History of Aviation

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Most little boys dream of being plane pilots when they grow up. However, their childhood dreams fade away as they grow up and they end up getting mediocre jobs and the only sunsets they see are below the clouds. For those of you who still dream about one day flying a plane, we have prepared a short history of aviation. This short history will help you get a clearer idea on how fast this field is developing and how it could look like in the future.

Theoretically, the history of aviation starts with the first man made flying objects, which were the kites. It is very hard to pinpoint the exact moment of the first kite release but it is believed to be around 200 BC. At that time, kites were used in tactical missions and were not a child’s toy. A general used a kite in order to calculate the length of a tunnel in an enemy territory. However, each region has its own legends regarding the early stages of aviation. For example, there are some historic archives which say that the first man made flying device was built by Archytas, a Greek philosopher, somewhere around 400 BC. Still, none of this information is actually relevant to the evolution of aviation since these events were not linked to one another. For example, Leonardo da Vinci made some drawings featuring designs of flying objects. However, none of his theories were finalized as he did not succeed in creating a flying device.

During the 17th, 18th and 19th century, there were numerous experiments and attempts to create an efficient hot air balloon. Scientists from around the world used knowledge gathered through hundreds of years in order to establish the foundations of modern aerodynamics. Eventually, the balloons were successful and they were even used for observation during the American Civil War. Since then, there have been numerous successful flying attempts featuring lighter than air technologies.

Modern aviation is mostly based on heavier than air technologies. In 1716, Emanuel Swedenborg published the first paper of modern aviation which featured a sketch of a flying machine. The next important moment in the history of aviation was in 1799, when Sir George Cayley made a glider which had a separate tail for control. He successfully managed to fly the glider in 1804.

Aviation had a different evolution around the globe and it is hard to determine which were the most crucial moments in the history of aviation. However, we can all agree on the fact that although the foundation of aviation took almost two thousands of years, the last hundred of years was the most relevant one as most of today’s technologies were developed in this period.