History of Flight

in Flight

Interested in the history of flight? Read on to get a comprehensive overview of how man managed to get airborne...

Initially man attempted to fly like a bird. For this purpose wings of light weight wood and feathers were made and attached to the arms using straps. However this produced disastrous results as the body of the human being is not created in a manner so as to function like the birds.

The renowned Greek engineer, Hero made an initial breakthrough with his invention of a steam powered aeolipile. The device used jets of steam which resulted in rotary motion. Although flight in its essence was not achieved, this was a step in the right direction.

The man credited with creating the first ever conceptually sound model of a flying machine is Leonardo Da Vinci. The artist conducted much research on theories of flight and created more than one hundred drawings illustrating different theories. The Ornithopter, his final piece was developed as a drawing in 1485 but never came into physical existence. However it served as the blue print for the helicopter that was invented in later years.

Man actually took to air for the first time in a hot air balloon developed by Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier in 1783. This hot air balloon was powered by smoke arising from a fire. The balloon was made using silk which was attached to a basket. The first to fly in the hot air balloon were animals. However by 1783 human beings had taken to air in the invention.

During the early 1800s George Cayley came out with his version of a gilder. The inventor made many variations trying to improve the flight of the glider, adding tails and making biplane versions. However the glider lacked a source of power that would enable it to stay airborne for a longer period of time.

A new and improved version of the glider made it to the scene in 1891. After extensive research and experimentation Otto Lilienthal was able to develop a glider that had the ability to take man over longer distances. The next big break in the history of flight came in the form of Langley's Aerodrome. Langley was the first to incorporate a steam powered energy source in a model of a plane. The aerodrome had enough fuel to cover about a mile.

Another renowned name who made a significant contribution in the history of flight is that of Octave Chanute. He published a book titled the Progress in Flying Machines in 1894. This book along with Langley's aerodrome was to serve as the basis for the Wright brothers' experiments that were later to come.

The two brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright are rightfully credited with producing the first to produce a comprehensive flying machine that overcame all the problems faced by previous innovators. The first flight took off in the year 1903 with Orville piloting the plane that managed to travel one hundred and twenty feet in a mere twelve seconds. This was the real breakthrough that enabled man to fly in real terms. Since then man has capitalized and progressed on the Wrights brother's breakthrough to produce highly sophisticated flying machines.

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Faisal Farrukh has 1 articles online


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History of Flight

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This article was published on 2010/04/01