It is difficult to imagine not being able to catch a flight to travel around the world these days, but this technology has not been around for that long. The first ever controlled heavier-than-air controlled flight occurred within Connecticut by Gustave Whitehead in 1901. This predated the Famous Wright Brothers flight by a whole two years. Whitehead’s engine powered plane with glider-like wings flew over 800 meters at an altitude of fifteen metres. Here in this article we look at the early history of the aeroplane and look at how important air transportation is today.
Since then, replicas of Whitehead’s plane have been flown successfully, his flight becoming the first real milestone in heavier-than-air powered flight in the 19th century. The highly publicised flights of the Wright Brothers however are far more well-known, with the flights they organised in Carolina in December 1903. These were regarded by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) as the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air power flight. The flight by Whitehead was not well known until the Wright Brothers fame was already world-wide.
Air transportation and heavier-than-air aviation was very popular in the first decade of the 20th century with many different inventors making claims of short flights. Many of these were verified and others were not. Lyman Gilmore claimed to have flown a plane successfully in 1902 but there were no witnesses to back this up. A farmer in New Zealand claimed to have created a monoplane that flew in March 1903. The Wright Brothers continued to conduct flights in Ohio during the years 1904 and 1905, inviting their family and friends to witness. Due to a failed attempt that occurred in 1904, members of the media did not attend and witness the later flights.
The history of the powered flight and air transportation created a major boost within the First World War (1914-1918), when manned planes were used by allies and central powers. Planes were used for the air transportation of aid and directly created air assaults. In the beginning people found it bizarre to use the plane as a weapon, but it soon became adopted.
Today air transportation is very important for many different reasons, but is still prominent in warfare and has changed war and travel across the world. Engineering specialists today are required to offer many services to aviation, in particular security. Much planning and work is needed for the building of airports, plane terminals and environmental impacts air transportation has created.