History of Aviation


It is generally recognized that Wilbur and Orville Wright were the first to perform manned powered flight in 1903. Nevertheless, they were not at all the first to attempt flight. It is an exceptional trait of early aviation history — in contrast to other technical disciplines — that many, during an extended period of time, tried in vain to conquer the skies. Eventually success was achieved in developing the correct basis and methods enabling the construction of wings capable of sufficient lift and engines capable to provide enough propulsive thrust. Man has been able to navigate through the air in balloons since 1783, though only succeeded with powered flight from 1903; manned space flight has been carried out with the use of rockets since 1961. The origin of these three principles of flight have, however, been public knowledge since the middle ages.

The following overview will start with a brief history of the work performed by pioneers of aviation in the 19th century. Although most of them did not achieve flight, they have contributed to the knowledge and techniques required for manned flight. Thereafter will follow a brief overview of the development of aviation in the 20th century. The emphasis of this chapter is less on events and dates and much more on the factors that have played a roll in the development of the way many pioneers tackled the problems and how they were influenced by others. This overview will also contain certain achievements of Dutch aviation development. Main points of focus will be on the development of aircraft rather than essential components of modern aviation such as airports, navigational and landing aids and air traffic control.


Main Rotor Piston Engine Commercial Aircraft Ramjet Engine Commercial Aviation 
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