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History Of Flight

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The History of the Airplane (The Wright Brothers -- First Flight)

The Wright Brothers' first aircraft blueprint was born in 1899. This followed a
formal request for flight experiment data submitted to the Smithsonian

This blueprint was based on the Wright Brothers' theory of wing warping, where
the adjustment of the wingtips could manipulate the rolling motion and balance
of an aircraft. This resulted from the Wright Brothers' careful study of the
flight of birds, where they could achieve their flight patterns through
constant warping of their wings. The end result was a biplane glider slight in
build, and tested while flying it like a kite.

Wilbur and Orville Wright's ideas continued to evolve over the next three
years. These came in the form of different gliders, both manned and unmanned.
They also constantly studied different flight researchers such as Cayley,
Langley and Otto Lilienthal. Extensive discussions were conducted with Octave
Chanute, as the Wright Brothers continued to search for the solution to the
critical issue of flight control.

Choosing Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as their test site for a physically
comparative biplane glider that weighed 50 pounds, the Wright Brothers achieved
their first breakthrough result from a piloted flight of any kind in 1900. The
glider was the first piloted glider in history and featured a 17-foot wingspan
with the brothers' trademark wing-warping controls. Thereafter, they proceeded
to work on the development of an even larger glider, but with more
sophisticated controls and landing gear.

The result was a 100 pound glider with a 22-foot wingspan and landing skids, in
1901. Unfortunately, in flight tests conducted at Kill Devil Hills, North
Carolina, the glider encountered numerous problems such as pitch control
issues, flights that spun out of control and weak lifting capability.

Demoralized, but not disheartened, by the test results, the Wright Brothers
continued to analyze their work. The root of the problem was traced to
inaccurate design calculations. Using a wind tunnel to experiment with various
wing designs, a brand new glider was created which had a strong foundation
built on accurate workings of airfoil mechanisms. It included a tail for flight
stabilization and measured 32 feet in its wingspan.

Another breakthrough followed the testing of this glider in 1902. The tests
gave the brothers' fresh insights on how an adjustable tail could add turning
ability and balance to a flying object. These were confirmed through further
wind tunnel experiments, which eventually morphed into the Wright Brothers'
first ever aircraft that was motor-powered, aptly named -- the Flyer.

Using a movable track for the Flyer to build airspeed, Orville Wright made the
first ever piloted flight in history in a powered aircraft, on December 17,
1903. This flight lasted all of 12 seconds, and came on only its second
attempt. The Flyer II quickly followed into the record books on November 9,
1904, when Wilbur Wright flew it for more than five minutes.

Tragedy struck in 1908 as the first recorded flight fatality resulted in the
death of a passenger -- Signal Corps Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge. The plane was
manned by Orville Wright who miraculously survived the crash on September 17.

This, however, did not discourage the U.S. Government from their first purchase
of a Wright Brothers biplane on July 30, 1909. Attaining speeds greater than 40
mph, the brothers received a $5,000 bonus on top of the $25,000 sale. This
preceded the first machine gun propped airplane that took off from a College
Park, Maryland airport in 1912. And the brothers' association with the
government continued, when on July 18, 1914, the Aviation Section of the Signal
Corps was created and filled with airplanes bearing the Wright Brothers'
inventive hands and main rival, Glenn Curtiss.

Glenn Curtiss was the unfortunate loser in a heated patent suit brought against
him by the Wright Brothers in the same year. His creations were borne from his
idea of ailerons, which meant "little wing" in French. While decidedly
different compared to the Wright Brothers' wing-warping controls, the U.S.
Court ruled that they violated the Wright Brothers' ownership over lateral
controls in flight.

Over the next four years from 1909, the Wright Brothers' creations continued to
make their mark. The plane that acquired its name from a grape soda, Vin Fiz
became the first aircraft to complete a fight across the United States over 84
days, but spent more time on the ground due to numerous crash landings. This
1911 incident perhaps encapsulated in a nutshell, the fascinating brilliance
and sometimes oddity, of the Wright Brothers' in the history of the airplane.

Transatlantic Services: Their Beginning

To the most important things responsible for the globalization of the world
that we enjoy today is definitely flying and specifically the advent of
Transatlantic Flight. In the beginning of the 20th century, the only thing
holding the world back was the Atlantic Ocean that was separating the powerful
United States with the ancient Europe. It was a powerful combination that would
allow the globalization of the world when the time came. However, in the
beginning of the 20th century the main problem was the aerodynamic
complications that prevented the planes at the time from crossing the
Transatlantic. The internal vibrations and other complications prevented such
long range and long duration flights. Thus, the only way to cross the Atlantic
from the United States to Europe and specifically England was to go across with
a transatlantic ship. For this journey, a transatlantic ship took about 7 days
to cross the vast gulf of the Atlantic Ocean.

However, all of that changed when the daring and brave aviator Charles Lindberg
crossed the Atlantic in a plane in 1927. It signaled beginning of a new era when
the traveling between the two continents would become commonplace someday. As
soon as the 1930's started air carriers at the time started experimenting with
transatlantic flights. Of course the first experiments were empty flight but
the slowly and slowly carriers started carrying postal mail with the
transatlantic flights. At the time, there were two major carriers: British
Imperial Airways and Pan American Airways, which would in time, become the flag
carrier of the United States. Both of these airlines started to cross the
Atlantic and deliver postal mail across the two continents. However also
Deutsche Air was a powerful competition as it carried mail between South
America and West Africa. Although it was some time before investors would start
commercial flights with passengers, these ail mail routes provided the necessary
expertise for the transatlantic flight. A postal flight across the Atlantic
Ocean was concluded in less than a day.

Another major problem at the time was the availability off suitable landing
strips for transatlantic flights. The necessary concrete just wasn't there and
thus instead of land planes, ship planes called the Flying Boats were used for
Transatlantic flights. These flying boats were easily capable of landing in
water with the fuselage acting as the landing gear or a boat.

It was perhaps Pan AM vision that allowed transatlantic flights to become
really successful and commonplace. Juan Trippe, who was the founder of PAN AM
quickly saw that transatlantic flights would be a major business someday and he
quickly negotiated for routes and stopping points along the way like the
Bahamas. He also ordered a special flying boat to be produced the legendary
B-314 which would continue to serve the PAN AM fleet for decades to come. It
was able to carry 74 passengers and it had a galley and sleeping quarters
aboard. At last, the big day came when in June 28, 1939 PAN AM had its first
commercial flight with passenger across the Atlantic. This first flight was
between New York and France and the passengers were charged $375 for a one way
trip. It was the beginning of an era where PAN AM would dominate the world with
its famous Clipper Service that flew across the Atlantic continuously and

Although the World War II proved to be slow in business due to world affairs,
after the war the pace of aeronautics and commercial flights across the
Atlantic picked up speed. It was also a time of boom for American carriers as
the carriers pf Europe were war weary. Three major American carriers were
present at the time: The famous PAN AM, the American Export Company and
Transcontinental and Western Airlines (T W A). Especially right after World War
II, these American carriers were especially dominant in the world market for
transatlantic flights. However as the wounds of the war were getting licked,
European Air Carriers also begun to emerge as competitors I the Transatlantic
Air Market. Airlines such as the Belgium Sabena and the Dutch Royal Airways
like the KLM would also provide a stiff competition to the American Carriers.
However, the transatlantic carrier PAN AM proved to be the most famous and the
most powerful of all the airlines in the Transatlantic route until its collapse
in 1991. However, it was responsible for pioneering the way and joining the two
continents together. By the advent of the 1950's, Air Travel between the two
continents of the Atlantic Ocean had become commonplace and the world was on
its way to becoming a one big global community.

Transcontinental Flight History

The beginnings of transcontinental flight had their roots in a funding shortage
faced by the U.S. airmail service after 1918, when it started to suffer losses
every year while struggling to cope with increasing demands and operational
costs. To avoid transferring such costs to customers, the Post Office asked for
tax money funding from the Federal Government instead.

The early transcontinental mail route from September 1920 consisted of
inter-relays of mail cargo from planes to railcars when night descended. The
total time taken for such routes was 78 hours, compared to train transported
mail of 108 hours. However, then president Warren Harding opined that trains
still provided a more affordable service, and wanted to pull out Congress money
from the airmail service.

In order to demonstrate the viability of a transcontinental mail route in time
and cost savings to Harding and secure tax money funding, Postmaster General
Burleson and Assistant Postmaster General Otto Praeger offered to stage a
public flight across the country without the involvement of the railroad. This
was planned on Washington's Birthday on February 22, 1921, to raise its public

From the outset, it would not represent an attractive flight. The pilots flew
World War I surplus planes not designed for long distance routes and the open
cockpits meant they were subjected to the harsh altitude weather and hot engine
oil sprays. Night flights would also present a formidable challenge, as they
could not rely on visual landmarks to establish their routes. With the onset of
snow or fog, pilots were often forced to maintain low altitudes, which posed
unknown risks of colliding with landmarks with the reduced visibility. Praeger
came up with a plan to hedge these risks, with post office staff to mark the
transcontinental route by fires lit at night.

Additionally, Praeger published the Transcontinental Air Mail Pilot's log prior
to the flight. A collection of Post Office pilots' flight notes and providing
detailed information such as landmarks and distances regarding the
transcontinental route, it would serve to assist the pilots in navigating their
attempt. It would also be a precursor to the creation of printed navigation aids
in the future.

The demonstration took off at 6:00 a.m. on February 22, 1921, as two mail
planes took flight on a westward journey from Hazelhurst Field, Long Island,
New York. Correspondingly, another two aircrafts headed east from Marina Field,
San Francisco, California. They would meet with scheduled relay planes at
various stops.

It was not long before the first tragedy occurred. W.F. Lewis on one of the
eastward flights, crashed soon after takeoff. J.L. Eaton took over and managed
to arrive in Salt Lake City before noon, where a series of relay pilots took
them through Cheyenne, Wyoming, to North Platte, Nebraska. James H. "Jack"
Knight was the pilot that started the route from North Platte, but little did
he know that he would be the last one, and the man responsible for
accomplishing the objective of this demonstration, securing the future of

Aided by torches and fire lights across Lexington Kearney and Central City,
Nebraska; Knight made his way to Omaha through the freezing night cold. Upon
discovering that he was the last remaining pilot on the journey at Omaha, due
to unforeseen circumstances aborting his substitute's flight, Knight soldiered
on gamely and left for Iowa City at 2:00 a.m.

Knight continued to rely on ground-lit fires to establish his route across Iowa
and Illinois, avoiding a crash on his landing in Iowa City airfield. After a
short rest, he embarked on the last 200 miles to Chicago. Despite a cold mist
that reduced flight visibility, Knight successfully touched down on Chicago
Checkerboard Field at 8:40 a.m., largely dependant on a compass and torn road
map. Knight was hailed a national hero, after braving the 830-mile flight with
a broken nose.

When the Chicago snowstorm ended, J.D. Webster then made the flight eastward
from Chicago to Cleveland at 9:00 a.m. Pilot Ernest Allison took over in
Cleveland and reached Hazelhurst Field, New York, at 4:50 p.m.

Knight celebrated his personal achievement, but it was made all the more
possible by a team effort from seven pilots. The transcontinental flight
stretched over 2,629 miles with a time of 26 hours in the air. Harding was
finally convinced. Touched by the pilots' efforts and public interest, he
wholeheartedly gave his blessings to the bill that awarded federal funding to

With money available to develop more route lighting, navigation aids, pilots
and better aircrafts, the era of 24-hour transcontinental airmail routes began
on July 1, 1924. The zones of New York-Chicago, Chicago-Rock Springs, and Rock
Springs-San Francisco were established, found on the principles of better route
management and reasonable pricing mechanisms for airmail (which cost only 8
cents per ounce within zones).

Despite the developments of transcontinental flight from the Post Office's
public experiment, there continued to be public disagreements on airmail system
funding between customers, the aviation industry and government. Each party had
their own agendas ranging from self-preservation to self-interest, and it was
not until the 1925 Kelly Act before they were eventually address, leading to
where transcontinental flight is now in today.

