Term Paper: History of Air Cargo

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History Of Air Cargo

It's hard to image today's life without those goods which are provided by the industry of air cargo. Electronic equipment and mail, fresh fruits and other products are shipped by air, forming a list of the essential goods that make life more comfortable, convenient and advanced, if compared to time when people couldn't even dream about air transportation.

Air cargo industry had started with very modest funds for a transportation industry, but nwt air cargo has a turnover of more than 46 billion dollars. 40% of air cargo is done by civil aviation" (according to Dora Kay, President of the International Air cargo association) "Speed and accessibility of air cargo provides a freedom of choice to their customers, promoting business success, economical development and employment growth."

In the era of globalization we can not imagine life without goods exchange, freight traffic and communication. Transportation and communication means guarantee the development of economics, its interaction with the rest of economical world community and simply form a part of modern civilization's infrastructure. Such progress was achieved only because of rapid technological and industrial growth which started only two centuries ago. The development of air cargo is tightly connected with the development of aviation as technology and as industry. Air cargo is one of the most popular applications of aviation achievements in modern world. That's why history of early air cargo is also related to history of aviation as moving objects by air was one of the oldest dreams of humanity.

The research will make an overview of aviation and air cargo development in past two centuries, outlining the most important and interesting events from the historical point-of-view that contribute to the modern concept of air cargo. Research will also make an overview of the development of air cargo as an economics sector in the U.S.A. And will give basic facts about the company which is associated with modern civil aviation, as it remains to be its leader for more than 50 years (Boeing). Also the research will provide recent air cargo statistics, the situation in this industry in other countries and will give some facts about the most powerful airfreights of modern time produced by the main competitor of the U.S.A.- USSR. (Unfortunately none of these air-giants had been used as a regular airfreight).

The history of air cargo can be divided into several periods, characterized by the technological advance, historical period and major tendencies in aviation and air cargo.

The most ancient period of air cargo (of course if it can be called so), goes all the way to Ancient world and was first used in Ancient Egypt. It's a doves mail, based on natural ability of doves to find their native place. This kid of "airmail" had been used for centuries in different countries. But the most impressive example of doves post use was during the French-German war in 1870. More than 400 pigeons were used for message delivering from Paris, which was in siege.

For a long time dove post remained to be the only way of air cargo, used during war time by officers, by imprisoned, etc.

Development of aviation was impossible with lack of knowledge in different branches of natural science, as people could not set the problem about aeronautics in the right way for a long time and they didn't know what makes birds and butterflies fly.

Only with development of physics and mathematics some aspects of aeronautics became relatively clear to scientists and inventors.

In 1475 Leonardo Da Vinci made first drafts of helicopter, parachute and ornitopter. Still he didn't give any explanation how to derive the force needed for the launch of these devices. But the drafts of Leonardo were pretty much similar to modern helicopters in their construction and principles.

Still for a quite a long time aviation was not considered to be a serious means of transportation and people looked on it more as on entertainment than on transportation means. Since first hot air balloons were invented, their inventors demonstrated their inventions capacities carrying different kind of weights on board. But still this means was very risky and didn't attract needed interest.

Hot air balloons were rarely used for mail delivery and this kind of services had predominantly private and commercial character. It's a well-known fact that in the year of 1785 Benjamin Franklin received mail sent via hot air balloon from England, when he stayed in France. But again it was motivated by a wide area of interests of American president.

Civilians saw no interest in using hot air balloons, but scientists and military men had a potential interest in it. Hot air balloons could be easily used by army to observe the battlefields, to investigate enemy's positions, etc. They were used sometimes for transportation, but their low capacities and a lack of control in the flight prevented from massive use.

A t's a well-known historical fact that French emperor Napoleon I was planning invasion to Britain, for which he planned to use a corpus of hot air balloons, both for transportation of troops (landing) and transportation of means.

Hot air balloons were used during lots of conflicts in the nineteenth century, for example during the Civil war both armies: Union's and Confederation's use balloon aviation for transportation and intelligent purposes. Besides during French-German war air balloons were used for mail delivering as well as doves: First Experiences in Metz

In Metz, where Marshal Bazaine had permitted himself to be entrapped with all his army, one Doctor Papillion, a surgeon in the ambulance service of the Imperial Guard, had the idea of using balloons to send ciphered or plain text messages. On 1st September 1870 he confided in Doctor Jeannel, the Pharmacist in Chief, who was later to write: "The idea of entering into communication with the rest of France by means of balloons launched above the Prussian lines caught my imagination, and I devoted some thought as to how it could be carried out." Constrained by lack of means, he manufactured his balloons from tracing paper coated in varnish. The balloons were fragile and low in capacity, but since the weight of each letter was reduced to about 10 grams, Jeannel managed to send fourteen small balloons between 5th and 15th September. The balloons carried a total of approximately three thousand items of mail between the 5th and 15th September. As in the earlier attempts at Conde sur Escaut and Valenciennes, these were unmanned free-flying balloons; but in Metz, the recorded results were much more encouraging because about half of the items sent arrived at their destinations. (from Allez, C. "History of Air cargo and Air Mail" p.12)

But in general, development of aviation could not occur. The main reason was that balloons, very often, were designed by self-educated inventors, mechanics and scientists who had a very little knowledge about laws of mechanics, dynamics and aerodynamics. Without firm theoretical basis none of serious and profitable aviation projects could be realized, because it had no scientific proof. People and businessmen interested in technology didn't risk to invest money in such kind of ventures, as history had a lot of examples of inventors' failures, especially in the field of aviation.

Only the development of applied physics, applied mechanics and mathematics which studied the properties of motion and the properties of dynamic processes, could give a theoretical ground and explanation to most of aerodynamic problems. At the same time it gave a lot of background to scientists and inventors who didn't have to do a lot of useless work and calculations starting from that time. If to compare the rate of development of aviation during the era of no knowledge about the laws of motion and its development during the era of science and mathematics they would differ greatly. In some 50 years after first essential discoveries in the field of theory of aerodynamics aviation mad a tremendous progress which could be even imagined by Leonardo and Montgolfier.

For some 30 years the use of zeppelins (airships of an ellipsoid shape, named after German scientists Zeppelin) could demonstrate an equal competition to airplanes and could be an alternative to them, as they were not really expensive in construction, didn't use fuel, had a bigger lift-weighting capacity. But after the tragic crash of zeppelin Hindenburg in 1937, most of aviation world leaders refused from its production. Besides crash of Hindenburg in the U.S.A., there were lots of similar examples worldwide, as zeppelins were often filled with hydrogen, a very explosive gas.

May be the most prominent event in the history of air cargo remains to be December,17 1903, a day when Orwell and Wilbur Wrights made a first flight on flying device that had an engine. Brothers Wrights would not believe what was the meaning of their flight for their ancestors, as it opened the age of air transportation and in some dozen years made it universal and affordable.

Boeing. When talking about air cargo, it's important to mention a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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