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When do we look at the history of aviation, who made the first successful attempt? Who is the inventor of an aircraft? Was it invented by one person or was the invention a result of accumulated efforts? People have been fascinated by flying in the sky since ancient times, and this is clearly shown in drawings, excavations, and monuments. But who is the first to decide to implement this passion? Who decided to take this dream to the vast sky and invent the first aircraft? The list of aircraft made throughout the history of aviation is endless.
In this research, I chose a small number of aircraft which, in my opinion, have had an impact on the history of aviation in one way or another to talk about. Including balloons, zeppelins, gliders, and planes. Certainly, some of the planes still in use today. Let’s take a tour of aviation history and get to know the inventor of the first aircraft.
Francesco Lana de Terzi published a theory in 1670 proposing the use of a thin copper core containing a vacuum to lift lighter than air. These balls will be lighter than the surrounding air, helping them to lift an airship. Although the theory is scientifically correct, it could not be implemented in practice. This theory, which is known in the scientific community as the empty balloon, remains an impossible dream to achieve because there is no suitable material. But we can’t neglect Terzi’s efforts when we talk about the inventor of the plane.
Hydrogen gas was discovered in the 18th century, finally a material lighter than air! This led to the invention of the balloon and the dirigible. The Montgolfier brothers began attempts to fly with a hot air balloon at that time., and this balloon was based on fire to heat the air. Joseph was the twelfth child while Etienne was the fifteenth. Joseph’s first experiments was inspired by drying the laundry and his first experiments was in November 1782. He made a small box construction out of light wood and covered it with lightweight cloth. On December 14, 1782, they made a bigger balloon and launched it. They lost control of the machine, which flew about two kilometers and was destroyed after landing. They debuted the first public show of a hot air balloon in front of a group of eminent personalities on 4 June 1783. The balloon crossed two kilometers and the journey took 10 minutes and had a maximum height of 2000 meters. The next balloon was larger and was launched while tethered on 19 October 1783. the brothers launched the first balloon with passengers on November 21, 1783, and the balloon flew for 8 kilometers. The same balloon was used for the first free human flight on 21 November 1783. The use of the balloon began for military purposes in the 18th century, and the French government established companies to manufacture the balloon at that time. The science of aerodynamics began to emerge as a result of the emergence of several new theories in mechanics, particularly Newton’s laws of motion. Attempts to make a manned balloon (Dirigibles) continued during the 19th century, and the first flight using a dirigible in 1852 succeeded in France when Henry Giffard flew 24 kilometers with a steam-powered balloon. Although the dirigible appeared during World War I and II, and is still used in limited places, but the development of its industry has stalled after being dominated by the aircraft industry heavier than the air.
Sir George Cayley was first called “father of the aviation”. He is one of the most influential in the world of aviation. George spent more than 50 years of his life trying to discover how to accomplish a flight. Throughout those 50 years, he made many improvements for gliders. Caylye designed the first triplane glider in Brompton Dell in 1853. Reportedly, Cayley’s latest glider was the first gliding machine to make significant and reliable manned flights. Cayley set the foundation of understanding flying for people by identifying weight, lift, drag, and thrust; as the four forces that act upon flying machines, the elements of vertical flight, the importance of cambered wings, and a lightweight engine for sustained flights.
Before the Wright brothers, aviators were preoccupied with how to takeoff and stay in the air. But the Wright brothers focused on how to control the plane while it’s flying, and they found out what they want. Also, they contributed brilliantly to the design of aircraft wings, developed hundreds of designs for the wings, air movement, air pressure and air resistance. At the insistence of the Wright brothers, they worked their way in a thoughtful way from gliding to the construction of the first aircraft. The Wright brothers made the first heavier-than-air-powered, manned aircraft, and made their first flight on December 17, 1903. Their first aircraft was unstable and unreliable, but the brothers did not give up, they did second and third plane. The third brothers’ plane was the first reliable aircraft in the history of aviation, flew stable and land safely. The brothers were more significant because despite the great development of the aircraft industry, and its many types and different uses and structures. The Wright brothers’ influence was not just being able to make the first plane; it was highly developed, and the evidence is that the design and manufacturing principles adopted by the brothers are still valid today. This is a definitive proof that these two brothers had a unique mentality and preceded the era in which they lived hundreds of years.