The Hot Air Balloon History

Before the Wright brothers, there were the Montgolfier brothers and they had
the idea of flight a hundred years earlier. And before you had the airplane,
the flight tool of choice was the hot air balloon, invented by the Parisian
siblings in the 1700's.

The Montgolfier brothers, Joseph and Jacques, had opposing personalities. One
lived on ideals and invention, while Jacques represented the practical and
business-minded. Though their father left the family business in the hands of
their elder brother Raymond, the latter passed away not before long and
...tienne took over with much success, based on relentless technology
implementation and public acclaim and recognition.

The hot air balloon was said to be Joseph's idea, dreamt up while observing
drying laundry over fire. The hot air pockets that collected under the wet
cloth led him to wonder if troops carried by aircrafts founded on such an
observation, could bring down the fortress of Gibraltar. Joseph's mental
tinkering did not end there, as he proceeded to build his first balloon based
on a lightweight wooden box covered with taffeta. When he simulated hot air
from an underlying piece of burning paper, the device rose into the ceiling.
This excited Joseph so much that he prompted Jacques to come over with more
taffeta and rope.

What resulted next was a squarish three metre balloon that saw incredibly
positive results from a sophomore experiment. The balloon sped into the air on
its debut test flight on December 1782 and crashed in a field two kilometres
away. This eventually led to numerous public demonstrations of their invention,
including one for French dignitaries in June 1783, which saw the balloon soaring
to 2,000 metres. This revelation proceeded to sweep across France.

Next on the agenda were attempts to create the first manned hot air balloon.
The lack of scientific knowledge of the atmosphere raised questions of its
suitability for human life in its upper reaches. Criminals were suggested as
test subjects, but the brothers settled on using animals.

The first flight with a live being was tested in September 1783, when the
Montgolfier brothers floated a basket with a sheep, duck and rooster to over
450 metres and across 3 kilometres, before seeing it crash due to a lack of
sufficient compensation for the additional weight.

Having established the rarefied atmosphere as relatively safe for human
consumption, the Montgolfier brothers embarked on designs for a human manned
hot air balloon. Original designs featured ground tethered balloons, but
November saw the first untethered hot air balloon flight, with a doctor and
army officer as its voluntary passengers. The two men manned the balloon for 25
minutes at heights of 100 metres and traveled 9 kilometres before ending the
flight due to the balloon cloth starting to burn. The flight ended since they
had to prevent the cloth from burning and landed in a field.

The Montgolfier brothers did face competition from inventors who attempted to
use the newly discovered element of hydrogen to power balloons. It was a
discovery that eventually pushed hot air balloons to the backbench as a form of
flight technology.

Despite this, hot air balloons continue to exist in modern times. Its original
design first met with an update by Ed Yost in 1960, when he lined the balloon
with plastic and used kerosene burners. Yost even made several successful
jaunts in his balloon such as that of over the English Channel. He failed in
his bid to cross the Atlantic (although someone else eventually did with the
same design), but Yost's balloon continued to achieve many records for flight
time and distance.

The modern day hot air balloon now feature rip-stop nylon and propane burners,
which has greatly improved its safety aspect. While a far cry from its humble
beginnings of taffeta and raw fire, the hot air balloons continue to astound
with its longevity in the face of its more illustrious technologically advanced
flight cousins.

The History of Great Airships

The history of the airship was often filled with 2 main technical issues --
that of the combustible nature of its buoyancy agent, hydrogen, and its fragile
structure. At the same time, they were essential in ensure the airship could
float, travel light and maintain reasonable speeds, yet be able to withstand
wind and rain.

Engineers sought to resolve these challenges by first resorting to helium as a
hydrogen alternative. However, the natural supply and prohibitive cost in the
1920s hardly justified its commercial usage, which sometimes resulted in costs
of $300,000 per airship. Despite measures taken by the government to alleviate
this by 1925 where prices per cubic foot dropped to a penny, helium was still a
costly substitute.

In comparison, being at the mercy of the elements, the structural nature of
dirigibles created more problems between 1919 and 1937. The horrifying
Hindenburg disaster put it all into perspective, even though the tragedy was
traced to an explosion resulting from highly inflammable paint layered on the

With the close of World War I, six Zeppelins, including the L49, were captured
by the Allied Forces. They also featured the L72 which was constructed
originally to bomb New York City. The Allied nations proceeded to duplicate the
Germans' dirigible blueprint in creating several record-breaking airships. They
became so brazen that advice from German pilot Ernst Lehmann to establish
landing bases to avoid airship accidents were ignored and ridiculed.

What followed was an incredible number of airships which met with untimely
ends. The English ZR-2 had to be taken apart, resulting in wasted resources on
the new Lakehurst, New Jersey hangar. Hypocrisy was also rampant, with the
British refusing permission for the Germans to cross the Atlantic in their L72,
but doing the same themselves in a copycat airship, the R-34.

In the midst of some high-profile dirigible accidents, the U.S. Navy Chief of
the Bureau of Aeronautics, Admiral William A. Moffet stubbornly supported
airships and attempted to qualify its program and human casualties by learning
through the mistakes of the ZR-2. Yet airship pilots were often taken to task
to cover up for the lack of substantial answers from airship accidents.

Moffet continued to be in denial as high profile deaths such as Richard Byrd
were narrowly avoided during the ZR-2 mishap, as was on the Roma when it was
driven into high voltage lines by a sudden down-draft. More disasters followed
as the C-2, then the largest airship in U.S. Army history, blew up while
leaving its hangar on October 1922. A French maneuvered L-72, the Dixmude, was
destroyed by harsh elements flying to Africa in 1923, and ended up wrecked in
the Mediterranean.

Finally heeding Lehmann's advice, the U.S. stopped short of destroying the Lake
Constance and Friedrichshafen Zeppelin factories and hangars. The
Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation was soon formed in 1923, to tap into German
expertise and discovery of the alloy duralumin in the creation of new airships
such as the U.S. ZR-1 and ZR-3 in 1924. These 2 dirigibles turned to helium as
the buoyancy agent, although the still prohibitive cost of the element saw the
airships sharing its use and alternated flights.

The ZR-1 Shenandoah flew across the western states in several test landings on
moorings and airfields. The Los Angeles ZR-3 was to follow up with a promotion
of commercial airship travel, but once again, it encountered technical issues
and the Shenandoah took its place instead, when tragedy struck.

Zachary Lansdowne, then the Shenandoah's commander, highlighted the ship's
shortcomings in dealing with the Midwest line squalls and thunderstorms but was
ignored. On September 3, 1925, a storm struck down the dirigible in Ohio, which
resulted in 14 deaths, including Lansdowne.

The survivors had landed safely whilst holding on for their lives on gas
supplies they had earlier been tasked to retrieve. This sad incident forced
Brigadier General Billy Mitchell to criticize the Navy's airship program, and
support for airships visibly dropped with the release of the disaster's photos
which garnered widespread public disgust and sympathy for its victims.

This did not deter the Naval Court of Inquiry from pronouncing a verdict which
put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Lansdowne, based partly on
statements under duress by Lieutenant Rosendahl (a survivor of the accident)
from Moffett, and despite testimonials from Lansdowne's widow that highlighted
his misgivings. Following the incident, Congress proceeded to give the go-ahead
for three new replacements for the Shenandoah. Ironically, only one, the ZMC-2,
still remained in use come World War II, as airships began to fade into
history's pages as a viable flight tool of choice.

The History of Business Aircraft

When you realize that there are only 500 airfields in the U.S. offering
scheduled passenger service, it is no wonder that personal and corporate
flights have become an industry in itself. Whether it is the Learjet of a
shipping magnate, media mogul with a partly owned Cessna Citation X or the
tough talking politician in his Piper Navaho, business aircraft facilitates
convenience and efficient travel to engage in and meet important business or
personal appointments.

Business aircrafts come in all models, from the single-engine Cessnas and
Pipers to twin light planes and the Learjets. Post-war development has equipped
planes with the necessary radio communication and navigational capabilities to
make round-the-clock, all season business flying a reality.

Business flying first came into being in the late 1920. Open-cockpit biplanes
and Stinson, Fairchild and other enclosed cabin designs were employed, but it
was the unique Beech planes that became early pacesetters on efficient private
flying. The Beech Model 17 "Staggerwing" from 1932 was a picture of luxury and
comfort with leather and mohair fitted cabins that could seat 5 passengers. Its
cousin, the Model 18 Twin Beech from 1937, was created for the purpose of
economy business flying and could seat up to 9 passengers. Its popularity was
established with a production line spanning 32 years and over 7,000 units

The Grunman-built Gulfstream business aircraft line debuted in 1958 and was
widely acknowledged as the "Rolls Royce" of business flying, no doubt due in
part to leveraging on its twin Rolls Royce Dart turboprop engines. The
$1-million price tag of the Gulfstream I did not deter buyers and steadily
established itself in the business aviation market, while a increased
performance delivery came with the creation of the Gulfstream II in 1964.

And who could forget the Learjet -- William P. Lear Sr.'s innovation from 1963
that is now synonymous with all things business flying, an icon of luxurious
business travel. The Learjet 23 was the first mass-produced and individually
built and financed small jet aircraft, and was delivered by the Chemical and
Industrial Corporation of Cincinnati, Ohio, on October 13, 1964. March 1966 saw
the introduction of the higher performance Learjet 24 which would be the first
business aircraft to fly round the world, within 4 days. Record breaking sales
were established with the production of the Learjet 35/36 -- a modified Learjet
25 with stretched turbofans. The Learjet 36 saw a 1976 global goodwill trip
piloted by world famous golfer Arnold Palmer.

The Piper PA-31 Navaho entered the business aviation market in 1964, staking
its claim on the twin-engine quarters. It came in three versions that catered
for various needs in seating capacity and arrangements, outfitted with
user-friendly cabin features including the ability to carry luggage in the
engine nacelles. The same year saw the unveiling of Beech's Model 90 King Air,
another twin-engine aircraft that could ferry eight passengers in comfort. As
evidenced by its eventual 90 percent share of the market within its class, the
King Air quickly became a mainstay for corporate flight departments.

Beech continued to innovate and produced the Beech Model 2000 Starship in 1983.
The brainchild of Voyager creator Burt Rutan was a statement of innovative
aircraft design with comparable speeds to small business jets, but the Starship
flopped commercially. Too expensive at $5 million, only 53 Starships were

Meanwhile, the Gulfstream III, Learjet 55 and Learjet 60, introduced over the
years from 1979 to 1990, established winglets which greatly reduced drag and
thus saving fuel. This resulted in increasing intercontinental flying ranges of
4,174 miles with the former and continues to see improvements today.

In between in 1985, the Gulfstream IV was released to the industry and
immediately shook its foundations and grabbed it by the neck. Ferrying up to 19
passengers in luxurious interior fittings such as luscious sofas and oak
furnishings, it was built with celebrities and business moguls in mind. The
Gulfstream IV and IV-SP were the result of customized user requirements. Built
at a cost of $24-million, it made possible cost-effective long distance flights
of close to 7,223 miles, with lengthier fuselage and less moving parts on its
wings. To add to its legend, Gulfstream chairman Allen Paulson sensationally
broke and established countless flight records whilst flying across the world,
such as clocking in 8.5 hours faster than the Boeing 747SP jumbo jet for a trip
around the world in January 1988 that lasted under 37 hours.

Beech continued to establishing itself as a source of cost-effective and
reliable business aircrafts above the turboprop aircraft market via its Model
400/400A Beechjet, with the acquisition of the Mitsubishi Diamond production
rights. Their competitor Cessna also made its mark with the Citation X, as it
became recognized as a speedy production aircraft, clocking speeds of Mach 0.92.

Prices of business aircrafts continue to escalate while striving to satisfy
ever-changing market demands for comfort and speed. Compared to a Beech
Staggerwing which cost only $15,000 in 1932, $30-million is the asking price of
many a business jets today. However, there is no visible lack of demand despite
prohibitive costs, as in any business -- where there is demand, the sales will

The Seaplane and its History

As soon as the first plane was invented, it became the founding stone for the
sea plane which took of for the first time in 1910. The first sea plane the "Le
Canard" flew for 800 meters in its first flight. During the achievements of its
era, it was considered monumental. Although the first flight of the Sea plane
occurred in France, United States would soon follow after with the invention
and production of its first seaplane in 19911 by Glenn Curtiss. It was a
monumental event for the United States as it signaled a beginning of an era
that would mar a huge race in Aeronautics between Europe and the United States.

