Aviation History



 The aviation remains one of the most striking innovations of the 20eme century.

Certain historic dates were important bends of the humanity or the science.

Major invention of the 20th century, the aviation is also a tremendous human adventure!

From Clément Ader to Charles Lindbergh, anecdotes, chronologies

Did you Know it? The creation of the word "plane" returns to Clément Ader, who uses this term from 1875, before putting down him in 1890. The origin of this word would be an initials: Flying device Imitating a Natural Bird. But he can also come from the Latin "opinion"("notice") which means bird. This appelation was on the base a proper noun which sevait to indicate its own devices. It is only in 1912 when it was officially decided to call also "planes" the military devices. The term "aeroplane" which indicated the civil devices, quickly went out of use to let place in his turn with " the Clément's plane " ader.


The history of the aviation profoundly marked the times which saw her coming true. In 5 centuries hardly, and with a considerable intensification of the technological and theoretical headways at the beginning of the 19th century, the man carried out an incredible revolution, which was going to upset its way of life and to see the world: he learnt to fly.

If the flight seems to be a common event-banal-today when it is estimated with hindsight by an observer of the 21th century, it is necessary to watch the good to place him in its historic context to understand completely the turnover which he established. So the only example of flying body was for a long time the bird, who has of this fact be the main object of study of the inventors trying to reproduce the flight.
These inventors, of very diverse conditions (scholars, men of faith, meddler) had in common their passion for the flight, their courage (accidens were many), their ingenuity.


A little of etymology...
We must have given the name of plane in the " devices of locomotion heavier than the air, provided with wings and with a propellent organ " (definition of Robert) to Clément Ader, who named his aeroplanes " Plane 1 ", " Plane 2 " from 1875. He invented this name by being inspired by the word aviation, already used by Gabriel de la Landelle, trained by two Latin roots: opinion and actio.

The plane is bound thus etymologically to the bird, whose Latin name it borrows. We attribute to Clément Ader the acronym of the word plane: Flying device Imitating the Natural Bird.



 - Léonard de Vinci (on 1452 - 1519): he delivers us the first study reasoned (not leaning on legends or faiths) about the human flight. He realizes more than 400 drawings, where he tries by mechanisms to reproduce the movement of bird's wings and to express the main principles of the aerology. He anticipates the helicopter, the parachute, the glider, the ornithoptères... Really precursors, his papers will make reference until 19th century.

 -  Clément Ader (on 1841 - 1925): he realizes the first one - and very controversial human flight aboard a motorized device heavier than the air("Aeolus", inspired by bats) on October 9th, 1890. This one takes place on a distance of 50 m in 20 cms on average of the ground. He makes the hypothesis that to fly away without the help of a gas (in the style of birds thus), the plane needs an upward power at least equal unlike the weight of the device and unlike the weight of the volume of uncalled-for air. According to him, this strength would be of mechanical origin. It is what he verifies with the "Aeolus", opening the way to generations of inventions.

 - The brothers Wright Wilbur (on 1867 - 1912) and Orville (on 1871 - 1948): they realize numerous decisive works for the history of the aviation. They experiment numerous gliders, which they perfect by studying by means of a wind tunnel the prospinning of wings (curvature of surfaces, interaction of the plans). Some attribute them the first flight of the history of the aviation, because there where Ader amounted to 20 cms on 50 m, the brother Wright crosses 260 m in 5 m of height on December 17th, 1903... They contribute to generalize the custom of the internal combustion engine, more successful than that steam.

 -  Louis Blériot (on 1872 - 1936): he is the first one to cross La Manche aboard a plane, on July 25th, 1909. Blériot 11 is a monoplane (a unique(only) pair of wings), overturned painting. Was crossed by 33,7 km last 37 minutes and is made in hundred meters in height on average. The exploit provokes a considerable craze and will become a symbol of the aviation.

Charles Lindbergh (on 1902 - 1974): he realizes the crossing without stopover of the Atlantic Ocean 20 years after the exploit of Blériot. He leaves on May 20th, 1927 aboard Spirit of saint Louis. The flight lasts 33:29h , on 6 300 km in a 188 kph average speed.

 Frank Whittle (on 1907 - 1996): we owe him the invention of the jet engine, which revolutionized the air transports. The propulsion by turbojet engine allows to free itself from the piston motor and from the helix. His functioning uses the push provoked by a jet of gas generated by a turbine. This type of engine allows the very high-speed flight and very high height, while keeping a good aerodynamic return.

Some symbolic planes :

The prototype named Avion III by Clément Ader is visible in its original version in the musé of Arts-et-Métiers.

Historic photo of the first flight(theft), made by the brothers Wright aboard their biplane

Blériot XI, of Louis Blériot, in Deutches Museum ( Munich).

Photo of Spirit of saint Louis.


