Aviation - INTRODUCTION
EARLY HISTORY
THE 19TH CENTURY
KITTY HAWK AND AFTER
HISTORIC HEADLINES
WORLD WAR I AND AFTER
WORLD WAR II
AFTER WORLD WAR II
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
Airplane
HOW AN AIRPLANE FLIES
SUPERSONIC FLIGHT
AIRPLANE STRUCTURE
Wings
Tail Assembly
Landing Gear
Control Components
Instruments
PROPULSION
TYPES OF AIRPLANES
Land Planes
Carrier-Based Aircraft
Seaplanes
Amphibians
Vertical Takeoff and Landing Airplanes
Short Takeoff and Landing Airplanes
Space Shuttle
CLASSES OF AIRPLANES
Commercial Airplanes
Military Airplanes
General-Aviation Aircraft
HISTORY
The First Airplane Flight
Early Military and Public Interest
Planes of World War I
Development of Commercial Aviation
Aircraft Developments of World War II
The Jumbo Jet Era

THE 19TH CENTURY




Air Travel | Early Aviation Construction Methods | Aerial Steam Carriage | Early Pilots | Aerodynamics | Aeronautical Annuals

THE 19TH CENTURY Air Travel
German engineer Otto Lilienthal prepares for takeoff. Lilienthal experimented with aeronautics during the latter half of the 19th century. He modeled the curved wings of his gliders after the wings of a bird. After more than 2,000 successful flights, Lilienthal was killed in a crash in 1896.

Henson and Stringfellow's "Aerial Steam Carriage" One of the biggest difficulties faced by early would-be pilots was finding an engine that was both powerful and light. Many models, such as the Henson and Stringfellow’s “Aerial Steam Carriage” (shown here) might have flown as early as 1845 with adequate engines. Unfortunately, the only engines available were steam engines, which were too weak or too heavy for successful flight. It was not until the arrival of the compact, relatively lightweight gas engine that planes were able to get off the ground. (THE 19TH CENTURY, Air Travel, Early Aviation Construction Methods, Aerial Steam Carriage, Early Pilots, Aerodynamics, Aeronautical Annuals)

The practical development of aviation took various paths during the 19th century. The British aeronautical engineer and inventor Sir George Cayley was a farsighted theorist who proved his ideas with experiments involving kites and controlled and human-carrying gliders. He designed a combined helicopter and horizontally propelled aircraft and deserves to be called the father of aviation. The British scientist Francis Herbert Wenham used a wind tunnel in his studies and foresaw the use of multiple wings placed one above the other. He was also a founding member of the Royal Aeronautical Society of Great Britain. Makers and fliers of models included the British inventors John Stringfellow and William Samuel Henson, who collaborated in the early 1840s to produce the model of an airliner. Stringfellow's improved 1848 model, powered with a steam engine and launched from a wire, demonstrated lift but failed to climb. The French inventor Alphonse Penaud produced a hand-launched model powered with rubber bands that flew about 35 m (about 115 ft) in 1871. Another French inventor, Victor Tatin, powered his model plane with compressed air. Tethered to a central pole, it was pulled by two traction propellers; rising with its four-wheeled chassis, it made short, low-altitude flights. (THE 19TH CENTURY, Air Travel, Early Aviation Construction Methods, Aerial Steam Carriage, Early Pilots, Aerodynamics, Aeronautical Annuals)

The British-born Australian inventor Lawrence Hargrave produced a rigid-winged model, propelled by flapping blades that were operated by a compressed-air motor. It flew 95 m (312 ft) in 1891. The American astronomer Samuel Pierpont Langley produced (1896) steam-powered, tandem-monoplane models with wingspans of 4.6 m (15 ft). They repeatedly flew 900 to 1,200 m (3,000 to 4,000 ft) for about 1.5 min, climbing in large circles. Then, with power exhausted, they descended slowly to alight on the waters of the Potomac River.