The word Seaplane was meant to symbolize two types of planes associated with
the sea. The type that is still used today is the floating plane or the
hydroplane that we still see and use today. In this type of a seaplane, the
fuselage or the main body of the aircraft never touches water but rather the
landing gear touches water. Although this wasn't common at the beginning, it
soon became a worked out and accepted model that can be still seen in service
in smaller planes that needs to land on water today. The design of the
hydroplane was also used to design aircraft that could land easily on aircraft
carriers (which consequently made the United States the most powerful country
in the world with the success of its aircraft carriers)

The second type of a Seaplane that was very popular in the 1920's and 1930's
was the Flying Boat. As the name suggests, it was a design that allowed the
planes fuselage to act as a boat when it landed on the sea or a body of water.
Hence, it was termed the Flying Boat due to its ability to land and take off
from water. When a flying boat landed on the water, its main fuselage would
sink by 15% into the water for smooth landing and hence it would not use any
landing gears. This model of a seaplane termed the Flying Boat was very popular
in the 20's and 30's and it was even used in the World War I very extensively.

IN time, seaplanes also became commercially feasible. The world's biggest
airline PAN AM used seaplanes as its main carriers for a long time until Boeing
Aircraft became popular. Especially in the 20s and 30s, airports and airstrips
were not very common due to lack of commercial investment. Thus, seaplanes were
the perfect aircraft so that they could be used to land in a body of water
especially near coastlines.

A special big sea/airfield was designed in Hawaii to accommodate transoceanic
flights that would carry passengers by means of flying boats from Hawaii to
Mainland. By the advent of 1940's the era of airplanes really began and the
flying boats as a commercial plane was discontinued. By the 1950's with the
advent of Boeing Aircraft, seaplanes had just become a part of a long forgotten

So with the WWII, ended the era of the flying boat airline and mainly invented
since airlines did not have long runways that could handle large planes. Aids
to help in navigation were minimum, weather and other problem created problems
for planes and the flying boat seemed to counter them quite effectively.

The History of Bush Flying

Remember pilots pictured with silk scarves fluttering in the wind, flying their
vintage airplanes on adventures to dangerous corners of the world, saving
people? "Busy flying" might be legendary in its illustration, but it is very
much alive and true in its representation.

One of the last visages of pre-modern aviation, bush flyers are a precious
commodity in Canada, Australia, Alaska and the jungles of South America and
Africa, providing isolated communities with supplies of food and medicine, and
communication with the outside world. Not only do their planes have to be
adaptable to the tough and changing terrains and seasons in each country
through periodic mechanical changes, bush pilots have to brave the same harsh
elements, lack of work safety quotient and uncertain financial rewards.

The challenging life of a bush pilot was perhaps best summed up by C.H. "Punch"
Dickins, a veteran Canadian bush pilot, as, "a pilot and mechanic, who is ready
and willing to take any kind of a load to any destination, on or off the map,
within the limits of their aircraft, and the financial resources of the

Bush flying became a popular post-war option for the bravest and thrill-seeking
veteran American and Canadian military pilots as they sought an income from
their technical abilities. However, only those who could handle and maintain
their aircrafts would become fixtures on the bush flying circuit, despite the
relatively low barrier to entry in obtaining low cost aircrafts for use like
the Curtiss JN-4 Jennys and HS-2L flying boats. Imagine a situation where a
bush pilot were to be stranded in uninhabited regions such as the Artic tundra
or empty desert with its relentless heat. Plane repair abilities would be of
life-saving importance and many modern bush flights include flight engineers.

In October 1920, a fur buyer requested the Canadian Aircraft in Winnipeg,
Manitoba, to fly him home to The Pas, in one of the first documented paid bush
flight. The journey included harrowing flights over swirling lakes, thick
jungle bushes and deep swamps and bogs, before becoming the first plane to
touch ground on the final destination.

This opened up the possibilities of exploring uncharted global territories such
as the Artic regions. It also presented greater markets for bush pilots,
including oil exploration in the Artic Circle, mine claims, forest fire
patrols, timberland and waterway aerial mapping. Bush flying extended the reach
of airmail service to isolated regions and provided medical transport for the
same workers and hunters.

These developments called for better and more reliable aircrafts for bush
flying, in order to push the commercial viability of bush flying. The result
was the 1926 creation from the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, of a markedly
improved and safer single-seat high-cabin monoplane known as the German Fokker
Universal. The steady plane with strong wooden wings and a tough steel tube
fuselage consisted of a revolutionary shock absorber that allowed landing on
uneven terrains and simultaneous floating or skiing capabilities. On a plane
driven by the Pratt & Whitney radial engine, a bush pilot would fly in an open
cockpit with passengers or cargo stored in cabins built under the aircraft's

From 1926 to 1931, over half of the 44 Fokker Universals made in the U.S. were
used by bush pilots, preceding wide-spread usage by U.S., Canadian and foreign

November 12, 1935, witnessed the first flight of the reliable Noorduyn Norseman
from Canada, created specifically for bush flying. The aircraft facilitated
long-distance flights and delivery of fuel to isolated regions with cargo room
designed to accommodate an industry standard 45-gallon fuel drum and up to ten
passengers. Convenience was also a key feature with pilots having ease of
cockpit entry and exit without having to climb over cargo. To date, many of the
900 manufactured Noorduyn Norseman are still being flown.

Today, using aircrafts such as the Beech Staggerwings and Bonanzas and even
helicopters, bush flying now includes flying big game hunters, nature
photographers and archaeologists to exotic locations, on top of the now common
flights to remote settlements for supply deliveries. The sturdy and versatile
de Havilland Beaver is a huge favorite of bush pilots, with its adaptability in
skis, floats and wheels usage.

The dangers that bush pilots brave have made them a no-no for insurance
companies. However, it is the same dangers that so attract bush pilots to take
up the challenge of venturing into the unknown. In bush flying, what you do not
know may kill you, but what you may find certainly enriches and brings
excitement to your life.

The history of Aerobatic Flight

All eyes below are fixated to the antique World War II as Stearman falls from
above, the downward spiral towards disaster. The vintage biplane fell faster
and faster still, the growl of its powerful motor grows louder. The pilot was
obviously doomed looses control and almost crashed when suddenly, a few inches
from the tarmac, the Stearman roared into the blue sky to the cheering crowd
below. This is the exciting world of acrobatic flight!

Aerobatic flight, a special area of aviation, is defined as "precise
maneuvering in the three-dimensional space." Maneuvering is broken into three
components -- position, speed and the altitude. A manual aerobatic plane's
position is to be precisely controlled in all three axes (yaw, roll and pitch)
and could quickly be shifted to any of the other positions.

Lincoln Beachey has been widely recognized to be the "father" aerobatic flight,
even if none other than the Wright Brothers as a first step dismissed his
exploits as mere "optical illusions." All these skeptics were changed during a
now legendary-multi-city tour Barnstorming during 1914 when Beachey, then known
as "the crazy flyer", dazzled crowds all over the country waterfalls at the
wheel of his aircraft, Little Looper. Lighting like Thomas Edison or even Carl
Sandburg also became aerobatics fans and even the Wright Brothers recanted his
original comment, saying Beachey's exhibitions such as poetry.

Evolving from the air at the beginning of the race and had military training,
these first aerobatic planes are generally oversized but short. These factors
produced a performance aerobatic rather dull (today's standards) for handling
aircraft was slow and the ability to mount vertically was challenged.

Despite the improvements of equipment that allows flight capacity reversed
(such as improved wings, oil and fuel systems), even the best aerobatic
aircraft can not fly for long periods in attitudes abnormal flight. The engine
speed and wash from the spinning propeller as a result of an airplane react
differently when maneuvered going right than when going to the left of
aerobatics-forcing the pilot to learn from their maneuvers in both direction.
These limitations are as that no aerodynamic aerobatic plane produced can
effectively fight on the side of the claim of the glowing "knife edge" rises or
turns notwithstanding.

Strong aerobatic biplanes, Gulfhawk II, aroused much enthusiasm on the air
circuit in 1936 until 1948, performing in the World's Fair, Cleveland Air Race,
and All-America's Miami Air Shows. Originally designed by Grumman, Gulfhawk II
has been specially designed to support under the high structure stress
aerobatic flight and then changed to support upside-down flying for periods of
no more than 30 minutes.

The face of aerobatic flight was changed forever around 1945; Curtis Pitts made
the first airplane designed specifically for aerobatics, the Pitts' Special S-1.
Pitts had envisioned an aircraft that would defy gravity and meet its controls,
on a smaller plane that war era biplane, which could roll, climb, and maneuver
quickly. Pitts has dismissed the concept of big radial engines and designed a
sweep-winged aircraft powered by a small, light, horizontally opposed motor
with the centre of gravity that made it possible to snap tight

Line Pitts aerobatic aircraft-small (with only 17 feet (5 meters) wingspan),
light and very agile with great power-weight-soon dominated aerobatics
challenges. The more famous of the Pitts planes, a hand-crafted S-1C known as
Little Stinker, flown by another pioneer of aerobatics, Betty Skelton, who did
win her first wife's International Aerobatic Championship at the age of 23 and
she won again the next year. At that time there were few women that were
aerobatic pilots.

A Dictionary of acrobatic flight, first published in 1961, all securities
listed aerobatic maneuver and definition of the position at that time, 3000 in
all. Today, that list has grown to more than 15000 maneuvers that the pilots
test the capabilities of their aircraft. This shows that the aerobatic
maneuvers conform to the natural evolution of the leak that occurred in the
course of history -- which the planes continue to improve the capabilities;
skilled pilots learn to exploit these improvements.

1903 -- The Initial Engine Powered Flight

Orville and Wilbur Wright, by June 1903, have completed the design and
construction of their power machine. The Flyer's wingspan was just over 40
feet, over an area of 510 square feet and weighed 625 pounds. The brothers
built as much as they could in Dayton, Ohio, and then shipped the rest to Kitty
Hawk, NC for the final assembly.

The brothers departed for Kitty Hawk, NC on Sept. 23rd and arrived at Kill
Devil Hill, 2 days later. While they were waiting for the shipment, they
repaired the hangar and construct a new shop. After the shipment was delivered,
the Wrights took 3 weeks to construct the Flyer. Everything they did, they
practiced gliding using the 1902 glider, gliding longer hours and increasing
the control the glider.

Weather that day was cold and stormy-horrible. They had been working on
assembly and had the Flyer completed early in November. November 5, the
brothers tested the engine. The result was not pleasing. The motor almost did
not work as had been expected. Its excess vibration damaged shafts, which was
shipped to Dayton for repairs.

They tested the motor again on November 28. Again they had issues with a crack
in the propeller shaft. Orville returned to Dayton, to construct new shafts of
spring steel firm.

On December 12 the Flyer is ready for the flight, but the wind was too light
for takeoff. They did not want a flight on Sunday; because they told their
father they would never fly on the Sundays. Their first attempt at powered
flight would be on Monday, Dec. 14.

They threw a coin to choose who would be the pilot. Wilbur won and climbed onto
the Flyer. After a difficult start, it began to scoot down the rails, and then
began to rise from its path. Wilbur misjudged and turned up too early, without
realizing the efficiency of the rise. The Flyer rose slightly, stalled, and
then came to rest near the foothills. The machine had slight damage.
Nevertheless, the Flyer had flown off of the ground under its own power, which
was a hopeful start. Both the brothers were positive that the machine would fly.

The repairs took a couple of days, and the flyer was ready again late December
16. Dawn of December 17 had a stout wind blowing in from the northeast and rain
pounding down. The brothers had to wait till 10am, hoping the winds would die a
little. When it didn't, they chose to continue anyway. They sent signals to the
rescue station to come help them carry their Flyer area top of the hill.

