1903 - 1908
On December 17, 1903 two American aviators
Oroville and Wilbur Wright of Dayton, Ohio made the first successful
flight of a manned heavier than air, self-propelled craft called a flyer.
The first flight flew a distance of about 37m. It was the beginning
of a new age in technology achievement. The two brothers put together
the combinations of critical characteristics that others designs of
the day lacked which was a relatively light weight (337kg) powerful
engine; reliable propellers; and a system for controlling the aircraft;
a wing structure that was both strong and light weight. The third flyer
constructed in 1905, was the worlds first fully practical airplane.
The airplane remained in the air for as long as the fuel lasted. However
like many milestone inventions throughout history it was not immediately
recognized for its potentials.
In 1908 the two brothers demonstrated
their airplane to the U.S. Armys Signal Crops at fort Myer. The
Army had been long using balloons to observe the battlefield, recognized
the possibilities presented by the airplane. During World War I, the
development of airplanes accelerated. European designers such as Dutch-American
engineer Anthony Herman Fokker and the French engineer Louis Bleriot
developed even-faster, more capable, and deadlier combat airplanes.