How Airplanes Influenced The 20th Century!

1299 words - 5 pages

Airplanes in the Twentieth Century To the Wright Brothers alone belong the credit, and the honor, for giving the world theaero technology which changed the course of history as no other. They have given mankind agreat and vital commercial air transportation system, the aerospace industry, and air power fordefense. The dedication in adversity serves as an inspiration to all mankind. (These We Honor, 2). The invention of the airplane was inspired by a German pioneer Litienthal. Litienthalflew gliders and when Wilbur heard of this he was inspired to make the airplane (These WeHonor, 2). From owning a bicycle shop with his brother, he and his brother determined tomake the first man-flying machine. (These We Honor, 2). In 1896, the newspapers were filledwith accounts of flying machines. Wilbur and Orville noticed that all these primitive aircraft lackedsuitable controls. They began to wonder how a pilot might balance an aircraft in the air, just as acyclist balances his bicycle on the road. In 1899, Wilbur devised a simple system that twisted or"warped" the wings of a biplane, causing it to roll right or left. They tested this system in a kite,then a series of gliders. They made their first test flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on theshores of the Atlantic where the strong winds helped to launch the gliders and the soft sandshelped to cushion the fall when they crashed. Their first two gliders, flown in 1900 and 1901,failed to perform as the Wrights had hoped. The gliders did not provide enough lift nor were theyfully controllable. So during the winter of 1901-1902 Wilbur and Orville built a wind tunnel andconducted experiments to determine the best wing shape for an airplane. This enabled them tobuild a glider with sufficient lift, and concentrate on the problem of control. Toward the end ofthe 1902 flying season, their third glider became the first fully controllable aircraft, with roll, pitch,and yaw controls. During the winter of 1902-1903, with the help of their mechanic, Charlie Taylor,he Wrights designed and built a gasoline engine light enough and powerful enough to propel anairplane. They also designed the first true airplane propellers and built a new, powered aircraft.Back in Kitty Hawk, they suddenly found themselves in a race. Samuel P. Langley, Secretary ofthe Smithsonian Institution, had also built a powered aircraft, patterned after a small, unmanned"aerodrome" he had flown successfully in 1896. To add to their frustrations, the Wrights weredelayed by problems with their propeller shafts and the weather, giving Langley time to test hisaircraft twice in late 1903. Both attempts failed miserably, however, and Langley left the field tothe Wrights. On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made the first sustained,controlled flights in a powered aircraft. Back in Dayton, Ohio, the brothers found they had muchto do to perfect their invention. While the 1903 Wright Flyer did indeed fly, it was underpoweredand...

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