Thursday, December 17, 2015

122 years of the first flight

On december 17th of 1903, the Flyer, built Wright brothers, took of in Kitty Hawk. The process that resulted in the flight, took serious investigations, including the use of an aerodynamic tunnel, technique we still use to test planes. Also, the brothers had to design a method to control the plane: the three axis control, which is standard in all fixed wing planes. Learn to fly it doesnt lacks merit, as the aircraft has proven to be quite hard to fly, even for experienced pilots.

Yet, the honor of the first flight is not undisputed, as some consider that it really belongs to a brasilian engineer: Alberto Santos Dumont, who followed a pre-established circuit in october of 1906 totalling 60 metres, certified by the Aéro Club de France and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Dumont repeated the flight a month later, this time setting a world record of 220 metres.  Also, the 14-bis took off by his own means, and the Flyer required a catapult. A curious detail: according to the wikipedia article (in english) Dumont popularized the use of wrist watches among men, because he used them to measure time during flights. Before, only women used them asjewelry, men preferred pocket watches.

A few years later, the plane became a weapon, during the World War I, although the military use of flying devices dates to many years earlier and the first air combat was between two balloons.

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