Aeroplane / Airplane

Invented by : Wright Brothers
Invented in year : 1903

Orville Wright (1871-1948) and Wilbur Wright (1867-1912) are known Worldwide for the invention of Aeroplane. Though various types of Flying Machines had been designed and tested before them but their invention was the one which was the first successful controlled, powered and which sustained heavier-than-air human flight. Their invention also marked a revolution in the aeronautical industry. It was on December 17, 1903, that the Wright brothers (Orville Wright is credited with the first flight) tested their aircraft which soared to an altitude of 10 feet, travelled 120 feet and landed safely.

In the year 1896, Smithsonian Institution Secretary, Samuel Langley successfully flew an unmanned steam-powered model aircraft and Chicago engineer and aviation authority Octave Chanute brought together several men who tested various types of gliders over the sand dunes along the shore of Lake Michigan. These events created an enormous interest amongst the brothers to pursue their passion. In May 1899 Wilbur wrote a letter to the Smithsonian Institution requesting information and publications about aeronautics. Drawing on the work of Sir George Cayley, Chanute, Lilienthal, Leonardo da Vinci, and Langley, they began their mechanical aeronautical experimentation that year.

The Wrights also learned a lot from their observation of birds in flight. They learned that birds change the shape of their wings to turn and manoeuvre. They believed that they could use this technique to obtain roll control by warping, or changing the shape, of a portion of the wing. First, for a few months, the Wrights built and flew several kites, testing and perfecting their new ideas about a flight control system. In 1900, they used this system on a man-carrying glider for the first time. Before they risked their own necks, they flew the glider as a kite, controlling it from the ground. They flew three biplane (has two wings, one above the other) gliders from the sand-hills near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and by 1902 had developed a fully practical biplane glider.

Their great innovation was that their glider could be balanced and controlled in every direction, by combining the actions of warping (twisting) the wings and turning the rudder for lateral control, and by using a device called an elevator for up and down movements without any need for the pilot to swing his torso and legs in order to control the flight direction. All flight control today has developed from this 1902 Wright glider. After mastering gliding they developed a biplane with a 12 horsepower engine and two propellers and made the world's first true powered, sustained and controlled flight on 17th December, 1903. But it was only in 1905 that they had the world's first practical plane, which could be banked, turned, circled and flown easily for an half an hour at a time.

Development in the invention of Aeroplane

In 1909, the U.S. Government bought its first Aeroplane, a Wright Brothers biplane, on July 30. The Aeroplane sold for $25,000 plus a bonus of $5,000 because it exceeded 40 mph. In 1911, the Wrights' Vin Fiz was the first Aeroplane to cross the United States. The flight took 84 days, stopping 70 times. It crash-landed so many times that little of its original building materials were still on the plane when it arrived in California.

In 1912, a Wright Brothers plane, the first Aeroplane armed with a machine gun was flown at an airport in College Park, Maryland. The airport had existed since 1909 when the Wright Brothers took their government-purchased Aeroplane there to teach Army officers to fly.

On July 18, 1914, an Aviation Section of the Signal Corps (part of the Army) was established. Its flying unit contained Aeroplanes made by the Wright Brothers.

Role of Aeroplane in the Improvement Of Human Life

  • The U.S. government developed the idea of Air-Mail as a result of the invention. The idea of using Aeroplanes to transport mail quickly caught on. Instead of receiving long-distance mail in a few weeks, one could receive it in only a few days.
  • The success of Air-Mail catapulted other industries into using the Aeroplane as air freighting was much faster than land based transportation.
  • With air transport becoming common it was not long before the idea of Aeroplanes carrying people quickly took hold. A few Aeroplane companies began to offer flying people from one place to another.
  • Aeroplanes also strengthened the armed forces and gave an extra edge over the countries which were not advanced in aeronautics.
  • It also became a source of entertainment as people began to do Aeroplane stunts.
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