It was now Orville's time to fly; he climbed up into the Flyer. It rose rapidly
once they had estimated the power of the rise. For the first time, a motorized
flying machine took off from the ground; it traveled under the control of its

Not pleased, the brothers wanted to again try. They had to repair the runners'
cracks, and at nearly 11:20, Wilbur then made the second flight travel nearly
175 feet.

With the assistance of the rescue crew, they then carried the Flyer to its
original starting point and again tried. Orville made their third flight,
twenty minutes later, and landed nearly 200 feet from its start point.

The fourth attempt began at almost noon; Wilbur was at the controls. The flight
started like any other-with the Flyer pitching upwards and downwards. After
about 300 feet, Wilbur regained control and began to travel on the same secure
course. It proceeded in this manner until he had gotten about 800 feet. Then,
the new Flyer began to buck and suddenly dove into the ground. The front was
badly damaged, but the body was intact. He had traveled close to 852 feet in
about 59 seconds.

After lunch, the two brothers contacted their father, "Successful four flights
Thursday morning with average speed through the air of thirty one miles".

The First Military Flyer

Wilbur Wright is a hero after his successful flight to France, August of 1908.
The French Parliament and the Aero Club of France, the brothers awarded medals
in their honor. Wilbur broke several distance, altitude and duration records
before the end of that year. Wilbur allowed more than 40 passengers in altitude
during that time; old friend, prospective business leads, a young boy, and the
very first female airplane passenger, Ms. Hart Berg, wife of dealmaker who The
Wrights had put in contact with the government of France.

However, he resumed flights very carefully. He refused to accept any challenge
to the author of the Daily Mail of London to fly across the English Channel.
Instead, he stayed aloft for the record of two hours and18 minutes, 33 seconds
on Dec. 31st, an adjustment to end a wonderful year. In total, he had created
nine records before January 2, 1909.

On 12 January 1909, Katharine, Wilbur's sister, and Orville, who was leaning on
his two canes because of injuries from a crash at Ft. Myer the previous year,
came to France. The two brothers and their sister Katharine met with King
Alfonso from Spain, King Victor Emmanuel from Italy and England's Edward VII.
Word of the achievements flew home fast to Dayton.

April 1, 1909, the two brothers were in Cento Elle, Italy to form the two
pilots with the Army of Italy on the new plane that came from Ohio. During one
flight, Wilbur escorted a reporter with him; he filmed the first footage of a
plane in flight.

Leaving Italy, the two brothers visited England briefly before leaving to go
home, where work on the contract with the American army was awaiting them.
While visiting England, they contracted an English balloon manufacturer to
construct six Wright crafts for a variety of clients outside the French union.

Three brothers went to New York, May 11, where huge crowds welcomed. When they
went at Dayton, May 13, the same welcome was waiting for them. President Taft
also sent a message asking them to visit Washington, DC to accept a medal from
the United States government.

But in the end, they both returned to work building the first American military
plane. When he finished, and with a brief break for a ceremony in honor them on
June 17, the two head to Ft. Myer, Virginia, to demonstrate a military Flyer to
the U.S. Army. The flyer was ready to be displayed on June 24, but they waited
until certain all was right in spite of the spectators that came to watch.

Orville took flight June 29. There was a shaky beginning and struck a tree,
which damaged the aircraft. But it has repaired and he regained his calm. July
12, he started to fly without problems. On 27 July, he set another new record
time, the flight of an hour 12 minutes with Lt. Lahm with him. This did exceed
a requirement of the Army staying aloft for an hour with passengers on board.

Wright Flyer of 1909 was then formally accepted on August 2, 1909, designated
as Signal Corp Airplane No. 1, to be the first military plane.

Following the approval of the plane, the Army then moved the aviation
activities into College Park, Maryland, which could handle a larger field of

In October, Wilbur started giving flight lessons. Wilbur installed the addition
of levers in the plane beside the student's seat so that they would be able to
take control.

Humphreys solo, October 26 two minutes became the first "pilot". Wilbur was
happy with the flights the next few days; he took Ms. Van Deman, the wife of
Capt. Ralph Van Deman with the 21st Infantry

During this time, the brothers flying Foulois instructions mailed a couple of
times. Early 1911, the planes were in bad condition, were ransacked by Foulois
and rebuilt several different times, and were removed from service further.

The History of Airway Lighting and Radar Navigating Aids

There were no navigational aids, during the beginning days of flying, to help
the pilots navigate. The pilots flew watching their window of the cockpit or
visual cues with map in hand. These visual cues also called as maps were
acceptable for the day flights, but airmail would operate at all hours.

In July 1923, windsocks enlightened place, and beacons rotating on the tower
had taken root. During 1923, the Postal Service has been working to finish a
transcontinental air tag on towers that are spaced between 15 and 25 miles from
each other, bright enough to be noticed from 40 miles away in the clear weather.
The postal service began regular operations by the first week of July, 1924,
through parts of the route. The Departments of Aeronautics and Commerce had
taken the responsibility to build airways with lights in 1926. By June, 1927,
approximately 4,121 miles of runways had lights. In 1933, 18000 miles (28968
kilometers) of runway and 1500 beacons had been placed.

In October of1928, the Department of Aeronautics installed a new group of radio
stations in order to accompany the seventeen they had acquired from Postal
Services. There were sixty eight different stations, which would enable pilots
get navigation application by radio contact. The Department of Standards had
also developed radio navigation beacons. During 1929, the Department of
Aeronautics standard four during which pilots range radio would listen to the
audio signals in order to determine whether they are on track. The Directorate
of Aeronautical accelerated the ability to install four ranges of radio-race;
this technology had become the standard for public aviation through the Second
World War.

In May of 1941, the CAA (Civil Aeronautics Administrations) opened the first
radio-frequency ultra-high range for the air navigation system planned,
possibly extending the use of this type of equipment at thirty five thousand
miles of federal airspace. In 1944, during the war with the progress of radios,
the CAA has tested static-free and very-high -frequency (VHF) omni-directional
radio ranges (VOR), which has allowed the pilots that navigate watching the
dial on the dashboard rather than listening to radio signals.

By mid-1952, 45000 miles (72420 kilometers) of airways and VHF VOR, called
Victor airway, supplements the 70000 miles (112654 km) of the Federal Act has
remained at low frequency airway. The CAA has begun to close the low frequency
and medium radio frequencies over four bands.

In October of 1969, the 16 waterways surfaces have been developed. Before,
pilots flew straight toward or retreated from the radio that was on the ground.
This aid has sent a journey along the lines called radial invisible. In 1973,
almost one hundred fifty six high-altitude navigation zone legs were available.

In October of 1994, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has asked the
government and industrial studies of the concept of Free Flight, which may
enable pilots, would pick the most effective routes needing to fly routes
between aids to navigation. The FAA and the industries partners had begun to
limit the applications of some functions associated with this concept. More
navigation technologies were partial for use or development, to include Global
Positioning Systems at the same time to help locate and control aircraft
satellite, for prospective Air Navigation Systems for flights ocean and
distant, and communications, navigational and surveillance systems to help air
traffic control.

The Earliest Airports

Open spaces such as racetracks, golf courses, polo fields and fairgrounds made
for the earliest airfields. These offered flat and smooth surfaces with
predictable winds, which were essential for initial gliders and fixed-wing
aircrafts to take flight.

Together with locations situated on prairies or close to water where winds
could be predicted, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, were popular choices for
early controlled and powered flights.

While Huffman Prairie near Dayton, Ohio entertained the Wright Brothers'
groundbreaking 1905 flights of the Flyer 3, and the Parisian ground of the
Champ de Maneoeuvres, Issy-les-Moulineaux witnessed Louis Bleriot's pre-1910
flight models, neither of these grounds facilitated passenger flights.

The first commissioned airports were in Germany in 1910, which were primarily
for the Delag-operated Zeppelin airships. Delag then constructed airship sheds
in many German cities situated near rail hubs from 1913. These could handle
passengers and maintenance of their airships. Prior to War World I in 1914,
close to 34,000 passengers across 1,600 flights had been attended to in these

By 1912, the United States had 20 airports, which were mostly converted from
fields and country clubs. In comparison, over the course of World War I, 67
military airfields were established on farms and parks, although with the
understanding that most would be reconverted when the war ceased.

There was even a failed attempt at a passenger service in South Florida in
1914, where a waterside building was modified to cater to passengers and
aircraft supplies. With the close of World War I, 980 fields were listed as
official airfields. Yet, unfriendly golf courses and insufficient racetracks
rendered most of them unusable by aircraft.

The first regular airmail flight took place in May 15, 1918, on a polo field
situated in downtown Washington, D.C. Dry Nevada lake bottoms, gas stations
found on roadways, and even packing crates which housed airplane deliveries,
served as "aerial garages", otherwise known as hangars and maintenance shops.
The post-World War I military parade grounds of Le Bourget and Tempelhof were
converted into airports.

By 1919, five air stations, including emergency stops, were constructed by the
U.S. Postmaster Otto Praeger between New York and Chicago. The Federal
Government convinced local Chicago businessmen to contribute to a $15,000
hangar, with potential profits from passenger travel.

In 1920, scheduled international flights became commonplace in the United
States with passengers traveling by Aeromarine West Indies Airways between Key
West, Florida and Havana, Cuba. With 145 airports by the end of 1920, the
airport system slowly began to take shape across the nation.

Early Post Office air stations featured 2 perpendicular runways and a tower
with a light beacon of the intensity of 500,000-candlepower. These stations
eventually evolved into 2,000-foot by 2,000-foot square designs by 1924, which
facilitated multi-directional takeoff and landing regardless of the wind.

Airport fields were typically the size of 70 to 100 acres, with gravel or
cinder covered surfaces to assist drainage. The fields were relatively bare,
commonly with only one hangar, and bare essentials such as gasoline and oil
storage, and telephone connection -- all spread out to guard against fire or
crash accidents. Most were built on the square postal air station design,
although variety came in the form of perpendicular T-shaped strips or
rectangles. From the 1930s prior to World War II, pilots relied on airmarking
to fly during the day. To aid navigation and identification of airports,
rooftops or hillsides were visually marked. The 50,000-candlepower beacons were
used for night flight instead.

The growth of airports began slowly in Canada, but it eventually grew to 77 air
harbors by 1930 from an initial 37 in 1922. The Prairie Air Mail Service started
to link Winnipeg with Calgary and Edmonton, where its older municipal airport
opened its doors in January 1927.

Across the world, airports continued to experience growth. Australia saw 181
public airports with passenger flights and support capabilities by April 1936.
This was on top of the 200 designated open landing areas. The Soviet Union had
a massive airport linking system, which stretched across Moscow, Nizhny
Novgorod, Leningrad, Kiev and Tashkent, north of Afghanistan. The Soviet
airline Aeroflot served the world's biggest domestic air network, with over 500
million passengers catered to by 1975.

Despite the majority of airlines preferring to fly from grass or water, and
perhaps protestations from Henry Ford, the first laid hard surfaced runway in
the U.S. was publicly unveiled in Newark, New Jersey, on October 1, 1928. It
measured 1,600 feet in length. In 1929, Pan Am became the first airline in the
U.S. to build its own airport -- the Pan American Field. Part of the 116-acre
field was rented to its competitor Eastern Airlines. As a precursor to radio
communication between airplanes and ground staff, Pan Am used a radio station
for Morse code signaling in 1930.

The Berlin Zentralflughafen Tempelhof was widely recognized as one of the
world's largest building in 1938. With simultaneous boarding facilities
available for 300 planes and a handling capacity of 300,000 passengers
annually, the Tempelhof roof could also accommodate 100,000 visitors watching
airplane arrivals and departures. Its model of charging visitors admission fees
was duplicated by countless airports trying to cash in on the public's growing
flight fascination.

History of Ornithopters and Helicopters

One of the first designed or at least imagined flying machines was the
ornithopter. In essence, when mankind gazed at the skies, he saw that the birds
were flying and thus mankind realized if he wanted to have the domain of the
skies, he would have to fly like a bird. Thus since the dawn of the
civilization, mankind with, its quest for dominion over nature, has tried to
repeat the design and the behavior of the natural flying species. Besides the
mankind's formal history, the legends go back far describing the mankind's
quest for flying.

