Aviation refers to the design, manufacture, operation or use of aircraft or vehicles capable of flight. Aircrafts can be lighter than air like balloons and airships, or heavier than air, which include autogiros, airplanes, helicopters, gliders and ornithopters (Global Aircraft para. 1). Famous inventors of aviation include Leonardo da Vinci, Lawrence Hargrave, John String fellow and the Wright Brothers. History of aviation is traced in early years, as early as the 5th century.
Kite was the first form of aircraft that was designed in 5thcentury B.C. Later, Roger Bacon, in 13th century carried out studies and found out that like water supports a boat, air could support a craft. 16th century saw Leonardo da Vinci study bird’s flight, which enabled him to produce parachutes and airscrew (Global Aircraft para. 2).
The idea of the airscrews, propellers and parachutes contributed to great heights in the aviation industry. Furthermore, Leonardo set the pace in invention of heavier-than-air craft such as helicopter and gliders. He became the first person to make scientific suggestions that contributed later development of aviation industry.
Aviation in 19th century
Credible developments in aviation industry happened in the 19th century. John Stringfellow designed steam engine-powered aircraft but failed to climb. The aircraft was launched from a wire. The period also saw British sir George Cayley design a horizontally propelled aircraft with combined helicopter. British, Francis Herbert Wenham predicted application of multiple wings of an aircraft using wind tunnels in his studies.
A British borne Australian Lawrence Hargrave invented a rigid wing aircraft in 1891. The aircraft had flap blades and operated on a compressed-air motor. His invention provided hope in the aviation industry after his aircraft flew 95 m above the ground. Another important contributor in this field is Marie Jeane that tested a glider with movable wings (Global Aircraft para. 3).
Kites were used in testing aerodynamics and the stability of the flight. This kite box was first created in 1893 by Lawrence Hargrave while gigantic passenger carrying tetrahedral celled kite was developed by Alexander Graham Bell from 1895 to 1910 (Gold et al. 95).
In December 1903, aviation industry received a boost when the Wright brothers managed to make a heavier than air machine-powered flight. The flight spanned 120 feet and lasted for 12 seconds. The invention which have been dreamt for long became a reality. In 1908, Wilbur demonstrated full control of his aircraft when he completed a 2hour 20 minute flight (Global Aircraft para. 5). The flyer was purchased by military, becoming a successful military airplane in August 2, 1908.
Between 1919 and 1926, amazing progress was recorded in airplane field when Captain F. White made a nonstop flight journey from Chicago to New York, a distance of 1170km. This development contributed to major turns in the postal delivery department, as mails were delivered or transported by airplanes after the creation of 14 domestic airmail companies in 1926 in US (Global Aircraft para. 6).
Before World War 1
Before World War I, the design in airplane had improved greatly. For instance, pusher biplanes were replaced by tractor biplanes (two-winged airplane, with engine and propeller in the front of the wings). This improved the aviation industry as airplanes could travel long distances.
During world war II
During this period, aircraft became a key instrument in warfare. It was used to transport weapons and in waging attacks to the enemies. This period also saw Pan American Airways emerge as the largest operation airline. It operated in 46 countries across the continents. Small aircraft production also increased and before the World War II, around 193,000 people were employed in the airline industry (Global Aircraft para. 10).
After world war II
Earlier years after World War II, aviation industry had developed high technology such as radar and aerodynamics. The period also experienced high demand in aircrafts as the number of people travelling by air increased drastically. For instance, by 1945, an approximate of 40,000 aircrafts were on demand (Gold et al. 96). Because of the technology, airlines were larger, able to travel faster and had featured and pressurized cabins, which incorporated sophisticated technologies.
Aviation industry has witnessed progressive development since the 5th century to the current 21st century. The industry has witnessed a progressive development that incorporates sophisticated technology.
Global Aircraft. History of Aviation. Web. 20.8. 2008. 24 Feb. 2012.
Gold, Sarah, Emily Chenoweth, Lynn Andriani, and Mark Rotella. Wings: A History a Aviation, from Kites to the Space Age (Book). 250.38 (2003): 95-95. Print.