashed his two-passenger plane during military tests at Fort Myer in Virginia. Paul Cornu's helicopter. France. [edit] Helicopter In 1877. they became largely neglected. Italy. after a vertical take-off from a park in Milan. Since the first practical .

First bombing of enemy columns was the 1st November 1911.[29] the idea of using it for photography was one that was not lost on any of the major forces. who purchased several of the Fabre floats and fitted them to their Canard Voisin airplane. While the concept of using the aeroplane as a weapon of war was generally laughed at before World War I.helicopter was the Focke Achgelis Fw 61 (Germany. Its name was Le Canard ('the duck'). The first war to see major use of planes in offensive. All of the major forces in Europe had light aircraft. defensive and reconnaissance capabilities was World War I. in Libya. attached to their reconnaissance departments. 1910. and took off from the water and flew 800 meters on its first flight on March 28. These experiments were closely followed by the aircraft pioneers Gabriel and Charles Voisin. and in March 1912. [edit] Seaplane The first powered seaplane was invented in March 1910 by the French engineer Henri Fabre. First mission (a reconnaissance) happened on the 23rd October 1911. typically derived from pre-war sporting designs. the Canard Voisin became the first seaplane to fly over the river Seine.[28] Then Bulgaria followed this example. planes were drafted for military service. The first country to use planes for military purposes was Italy. The Allies and Central Powers both used planes extensively. . bombing and shelling correction military flights during the Italian-Turkish war (September 1911 ± October 1912). La Foudre ('the lightning'). whose planes made reconnaissance. the autogyros golden age only lasted around 20 years. Its planes attacked and reconnoitered the Ottoman positions during the First Balkan War 1912±13. In October 1910. the first seaplane to be used militarily from a seaplane carrier. illustration from 1917 Almost as soon as they were invented. [edit] First performances steps under World War I (1914± 1918) Main article: World War I Aviation German Taube monoplane. 1936).

[edit] Technology and performance advances in aviation's "Golden Age" (1918±1939) The years between World War I and World War II saw great advancements in aircraft technology. 1915. who. in late 1914. Many American pilots became barnstormers. led to a series of ever faster and sleeker monoplane designs culminating in the Supermarine S. The air races drove engine and airframe development²the Schneider Trophy. there was an incentive to go faster. . Eventually the barnstormers grouped into more organized displays. but while Adolphe Pegoud would become known as the first "ace". the most celebrated of which was the Fokker Dr. Roland Garros attached a fixed machine gun to the front of his plane. who shot down 80 planes in air to air combat with several different planes. getting credit for five victories. with air races. but the lack of any sort of steady point for the gun was a problem. flying into small towns across the country and showing off their flying abilities. a direct forerunner of the Spitfire. it was German Luftstreitkräfte Leutnant Kurt Wintgens. high-powered monoplanes made of aluminum. better known as the Red Baron. the most well known is Manfred von Richthofen. The French solved this problem when. acrobatic stunts. scored the very first aerial victory by a purpose-built fighter plane. on July 1. before also becoming the first ace to die in action. Aeroplanes evolved from low-powered biplanes made from wood and fabric to sleek. based primarily on the founding work of Hugo Junkers during the World War I period. and feats of air superiority. With pilots competing for cash prizes. with a synchronized machine gun. The age of the great airships came and went. Flagg biplane from 1933. Aviators were styled as modern day knights. René Paul Fonck is credited with the most all-time victories at 75. even when later wars are considered.[edit] Combat schemes It was not long before aircraft were shooting at each other.I. Amelia Earhart was perhaps the most famous of those on the barnstorming/air show circuit. She was also the first female pilot to achieve records such as crossing of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. After WWI experienced fighter pilots were eager to show off their new skills. Several pilots became famous for their air to air combats. doing individual combat with their enemies. Air shows sprang up around the country. On the Allied side.6B. for example. as well as taking paying passengers for rides.

