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History Of Aviation Essay

4107 words - 16 pages

Since ancient times, people have dreamed of flying. In Greek myths, heroes made wings to fly. The ancient Chinese invented kites and some reportedly carried humans aloft. During the middle ages, many people tried to fly. Some strapped on wings of cloth or feathers and jumped off towers or cliffs, yet nothing worked and many died. Then in 1783, two French brothers, Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier, invented the hot air balloon. They filled a large cloth and paper bag with hot air from a fire. The hot air made the balloon lighter than the outside air and it rose over Paris, carrying the two noblemen. This was the first recorded human flight. In 1804, Englishman George Caley invented the first heavier-than-air craft, a model glider. Later piloted by Otto Lilienthal, Caley's gliders were the ancestors of the modern airplane.Throughout the 1800s there were many attempts at controlled flight; however, flight was not controlled until 1903. Conditions were perfect for the Wright brothers to fly on the morning of December 17, 1903. The wind was blowing around twenty five miles per hour and the temperature was close to freezing, 34˚F, which, when combined, created a low density altitude. This increased the effectiveness of the wings and the propellers. At 10:30 a.m. Orville Wright climbed into the pilot's position next to the roaring engine and released the restraining wire that held the airplane in place. Slowly gaining speed against the strong headwind, the airplane clattered down the rail and into the air, flying 120 feet and touching the sand 12 seconds after takeoff. The brothers and their helpers carried the machine back to the starting point, and at 11:20 a.m. Wilbur took his position on the plane and made a flight of 175 feet in 12 seconds. Twenty minutes later, Orville flew 200 feet in 15 seconds. Just at noon Wilbur took his second turn, traveling 852 feet through the air in 59 seconds. On a lonely North Carolina beach, before a handful of witnesses, two men had made sustained controlled flights aboard a heavier-than-air machine. Humans had flown.When the Wright brothers began doing serious aeronautical research in 1899, they agreed the three major problems of flight involved creating lift, propelling the aircraft, and maintaining control. The Wrights also understood that flight requires not only a working machine, but a skillful pilot who could fly and not simply hang on for the ride. Instead of relying solely on automatic stability, they designed an aircraft that could be controlled in three dimensions: roll, the movement around the longitudinal axis through the length of the aircraft; pitch, movement around the lateral axis through the wingspan; and yaw, the movement around the vertical axis. To control roll the Wright brothers designed a wing warping system for their gliders and airplanes. Moving the hip cradle located beside the pilot warped the trailing edge of one wing up and the other down, rolling the aircraft...

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