The first reference to an ornithopter and a real reference to flying is in the
legend of Daedalus and Icarus. When Icarus was held captive by the Gods on top
of a mountain fortress, he used big wings tethered to his body by wax. However
because he flew too close to the sun, according to the legend his wings melted
away from his body and he plunged into the deep abyss of death. Although it is
a tragic myth, it symbolizes the quest for the man's attempt to fly and thus
control the forces of nature.

As mankind advanced further and further, throughout history there were lots of
trials and designs for flying machines. In order to establish flying, mankind
looked at the only available example of flying: namely the birds. Thus,
everyone was trying to copy the designs of the birds to design a flying machine
that paralleled their development: The Ornithopter. In essence, an ornithopter
was a machine that had birdlike wings and a place for the operator to be
attached. The operator would flap his arms and the wings of the ornithopter
would be flapped also. In essence, mankind would fly by simulating the flapping
of the bird's wings. However, since the principles of aerodynamics was not
discovered, no one was aware of the ratio of the wing to muscle power and thus
all of these projects and attempts were doomed to fail.

Perhaps the most serious thoughts came from the famous thinker and designer
Leonardo Da Vinci. He drew many representations of the birds to correctly
understand the principle. Thus, as a result he designed may ornithopters design
and a helicopter design which was a vehicle that can take off vertically from a
ground y the use of blades that are horizontal to the ground. In fact, it can
be said that an ornithopter is the father of helicopters.

During the history of mankind there were hundreds of ornithopter and even
helicopter designs which never had a chance of flying off the ground.
Especially the 19th century was filled with many inventors competing for the
design of the successful ornithopter. In fact even the great inventor Thomas
Edison tinkered with an ornithopter ad even received a patent.(although the
design was not feasible and thus it never got ff the ground) When it was
realized that the power to flap the wings was just not enough in humans, new
designs were introduced that utilized mechanical energy for flying. In 1870,
the French inventor Gustave Trouve designed an ornithopter that received its
power to flap wings from an internal combustion engine. The flight was a
partial success as the ornithopter that he designed flew 70 meters off the

The final result was that although people tried to fly ornithopters, it just
wasn't a viable aerodynamic design. Although in the 20th century some
successful ornithopters were built, it was discontinued as an idea. Then the
power to flight was concentrated on glided flight (not flapped wings flight)
and thus the Wright Brothers were able to fly creating a huge industry in the
20th century. However, the efforts for the Ornithopter were not in vain, as it
was in principle the founding stone of the helicopter.

Evolution of Aircraft Landing Assistance Devices

The most tedious tasks for a pilot to perform are to make a soft landing and to
do it safely. Initially pilots used to land on open fields and used to maneuver
the plane in a direction that gave them a better angle relative to the
direction of the wind. Aides to the landing have been developed to help find
the right course and landing to make sure of the landing.

In the later 1920's, airports began using lamps, when the landing grounds were
marked by rotating so they can be found after sundown. In early 1930, airports
installed the early forms of approach lights. Both projects have demonstrated
the proper angles of descent, and if the pilots hit the targets. Their approach
paths were drawn to the glide path or glide. Air Mail Service intermediary,
landing grounds that were established near the route used electric rotating
lights and beacons that have been placed on the outside of the field.

Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) used the best features of both radio beacons
and approach lights with a higher frequency of the transmissions. The tests of
these systems began, and the Civil Aeronautics Administrations (CAA) has
authorized the installation of this system in six locations.

Nine CAA operating systems and 10 other sites were being constructed in 1945.
50 others were being built. The American Army has submitted an ILS with a
higher frequencies to reduce the static and more right to set up courses,
called Army Air Force System instrument approach Signal Set fifty-one. The
Organization of International Civil Aviation (ICAO) adopted this standard for
the army to all member countries in 1949. In the 1960's, the first of the ILS
equipment for landing totally blind became available.

The development radars during the Second World War, led to developing a new
beam precision landing aids approach. In 1948, a distance measuring equipment
(DME) is used to provide data on the plane distance from the ground.
Installation of other radars continued with air-road type of radar surveillance
and the airport surveillance radars, which were installed in a number of
airports in the mid-1950s. These air traffic controllers contributed with their

Microwave Landing System (MLS) were developed in the 1980's. These systems
would allow pilots to choose a course best suited to their model of aircraft.
Having different modes of landing can help reduce the noise around the airports
and keep smaller aircraft away from larger aircraft. In the U.S. the FAA has
stopped the engineering of MLS in 1994. The FAA has considered the use of
technology that is based on global positioning systems (GPS) instead of the
microwave system. GPS uses satellite for navigation between the airports; it is
extremely accurate.

Lighting still plays an important role in the landing. Approach modern lights
can be directed to take into account all barriers near the airports that the
pilots might need to avoid before starting its approach to the runway. Lighting
can be fixed at different angles for larger aircraft, as these cockpits are much
farther from ground level and the angles of descent are different to the pilots
of those planes. Those pilots flying in the fields with no other staff can turn
landing lighting off or on themselves or can change the brightness by tuning the
radio to a designated frequency and by clicking on its transmitter.

History of Aircraft Circa 1930

One of the most important things in the history of mankind is the history of
flight. It is responsible for the globalization of the world that we enjoy
today. However, the history of commercial flight didn't enjoy the success in
1920 s and 1930's that it enjoys today especially 1930's when commercial
flights really started was a hectic time, full of confusion and failures.

In the end of 1920's and in the beginning of 1930's commercial flights were
very rare and almost non existent. The reason for that was the fact that the
flights were not safe and they were extremely uncomfortable. Especially the
planes would get very cold and because the planes flew at low altitudes, they
would be privy to all sorts of weather patterns like snow, rain, hail, and cold
winds. It would get very scary and very uncomfortable in a plane at that time.
In addition, because the insulation technology that we enjoy today didn't exist
at the time, the sounds in the planes could get unbearable at times due to high
creaking and groaning from the powerful vibrations that shook the plane when
the engines were working. In addition, it was a very unsafe procedure to fly
and many accidents or at the least malfunctions occurred at the time of take
offs and landings. In short, it was the Dark Ages for commercial flights.

Thus although there was a lot of expectations for a commercial flight; the
technology and the budgets at the time just were not enough. As a response to
this situation many governments like the British Government and the American
Government quickly realized that they would need to subsidize the flight
sector, if they needed some advancements. As a result, governments started to
pay money to the flight sector for the performance of special tasks. These
tasks included such flight like postal flights to deliver the mail, instead of
sea courier, transportation of troops and equipment for military purposes,
purchasing of aircrafts for governmental use and similar tasks to subsidize the
flight sector.

Very soon, the effects of the flight subsidies started to show effect as the
flight sector was getting better and better toward the 1930's. It even started
to show small profits near the decade of the 1930's. However, it will be safe
to say that the real boom of the flight sector occurred in the Second World
War. Although it was a dark time in the world's history, with the technological
advancements at the aeronautical race between the Germans and the Americans, big
milestones were achieved in the history of flight. It can even be safely said
that the flight history of the Second World War was responsible for even the
Space Age with the advent of the V2 Rockets.

However, even at the beginnings of World War II in 1938, flight technology was
being used for aggressive means besides transport. National Advisory Committee
for Aeronautics (NACA) was in the stance of sharing all flight information with
the world so that peace can be achieved and this technology can be used for
peaceful purposes. However, the Germans and the Japanese were already using the
technology to further their means for war and the peace efforts of NACA were
fruitless. But still it can be said that with the combined military efforts
along with the commercial efforts like the Transatlantic Flights; the history
of flight was on its way to a successful boom.

Helicopters at War

From World War II, helicopters were largely insignificant in usage. While they
were often used for supply and rescue missions in the China-Burma-India
Theater, their limited design restricted their usage for greater depth. This
continued in the Korean War, as helicopters were kept away from combat
missions. Greater deployment for troop ferrying was disallowed by law, but on
November 4, 1952, via an agreement signed by the Army and Air Force, the
helicopter began its evolution in increasing roles played in combat zones.
Significantly, before the Korean War ended, the 6th Transportation Company with
Sikorski H-19s was deployed via helicopter to Korea.

The Vietnam War saw the United States greatly increase the usage of air
mobility in their war strategies. Troops from the Army of the Republic of Viet
Nam (ARVN) were sent to fight Viet Cong guerillas in 1962 using helicopters.
This enjoyed initial success, before the guerillas found ways to combat this
during the crucial AP BAC stand. They were taught how to shoot down the H-21
and Huey helicopters, and the air threat was greatly reduced as a result.

In spite of this, the U.S. Army broadened their scope of ground attacks via
airborne vessels (in the shape of helicopters). With their increasing
involvement in the Vietnam War by the mid-1960's, the Army's helicopters now
not only ferried huge troop forces, but also larger fleets combined with bomb
and rocket carpeting of opposing armies by fixed-wing airplanes.

Using the helicopter, the U.S. Army could engineer rapid deployment and
withdrawal of troops into, and from, enemy territory, which was a far cry from
slow engagement over ground forces. It could also launch surprise attacks on
enemies with less reaction time. The Ch-47 Chinook and UH-1 Huey were widely
used for such purposes with great success.

Armed helicopters evolved as well, providing cover and support for ground
troops against enemy troops. Helicopter gunships such as the AH-1 Cobra
featured wide-ranging artillery including grenade launchers and guided
missiles. Before long, the helicopter as a weapon of war was as much a fixture
as the tank, armored personnel carrier and jeep. The Vietnam War had its
greatest representative weapon in the Huey.

The number of air casualties was massive during the Vietnam War. There were a
total of 4,869 American helicopters lost in the war zone over the course of
1962 to 1973. Curiously, forty-seven percent of the losses came from
operational mishaps, which resulted from poorly maintained war-time
helicopters. The thick Vietnam jungle landscape also proved an obstacle to
damaged helicopters, leading to multiple crashes.

By achieving reasonable success in the usage of helicopters in war conflict,
other countries like Great Britain and the ex Soviet Union copied the U.S.'s
lead. However, most countries limited it to troop deployment over combat zones
against rebel groups, primarily using U.S. helicopters.

With the end of the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army continued to refine its combat
aviation capabilities as they became less reliant on the U.S. Air Force. The
looming threat in Europe of a Soviet ground offensive became their focus, and
once again, the helicopter was the primary weapon.

The HueyCobra with heavy artillery was used against deep enemy targets.
Utilizing greater American technology that facilitated attacks under night
cover, such as "Nap of the Earth" (NOE) flying where helicopters could fly
hidden amidst trees and hills and infrared and night imaging gadgets, the Army
obtained an advantage over the larger numerical Soviet ground forces and
bombarded them with missiles. Helicopters equipped with sophisticated
laser-guided missiles to cripple tanks became a fixture in the 1980s.

The benefits of these strategic developments were shown in all their glories in
the Persian Gulf War. Iraqi ground troops and artillery were crushed through
tactical maneuvers that hinged on the mobility provided by U.S. attack
helicopters. These results encouraged other countries to do the same.

Helicopters have not contributed much beyond infantry warfare, due to
comparative disadvantages in speed, protection and weight management capability
to conventional fixed-wing aircrafts.

From its infancy, helicopters with greatly developed navigation capabilities
have been a mainstay in Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions. Notable
results were achieved during the East European wars such as the Bosnia crisis
and the Yugoslavia bombing in 1999, while Vietnam offered more than its share
of highlight reels.

The helicopter has also proved to be the perfect tool in submarine hunting and
anti-shipping missions, over-the-horizon targeting and deep sea mine clearing.
They provide a more mobile solution compared to ships and cannot be targeted by
enemy submarines. Helicopters can also escape detection by ships' sensors as
they are sited beyond the horizon, providing ally ships with target data. They
are also safe alternatives to deep sea mine clearing by keeping a distance
above water.

Despite increasing military usage, the helicopter still lacks in speed, range
and lifting capabilities. However, with continued research and development by
aircraft manufacturers worldwide to meld its attributes with the finer points
of conventional aircraft, the helicopter could see an even wider future role
and greater impact in the field.