took 27 hours 25 minutes and was uneventful. The first lighter-than-air crossings of the Atlantic were made by airship in July 1919 by His Majesty's Airship R34 and crew when they flew from East Lothian. . However the age of the dirigible ended in 1937 with the terrible fire aboard the Zeppelin Hindenburg. started the demise of the airship. The Hindenburg. John's. in which 12 civilians died.Qantas De Havilland biplane. On arrival. 1930 Other prizes. California to make the first trans-Pacific flight to Australia in three stages. in Chicago. airship technology had advanced to the point that the first round-the-world flight was completed by the Graf Zeppelin in September and in October. crossing the equator twice. despite the fact that most people on board survived. Kingsford Smith was met by a huge crowd of 25. Australian Charles Kingsford Smith was the first to fly across the larger Pacific Ocean in the Southern Cross. Scotland to Long Island. the same aircraft inaugurated the first commercial transatlantic service. Fiji 3.000 for the first solo non-stop crossing of the Atlantic.000 ($65. Eight years later Charles Lindbergh took the Orteig Prize of $25. 1919. Kingsford Smith later continued his journey being the first in 1929 to circumnavigate the world. but when they did crash they caused a disproportionate amount of destruction to the crash zone compared with the aeroplanes of the time. For example on June 14. After the now famous footage of the hydrogen-filled Hindenburg burning and crashing on the Lakehurst. England. also drove development forwards. By 1929.400 miles. combined with the Winged Foot Express disaster that occurred on July 21. They then flew on to Brisbane in 20 hours. With Ulm. which was based in Germany.000)[30] Northcliffe prize.000 at Eagle Farm Airport in his hometown of Brisbane. The first (from Oakland to Hawaii) was 2. Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Brown co-piloted a Vickers Vimy non-stop from St. New York and then back to Pulham. Newfoundland to Clifden. This was the toughest part of the journey as they flew through a massive lightning storm near the equator. This may not have been the case had helium been available to the Zeppelin company. landing field. holder of the world's only reserves of helium at the time. 1919.400 miles total flight. ca.100 miles away. New Jersey. and the Americans James Warner and Captain Harry Lyon (who were the radio operator. Accompanying him were Australian aviator Charles Ulm as the relief pilot. The United States. Flammable gas dirigibles did not burn and crash often. where they landed on 9 June after approximately 7. It was more shock value than the number of fatalities that caused the retirement of the world's airships. taking 34 hours 30 minutes. They then flew to Suva. people stopped using airships. winning the £13. for distance and speed records. Ireland. His crew left Oakland. Illinois. was loathe to supply it to the company. navigator and engineer).

In England Frank Whittle patented a design for a jet engine in 1930 and towards the end of the decade began developing an engine. The first cruise missile (V-1). In the 1930s development of the jet engine began in Germany and in England. this activity now has over 400. large scale strategic bombing campaigns were launched. flown by Erich Warsitz in 1939 (a Coanda-1910 is said to have done a short involuntary flight on December 16.000 participants. The two men were unaware of the other's work. However. but saw only brief use in World War II. during the 1920s.[31][32] In 1929 Jimmy Doolittle developed instrument flight. the lack of experienced pilots and the declining war industry of Germany. and both Germany and Britain would go on to develop jet aircraft by the end of World War II. World War II (1939±1945) See also: List of aircraft of World War II World War II saw a drastic increase in the pace of aircraft development and production. the first (and to date only) operational rocket powered combat aircraft Me 163 and the first vertical take-off manned point-defense interceptor Bachem Ba 349 were also developed by Germany. who was restricted by the Treaty of Versailles in its development of powered aircraft. Fighter escorts introduced and the more flexible aircraft and weapons allowed more precise attacks on small targets for effective ground support (see: dive bomber). jet fighters had only limited impact due to their late introduction. [edit] Progress goes on and massive production. in July 1942 and worlds first jet powered bomber. the first ballistic missile (V-2). followed by the worlds first operational fighter aircraft. All countries involved in the war stepped up development and production of aircraft and flight based weapon delivery systems. Also air combat tactics and doctrines changed. British and American developments. especially at the Wasserkuppe. New technologies like radar also allowed more coordinated and controlled deployment of fighter aircraft. . world first operational jet fighter The first functional jetplane was the Heinkel He 178 (Germany). 1910). followed afterwards.Meanwhile in Germany. Me 262. In its various forms. fuel shortages. instead developed gliding as a sport. such as the first long range bomber. the Me 262. In Germany Hans von Ohain patented his version of a jet engine in 1936 and began developing a similar engine. in June 1943. like the Gloster Meteor. the Arado Ar 234.

In October 1947 Chuck Yeager took the rocket powered Bell X-1 past the speed of sound. ushered in the age of mass commercial air travel.H. USSR's Aeroflot became the first airline in the world to operate sustained regular jet services on September 15. which established new levels of comfort. 1956 with the Tupolev Tu-104. other jet airliner designs had already taken to the skies. With the introduction of the Focke Achgelis Fa 223. the world's first jet airliner. the Flettner Fl 282 in 1941 in Germany and the Sikorsky R-4 1942 in the USA. dubbed the Jet Age. [edit] 1945±1991: The Cold War D. Boeing 707. the plane suffered a series of highly public failures. as the shape of the windows led to cracks due to metal fatigue.But not only airplanes. The first North American commercial jet airliner to fly was the Avro C102 Jetliner in September 1949. The fatigue was caused by cycles of pressurization and depressurization of the cabin. This growth was accelerated by the glut of heavy and super-heavy bomber airframes like the B-29 and Lancaster that could be converted into commercial aircraft. shortly after the British Comet. the first time larger helicopter formations were produced and deployed. While a technical achievement. helicopters too saw rapid development in the Second World War. By 1952. safety and passenger expectations. Comet. By the time the problems were overcome. The DC-3 also made for easier and longer commercial flights. Although anecdotal evidence exists that some fighter pilots may have done so while . and eventually led to catastrophic failure of the plane's fuselage. it also saw RAF service A 1945 newsreel covering various firsts in human flight After World War II. used mostly ex-military aircraft to transport people and cargo. commercial aviation grew rapidly. the British state airline BOAC had introduced the De Havilland Comet into scheduled service. As in this picture.

