The airplane

We all know that inventors of the first airplane were Orville and Wilbur Wright. This happened on December 17, 1903, almost 110 years before when the Wright brothers made the first successful experiment in which an airplane that had a man in driver’s seat that went into the air using its own power and flew like a bird in the sky and came back safe on the ground. Moreover, all this happened smoothly without any problem even though onlookers did not at even believe whatever was going on there.

The story of an Airplane

Most of us see planes flying in the sky besides some of us have even traveled by airplanes to different destinations to save time as there is no alternative of flying by air or even if there is it is too tedious and time wasting. Yes previously it used be a journey by sea but that was time-consuming affair and used to take too much timer by such mode of transportation. The journey that we can cover now in hours was matter of months those days.

However, it was not an easy job to fly a plane successfully before they completed their first flight. Even other people who were toying with the idea also made number of attempts to make a machine that could fly like a bird. All that we see flying in the sky today like the kites, the hot air balloons and the gliders, the machines which, have no engines and other similar devices are the imaginations of man who wanted to fly.

The Wright Brothers were following a systematic plan to keep a record of their activities because they knew the completion was on. They were photographing their every test of the machines in order to claim the rights of their flying machine and they had even appointed a photographer to shoot their experiment when Orville Wright, one of the brothers took off for that successful flight. The craft reached to an altitude of 9-10 feet, traveled little over 100 to 120 feet, and landed 13 seconds after it took off. 

They attempted two more flights that day, one of them was a little longer and then decided to break the news to the world that they have succeeded in making an airplane. Orville and Wilbur Wright then informed their father, telling him to inform the world that they had succeeded making a flight with a pilot in it and the first airplane was in its real place- in the air to be precise.

They kept trying

Over the period the Wright Brothers worked to make their machines better in design and performance especially working to improve the stability of their aircraft and changing the control system of their machine because that was the most crucial part if they were to fly a machine for long distances. The propellers needed a change too and it was the same with engine. They kept working on their project until they succeeded on October 5, 1905, when one of the Wrights flew up to a distance of 25 miles in about one hour's time. But now they were more assured of achieving their original goal of producing a flying machine that could take people to places.

Others who tried during that period

There is no doubt whatsoever that Wright brothers are the pioneers in the history of world aviation for what that they achieved after years of their struggle and succeeded in development and flew the first airplane. But apart from the Wright brothers Samuel Pierpoint Langley and Octave Chanute, did as many experiments and research. Matter of fact, Langley had the status of one of the America's best aviation scientists and was a senior officer at the Smithsonian Institution who constantly worked on flying as early as in late nineties and in the early twentieth century. Samuel Langley tried to fly a pane in 1894 that was a steam powered machine that flew 800 meter in little less than 2 minutes. Later he made another plane, this time he appointed a pilot to do the job but the planes did not gain proper height and sank in a nearby lake.  

His work was not lesser important the fact he did not succeed in flying his aircraft is another matter however, he showed the world that his work toward achieving the technology was no lesser important as even Wright Brothers were influenced by his work. His law on flying an object in the air was that the faster a surface moved through the air, the lower were the power requirements that was necessary to maintain it at that speed, or in simple words- the higher the speed, the lower the drag.

-First airplane

My dreams shattered

Like many others, who were growing up in 60s in India I also dreamed of traveling by a plane and touch the stars. I followed the exploits of some of the greats and wanted to be a pilot in the future. The Sputnik was history then but I was thrilled and truly amazed when space crafts were launched, many went into the space and even walked on Moon.  However, unlike most boys even my dreams were shattered when I tried to join the Indian Navy after completion of my engineering, I was refused on medical grounds They said I was not able to perceive the colors necessary for the safe performance of duties by an airman effectively. There was no choice left but I achieved my goals later of serving the army but indirectly. Traveling by air is not a big deal for me as I have done it on hundreds of occasions but I always wanted to enjoy it sitting in a cockpit.

Developments and changing technology

It was around second decade of 20th century that a person named Calbriath Rodgers succeeded in making the first flight across the United States. Calbriath Rodgers flew from Sheepshead Bay in New York to Long Beach, California. It will be interesting to note that he crashed more than 70 times that was completed in 85 days of flying efforts he did. He had to replace almost every part on his plane to complete his journey that stayed in the air for almost 3 days and 10 hours in total to cover that journey.

Airplane journey is different today compared to what it used to be a few decades back. It has improved to a great extent from what it used to be in the Wright Brothers' time. Airplanes now traveling at great speed of and covering thousands of kilometers at a time. Most passenger planes travel at altitudes of 10 to 15 km and carry six passengers to six hundred plus passengers. Passenger’s safety stands better chances compared to surface travel and the comforts provided are matching to those with luxury hotels. Now planes with Jet engines have changed the world for traveling people and perhaps the Wright Brothers would be the ones who would have enjoyed traveling in one of today's planes.

Photo source- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_aircraft_carrier


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