Inventions From 1860s to 1910 Thesis

Pages: 5 (1481 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation

Technical Writing - Early Aviation


Background and History of the Invention:

Human beings have always fantasized about being able to fly, as is evident from ancient artwork as well as thousand year-old mythological stories and literary fables that preceded the age of aviation by millennia. Leonardo da Vinci produced detailed drawings of flying machines five hundred years ago, but the first known serious attempts at manned flight date back only to the wind-driven hot-air balloons of the late 18th century and to the experiments conducted by Otto Lilienthal a full century later, a little more than a decade before the Wright brothers demonstrated the first fully powered manned flight in their now-infamous first flight of their "Wright Flyer" in December of 1903 (SASM, 2007).

Because the strategic and tactical advantages of an aerial view of the land during wartime are so overwhelming, military theorists were quick to develop an interest in the military use of aviation. Already, manned flight had been used in battle as early as 1870, in the Franco-Prussian War (Jackson, 2003). Balloons were quickly proven ineffective in action over enemy territory because they are exceptionally vulnerable to ground fire.

However, they provided crucial vantage points for surveying large areas, especially of hostile territory (Jackson, 2003).Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Thesis on Inventions From 1860s to 1910 Assignment

The first tactical use of powered aerial flight in warfare involved lighter-than air dirigibles and soon after the outbreak of World War I, Germany began hand-dropping explosive bombs on France and England from enormous hydrogen-filled Zeppelins. By that time, aircraft designers had spent the decade since the Wright brothers' first powered flight developing gasoline combustion engines to replace the bicycle gears that propelled the Wright Flyer in 1903. The major combatants all used piston and radial-powered biplanes for aerial recognizance missions, but the first offensive tactical aviation operations consisted of spotter plane pilots shooting at each other with pistols and dropping hand grenades from the air (Jackson, 2003; Yeager & Janos, 1986).

World War I pilots began rigging machine guns to their aircraft, but the spinning propeller precluded placing weapons directly in the pilot's line of sight and the various solutions such as positioning the guns above the pilot on the top wing introduced so much error in accuracy that it severely limited the effectiveness of first-generation fighter planes. Germany solved this problem with the interrupter gear that coordinated the firing of machine guns to the spin of the propeller to allow pilots to fire directly through the propeller without hitting it. By war's end in 1918, fighter aircraft had evolved into powerful machines capable of precision flying at nearly 200 miles per hour and both sides had already introduced the world to the wartime threat of strategic bombing of population centers during wartime (Jackson, 2003).

Military concerns would inspire the greatest increase in aviation development in between the First and Second World War, known in the industry as the "Golden Age" of aviation (Yeager & Janos, 1986; Jackson, 2003). Likewise, the civil and commercial aviation industries were born from the wartime equipment surplus and the availability of war-trained pilots for employment by the U.S. Postal Service and the first passenger airlines of the 1920s (O'Connor, 1995). Within barely two decades of World War II, both the United States and Soviet Union fielded supersonic jet fighters and achieved manned orbital space flight, both of which were, in no small way, still attributable directly to the wartime aviation development efforts of the Nazis. Today, civilian travel by commercial aircraft is a routine element of modern society and military aircraft technology is on the verge of becoming so complex and powerful that future generations of military aircraft may have to eliminate an on-board human pilot altogether (Leary, 2000). The fact that the entire history of modern aviation is hardly more than a century old may be the most fascinating aspect of powered flight. The Invention of Powered Flight:

Generally, aviation scientists have traditionally taught that the mechanism responsible for heavier-than-air winged flight is the Bernoulli Principle, after Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782) who introduced the concept that describes the velocity of liquid through pipes of different size. According to the Bernoulli Principle, the lift provided by an aircraft wing is attributable to the fact that aircraft wings are shaped to curve on their top surfaces and maintain a flat surface on their lower surface. Bernoulli's Law suggests that the air molecules must travel faster over the curved wing… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Inventions From 1860s to 1910" Thesis in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Inventions From 1860s to 1910.  (2009, January 8).  Retrieved March 4, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Inventions From 1860s to 1910."  8 January 2009.  Web.  4 March 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Inventions From 1860s to 1910."  January 8, 2009.  Accessed March 4, 2021.