Leonardo da Vinci who drew sketches similar to modern day helicopters established the concept of flight. However he didn’t have the concept of aerodynamics and it was doomed to fail.
The first man-made flight was not actually in an aircraft but a hot air balloon by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783. At first they used hydrogen because it was the lightest gas, later hot air was found to be cheaper and today helium is used out of preference.
The first flight in an airplane, was achieved by the Wright brothers in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903. The flight lasted only 12 seconds.
Picture represents one of the Wright Brothers’ airplanes.
The development of flight remained in the developmental changes for about 30 years. It was discovered that a major requirement was a light, reliable engine that had good fuel economy as well. In this time the aircraft’s role began to become wider and wider. It was used during World War 1 to deliver post. It was also used for entertainment especially when pilots took on the challenge of long distance flights in hope of winning prizes. In 1927 Charles Lindbergh’s single-handed crossing of the Atlantic was a major breakthrough, which led to the foundation o transportation of people as well as goods.
By the time World War 2 came along the plane was at such a level that its use in the war was extremely important. The commercial side of flying was also introduced with the first airline, KLM, being set up in 1923. The original concept was to use a propeller driven by a piston remained in use until World War 2 where jet propulsion was used. Commercial airplanes continued the use of propellers driven by gas turbines until the first commercial jet aircraft was introduced in 1949, the de Havilland Comet. This was change the way people traveled making international ports more accessible.
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