History of Aircraft Development

On December 17, 1903 Wilbur Wright watched in amazement as his brother Orville Wright took off and landed the world's first powered airplane flight. The flight lasted twelve seconds and traveled a distance of one hundred and twenty feet, which is less than the length of many of today's commercial airliners. The Wright brothers flew three other flights on that historical day as well, the longest of them being the eight hundred fifty two foot, fifty nine second record flight piloted by Wilbur. The brothers encountered many obstacles they had to overcome before creating a successful aircraft. One of the obstacles was finding an engine that was light enough yet powerful enough to get the plane off the ground. Another problem they faced was keeping the plane stabilized witch they accomplished by shifting themselves from side to side. The two brothers also had to design their own airplane propeller.

Bernoulli's Principal is perhaps of the most important factor in allowing an aircraft to leave the ground. The wings shape allows the air to move faster over the top side of the wing witch creates lift. Many forces act on an airplane in order to allow it to liftoff and fly. One of these forces is thrust. Thrust provides and aircraft the necessary velocity needed in order to generate lift which is another force. Thrust is created by propellers and engines. Lift is another force which is created when air travels faster over the top of an airplane wing than it does on the bottom generating lift. The heavier that aircraft is the more thrust is required to generate lift. Drag is the opposing force to thrust and can be reduced depending on the shape of the plane. Drag is created by every part of an airplane, it is the skin friction between the molecules of the air and the solid surface of the aircraft. Gravity affects airplanes the same way it would as a paper airplane pulling it back toward the ground and acting against all 3 of the other forces.

The shape of a birds wing is similar to the shape of a plane's wing with allows it to fly a glide, however a bird can change direction quickly because of its ability to tilt its wings in different directions. The overall shape of a birds body in flight is also very aerodynamic and creates minimal drag. Propeller acts as a spinning wing and pulls an airplane forward providing it with the necessary thrust to liftoff of the ground. The Wright brothers created the first propeller in order to lift their aircraft off the ground. A helicopter is different from a airplane because it can take off and land vertically, and also hover in place. The angle at which the helicopter blades are facing allows a helicopter to fly and change directions. The flight of a helicopter also depends on the speed in which the blades are spinning and in what direction.

Jet engines provide an airplane with a great amount a forward movement allowing a plane to move very fast. Air is sucked into the jet engine through the front fan. The pressure of the air is then raised by a compressor and sprayed with fuel. An electric spark then ignites and is blasted through a nozzle in the back causing tremendous forward thrust. Rocket engines are engines driven by reaction. A good example of how a rocket works is a blown up balloon with air. The balloon does not move when it is closed, but when the back is released it shoots forward. The balloon shoots forward because it is the reaction of the air shoot out of the back, just as a rocket shoot forward as its fuel is shot out the back.

Source by Richard Perry

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