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

Early Military and Public Interest




History of Airplane | Early Military and Public Interest

History of Airplane

French aviator and engineer Louis Blériot flew across the English Channel on July 25, 1909, in a single-wing airplane that he designed and built. Blériot’s flight demonstrated the potential use of airplanes during war. In 1911 a Blériot XI aircraft became the first aerial bomber by dropping grenades on Ottoman forces in Libya. During World War I (1914-1918), French and Allied forces built nearly 10,000 Blériot XI planes. (History of Airplane, Early Military and Public Interest)

The airplane, like many other milestone inventions throughout history, was not immediately recognized for its potential. During the very early 1900s, prior to World War I (1914-1918), the airplane was relegated mostly to the county-fair circuit, where daredevil pilots drew large crowds but few investors. One exception was the United States War Department, which had long been using balloons to observe the battlefield and expressed an interest in heavier-than-air craft as early as 1898. In 1908 the Wrights demonstrated their airplane to the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps at Fort Myer, Virginia. In September of that year, while circling the field at Fort Myer, Orville crashed while carrying an army observer, Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge. Selfridge died from his injuries and became the first fatality from the crash of a powered airplane. (History of Airplane, Early Military and Public Interest)

On July 25, 1909, French engineer Louis Blériot crossed the English channel in a Blériot XI, a monoplane of his own design. Blériot’s channel crossing made clear to the world the airplane’s wartime potential, and this potential was further demonstrated in 1910 and 1911, when American pilot Eugene Ely took off from and landed on warships. In 1911 the U.S. Army used a Wright brothers’ biplane to make the first live bomb test from an airplane. That same year, the airplane was used in its first wartime operation when an Italian captain flew over and observed Turkish positions during the Italo-Turkish War of 1911 to 1912. Also in 1911, American inventor and aviator Glenn Curtiss introduced the first practical seaplane. This was a biplane with a large float beneath the center of the lower wing and two smaller floats beneath the tips of the lower wing. (History of Airplane, Early Military and Public Interest)

The year 1913 became known as the “glorious year of flying.” Aerobatics, or acrobatic flying, was introduced, and upside-down flying, loops, and other stunts proved the maneuverability of airplanes. Long-distance flights made in 1913 included a 4,000-km (2,500-mi) flight from France to Egypt, with many stops, and the first nonstop flight across the Mediterranean Sea, from France to Tunisia. In Britain, a modified Farnborough B.E. 2 proved itself to be the first naturally stable airplane in the world. The B.E. 2c version of this airplane was so successful that nearly 2,000 were subsequently built. (History of Airplane, Early Military and Public Interest)



History of Airplane | Early Military and Public Interest