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Aviation History Essay


Introduction

Every modern lifestyle or technological aspect has its unique historical background that led to the development of its current state. Aviation is an international business and an academic concept that focuses on engineering the aerospace sciences and technologies.1

Before the civil aviation and the commercial aviation began operating, several theorists, scientists, and early innovators, had foreseen the coming of the aerospace technologies.2 Although people have simply understood the airplanes as swift modes of modern transportation, very few people understand the early history and development of the aviation industry. This essay discusses the history of aviation from its early development to its present days.

Early Development (860BC to 1893)

From the beginning of 863 BC to 1490s, intelligent philosophers such as Bladud, Aristotle, Archimedes, and Leonardo Da Vinci had foreseen a bright future in the early craft artisans.3 The Greek mythologists believe that Daedalus and Icarus were skillful artisans who motivated the early development of air travel.

In 863 BC, Daedalus and Icarus used the feathers of the birds to develop a gentle curvature that looked like real wings of birds and tested a flight that remained abortive.4 In 350 BC, Aristotle fostered the continuum model that believed in the notion that a body moving through a field will encounter some natural resistance.5

In 250 BC, a physics philosopher Archimedes theorized about the aspects of motion, fluids, and pressure differentials.6 This idea gave birth to the hydrodynamics concept that later improved the use of gas pressure, fuels, and the airplane streamlined shape, which supported the modern aerospace technologies.7

Towards the 1490s, Leonardo Da Vinci came up with the concepts of cross-sectional area, velocity, and constant variables in the physics paradigm.8 After some successful mathematical tests, Leonardo Da Vinci constructed sketches of flow pattern and later delved into the concepts of ornithopter and helicopter.9 The Greek engineers wanted to imitate the flapping style of the bird’s wings to develop airplanes.

In 1799, Sir George Cayley designed the sketches of modern airplane configuration. Later in 1804, Cayley designed the hand-launched glider, wrote concepts that could apply in the aerodynamics, and later designed the trip-lane glider that could carry a 10-year boy, and a monoplane glider that could carry a coachman.10

From the era of 1831-1843, Thomas Walker developed various glider concepts and tandem-wing designs, before William Henson and John Stringfellow could come up with the aerial steam concept, and designed the vision for commercial aerospace transportation at the Aerial Transit Company in Britain.11 In 1866, the British government began the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain, which led to the development of steam-powered biplanes.12

The Modern Aviation (20th Century)

Several innovations occurred before the flyers of the 20th century came up with some unique innovations. The Wright brothers, Orville Wright, and Wilbur Wright, brought some technical innovations that inspired a new generation of craft engineers.13

After the two brothers succeeded to develop a powered aircraft, the Wright brothers made some drastic changes to the technical appearance of the powered-engine airplanes.14 They removed the old wing anhedral, increased the rudder and elevator area, and moved the center of airplane mass forward. In 1908, Alberto Santos and Glenn Curtiss brought the ailerons and the high dihedral and improved the forward control surface.15

Curtis and his friends later modified the Langley Aerodrome in 1914 to compete with the innovations of the Wright brothers. With this innovation, Glenn Curtiss gained enormous fame and became the dominant US aviation creator.16 During this period, nations were preparing for the First World War, and airplanes were vital in such events.

During the era of 1914-1918, there were Aviation companies and schools in the United Kingdom and the United States.17 These nations began creating super speed, sophisticated, and reliable airplanes that had idiosyncrasies, rotary engines, and small trail surfaces.18 There were better rudders, elevators, and improved landing surfaces.

After the end of the First World War, aerospace innovations took new forms as the economic giants suspected the coming of a Second World War.19 Innovators shifted to monoplanes, developed metal skins and structures, made fined cylinders and radiators, developed systematic airfoil designs, made faster seaplanes, and improved the aerodynamic efficiencies.20

After the end of the Second World War, the inventors began developing the turbocharged engines and incorporated the arts of oxygenation and pressurization into the aerospace technology.21 Innovations spread across the world before America came up with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958, to control major airplane activities.22 Inventors could now create commercial planes such as the Boeing models.23

Conclusion

The aviation industry has a remarkable historical background that is worth acknowledging and understanding. The aviation sector has evolved from the era of mere natural philosophers and theorists such as Aristotle, Archimedes, and Leonardo Da Vinci, to real experimentalists such as Sir George Cayley, William Henson, Thomas Walker, and Frederick Lanchester, the Wright brothers, and Glenn Curtiss.

These early engineers changed several airplane models from the shapeless planes to the designable aircraft. They changed the engines, modified the landing lanes, corrected the balancing, improved the fueling systems, and modified the technicalities of the planes. Before NASA could emerge in 1958s, the early developers had already improved many things.