This action further heated up the space race that had started in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union. this record was renewed by X43 in the 21st century. Howe in the Canadian government. The same year that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon. and still carries millions of passengers each year. is a British designed military jet aircraft capable of Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing (V/STOL) via thrust vectoring. The 747 plane was the largest aircraft ever to fly. the X-15 set the air speed record for an aircraft at 4. most Western countries agreed that the interceptor age was replaced by guided missile age. as Yuri Gagarin orbited once around the planet within 108 minutes. See Avro Arrow for more details. this was the first controlled. Apollo 11 lifts off on its mission to land a man on the moon The Harrier Jump Jet. The United States responded by launching Alan Shepard into space on a suborbital flight in a Mercury space capsule. However. The "minister-ofeverything" C.D. was the key proponent of the Avro Arrow.divebombing ground targets during the war. Consequently. It first flew in 1969. Western countries responded with interceptor aircraft that could engage and destroy the bombers before they reached their destination. When the Soviet Union developed long-range bombers that could deliver nuclear weapons to North America and Europe. and then used the descent module of Vostok I to safely reenter the atmosphere and reduce speed from Mach 25 using friction and converting velocity into heat. Further barriers of distance fell in 1948 and 1952 with the first jet crossing of the Atlantic and the first nonstop flight to Australia. The Space race between the United States and the Soviet Union would ultimately lead to the landing of men on the moon in 1969. reputedly the fastest aircraft in its time. In 1961.297 km/h) or Mach 6. the Avro Arrow project was eventually cancelled in 1959 under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. often referred to as just "Harrier" or "the Jump Jet". which is capable of carrying up to 853 passengers. In 1967. though it has been superseded by the Airbus A380.1 (7. Aside from vehicles designed to fly in outer space. In 1976 British Airways began supersonic service . With the launch of the Alouette I in 1963. and Boeing unveiled the Boeing 747 and the Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde supersonic passenger airliner had its maiden flight.534 mph (7.297 km/h). In 1975 Aeroflot started regular service on Tu-144²the first supersonic passenger plane. the sky was no longer the limit for manned flight. level flight to cross the sound barrier. designed as a high-speed interceptor. Canada became the third country to send a satellite in space. by 1955.

In 1999 Bertrand Piccard became the first person to circle the earth in a balloon. This aircraft flew for 22.296 hours between its first flight in 1976 and its final flight in 2000. Focus was turning to the ultimate conquest of space and flight at faster than the speed of sound. [edit] 2001±present In the beginning of the 21st century. In April 2001 the unmanned aircraft Global Hawk flew from Edwards AFB in the US to Australia non-stop and unrefuelled. the Rutan Voyager. This achievement finally saw the realization of centuries of dreams of human flight. This is the longest point-topoint flight ever undertaken by an unmanned aircraft. proving that a large rocket ship can take off into space. In 1986 Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager flew an aircraft. . distances and technology. the Space Shuttle made its first orbital flight. and without landing. For example. in 1979 the Gossamer Albatross became the first human powered aircraft to cross the English channel. provide a pressurised life support system for several days. precision glide to a runway and land like a plane. and a few minor milestones in flight progress. with Concorde. around the world unrefuelled. subsonic military aviation focused on eliminating the pilot in favor of remotely operated or completely autonomous vehicles. and took 23 hours and 23 minutes. A few years earlier the SR-71 Blackbird had set the record for crossing the Atlantic in under 2 hours. and Concorde followed in its footsteps. No longer was revolutionary progress made in flight speeds. In 1981. reenter the atmosphere at orbital speed. Concorde G-BOAB in storage at London Heathrow Airport following the end of all Concorde flying.across the Atlantic. The last quarter of the 20th century saw a slowing of the pace of advancement. In October 2003 the first totally autonomous flight across the Atlantic by a computer-controlled model aircraft occurred. Several unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs have been developed. This part of the century saw the steady improvement of flight avionics. The ANSARI X PRIZE inspired entrepreneurs and space enthusiasts to build their own rocket ships to fly faster than sound and climb into the lower reaches of space.