History of Aviation

Posted: November 27th, 2013





History of Aviation

Air transport is the safest and fastest means of transport. People are able to travel distances that were impossible to reach without airplanes. Many people are able to do businesses in other regions since traveling has changed making it possible to travel to other regions within a short time. This leaves one wondering how people coped without airplanes to travel long distances. However, airplanes have evolved over time within the last century since the first one was flown by the Wright brothers. Developments in the aviation industry have continued to play an important role in the American history. Air transport had affected the social, as well as cultural lives of the American people especially during its early stages when it was associated with military purposes[1].

Much of technology in aircrafts was developed during the Second World War. This was after the realization of the importance of airplanes in the war. They were used for surveillance and bombing during the war. This increased their demand. Until after the Second World War was over, people believed that airplanes were meant for military purposes, or at least associated them with military purposes. Commercial airplanes were still not popular, and much effort had to be made to popularize commercial purposes of aircrafts. The inventors of airplanes went through social and cultural issues to make airplanes what we know them to be. At the early stages of innovation, the innovators lacked the technological advancement for manufacturing the airplanes, and worked under little technology amid social issues since it was a new technology. Aviation has been around for more than a century now with many people relying on it for long distance travel; managing to bring countries closer to each other through interaction.

Book 1)

People are driven by the desire to achieve extraordinary things and innovations. The social part of a person plays a prominent role in inspiring them towards the pursuit of their desires. Some of these desires are cultivated as people grow up. The inventors invent their ideas into products that have never been seen with minimal resources. For instance, the Wright brothers were inspired by flying toys given to them by their father, which created their interest in mechanics[2]. From their fascination, they started with making flying toys, which they sold at schools to children. More challenges were faced by the brothers such as protecting their legacy in the industry, where other inventors such as the Smithsonian wanted to be recognized, and conflicts rose[3]. With scarcity and minimal resources, people are able to capitalize on their ideas and creativity come up with new kinds of products despite the difficulties.

Wright brothers were faced by social issues such as having to take care of household duties when their mother fell sick. Their elder sister had to assume the responsibility of the family. This affected them since they could not fully focus on their inventions[4]. The Wright brothers went through a hard time trying to acquire patent to stop other innovators from copying their ideas. However, this was not achieved considering that other innovators were able to come up with better designs than theirs were; hence they did not acquire patent rights. This led to a stiff competition when other innovators entered the industry and managed to make better airplanes.

Another issue addressed by Crouch was the hard work that led to their success despite the lack of technology. Many of the inventors worked with little technological support in comparison to today where manufacturing technology has advanced. For instance, the Wright brothers were able to come up with the wind tunnel engine made in a rectangular shaped engine with wooden sides that were open-ended[5]. Today, very few could have invented under such circumstances considering that people use computer simulators to aid them. More so, other inventors such as Langley had to carry out large amounts of research that required aid from others. Being a pioneer is not easy, and often one is faced with tough situations having to invent new technology. Through researches, the Wright brothers were able to determine that weight and balance played the crucial role in the designing of the plane.

Though the Wright brothers’ plane became obsolete in 1910 when better designs were made, they made a significant impact in the aviation industry for being the pioneers of a powered and controlled airplane. Many of the models that came in utilized their ideas to make other designs. Much of the impact of the history of aviation is the ability of airplanes to bring many people across regions and seas together.

Book 2)

During the First World War, the planes were recognized as a major determinant of military might. After World War 1, upon the realization that planes are very useful in wars, many countries devoted to developing even better planes with more capabilities. The planes found a better use in the military where they were used for bombing and surveillance. This changed the society’s view of planes, where many believed planes were meant for war. After the World War 2, many of the planes that were used for military purposes were idle, and the government had to put up an initiative to encourage people to embrace the technology[6]. However, through a campaign set up to encourage the use of planes in post war activities that would see the building of an independent air base with the capacity to use airplanes for strategic bombing, saw the rise of airplanes get fully incorporated in the military.

After the Second World War, a campaign to use airpower for subsequent warfare as well as post war activities took place during 1940s to 50s[7]. The campaign aimed at advocating for an independent air force to be put in place. It also sought to include strategic bombing that would include nuclear bombs. However, the campaign received a lot of criticism from the media and the society that was not welcome to the idea of using nuclear weapons. This campaign saw the creation of several films that were meant to elaborate the extent of the campaign, which people were not aware of since these aspects that were not elaborated during the campaigns[8]. Other works such as books emerged during this campaign, depicting the negative side of the campaign. The media played a crucial role in influencing the public against the idea of supporting the campaign. The public had a better picture of the real issues associated with the campaign of air power. This further put a thought in people’s minds that planes are meant for military purposes. Many even up to date are reluctant in using airplanes as a means of transport. Call has described the social aspects of how people used airplanes to conduct strategic bombing and to have an independent air force.