Bibliography

Abzug, M. & Larrabee, E., Airplane Stability, and Control: A History of the Technologies that Made Aviation Possible, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005.

Anderson, J. & Anderson, J., A History of Aerodynamics: And Its Impact on Flying Machines, Vol. 8, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998.

Anderson, J., The Airplane, a History of Its Technology, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, New York, 2002.

Leishman, J., A History of Helicopter Flight, Cambridge University Press, Maryland, 2000.

Mayrhuber, W., ‘History with a Future 50 years Boeing jet aircraft for Lufthansa’, Lufthansa [website], 5 May 2010, http://www.lufthansagroup.com/fileadmin/themen/de/boeing/Lufthansa-Boeing.pdf>, accessed 15 Dec. 2014.

Taylor, C., ‘AIRCRAFT PROPULSION: A Review of the Evolution of the Aircraft Piston Engines’, Smithsonian Annals of Flight, vol. 1, no. 4, 1974, pp. 1-134.

Footnotes

1 J. Leishman, A History of Helicopter Flight, Cambridge University Press, Maryland, 2000, p. 1.

2 J. Leishman, A History of Helicopter Flight, Cambridge University Press, Maryland, 2000, p. 2.

3 J. Anderson, The Airplane, a History of Its Technology, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, New York, 2002, p. 15.

4 C. Taylor, ‘AIRCRAFT PROPULSION: A Review of the Evolution of the Aircraft Piston Engines,’ Smithsonian Annals of Flight, vol. 1, no. 4, 1974, p. 17.

5 C. Taylor, ‘AIRCRAFT PROPULSION: A Review of the Evolution of the Aircraft Piston Engines,’ Smithsonian Annals of Flight, vol. 1, no. 4, 1974, p. 17.

6 J. Anderson, & J. Anderson, A History of Aerodynamics: And Its Impact on Flying Machines, Vol. 8, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998, p. 319.

7 M. Abzug, & E. Larrabee, Airplane Stability, and Control: A History of the Technologies that Made Aviation Possible, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005, p. 3.

8 Leishman, A History of Helicopter Flight, Cambridge University Press, Maryland, 2000, p. 5.

9 Leishman, A History of Helicopter Flight, Cambridge University Press, Maryland, 2000, p. 3.

10 Leishman, A History of Helicopter Flight, Cambridge University Press, Maryland, 2000, p. 6.

11 W. Mayrhuber, ‘History with a Future 50 years Boeing jet aircraft for Lufthansa’, Lufthansa [website], 5 May 2010, http://www.lufthansagroup.com/fileadmin/themen/de/boeing/Lufthansa-Boeing.pdf>, accessed 15 Dec. 2014.

12 W. Mayrhuber, ‘History with a Future 50 years Boeing jet aircraft for Lufthansa’, Lufthansa [website], 5 May 2010, http://www.lufthansagroup.com/fileadmin/themen/de/boeing/Lufthansa-Boeing.pdf>, accessed 15 Dec. 2014.

13 J. Anderson, The Airplane, a History of Its Technology, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, New York, 2002, p. 15.

14 J. Anderson, The Airplane, a History of Its Technology, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, New York, 2002, p. 29.

15 C. Taylor, ‘AIRCRAFT PROPULSION: A Review of the Evolution of the Aircraft Piston Engines,’ Smithsonian Annals of Flight, vol. 1, no. 4, 1974, p. 21.

16 C. Taylor, ‘AIRCRAFT PROPULSION: A Review of the Evolution of the Aircraft Piston Engines,’ Smithsonian Annals of Flight, vol. 1, no. 4, 1974, p. 27.

17 J. Leishman, A History of Helicopter Flight, Cambridge University Press, Maryland, 2000, p. 12.

18 J. Leishman, A History of Helicopter Flight, Cambridge University Press, Maryland, 2000, p. 8.

19 J. Anderson, The Airplane, a History of Its Technology, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, New York, 2002, p. 23.

20 M. Abzug, & E. Larrabee, Airplane Stability, and Control: A History of the Technologies that Made Aviation Possible, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005, p. 3-9.

21 M. Abzug, & E. Larrabee, Airplane Stability, and Control: A History of the Technologies that Made Aviation Possible, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005, p. 7.

22 M. Abzug, & E. Larrabee, Airplane Stability, and Control: A History of the Technologies that Made Aviation Possible, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005, p. 3.

23 C. Taylor, ‘AIRCRAFT PROPULSION: A Review of the Evolution of the Aircraft Piston Engines,’ Smithsonian Annals of Flight, vol. 1, no. 4, 1974, p. 26.

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IvyPanda. "Aviation History." March 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/aviation-history-essay/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Aviation History." March 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/aviation-history-essay/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Aviation History'. 22 March.

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