Europe Spreads Its Wings

In 1906, Octave Chanute highlighted the speed at which the rest of the aviation
industry, particularly Europe, was snapping at the Wright Brothers' heels.
Danish J.C.H. Ellehammer achieved a 140-feet circular hop on a craft attached
to a central pole, while Voison and Louis Bleriot successfully flew their own
glider creations. Ironically, an American, Samuel F. Cody, flew the first
aircraft in England with his own British Army Aeroplane No. 1. Romanian Trajan
Vuia maneuvered his carbolic acid motor-powered monoplane over multiple short
hops and Leon Levavasseur invented the two "Antoinette" engines with 24 and 50
horsepower, which would be the key components of early European airplanes.

The Wright Brothers recognized this and initiated discussions with aviation
enthusiasts, one of which was a New Yorker, Glenn H. Curtiss. Working under
Alexander Graham Bell as an engine-builder in the Aerial Experiment
Association, Curtiss's first meeting with the Wright Brothers in 1906 was the
first of many more to come.

The American aviation industry continued to acknowledge the brothers'
achievements, such as the Aero Club of America's resolution splashed across
many newspapers. The scientific community also got in on the act, with
Scientific American eating their earlier anti-Wrights words and declaring them
worthy of the highest honor in creating the first successful aircraft.

Yet, before the Wright Brothers' obtained Patent Number 821,393 for a Flying
Machine from the U.S. Patent Office on May 23, 1906, and forever changed the
course of the aviation industry, they would face little results, much
opposition, and ridicule from Europe despite their achievements.

Deals with the British military, which was keen on the Flyer III, and the
French War Ministry, were aborted over refusals to perform flight
demonstrations and the planes' prices. The Europeans were quick to put down the
Wright Brothers and continued to call their bluff, questioning the legibility of
their flight claims. The New York Herald in Paris even went as far as to imply
that the pair was liars and had not shown any evidence of an aircraft that
could fly.

The European aviation community encouraged invention and progress through
various rewards put up by rich enthusiasts, most of which were from France.
These included: * The silver Coupe d'Aviation Ernest Archdeacon trophy for the
first 25 meter flight by a powered aircraft; * 1,500 francs from the Aero-Club
de France for the first flight spanning 100 meters (330 feet); and * The Grand
Prix d'Aviation with a reward of 50,000 francs for the first pilot to lay claim
to a one-kilometer circular flight.

The French-based Brazilian, Alberto Santos-Dumont, became the darling of the
European aviation community. The creator of the Demoiselle prototyped in
November 1907 and history's first ultra-light airplane molded from bamboo,
Santos-Dumont won the Grand Prix d'Aviation with a flight round the Eiffel
Tower in 1901. It was a visit to the St. Louis Exposition in the United States
where the gifted engineer began his fascination with flight, after witnessing
demonstrations of Chanute's gliders. Early experiments included curiously built
motorized dirigibles which he guided over Paris' rooftops.

However, it was Santos-Dumont's 14-bis ("14 encore") that first propelled him
into the European limelight in 1906. The Airship No. 14 was as much a curious
sight to behold and n unconventional aircraft. It was with a 50-horsepowered
14-bis that Santos-Dumont flew 198 feet -- a feat which bagged him the
Archdeacon trophy on October 23. He next secured the 1,500 franc reward from
the Aero-Club with a 726-feet flight on November 12.

By then, the 14-bis had seen a further manifestation with ailerons. It was a
design which had become impractical, but no one cared in Europe. Santos-Dumont
had attempted -- and succeeded -- in flying in public, and it made the French
proud. Santos-Dumont is commonly regarded as the first man to pilot a
self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft.

However, at the end of the day, the Wright Brothers had the last word. The
Europeans cheered Santos-Dumont. But Santos-Dumont's record-breaking ideas were
rooted in the brothers' theories and inventions. This was revealed in Alexander
Graham Bell's interview with the New York Herald's Paris edition. While it not
only attributed the Wright Brothers' contribution to aeronautics, it eventually
became a key factor in their successful patent award in 1906 with a little help
from their greatest detractors -- Europe.

History of Flight -- Man tries to fly like the birds

In China about 400 BC

People have always been fascinated by the idea of flying. Seeing kites flown by
Chinese further influenced our thinking. Chinese kites are both used in
recreation and for observance of religious ceremonies. There is a special kind
of kite for testing weather conditions. The idea of gliders and balloons
started from a kite, hence, it is important in mans quest for flight.

Man's attempt at flight

Man's idea of flight came from observing flying birds. They even tried to copy
the way a bird flies. Man copied the bird's wings and used different materials.
Expectedly man won't be able to fly with wings like birds. Our bodies are not
designed to be like that.


An ancient Greek engineer, Hero of Alexandria work with different sources of
power, he created the Aeolipile. It produces rotary motion once steam jets are
applied to it. He used a kettle with water place just above fire. The Aeolipile
was placed on top of the kettle. When water turns to steam it goes to the sphere
and rotates it. This is important because it was the very first engine. Engines
are important to the history of flight.

1485 -- Leonardo da Vinci studies flight

Leonardo da Vinci was the first man to study flight. He even drew the
Ornithopter in the 1480's. He made over a hundred illustrations about his ideas
on bird flight and mechanical flight. The drawing consists of machines that
carry people to flight, equipment used to test wings and wings and tails of

Leonardo drew the Ornithopter to show his idea on how man could fly but it was
never made. The very first inventors of the airplane studied Leonardo's
drawings. The ornithopter paved the way for the modern helicopter.

The first hot air balloon flight was made on 1783, by Joseph and Jacques

The very first hot air balloon was invented by Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier.
The balloon was made of silk bag attach to a basket carrier. Smoke from a fire
caused hot air to blow into the silk bag and created conditions for the silk
bag to be lighter than air. A duck, rooster and sheep were the very first
passengers of the balloon. It reached an altitude of 6,000 feet and went over a
mile distance.

Due to the success of their trial flight, the brothers sent people up in their
hot air balloons. Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and Francois Laurent were in
the first manned flight made on November 21, 1783.

George Cayley and the glider, 1799-1850

The father of aerodynamics, Sir George Cayley, distinguished the forces that
act on object in flight. These are lift, drag, thrust, and gravity. He tried
different shapes of wings. He thought of the controls like vertical tail
surfaces, steering rudders, rear elevators ad airscrews. He had many versions
of gliders. Body movements attain control. His glider is the first to carry
humans in flight.

Over 50 years, Sir George Cayley further improved his glider. He made wing
modifications to make the air flow on the wing properly. To attain stability a
tail was added. To add strength to the glider a biplane design was
incorporated. He recognized that for his glider to stay aloft for a long time
machine power was necessary.

Commercial Aviation from the 1920's-1930

The start of scheduled passenger services in the United States was not known,
according to Roger Bilstein an aviation historian. Passengers were transported
by Silas Christofferson via hydroplane from San Francisco to Oakland harbors in
1913. A Benoist flying boat successfully flew passengers from Tampa to St.
Petersburg, Florida in 1914. Lawson C-2 was the first multiengine airplane
designed for commercial air travel. Alfred W. Lawson built it in 1919. Since
there are cheaper military airplanes available the Lawson C-2 did not become
successful. Lawson built another model called L-4; this can carry 34 passengers
and about 6,000 pounds of mail. It crashed on its test flight and discouraged
the development of large planes.

Inglis Uppercu a Florida entrepreneur began scheduled international passenger
flights in 1920, initially from Key West, Florida to Havana, Cuba. Soon other
routes were added such as, between Miami and the Bahamas, between New York and
Havana. There is also a Midwest, between Cleveland, Ohio, and Detroit,
Michigan. His company was named "Aeromarine airways" it has 15 flying boats and
made 2,000+ flights with 10,000 passengers. A plane crash killing four people
made Aeromarine Airways lose business in 1924.

The birth of U.S. commercial air transportation and United Airlines was when
Walter T. Varney began contract airmail services from Pasco, Washington, and
Elko, Nevada, through Boise, Idaho.

Seven years after the first official airmail flight, 1925, U.S. Post Office
airplanes sent 14 million letters, packages a year. Airmail was very popular
with bankers and businessmen.

It was in 1926 when Air Commerce Act was implemented, this authorized the
Secretary of Commerce to plan air routes, build up air navigation systems, test
and license pilots and aircrafts, and investigate accidents. The carriers were
then obliged by law to base pay to the weight of mail. This all started with
the appointment of Dwight Morrow to develop a national aviation policy.

In the 1920s, Harry Guggenheim a multimillionaire and aviation enthusiast
started a foundation, which aims on teaching aeronautical engineers and
developing flight instruments. He gave funding to the Western Air Express to
check if airlines can live on passenger fares alone, but the company barely
made enough money without airmail.

Investments in aviation stocks significantly rose between 1927 and 1929. This
was brought about by Charles A. Lindbergh's solo flight to Paris.

Travelers could cross the country faster by train than by air at the end of
1920s. It was not comfortable to travel by plane because of the un-insulated
thin sheets of metal that made noise in the wind. The cabins were not
pressurized. In spite of this, airline passengers in the U.S. grew in number
from 6,000 to 173,000 in the span of 1926 to 1929. Majority were businessmen.

U.S. Airlines' planes have enough capacity for 15 passengers. Fuselage has a
corrugated design and the plane depends on a Ford Trimotor 5-AT.

In the 1920s, manufacturers transferred near airports. There were aeronautical
schools that taught airplane engineering, design, and operation. New
technologies were being developed that gave potential for commercial aviation

Harry Guggenheim set up a full flight laboratory, which developed very helpful
navigational tools like the barometer, artificial horizon and gyroscope and
radio direction beacon for landing. In September 1929 James Doolittle a U.S.
army lieutenant benefited from these tools when he had to land the plane
without his vision.

Huge progress as it may seem still did not make passenger travel exclusive
airlines profitable up to the 1930's.

19th Century Airships and Balloons

In the 1800s, we saw advances in ballooning, subsequent to the flight of the
Montgolfier in 1783. Thus, it was popular all over the world by mid century.
Jean-Pierre Blanchard was famous for his balloon flights all over Europe and
America even though he failed at innumerable attempts to create the
ornithopter. In 1785, John-Pierre with John Jeffries, a physician crossed the
English Channel. They also did the exhibition ascent in Philadelphia in 1793,
no less than George Washington was there to witness the event.

John Wise is the first balloonist in America and had the privilege of being
trained by Jean-Pierre. John Wise went on to train many others in America. This
spurred the interest of the whole of America in ballooning. Jean-Pierre died in
an experimental parachute jump from his balloon in 1809. During the civil war,
the four balloons were placed in strategic places to enable to observe below
and communicate telegraphically with the rest of the balloons. The confederacy
realized the potential of ballooning for reconnaissance; they tried to put up a
program but never succeeded. To make the balloon an observation area is Thaddeus
Lowe's idea and it was used as a pivot in telegraph mail between the White House
and the balloon.

Balloons with propellers were developed after Jean-Pierre and John Jeffries
crossing of the English Channel. The English Channel also became famous and
found its mark in the history of aviation.

The art of aerial photography high up in a balloon was credited to Felix
Tournachon (Nadar) of France. A whole photographic laboratory was even brought
on a huge balloon. Felix was more known during the siege in the year 1870,
where he ballooned mail and passengers out of Paris.

During the end of the 19th century, an attempt was made to balloon pass the
North Pole. Attempt was made July 11, 1897 by Salomon August Andree and two
others, launching from Spitzbergen. The trio never came back until an
expedition in 1930 found their frozen bodies. It was realized that the balloon
crashed on ice and that they froze while attempting to walk back to

Propeller systems for balloons enabled a balloon to be controlled to where it
has to go. Many engineers saw it fit to put propellers and started work right
away. This gave birth to the dirigible. First successful flight was on
September 24, 1852. Henri Giffard conceptualized the cigar shaped design. It is
filled with hydrogen and possesses a steam engine. As expected, it runs at
gentle speeds of 5 miles per hour.

