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Early 20th-Century Developments in Human Flight

In: Historical Events

Submitted By pjhong
Words 1252
Pages 6
Kitty Hawk to World War II

The Wright brothers near Kitty Hawk, NC.
Although there is some debate about who was the first to fly an airplane, credit for this feat is usually given to Wilbur (1867–1912) and Orville Wright (1871–1948), who made four controlled, sustained flights in a powered heavier-than-air vehicle on Dec. 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, N.C. Interestingly, the Wrights never claimed to be the first to fly. The main claim of the Wright brothers, and their supporters, was that they were first to design and build a flying craft that gave the pilot adequate control while in the air. The unique feature of the Wright brothers' aircraft, beginning with their 1902 glider, was the ability to roll the wings right or left, to pitch the nose up or down, and to yaw the nose from side to side. A pilot must have control of all three dimensions—roll, pitch, and yaw—to navigate a plane. This development was perhaps the Wrights' greatest contribution to aviation.

Over and on the Sea

One of the next major advancements in human flight came in response to a contest sponsored by The Daily Mail of London, which offered a prize to the first aviator to fly across the English Channel. Louis Blériot (1872–1936) won the contest, flying from Calais, France, to Dover, England, on July 25, 1909, in a monoplane of his own design with a 25-horsepower engine. His flight caused concern among the British that the airplane could eventually be used for military aggression, and the world came to see the airplane as a future weapon.

1913 Hydravion Race in Deauville, France
The pioneers of the seaplane were Henri Fabre (1882–1984) and Glenn H. Curtiss (1878–1930). Fabre is generally credited with making the first seaplane flight, on March 28, 1910, at Martigues, France. His seaplane, or hydravion, had a 50-horsepower Gnome rotary engine and was mounted on lightweight hollow...

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