 The Big Technological Innovations:

In order chronological, the innovations in connection with the aeronautics:

1906 Control stick
Rotary Driving 1907 
1908 Ailerons
1909 Blower
1910 air-to-ground radio Laison
1912 Autopilot
1915 Shooting(Firing) through the helix   
1915 completely metallic Plane
1916 Radio link air-air(air-sight)
1921 Jet engine
Radio 1923 navigation
1923 In-flight refuelling
1929 Landing gear returning operational
Ground Radar 1934
Airborne Radar 1936
1939 Jet plane
1939 Ramjet engine
1941 operational Ejector seat
On 1943 Missile air-surfaces
1944 Reactor with axial flow
1946 Turboprop
1947 Passage of the sound barrier
1949 Postcombustion
1950 hydraulic Servomechanisms
1954 Vertical Takeoff and Landing
1954 Mach 2
1955 inertial Navigation
1957 Turbojet engine
1958 Mach 3
1960 Integrated circuits
1965 Buckle with variable arrow
1974 artificial Stability
1978 Global Positionning System ( GPS)
1981 furtive Technologies
1984 High maneuverability
1990 intelligent Skin
1991 complete Conception

1994 Great cruise




Major aviation events:

In order chronological, the landmarks of the aeronautical history:

1853 first flight(theft) of an aeroplane transporting a man by Sir George Cayley.
On 1857 a motorized mockup builds by Félix du Temple, propelled by a movement of watchmaker's shop(watch-making) and by a vapor, leave the ground all on one's own.
On 1863 Gabriel de La Landelle invents the word aviation, of the Latin opinion(notice) ("bird"), and actio ("action"("share")).
1890 first uprising (9 oct.) to the world of a plane heavier than the air(sight) equipped with a steam engine, the Aeolus of Clément Ader, to Armainvilliers.
1903 first flight(theft) (in December 17th) of a power-driven plane, piloted by Orville Wright, in Kitty Hawk (North Carolina), on 284 m.
1907 first uprising of a device with rotary wing
First 1909 crossed by La Manche (25 juill.), from Calais to Dover (lasted flight(theft), 37 min), by Louis Blériot.

1910 first flight(theft) in more than 1 000 m of height (7 janv.) by the Frenchman Hubert Latham; first flight(theft) of a seaplane (in March 28th), on the pond of Berre, by Henri Fabre; first flight(theft) in more than 100 kph (9 seven.) by Léon Morane, in Reims.
1910 creation of the General Inspectorate of the military aeronautics
1910 first participation of planes in military manouvres in Picardy.
1911 first deck-landing
1911 first use of the military aviation for the observation and the bombardment during the conflict Italo-turc
First 1913 crossed by the Mediterranean Sea, by Roland Garros.
1914 first regular passengers service assured(insured) by air the United States
1914 first air combat
1914 key role of the aviation recognized by the authorities in the victory of the battle of the Marne
1916 first air battle of the history(story) (battle of Verdun)
1916 first installation of the radio aboard planes.
On 1918 creation of Royal Air(Sight) Forces (RAF)
First 1919 regular air connections Latécoère towards Africa
1923 first in-flight refuelling of a plane (in June 26th).
1924 first world tour by plane in 3 and a half months
1926 realization of the autopilot and the instruments of blind piloting.
First 1927 crossed by the North Atlantic without stopover (in May 20-21st), from New York to Paris, by Charles Lindbergh aboard Spirit of saint Louis.
1928 creation of the Ministry of the Air(Sight)
1930 first connection Paris-New York without stopover (1er-2 seven.) by Dieudonné Costes and Maurice Bellonte aboard Breguet Point-d'Interrogation.
1933 creation of the Air Force
1935 first solitary crossing of the Pacific by Amélia Earhart
1935 creation of Luftwaffe
1937 German bombardment on Guernica
1940 fights of England
1940 first flight(theft) (in April 30th.) of a plane propelled by a turbojet engine, Caproni-Campini.
1941 attacks(affects) by the Japanese aviation of Pearl Harbor's base (Hawaii)
1944 air battle of Marianne (Pacific)

1944 first combat aircraft with reaction operational (Messerchmit Me 262)
1945 atomic bombardment by the American flying fortress Enola Gay
On 1947 creation of the US Air(Sight) Forces
1947 first flight(theft) with supersonic speed (14 oct.), made by the Bell X-1, propelled by an engine-rocket, piloted by the American Charles Yeager.
1949 first flight(theft) (27 juill.) of the De Havilland 106 Comet, first transport aircraft propelled by turbojet engine.
1950 first air combat of jet planes during the Korean War (P-80 against MiG-15)
1952 first air connection on a jet plane (Of Havilland Comet)
1953 first helicopter with turbine operational ( Sikorski S-52)
1960 first flight(theft) of a prototype aircraft with Vertical Takeoff and Landing ( ADAV)
1969 first flight(theft) (9 to févr.) of the transport aircraft B 747, of the American firm Boeing, the first long-haul aircraft with big capacity; first flight(theft) (in March 2nd) of the French-British supersonic transport aircraft Concorde.

1974 starting (in May 23rd) of the big-carrier medium-haul European, first Airbus A300.
1986 first world tour by plane without stopover
1988 starting of the European Airbus A320, the first civil transport aircraft having completely automatic commands(orders) of flight(theft).
1995 delivery (in May 15th) of the first one B 777 (Boeing), twin-engined transport aircraft to big capacity ( more than 300 passengers).
2001 Launch of the project of the Airbus A380, the transport aircraft with very big capacity (more than 800 passengers in charter version).

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