Thaddeus Lowe built the initial balloons that were used for observation during
the Civil War at Virgina in Fair Oaks. The LZ4 was Germany's pride but during
an attempt to break an endurance record it got destroyed. During this Civil
War, an army general from Germany known as Ferdinand von Zeppelin had noticed
the extensive use of balloons. The Count von Zeppelin along with chief engineer
Ludwig Durr, created a 420-feet airship, it is designed to carry multitudes of

A number of victorious dirigible flights happened towards the end of the 1880s.
This moved the Germans to thinking of the possibility of using the airship as a
means of traveling. Experiments went on with two models, one with gasoline
engine and the other covered with aluminum sheet. Unfortunately, both crashed
while doing test flights in 1897.

1905 -- The First Practical Airplane

The first practical airplane took shape in May 1905, when the Wright Brothers
started building the new Flyer III. It was based on the Flyer II's components,
but enhanced to eradicate its problems. The airplane's pitch and yaw control
were improved, featuring a bigger elevator and rudder. Semi-circular "blinkers"
were inserted between elevator surfaces to prevent the Flyer III from sideway
shifts whilst turning. Small tabs were included on the trailing propeller blade
edges to maintain thrust. Most crucially, the rudder could be completely
controlled by the pilot, separately from the elevator.

The first primitive Flyer III was flown on June 23, 1905 by Orville Wright.
Over eight flight attempts, with all experiencing damages to the aircraft,
little success was achieved. Their best result lasted all but 20 flight seconds.

Testing of the Flyer III took a near-tragic turn on July 14, when Orville
crashed it at speeds exceeding 30 miles per hour. Thankfully, Orville survived,
but it left the brothers with a serious re-look at their creation. To improve
safety and control, the plane's elevator was enlarged to 83 square feet and
shifted away from the wing's leading edge by almost 12 feet.

The result was a series of successful, and safe, flight attempts around Huffman
Prairie, beginning from late August. More notable results came from Wilbur's 18
minute flight on September 26 and another flight of 26 minutes on October 3,
manned by Orville. This was immediately improved upon on October 4, when
Orville flew for 33 minutes. The Wright Brothers had in the Flyer III, a
potential practical airplane.

This news spread like wildfire. Wilbur then made history with the longest
flight ever recorded up till then on October 5 when, in front of a small crowd
and the presence of Torrence Huffman and Dave Beard, he remained airborne in
the Flyer III for 39.5 minutes over 30 circuits and a distance of 24 miles.

The Flyer III was thus the first practical airplane ever invented. It was
stable, had great control, smooth circling and could achieve flights of more
than 24 miles. The Wright Brothers had seen their efforts come to fruition and
great satisfaction.

Despite much attention from the Dayton media, due to poor weather, the Wright
Brothers failed to demonstrate the aircraft to their greatest supporter, Octave
Chanute, or any larger audience. This was to prove a critical cause for their
failed attempts at selling their invention to the Europeans in 1905.

When the U.S. Secretary of War was disinterested in purchasing the Flyer III,
the Wright Brothers resolved to conceal their invention from the public as much
as possible to protect their patent bids and commercial possibilities. Exposure
to media and publications were not entertained to safeguard the Flyer III's
configuration. All test flights were scraped before a patent and commercial
deals were obtained. The Flyer III was dismantled and stashed away on November
5, 1905. It did not reemerge until 1908.

Throughout 1905, the brothers continued to peddle their creation to Europe. In
continued attempts to protect their patent bid, they offered deals where buyers
were to purchase the aircraft without any demonstrations. Refunds were
guaranteed if results were not satisfactory. Despite some interest, the War
Office in Great Britain and the French turned them down. The French were
particularly indignant in their reaction. Without any corroborated proof of the
Flyer III's flight results in the American press and regardless of positive
feedback from their own Dayton field reports, the French ridiculed the Wright
Brothers asking price of $200,000.

This came amidst a backdrop of a surge in growth and advancement of the
aviation industry in France. Ernest Archdeacon became the first person to
launch and land his glider at an Issy-les-Moulineaux aerodrome in March 1905,
the precursor to the airfield and airport. The classic Voisin configuration
which featured stability with an absence of lateral control, followed in June,
when the float-gliders -- a Voisin-Archdeacon model and Voisin-BI, riot design
-- featured Lawrence Hargrave's box-kite configuration.

Strategic Air power Development in between World War 1 & 2

When the truce to resolve World War 1 was signed, nations prepared for the next
war. Fighter planes were re-built to become deadlier. It was made to fly higher,
and farther more agile in combat. The planes were equipped with gun turrets,
bombsights, air-cooled engines, cantilevered wings, retractable landing gear,
and all new metal construction. When World War II was declared, the planes were
ready. And with the US becoming a part of the war, every "first of its kind"
airplane was already used for combat.

The economic depression that the world experienced in the 1920s made the
military spending during peacetime look excessive.

World War I drove aviation and pilots for improvement in flying skills and
technology both for civil and military. This gave the military room to develop
technology for war without being noticed.

The spitfire fighter was developed from a civilian racing plane, seeing its
potential for war. In 1938 for instance a Seversky pursuit plane manned by a
civilian won the Bendix Race. The military saw its abilities and immediately
ordered same type of planes eventually developed into Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
the most preferred plane for war. Acquiring technology from civilian gave the
military operational and logistical experience.

Middle of 1920s, Germans started rearmament. Lufthansa, their leading airline,
was nationalized to train pilots and set the aviation industry in motion.
Transformation of Luftwaffe was the highest priority since the Nazi party came
to power in 1930.

All the nations started assembling their own air fleets the arms race has
begun. Everyone learned from the first war the value of superior air power.
This means better airplanes, top of the line, can be repaired easily and can be
mass-produced. The focus was on development of fighters and bombers.

In the middle of the 1930s came all-metal monoplanes. British had two, Hawker
Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire. Machineguns installed in the wings enable
the Hurricane constant firing. It had a Rolls Royce Merlin engine. Eight
machineguns were installed on the Spitfire, It can fly as fast as 355 mph, and
good handle at high altitudes.

The deadly Messerschmitt Me.109 can fly at speeds up to 342 mph. It can do
fierce dives and quick climbs. This is Germany's response to the Spitfire. It
has the smallest possible airframe equipped with a Mercedes-Benz liquid --
cooled engine.

Bombers were built with capacity for long distance travel and to carry heavy
bomb loads. The technology of revolving gun turrets eliminated the need for
having several guns because it can cover for the range of several. These
bombers are equipped with multiple engines.

The Japanese has long-range bomber escort called Mitsubishi A6M Reisen Zero. It
had great maneuverability at fast speeds and high ceiling. There is no
protective armor for pilots because of the heavy weight.

The Boeing B-17 was developed in 1935. It has four engines; it has a capacity
of 17,600 pounds of bombs, and 12 guns. The Boeing B-17 was planned to be the
strategic bomber during the Second World War.

Hugh Trenchard of the British Royal Air Force built several bombers such as the
Avro Lancaster, the Wellington, the Stirling, and the Halifax. The fighter plane
for the Italians was the S.M.79 a trimotor.

By the time we had reached the year 1939, Military aviation took a big leap in
technology with use of faster metal monoplanes. Germany and England is
developing the jet engine.

Flight efforts during the 19th and 20th centuries

The first person to plan and build a practical manned glider that can fly over
long distances, is a German engineer named Otto Lilienthal. Studying
aerodynamics, on 1891 he concentrated his efforts on building a glider that can

Otto Lilienthal was captivated by the thought that one day there would be
manned flying machines. On 1889, he published a book on aerodynamics. This book
was conceptualized from his studies of birds in flight. The Wright Brothers
later on referred to this book to build their successful aircraft.

Otto Lilienthal died tragically in a plane crash. Strong winds made him lose
control of the craft causing it to crash back to earth. This happened after his
2,500th flight.

Another milestone in flight history is on 1891, when the aerodrome flew to
nearly a mile after exhausting its fuel. The aerodrome's inventor is Samuel
Langley. He is a physicist and astronomer; he recognized that power was needed
in man's quest for flight. This was his greatest contribution to flight,
putting up a power plant to a glider. His experiments with whirling arms and
steam powered engine resulted in a plane model he called aerodrome.

Langley received a grant of $50,000, which was purposely given for creating a
full sized aerodrome. This plane crashed because it was too heavy. Langley gave
up his dreams of flight because of this disappointment. Langley was a director
of the Smithsonian institute in Washington, D. C.

On 1894, Engineer Octave Chanute invented the Herring -- Chanute biplane. The
biplane the Wright brothers built was based on this aircraft. Inspired by Otto
Lilienthal, inventing airplanes became Octave Chanute's hobby.

Chanute collected all technical information about aviation accomplishments and
its pioneers all over the world. This information was made into a book entitled
"Progress in Flying Machines," this was published in 1894. Many experiments of
the Wright Brothers were based on this book. Chanute even came to know the
Wright Brothers and encouraged their progress.

Orville and Wilbur Wright were standing on the shoulders of the aviation
pioneers. They spent a few years studying the pioneers work and development
with regards flight. They read books and other materials written on the topic.
Next was challenging their theories on balloons and kites. They learned
relationships of wind with surface and flight. Experiments followed using
different shapes for gliders and how to control their flight.

To test the different wing shapes and tails it was placed inside a wind tunnel.
Tests were also done in the North Carolina Outer Banks dunes; this is where they
discovered the most promising glider shape. When this happened, they focused
their attention to designing an engine and mechanism to launch and put the
glider to flight.

On December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, the "Flyer" was recorded the first
heavier-than -- air flight plane and Orville Wright as the first man to fly the
plane. It launched from ground level and flew all the way to north of Big Kill
Devil Hill in twelve seconds, covering a distance of one hundred twenty feet.
The Flyer totaled six hundred and five pounds.

Dreams of human flight now came true. Development of more advanced airplanes
was seen during the next century. These planes were developed for various
purposes like transporting people, cargo, the military, and their weapons.

All the advances in aviation on the 20th century were based on this first
flight at Kitty Hawk according to Wilbur and Orville Wright.

National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)

National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics or NACA was founded on 1915. Its
main purpose was to do pioneering research on the field of Aeronautics to
improve the quality and the quantity of flight and also to regulate the
academic and technological work on Flight Related Issues. As NACA got off a
start, its purpose would also become to regulate the budgeting, to regulate,
and govern the policy for aeronautical research and flight.

When NACA was founded in 1915, it was allotted a budget of $5000 per year. This
budget would stay constant for 5 years and then it was to show a dramatic
increase in the 1920's as research got off to a big start. When it was first
founded, NACA was to be regulated by a committee of 12 people who would not get
paid for their work. They would be drafted from the War Department, from the
NAVY, from the Weather Bureau and from the Bureau of Standards along with other
prominent members of the Aeronautical community. It was perhaps this spirit that
arose from doing un paid but pioneering work that made NACA and consequently the
United States a leader in aeronautics and aerospace which it still enjoys as a
country even today with unparalleled and unmatched success.

Although the role of NACA and its executive committee was advisory only, it was
destined for NACA to gain control of the aeronautical sector and be more than an
advisory committee but become a fully functional and powerful executive
government agency. Thus, it was destined to become NASA, which has turned into
the world's most powerful aerospace research and policy agency.

The first employee was hired in 1915. However, the first executive director
would not be appointed until 1919 when George W. Lewis would become the first
director of NACA. He would be mainly staying in Washington for politics while
the rest of NACA scientific staff prospered and focused on pure and practical
research. The facilities of NACA were founded in Langley, Virginia as the first
real aeronautical wind tunnel was constructed there. The facility soon became
the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory which would be intact with a fully
equipped aeronautical wind tunnel for testing wing performance and their
aerodynamics, propulsion laboratory for testing various engines and an airstrip
to test run the various apparatus and planes there.

NACA attracted all kinds of brilliant and successful engineers from all over
the country. It was a sign of prestige to work at NACA and many mechanical and
electrical engineers were recruited. In time as Aeronautical Engineers became
more found, there would be an influx of Aeronautical Engineers to Langley
facility. However, the main task force never exceeded 100 people for a long
time. This was perhaps the reason for the success of the NACA to be the leading
edge of technology at the time. As the staff was less, the relationship between
the senior members of the staff and the junior members of the staff were very
strong and informal. This caused a free flow of exchange of ideas, which
resulted in technological breakthroughs. It was very common for senior and
junior engineers and other staff members to exchange ideas over lunch or over a
cup of coffee. In fact, as long as nothing sensational was done, everyone was
free to pursue their ideals and their research as they saw fit.