Numerous efforts to imitate the flight of birds were also made with experiments involving muscle-powered paddles or flappers, but none proved successful. These included the early attempts of the Austrian Jacob Degen, who carried out various experiments from 1806 to 1813; the Belgian Vincent DeGroof, who crashed to his death in 1874, and the American R. J. Spaulding who actually received a patent for his idea of muscle- powered flight in 1889. (THE 19TH CENTURY, Air Travel, Early Aviation Construction Methods, Aerial Steam Carriage, Early Pilots, Aerodynamics, Aeronautical Annuals)
Aerial Steam Carriage - Air Travel
One of the biggest difficulties faced by early would-be pilots was finding an engine that was both powerful and light. Many models, such as the Henson and Stringfellow’s “Aerial Steam Carriage” (shown here) might have flown as early as 1845 with adequate engines. Unfortunately, the only engines available were steam engines, which were too weak or too heavy for successful flight. It was not until the arrival of the compact, relatively lightweight gas engine that planes were able to get off the ground. (THE 19TH CENTURY, Air Travel, Early Aviation Construction Methods, Aerial Steam Carriage, Early Pilots, Aerodynamics, Aeronautical Annuals)

More successful were the attempts of aeronauts who advanced the art through their study of gliding and contributed extensively to the design of wings. They included the Frenchman Jean Marie Le Bris, who tested a glider with movable wings, the American John Joseph Montgomery, and the renowned Otto Lilienthal, of Germany. Lilienthal's experiments with aircraft, including kites and ornithopters, attained greatest success with his glider flights in 1894-96. In 1896, however, he met his death when his glider went out of control and crashed. Percy S. Pilcher, of Scotland, who had attained remarkable success with his gliders, had a fatal fall in 1899. The American engineer Octave Chanute had a limited success with multiplane gliders, in 1896-1902. Chanute's most notable contribution to flight was his compilation of developments, Progress in Flying Machines (1894).
Early Aviation - Air Travel

An early aviation enthusiast tests a biplane glider. Gliders gave early engineers such as the Wright brothers valuable information on aerodynamics and construction methods that would later make controlled, powered flight a reality. (THE 19TH CENTURY, Air Travel, Early Aviation Construction Methods, Aerial Steam Carriage, Early Pilots, Aerodynamics, Aeronautical Annuals)

Additional information on aerodynamics and on flight stability was gained by a number of experiments with kites. The American inventor James Means published his results in the Aeronautical Annuals of 1895, 1896, and 1897. Lawrence Hargrave invented the box kite in 1893 and Alexander Graham Bell developed huge human-carrying tetrahedral-celled kites between 1895 and 1910. (THE 19TH CENTURY, Air Travel, Early Aviation Construction Methods, Aerial Steam Carriage, Early Pilots, Aerodynamics, Aeronautical Annuals)

Powered experiments with full-scale models were conducted by various investigators between 1890 and 1901. Most important were the attempts of Langley, who tested and flew an unmanned quarter-sized model in 1901 and 1903 before testing a full-scale model of his machine, which he called the aerodrome. This model was the first gasoline-engine-powered heavier-than-air craft to fly. His full-scale machine was completed in 1903 and tested twice, but each launching ended in a mishap. The German aviator Karl Jatho also tested a full-scale powered craft in 1903 but without success. (THE 19TH CENTURY, Air Travel, Early Aviation Construction Methods, Aerial Steam Carriage, Early Pilots, Aerodynamics, Aeronautical Annuals)

Advances through the 19th century laid the foundation for the eventual successful flight by the Wright brothers in 1903, but the major developments were the result of the efforts of Chanute, Lilienthal, and Langley after 1885. A sound basis in experimental aerodynamics had been established, although the stability and control required for sustained flight had not been acquired. More important, successful powered flight needed the light gasoline engine to replace the heavy steam engine. (THE 19TH CENTURY, Air Travel, Early Aviation Construction Methods, Aerial Steam Carriage, Early Pilots, Aerodynamics, Aeronautical Annuals)



THE 19TH CENTURY | Air Travel | Early Aviation Construction Methods | Aerial Steam Carriage | Early Pilots | Aerodynamics | Aeronautical Annuals