The history of aviation conjures up images of men running over cliffs flapping gigantic wings and dramatically crashing, but these brave men are just a part of the great story of how we learned to fly.
When we think of the first man who attempted to fly we may think of greek mathology and Icrus, the legend goes that he wore wings made by his father of wax and feathers, and flew. Although his father had warned him not to fly to close to the sun or the sea, Icrus was delighted by flying and soared to high, the sun melted the wax and he fell to his death. Many men felt continued on with the concept of two wings covered in feathers, feeling it was the key to one person flight, but never found success.
On December 17, 1903 Orville Wright took the first flight on a powered and controlled aircraft. The flight lasted only 12 seconds but history had been made.The Wright brothers are credited with inventing the first airplane. This technology would eventually change the world, making adventure and travel accessible to almost anyone and the world a much smaller places.
In 1877 the first unmanned helicopter was created, it took thirty years before the first manned helicopter took flight. The first seaplane was invented in 1910. Other modes of flight such as hot air balloons and gliders have an incredibly long history.
Zeppelins were a popular means of transport before the advancement of planes, the most impressive was the Graf Zeppelin. The Graf Zeppelin flew over a million miles, with flights to South America, Europe, Middle East and the United States. Although the Graf Zeppelin had a perfect safety record, the Hindenburg disaster, made the public feel uneasy, and Zeppelin’s soon became a thing of the past.
The first man to cross the Atlantic Ocean was Charles Lindbergh, and the first man to cross the Pacific was Charles Kingsford Smith. These flights were an inspiration to the an adventure loving public.
Aviation took giant leaps forward during World War, after the war private and commercial flights became more accessible, with thousands of experienced pilots and surplus transport were available. The cold war spurred aviation further as technology advanced during the space race.
Today when we think of flying we may think of long airport lines, how to properly pack carry on luggage, and taking off shoes before security. But aviation has a long and amazing history filled with brave men and women who dared to fly.