Although at the time only NACA enjoyed such freedom in a Government Agency,
with the Era at the time, it proved to be the right thing to do as NACA
prospered and the lead in flights research was to be the Americans until today
from that day forward. Especially at the Wartime, the policies of NACA were
responsible for the superior power in Air Force that United States still enjoys
today. When NACA was dismantled in 1958 to become NASA; it had become a very
powerful and capable agency that was also responsible for the success of NASA
in Space Flight that it still enjoys today.

The Story of Rockets

From the beginning of time, a desire to know what is on the other side of the
mountain or beyond the horizon has led man on to exploration and adventure. The
inventive genius of man created the prairie schooner and the great sailing ships
which carried him farther and farther in his quest.

Even before the surface of the earth had been fully explored, man was curious
about the space above it. The invention of the airplane and its first
successful flight in 1903 saw the beginning of the exploration of this
boundless area.

For many years we were able only to gaze at the moon, the sun, the planets, and
the stars in the heavens. Now the development and perfection of huge rocket
vehicles will soon make it possible to reach some of these remote places in
space. While the Chinese are generally credited with the invention of the
rocket as long ago as 1232 a.d., the rocket as we think of it today was first
used in its simplest form in World War II. This was the deadly V-2, which was
fired at England from Nazi bases in Europe. The V-2's had no controlling
devices to direct them to a particular target. They simply were aimed and
fired. When their fuel ran out, they dropped to the ground and their warheads
exploded on impact.

What was, not long ago, a fanciful dream is now becoming a reality, thanks to
rocket power. The vast and boundless space around the earth appears to hold
nothing because we cannot see it or touch it. But as we know, the earth is
surrounded for a few miles above its surface by atmosphere or air and this air
is really quite solid.

You can feel it if you hold a piece of cardboard on the palm of your hand and
swing it broadside through the air. Planes make use of this air to fly.
Sailboats are propelled through the water by making use of the air in the form
of wind.

There is also an invisible force around the earth. This is the force of
gravitation, which pulls everything toward the center of the earth (Plate 2).
Like the air, the force of gravitation becomes less and less as the distance
from the earth increases.

Tie a small weight or stone to the end of a piece of string. Swing the stone
around and it will pull on the string. The string acts like the force of
gravitation, keeping the weight from flying away in a straight line. If you 
could swing the weight fast enough, however, it would break the string and fly 
off in a straight line.

How a rocket works

Most rockets have very few external parts, though internally some of them are
extremely complicated. The body which encases the inner parts of a rocket is
known as the air frame. This houses the combustion chamber, the fuel tanks, the
devices by which the rocket is guided, and the nose cone.

The nose cone, which is located at the upper tip of the rocket, is where the
warhead or payload is carried. At the lower end of the rocket are the exhaust
noz­zles through which the propelling jets of gases escape.

Rockets vary in shape and size, no two being alike. Some are tall and slim;
others are short and stubby. Some have wings and fins and resemble jet fighter
planes, while others look like enormous bullets.

The Titan is a United States Air Force surface-to-surface intercontinental
ballistic missile. This two-stage rocket is launched by a 300,000-pound-thrust
engine which separates and falls away when burned out. A second engine, with a
thrust of 80,000 pounds, then drives the rocket into space at a speed of 17,000
miles per hour. Both engines are liquid-fueled.

The Titan, which is made of aluminum, is larger than the Atlas, but is lighter,
weighing 220,000 pounds. Its length is 98 feet and it has a diameter of 10 feet.
The first flight of the Titan was made on February 6, 1959.

Rocket Power

The action of the gases exhausting from a rocket's nozzles at great speed
produces a reaction of equal force against the inner walls of the rocket, and
it is this force which propels it. This is why the rocket is the only suitable
device for space travel it is completely self-contained and independent of any
external force for its power.

An airplane must have air to sustain it in flight and to provide the oxygen
needed to make its fuel burn. But the rocket needs nothing. It does not need
air to support it, and it car­ries its own oxidizer right on board.

The reaction force or push produced by a rocket engine is called thrust, and
this power is expressed in terms of pounds. The thrust power of a rocket
in­dicates how much weight it is capable of moving at or near the surface of
the earth. If a particular rocket engine has a thrust of 100,000 pounds, this
means it can lift or propel that much weight.

Our rocket-propelled missiles of today operate much like a bullet or an
artillery shell. The engines which "fire" them burn for only seconds -- after
that it is momentum that carries the rocket forward. For instance, on a
forty-minute 4,000-mile flight, an intercontinental ballistic missile is under
power for only about 200 seconds. The speed it has gained while its engines
were burning then carries it along on course until it eventually loses momentum
and, like an artillery shell, arches over and falls to the earth. The course
followed by an artillery shell or by a rocket-propelled missile while it is in
flight is called its "trajectory."

Some Early Russian Rockets

The USSR CH-IO is a giant three-stage missile weigh­ing 350,000 pounds. Few
other details are known about the rocket except that it is over 100 feet long
and is 131/2 feet in diameter.

The CH-10 is believed to be the rocket the Russians used to launch the payload
that hit the moon on Sep­tember 13, 1959. The last stage of the CH-10 is also
reported to have crashed into the moon.

The T-2 is a USSR intermediate-range ballistic missile in service with the
Russian army. It can carry a nuclear warhead between 1300 and 1500 miles.

This two-stage rocket is powered by liquid-fueled engines, the first (or
booster) stage producing a thrust of 80,000 pounds. Its maximum length is about
100 feet and it weighs 120,000 pounds. Speed is 5,000 miles per hour.

The T-2 missile is comparable to our Jupiter and Thor.

Jupiter Rocket

The Jupiter, a surface-to-surface weapon, was the first American
intermediate-range ballistic missile to be launched successfully. The missile
was developed by the Army, but was later turned over to the Air Force for
operation in the field.

This rocket can carry either a nuclear or high-explo­sive warhead to a distance
of from 1200 to 1500 miles. It travels at a speed of 10,000 miles per hour. The
missile is 58 feet long and 83/4 feet in diameter. It is made of aluminum and
weighs 105,000 pounds ready to launch. The single rocket engine provides a
thrust of 150,000 pounds.

The Jupiter has done valuable service in the field of space exploration. It
helped to launch the Pioneer IV, which is now in orbit around the sun, and the
Explorer VII earth satellite, and also carried the two monkeys Able and Baker
on their flight into space.

Project Mercury

Project Mercury is the name that has been given to the initial United States
man-into-space program. The capsule designed to carry our first astronaut into
space is conical in shape and barely large enough to accom­modate one man, one
of the seven astronauts who have been selected and trained for flight into

The capsule weighs about one ton and is 91/2 feet high and 61/2 feet in diameter.
It is equipped with controls to keep it stable and to regulate its position so
that the blunt nose end faces forward.

When the astronaut has completed his orbital trip, small rockets in the blunt
end of the capsule will be fired to slow down his speed. As speed decreases the
capsule will lose altitude and be pulled toward the earth by gravity.

To protect the capsule from burning up when it re-enters the earth's
atmosphere, its nose end is equipped with a fiber-glass shield that vapor­izes
under the intense heat caused by the friction of the air.

When the capsule's speed has been slowed to a cer­tain point, parachutes will
open automatically to help ease its descent to the earth.

Minuteman Rocket

The Minuteman, like the Atlas and the Titan, is an Air Force surface-to-surface
intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 5500 nautical miles. It can
be fired for shorter distances by dropping off one or more of its three stages
while in flight. All three stages are equipped with solid-fuel rocket engines.

The Minuteman, which has a top speed of over 15,000 miles per hour, is about 60
feet long and 6 feet in diameter and weighs approximately 65,000 pounds. The
first stage alone has a thrust of 160,000 pounds.

Some Minutemen will be stored in bomb-proof shel­ters beneath the ground, ready
for instant firing. Others will be based on railroad cars which will roam the
country's thousands of miles of railroad tracks. This not only makes the weapon
mobile but also helps to keep it safe from surprise attack by enemy forces.

This missile made its first successful test flight of more than 4,000 miles on
February 1, 1961.

Nike-Hercules Rocket

The Nike-Hercules is another weapon of the United States Army. The main
function of this surface-to-air missile is to intercept attacking enemy
bombers, but the Army has demonstrated that it can also be used to knock down
incoming air-to-ground missiles.

This air-defense rocket is 39 feet long and has a diameter of a little over
21/2 feet. Its range is 80 miles, and its speed is approximately 2200 miles per

The two-stage Nike-Hercules can be equipped with either nuclear or
high-explosive warheads.

Many of our large metropolitan areas were ringed with Army Nike-Hercules
installations to protect them from surprise attack by air.

The Polaris Rocket

The Polaris, a United States Navy surface-to-surface intermediate-range
ballistic missile. It is also called a fleet ballistic missile, or FBM and is
considered to be one of the most important weapons our country now has at its
disposal.(in 1962)

This rocket can be launched from submarines under water, from surface ships, or
from land bases. It will be the primary weapon carried by our fleet of
nuclearpowered submarines, each of which will be equipped with sixteen of these
nuclear-war headed missiles.

The two-stage Polaris, which is 28 feet long and 5 feet in diameter, is made of
steel and weighs 28,000 pounds. Its range is 1200 nautical miles at a speed of
8,000 miles per hour. Advanced versions of the missile will have ranges of 1500
and 2500 nautical miles.

The first successful firing of the Polaris from under water took place on July
20, 1960, when two of the missiles were launched from the nuclear submarine
George Washington.

The Redstone Rocket

The Redstone is a United States Army surface-to-sur­face missile that is
designed to supplement artillery cannon. It can be equipped with either a
nuclear or high-explosive warhead.

This missile is propelled by a 78,000-pound-thrust liquid-fuel engine that
gives it a range of 200 miles. It is 70 feet long, 51/2 feet in diameter, and
weighs 62,-000 pounds. Top speed is 3800 miles per hour.

The Redstone can be transported by air, rail, or truck and assembled in the
field. It is fired from a portable launcher.

This rocket served as the first stage of the space vehicles that launched
Explorer I -- the first United States satellite -- Explorer III, and Explorer
IV. The Redstone will also be used to carry our Mercury astro­nauts on short
test flights into space prior to the launch­ing which will send one of them
into orbit around the earth.

On January 31, 1961, a souped-up version of this highly reliable rocket shot a
Project Mercury capsule, with a 371/2 -pound chimpanzee named Ham aboard,155
miles into space and 420 miles out over the Atlantic Ocean at a speed of 5,000
miles per hour. Ham's trip was hailed as a big step toward manned space flights.

The Talos Rocket

The Talos is a United States Navy surface-to-air and surface-to-surface
missile. It can be used to intercept enemy aircraft and to attack hostile ships
and shore targets. It also can be used as a long-range anti-sub­marine weapon.

The missile can be equipped with either a high-explosive or nuclear warhead.

A rocket engine boosts the Talos to high speed and then drops off. Flight is
sustained by a 40,000-pound-thrust ramjet engine which drives it to the target.

It has a range of 65 nautical miles and a velocity of approximately 1800 miles
per hour. Since this weapon requires air to operate, it cannot travel much
above an altitude of 75,000 feet.

The Talos is about 30 feet long and 21/2 feet in diameter. It is made of steel
and weighs 7,000 pounds.

The Thor Rocket

(From 'Model Rockets For beginners' by H. Gilmore)

The Thor, a United States Air Force surface-to-surface rocket, was the first
American intermediate-range bal­listic missile to be put into operation. An
intermediate-range ballistic missile is one that has a range of between 1200
and 1500 miles.

The Thor -- a single-stage missile transportable by air -- is propelled by an
engine fueled with liquid oxy­gen and a high grade of kerosene. It has a thrust
of over 150,000 pounds and travels at 10,000 miles per hour. This rocket is 65
feet long and 8 feet in diameter. Made of aluminum, it weighs 110,000 pounds.

The Thor was used to launch the Discoverer series of satellites and served as
the first stage in a number of other satellite and lunar-probe launchings. In
the early 1960's it was one of the most successful of our space-exploration

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