After the faltering start the aviation industry has evolved in successive leaps. After the invention of the aircraft, the use of aviation for military purposes began, which led to the development of the industry wonderfully in a short time. The period between World War I and II witnessed a rapid development of aviation technology, evolving from gliders made of wood and cloth to an aluminum manned and powered plane. This revolutionary development may have begun for military reasons, but commercial aviation has undoubtedly benefited enormously. After the end of World War II, the United States of America began to build factories that could manufacture aircraft at prices that could be used in civil aviation.
Airplanes can be categorized by use, military like, civil, rescue or cargo. Also, by mission, reconnaissance, transport or research airplanes. As well as by design, triangular planes, helicopters of all kinds, supersonic jet aircraft, rotary-propelled aircraft and gliders. And finally depending on the weight, lighter than air and are based on Archimedes’ law and the heavier than air are based on jet engines.
The Montgolfier Balloon is important because it is the first successful practical hot air balloon that carries people. On November 21, 1783, they made the first non-tethered human flight with three science teachers. The flight launched from Paris’ grounds. The balloon flew about three thousand feet over Paris and traveled about five and a half miles in twenty-five minutes. The balloon landed outside Paris.
The highest altitude allowed for most hot air balloons is 3,000 feet, but this procedure is standard. There are those who want to know what the maximum possibilities is the balloon can reach. Therefore, on November 26, 2005, in India specifically in Bombay, Vijaypat Singhania broke the record for the highest altitude of a hot air balloon flight. The balloon used was called an Envelope and was 160 feet long. Designed by one of the world’s most famous hot air balloon manufacturers, Don Cameron. The Envelope reached a height of 69,850 feet and landed safely south of Bombay by 150 miles. The Envelope set the existing record to this day. Accompany the balloon helicopter throughout the flight to ensure the safety of the balloon.
On March 1, 1999, it was the first hot air balloon flight around the world, from Switzerland to Egypt. The balloonist and psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard traveled nearly 25,000 miles. It was the longest balloon flight ever. Briton Jones accompanied Piccard, so they were able to wander around the world in just 20 days. It was the first non-stop balloon flight around the world. This work has erased all previous records and remains the most important achievement in the history of the balloon.
We already knew the highest altitude for a hot air balloon flight, but it is important to know the records of a helium balloon as well. Using helium in a balloon is easier because it is lighter than air but more dangerous. A manned flight in New Mexico to reach a height of 132,000 feet, higher than the altitude of some aircraft. The balloonist used materials specifically to help him withstand harsh conditions. He managed to land safely after spending an hour at the highest altitude. His free fall lasted for about five minutes, until he broke the sound barrier, and this was an unusual achievement.
Zeppelins became famous in the first third of the 20th century.
In September 18, 1997 was the first flight for Zeppelin NT in Germany. There was very large media coverage. Unlike the shape, this balloon had nothing in common with previous balloons, this balloon combined historical experience and modern technology. High level of safety and maximum comfort. NT stands for ‘Modern Technology’. It has a rigid structure that weighs 1,100 kg of aluminum and carbon fiber. It is a lightweight airship and meets all requirements. Its lift is made of non-flammable helium, surrounded by a highly tear-resistant material. It has a Fly-by-Wire control system to enable the pilot to maneuver like a helicopter. It is not affected by lightning strikes.
LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin was the most successful Zeppelin was built. It’s a rigid structure, hydrogen, and commercial zeppelin. Used for approximately 9 years, from 1928 to 1937. Flew over a million miles and 590 flights. 34,000 passengers flew without injuries. Its first trip was across the Atlantic. It is the world’s first commercial passenger flight. It flew on a mission on the North Pole.
The LZ-129 was a giant commercial zeppelin. It had a rigid structure. It flew for 15 months, between March 1936 and May 1937. It was planned to be built with hydrogen but after the R-101 incident in 1930, helium was used. The manufacturer for LZ-129 purchased the R-101 wreck and used the metal to manufacture the LZ-129. It was destroyed by fire, shattering people’s trust in the zeppelins and it was the end of the zeppelin’s era.
LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin II, the second zeppelin carrying Graf Zeppelin name. It was built in the golden age of aviation between the two world wars. Built on the same basis as its sister LZ-129. It was planned to serve the transatlantic but after the crash of Hindenburg, the plans changed. Its first flight was delayed, and hydrogen was changed to helium, due to which the capacity of passengers decreased from 72 to 40 because helium gives less energy and is difficult to obtain. Its first flight was in September 1938. No more than 30 flights were flown on it because of World War II. Most were advertising and reconnaissance flights.
In 1896, Octave Chanute designed a hang glider, which he used to learn how to control the flying machine. Chanute is one of the biggest contributors to aviation history. He helped solve some problems and improve some before the Wright brothers. The hanging plane was very weak and had no seat to seat the pilot. His legs were the landing gear.
Otto Lilienthal has the most important experiments before the Wright brother’s experiment. He was an engineer and mathematician. He flew more than 2000 flights. He spent 15 years making his glider, with the help of his brother. His glider was launched in 1889. His glider collapsed in 1896 and was seriously injured and died the next day.
The Wright Flayer, the first in flight. Of course, the first plane heavier than air is the most important plane. The Wright brothers used a flight method that has been used until now. They tried to sell their product for five years to governments as military plane. People did not know the brothers until 1908 after a public air show in France. This show led to an aviation revolution around the world. It led to rapid progress and development in the aviation history.
Concorde is one of the most significant aircraft in aviation history. The plane that broke all records, a supersonic plane. The Concorde crosses the Atlantic in about three hours. It began serving in 1976 and lasted until 2003. The Concorde served British airways and Air French. The accident that happened in 2000 for the Concorde of French Airlines led to its retirement. It has an adjustable nose that enables it to achieve the highest aerodynamic efficiency. The pilot can see everything around him in the cockpit during takeoff and landing. Airbus built 20 of the Concorde. 18 remain in factories and museum
Air Force One is a symbol of the US presidency and its power. Manufactured by Boeing. This aircraft is designed to transport the US president. Any US Air Force can use the call sign when the president on board. This term was relied upon after the 1953 security flaw of President Eisenhower’s, and the entry of a commercial plane to the same airspace as the President’s plane.
The Supermarine spitfire is single-seat plane. The Spitfire began serving in 1936. Designed as a British Air Force fighter. The British plane has been manufactured more than any other British plane. It had a major role in World War II. The pilots who flew it were fascinated of it.
In 1927. Spirit of St Louis is the first single-seat aircraft to cross the Atlantic. It took 33:30 hours in the air. It was the most fuel-efficient aircraft of its time. It was named after Louis city. But it needs a telescope to improve the front vision in the cockpit.
The Gulfstream IV was the first business jet. It was launched in 1987. The Gulfstream can fly from anywhere in the world to anywhere just with one fuel stop. It has very spacious interior.
In 1996, was the first flight of citation XL. It has revolutionized the world of private aviation. Since then the citation XL is the best-selling private jet market due to passenger capacity, speed and low cost. Cessna has also developed Citation XLS and CLS +.
More than 10,000 Boeing 737 aircraft were built. Boeing took 40 years to manufacture 5,000 aircraft, and 12 years later the aircraft number 10,000 was launched in 2018. Monthly, Boeing makes 47 aircraft from the Boeing 737 family. In addition, the number of orders exceeding 5,000. In 1967, the first 737 flew into the sky. Boeing 737 includes ten different models. The newest 737MAX, was introduced in 2017.
Airbus launched the A320 in 1988, 20 years after the launch of the first Boeing 737. Monthly, Airbus produces between 50 to 60 aircraft from the A320 family. The 8000th was produced last year. By the end of 2020, Airbus may have produced 15,000 of A320. The A320 family is manufacturing in 4 countries; France, Germany, China, and the U.S.
Boeing 747 manufactured in the Everett factory. Boeing produced 1543 of 747. The largest commercial aircraft for a long time, until entered its rival A380. 747 still the best plane used in cargo.
Boeing delivered 1534 planes of 777s in 2017, 23 years after the first 777 plane was produced. The largest plane in the world. Twin-aisle and can carry up to 550 passengers. 5 planes are manufactured monthly. It is expected that the 777X will start service in 2020.
Airbus has produced 1393 planes of the A330 family in 28 years, since 1991 until today. A330neo production started in 2017 and A330-88 production started last year.
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