History of flight, development of heavier air flying machines. Great events along the long way to the invention of the first airplane include the understanding of the idea of the dynamic reaction of lifting surfaces.
Building absolutely reliable engines that produced such power to propel an airframe, and solving the big problem of flight control in three dimensions.
Once the Wright brothers demonstrated that the basic technical problems had been overcome at the start of the 20th century, military and civil aviation developed quickly.
THE INVENTION OF THE FIRST AIRPLANE
September 18, 1901, Wilbur Wright, a 33-year-old businessman from Dayton, Ohio, addressed a distinguished group of Chicago engineers on the subject of “Some Aeronautical Experiments” that he had conducted with his brother Orville Wright for two years.
“The difficulties which obstruct the pathway to success in flying machine construction,” he noted, “are of three general classes.”
CONSTRUCTION OF THE SUSTAINING WINGS “THE PROBLEM OF LIFT”
The dream of human flight must have begun with an observation of birds flying through the sky. For millennia, however, progress was retarded by attempts to design aircraft that emulated the beating of a bird’s wings.
At the outset of their own aeronautical experiments, the Wright brothers studied the work of their predecessors and decided that there was not much need for them to focus on wing design. “Men already know how to construct wings”.
Wilbur said in 1901, “which when driven through the air at sufficient speed will not only sustain themselves, but also that of the engine.., and of the engineer as well.”
THE GENERATION AND APPLICATION OF POWER “THE PROBLEM OF PROPULSION”
At the beginning of the 19th century, sustained powered heavier air flight remained impossible because of the lack of suitable power plants. The level of technology that would permit limited powered flight would be a century in the future.
While electricity-powered several airships during the last quarter of the century. The poor power-weight ratio of such systems made it difficult to imagine an electrically propelled airplane.
BALANCING AND STEERING THE AIRCRAFT IS “THE PROBLEM OF THE CONTROL”
Having decided that the design of wings and the development of a power plant were fairly well in hand, the Wright brothers focused on the element of control. Other experimenters had given some thought to the subject.
Cayley was the first one who uses an elevator for control in pitch (directing the nose up and down). Throughout the second half of the 19th century, airships had used rudders for yaw control (directing the nose to the right and left).
RECOGNIZING THE DANGERS
Recognizing the dangers inherent in attempting to rely on control of the center of gravity. The Wright brothers devised a system to control the movement of the center of pressure on the wing.
They achieved this by enabling the pilot to induce a twist across the upper and lower wings in either direction, thus increasing the lift on one side and decreasing it on the other.
This special technique, which they called “wing warping,” solved the problem of the roll. Meanwhile, an elevator (It is a horizontal surface placed at the front of the aircraft) provided the means of pitch control.
In 1905 Wright brothers disconnected the rudder from the wing-warping system. Enabling the pilot to exercise independent control in yaw for the first time. The Wright flyer of 1905 is therefore considered to be the first fully controllable, practical airplane.
WORLD WAR I
Following World War I, a number of adventurous pilots began using airplanes for “utility aviation” commercial photography, surveying, law enforcement, agricultural purposes such as seeding and crop dusting, and other activities.
In the United States, big numbers of war-surplus engines and training aircraft, as well as bigger planes such as the DH-4, offered a cheap and easy way to enter the flying business.
Although barnstormers and acrobatic fliers all too often tarnished the image of aviation by performing foolhardy stunts in worn-out military castoffs, the phenomenon of utility aviation attracted increasing numbers of users.
The supply of war aircraft and engines had stopped In 1920, new companies began to offer improved engines and planes, including aircraft with enclosed cabins that could seat two to five people, bringing an end to open cockpits, helmets, goggles, and considerable engine noise.
WORLD WAR II
The jet engine was unusual in that it was independently brought to fruition at about the same time in two countries that would soon again be at war. In Great Britain, a Royal Air Force officer, Frank Whittle, invented the gas-turbine engine that would power the first British jet, the Gloster E.28/39, which made its first flight on May 15, 1941.
In Deutschland, Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain worked on the problem of gas-turbine engines without any knowledge of Whittle’s efforts. Von Ohain found backing from the industrialist Ernst Heinkel, who sought to have an engine-manufacturing capability to complement his aircraft company.
Work proceeded swiftly, and on Aug. 27, 1939, von Ohain’s HeS.3B engine enabled Erich Warsitz to make the world’s first successful turbojet-powered flight in history in the Heinkel He 178.
THE JET ENTERS THE WORLD
Whittle, Von Ohain, and the others faced great resistance to their ideas. Because Some people believed that the jet engine would produce too little power and consume too much fuel to be economically practical.
It was not known that at the higher altitudes the jet would produce more power with acceptable fuel efficiency. Even most engine experts weren’t able to reach the highly rapid pace at which jet-engine performance would be improved.
It happened that the jet engine entered the propulsion scene at a time. When conventional reciprocating engines and propellers were reaching their physical limits. Propellers were already encountering supersonic tip speeds that destroyed their efficiency.
And engines had grown so complex that additional horsepower in the 3,000–4,000 range depended on a large number of cylinders and complex supercharging that generated problems in operation and maintenance.
With their continuous rotary motion, jet engines were mechanically simpler and smoother than reciprocating pistons with their rough pounding. Jet engines developed very fast and by 1950 had reached levels of power that were impossible with piston engines.
Reciprocating engines for aircraft had reached a practical limit with the 3,500-horsepower, 28-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-4360 engine, while some modern jet engines, such as the General Electric GE90-115, can produce as much as 115,000 pounds of thrust.
The R-4360 engines powered the last generation of piston-powered bombers—namely, the Boeing B-50. It was in frontline service for only a few years as a bomber before being relegated to a (jet-assisted) tanker role.
The Boeing 777, which uses the GE90-115 engine, flew for the first time in 2003 and will likely remain in service for two or more decades. Thrust and horsepower are difficult to equate, but one pound of thrust is equivalent to one horsepower at 375 miles (600 km) per hour.
That is the last step in this technology but the future has a lot to show us in the field of aviation.