Aviation Aviation is a field of study for science, math, and engineering, a career path, and a source of obsession for many people. It shapes the world people live in today, often without them even knowing, or rather thinking about it. Winston Churchill once said “Air power may either end war, or end civilization” (“Air Power”). This quote represents aeronautics’ importance in the aspect of military endeavor, which is a major part of the world. Aviation is a fascinating subject encompassing a long intricate history, a complex modernization, and many applications.
Aviation ncludes a long intricate history of trial and error, and success and failure. Leonardo da Vinci, the great Italian artist, experimented with aircraft so far back as the 1 5th century. He used his engineering skills, along with his curious mind, to create 160 pages full of sketches of different “flying machines”. He only ended up actually building one, but his designs were very advanced for their time. (Murtaugh, “Leonardo da Vinci: The Engineer”). An Englishman named Sir George Cayley was the first pioneer to enter the area of heavier-than-air flight in the 19th century (Century f Flight).
While a teenager, he built small model gliders, which are not powered by an engine, and studied the flight of birds, much like Leonardo da Vinci. In 1804 he invented a whirling arm device, much like a modern wind-tunnel, which could test the effects of various types of wings. A single sentence in one of his published journals laid the entire foundation for all modern aviators, “The whole problem is confined within these limits, namely to make a surface support a given weight by the application of power to the resistance of air. (Murtaugh, “Leonardo da Vinci: The Engineer”). During his lifetime, he identified the forces of lift, drag, and thrust as they apply to aviation. He also, contradictory to popular belief, built the first successful, full-sized, manned glider. Otto Lilienthal has also been called the “father of modern aviation” (“Wings- The Beginning”). This German engineer was the first practical aviator. He brought the theory and practice of flight by building and riding his gliders into flight and controlling them.
He was killed in a flying accident, but he set the stage for controlled flight (‘Wings- The Beginning”). The Wright brothers are ften considered the first to successfully fly, which from what has been stated, is not entirely true. The Wright brothers were helped by two major factors. First, they were able to use all of the information of past experiments, and second, the lived in a time when the first practical power plant had been developed. The Wrights were the first to successfully fly the powered heavier-than-air glider though the air (“Wings- The Beginning”).
The Wrights were also the first to incorporate the vertical rudder. The power plant they used was a four-cylindrical, water cooled gasoline engine, which roduced 12 horsepower (“Wings- The Beginning”). Orville Wright took the controls and flew 120 feet from the start and settled gently back into the sand on December 17, 1903. Mankind’s century-old dream of flight had become a reality (“Wings-The Beginning,” par. 9-20). Aircraft were first introduced for military uses in World War l.
They were used for reconnaissance as scout platforms by flying over the enemy and scouting with binoculars and special range finders (“A Brief History of Air Warfare”). They were used by the German as attack craft. The German Luftwaffe mounted achine guns to the noses and sometimes even bombs. The basic concepts of war have had to adapt to the new aircraft technology (“A Brief History of Air Warfare”). Aviation is a major part of history and is still invaluable today (“Wings- The Beginning”). Planes have travelled a long way from a piece of wood covered in canvas.
Aviation has gone through a long and comprehensive modernization that changed planes into what they are today (“A Brief History of Air Warfare”). Planes first began as an idea during Leonardo da Vinci’s lifetime and even earlier in ancient history (“A Brief History of Air Warfare”). The ALLSTAR network explains “for an airplane to fly, it must always engage in a tug of war between the opposing forces of lift versus weight and thrust versus drag” (2004). The force or weight due to gravity pulls down on the plane as it opposes the lift created by the air flowing over the wing.
During landing, the thrust must be less than drag, and lift must be less than weight (“Wings- The Modern weaponry began with the First World War and the real birth of military air power and weapons (“A Brief History of Air Warfare”). At the start of this war, aircraft ere primitive and had really only been in existence for a decade. Aircraft had mostly been used solely for recon and static balloons. The War developed the ideas into new weapon advances throughout the war. Air balloons, the most famous of these- the Zeppelin, created special raids (“A Brief History of Air Warfare”).
At first, early aircraft were unarmed, eventually becoming defended by crewmen with pistols or rifles and even hand-thrown darts or small hand-thrown bombs (“A Brief History of Air Warfare”). In “A Brief History of Air Warfare” we also learn “the development of maller lighter machine guns offered the perfect weapon for aircraft but it wasn’t until the development of a method to synchronize firing with the propeller to allow forward firing guns that the first true fghter aircraft was born” (Dugdale-pointon).
So began the age of the ace fghter, heroes that were larger than life characters and who captured the love of the public with their legendary tales. From this point forward, air-based weaponry advanced alarmingly fast (Dugdale-pointon). Beginning with light materials such as canvas, wood, and silk, the forefathers of air rafting could never imagine an airplane such as the Antonov An-70, weighing more than 1,400,000 pounds (“New World for Fighter Aircraft).
According to Century of Flight, “for many years, aircraft designers could propose theoretical designs that they could not build because the materials needed to construct them did not exist” (“Composites and Advanced Materials in Aircraft”). They are made of composites of different materials including fiberglass, carbon, glass, polyimide, epoxy, boron fiber, resin, and graphite (“Composites and Advanced Materials in Aircraft”). The uses of aircraft are numerous and highly important. Uses involving public transport include moving people around the world quickly and with less problems than ever before in history.
Military endeavors include transfer of supplies, services, and personnel across the world (“A Brief History of Air Warfare”). The applications for modern military aircraft use include bombers, fghters, attackers, intelligence monitoring, and cargo support (“A Brief History of Air Warfare”). Modern aircraft also provides business, pleasure, and recreational travel. The ALLSTAR network explains person’s “visions will be instrumental in helping mankind colonize other worlds in our universe” (“Wings- The Beginning”).
Aviation has developed into a valuable and indispensable part of American life, as well as other countries around the world. Orville Wright stated “l feel about the airplane much as I do in regard to fire. That is, I regret all the terrible damage caused by the fire, but I think it is good for the human race that someone discovered how to start fires, and that it is possible to put fire to thousands of important uses” (“Air Power”). References ALLSTAR network. ‘Wings- The aegtnntng. ALLSTAR Network. 12 March 2004. web. 24 Feb. 2013.
Century of Flight. “The History of Flight. ” Century of Flight. n. d. Web. 19 Feb. 2013. Churchill, Winston, and Wright, Orville. “Air Power. ” SKYGOD. n. d. Web. 24 February 2013. Dugdale-pointon, T. “A Brief History of Air Warfare. ” Historyofwar. org. 30 March 2007. Web. 25 February 2013. Murtaugh, Leallyn. “Leonardo da Vinci: The Engineer. ” Illumin. 4 November 2005. Web. 20 February 2013. Wang, Hung Chien. “New World for Fighter Aircraft. ” Aviation Week & Space Technology 171. 14 (2009):54. MAS Ultra-school Edition. web. 13 Feb. 2013.