One can make a conclusion that the concept of military air forces with the use of airplanes for bombing we know was born from this campaign. In America, the air force is one of the main units of the military with the purpose of surveillance and bombing in the subsequent warfare after the Second World War. This has contributed to making America the superpower it is since air power is considered as a superior force than other forms since it goes beyond land barriers.

Book 3)

One of the major aids in the development of airplanes has been the aerodynamics, upon which innovators have been able to come up with better airplanes. Aerodynamics deals with the study of how wind interacts with moving object, hence creating the difference in pressure that helps the airplanes to move with ease in air. This may leave one asking whether aerodynamics is the key concept behind the flying of an airplane. Through the history of airplane development the aerodynamics have played a very crucial role in determining how planes are designed. Through the history of airplanes from the first one made by the Wright brothers, aerodynamics have always been used as the determinant in the concept of flying, from the wind tunnel engine they made.

Aerodynamics and aviation developments have had a significant impact on the society, in terms of how people travel or do businesses[9]. The airplane technology has improved, with aerodynamics being the full force behind the current technology, hence the title The Bird is on the Wing: Aerodynamics and the Progress of the American Airplane, which means that the wing is the secret behind the planes that we know today. Airplanes have changed how people travel, with many accommodating luxury and a better social setting for all people. In earlier technology people viewed airplanes as military purpose machines from their use in the world war. The planes have come a long way, managing to improve with time to come up with better technology such as reducing the amount of sound from the engines.

Further, the topic is addressed through highlighting the struggles that earlier individuals and organizations have gone through to develop better airplanes. Many researches by dedicated teams and individuals have shaped the developments in airplane industry. The American government has been at the forefront in the developments of the aviation industry. However, with the current capabilities of technology, airplanes are inclined towards more improvements[10]. Through the study of aerodynamics from the dedicated inventors such as Wright brothers and Chanute, better airplanes were developed. Through knowledge of aerodynamics, people are able to understand how the wing of a plane can help the airplane move or rise into the air despite their weight, especially the big airplanes.


Among the technologies that have managed to create social interaction across boundaries has been the transport industry, with air transport being the main form of transport across countries and regions. Today, families can visit their relatives in long distances since airplanes have managed to be exceptionally fast. A trip that previously took several months now takes shorter time. However, airplanes have been faced by challenges in their development over the last century since they were invented by the Wright brothers. Planes were not viewed as commercial means of transport by many since they were considered tools of war. Even today, supersonic jets with the capability of carrying many weapons including nuclear bombs have been developed, with others not requiring a pilot.

Many people are able to do businesses overseas by taking regular trips to their businesses. This has brought many societies together, managing to build diverse societies within a community. This has also enhanced further developments in other regions because of the social interaction and doing businesses in other areas that contribute to sharing of ideas. Aviation in America has also affected how Americans view themselves, especially in the earlier stages of development after the First World War where many people became pilots. This is because it was the only means of transport not yet developed. Water is among the earliest means of transport, with vehicles and rails following later. Hence, managing to fly, which was seen as for the supernatural and birds was very exiting within the society. It also had an impact on the way people lived, as well as economic changes.

The success of airplanes is owed to the inventors who worked with very little, to make great achievements that would influence the whole world and how people lived. From when the Wright brothers made their first successful flight, the airplanes were set to become a means or transport that would not be hindered by land barriers such as rivers, oceans, mountains and so on. Even though airplanes were viewed as military purpose machines, people came to appreciate their capabilities. Currently people cannot do without airplanes considering their roles in transport for not only people, but also goods and mails. Airplanes have continued to influence the society in many ways. The plane has enhanced life through making travel to places people have never been, and working long distances or attending meetings in far places where it could not have been possible.


Work Cited

Call, Steve. Selling Air Power: Military Aviation and American Popular Culture After World War II. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2009. Print.

Crouch, Tom. A Dream of Wings: Americans and the Airplane, 1875-1905. New York NY: W. W. Norton & Company. 2009. Print.

Hansen, James. The Bird is on The Wing: Aerodynamics and The Progress of The American Airplane. Texas, TX: Texas A&M University Press. 2004. Print.


[1] Tom Crouch, A Dream of Wings: Americans and the Airplane 1875–1905, (2002), 24.


[2] Crouch, 32.

[3] Crouch, 38.

[4] Crouch, 34.

[5] Crouch, 39.

[6] Steve Call, Selling Air Power: Military Aviation and American Popular Culture after World War II, (2009), 45

[7] Call, 47

[8] Call, 47.

[9] James Hansen, The Bird is on The Wing: Aerodynamics and The Progress of The American Airplane, (2004), 11.

[10] Hansen, 56.

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