Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The History of Airplane

Old Airplane History

Ever since man first saw a bird fly, man has wanted to fly. The first attempts were efforts to fly like a bird by attaching feathers to their arms and flapping. Those attempts were unsuccessful.

Hot Air Balloons

The first successful air flight was in a hot air balloon. In 1783 a few men invented the first flying machine by making the hot air balloon. A hot air balloon is a balloon filled with heated air. Since heated air is lighter than cool air, the balloon would rise into the sky. The pilot would ride in a basket attached to the balloon and control the height by adding and subtracting more heat.

The problem with hot air balloons is that you can not go the way you want. If the wind is blowing west, that means you would have to go west, too. During the Civil War hot air balloons were used by the armies to look at enemy troops.


First Airplanes

The first airplane that was flown was a glider. A glider is a non-motorized flying machine (and very hard to control.) Early gliders were launched from high places like cliffs and floated on the wind to the ground.

A man named Sir George Cayel made the first glider that actually flew. His first glider didn't have passengers or a pilot. It was too small and could not fit anyone in it. He made another that flew his coachman across a small valley. This glider was not launched from a cliff.
During 1890 while Orville and Wilbur Wright were working in a bicycle shop, the Wright Brothers got interested in flying. They learned that bicycles that were closer to the ground were faster. They read all the books they could find about airplanes to learn more. They then began building gliders near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Wright Brothers improved the glider. In 1899 they made a large, two wing kite. After experimenting for a while on unmanned gliders, they made a glider where the pilot would control the airplane in the air.

After working on glider experiments they found out how to steer a plane while in flight by developing a rudder (the tail of the plane) and flaps on the wings. With the rudder and the flaps, the pilot could control the direction of the airplane and the height.

In December of 1903, the Wright Brothers became the first people to successfully fly a plane with a person in it. The plane flew one hundred twenty feet and flew only about twelve seconds. They had three successful flights that day, but Wilbur made the longest flight of 892 feet and stayed up for about 59 seconds. In 1903 the Wright Brothers made their first powered airplane that they named the "flyer." It was a biplane (two winged plane) that had a 12 horse power engine that they had built themselves. The wings were 40 feet wide, wooden, and covered with cotton cloth. The pilot would lay on the lower wing on his stomach and steer the plane. In 1908 the Wright Brothers finally made a plane that could fly for more that one and a half hours.

Improvements to Airplanes

In 1843 William S. Henson, an inventor, patented plans for an airplane after trying to build a model airplane. When those plans failed he gave up on airplanes. His friend, John Stingfellow, tried making a model off of Henson's model and succeeded. The plane launched, but could only stay in the air for a short time.

In 1890 Cl`ement Ader took off on the first steam powered plane (a plane with an engine, unlike the glider) that he had built himself. What was very unlucky about that was he could not fly it because he could not control it. Around the same time another inventor, Hiram Maxiam, built a steam powered flying machine. He tested his airplanes, but never really got them off the ground because they were too heavy and he could not control the flight.

During 1894 Samuel Langley flew a steam powered plane and went 0.8 kilometers in one and a half minutes. Once Langley made another airplane, he got a pilot to steer once on October, 7 and once on December, 8, but sadly the plane crashed in a lake.

U.S Army Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge was the first person killed in a plane crash. The military wanted to see how good the Wright Brothers` airplane was for flying. On September 17, 1908, Selfridge went up in a plane with Orville Wright. When they were 75 feet in the air a propeller broke. The plane crashed, which killed Thomas and left Orville injured, but the Wright Brothers still did not give up. In 1909, they got a contract from the military to build the first military plane.

In 1911, Calbriath Rodgers made the first flight across the United States. He flew from Sheepshead Bay, New York to Long Beach, California. During the 84 days of flying, Rodgers crashed at least 70 times. He had to replace almost every part of the plane before he reached Long Beach. All together this journey took 3 days, 10 hours, and 24 minutes of time spent in the air.

Airplane travel has improved a great deal since the first efforts of the Wright Brothers. Airplanes now travel thousands of miles at altitudes of more than 7 miles, carrying over three hundred passengers. Those passengers rest in comfortable seats instead of on their stomachs like Orville did. Jet engines have replaced propellers and speeds are greater than 600 miles per hour. Not even the Wright brothers could have imagined what air travel would be like today.

The inventors of the first airplane were Orville and Wilbur Wright. On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers made the first successful experiment in which a machine (aka airplane) carrying a man rose by its own power, flew naturally and at even speed, and descended without damage.
What is an Airplane?

Most of us only have to look up into the sky to see an airplane, and many of us have traveled by airplane to places that would have taken much longer by any other means of transportation. An airplane by definition is an aircraft that has a fixed wing and is powered by propellers or jets.
Before the Wright Brothers - History of Flight
However, before the first airplane was invented by the Wright Brothers, inventors made numerous attempts to make like the birds and fly. These early inventions included kites, hot air balloons, airships, gliders, and other devices.

Orville Wright & Wilbur Wright - First Piloted & Powered Airplane
"Flight is possible to man. I feel that it will soon cost me an increased amount of money if not my life". - Wilbur Wright Co-Inventor of the first engined airplane.

Orville Wright (1871-1948) and Wilbur Wright (1867-1912)
had requested a patent application for a "flying machine" nine months before their first successful flight, they were that confidant.

As part of the Wright Brothers' systematic practice of photographing every prototype and test of their various flying machines, they had persuaded an attendant from a nearby lifesaving station to snap Orville Wright in full flight. The craft soared to an altitude of 10 feet, traveled 120 feet, and landed 12 seconds after takeoff. After making two longer flights that day, Orville and Wilbur Wright sent a telegram to their father, instructing him to inform the press that manned flight had taken place. This was birth of the first real airplane.

Airplane Technology - How Does an Airplane Fly
All things that fly need air. Air has power to push and pull on the birds, balloons, kites and planes. So how does an airplane use the properties of air to create flight.

Post Propeller - Jet Airplane Technology
Inventors continued to improve airplanes after the Wright Brothers, and this led to the invention of jets, which are used by both the military and commercial airlines. A jet is an airplane propelled by jet engines. Jets fly much faster than propeller-powered aircraft and at higher altitudes - as high as 10,000 to 15,000 meters (about 33,000 to 49,000 ft).

Two engineers, Frank Whittle of the United Kingdom and Hans von Ohain of Germany, developed the jet engine during the late 1930s.

Beyond Airplanes - Space Flight

The evolution of the rocket has made it an indispensable tool in the exploration of space and space flight. By the end of the 19th century, inventors were beginning to consider the possibility of space travel.


Old Planes Flying VDO

Have a nice fly !!!