In the 21st century, travel by air is commonplace, maybe annoying, untimely and aggravating all too often, but available on short or long notice if willing to pay the price. Of course, today's flights travel at super speeds so a destination can be reached in a manner of hours, rather than months as experienced by wagon train. For more than two thousand years man has been fascinated with flight. It began with the earliest kites, then, reconnaissance balloons on to dreams of man being able to fly as depicted in sketches by Leonardo da Vinci. Unmanned flight and hang gliders date as far back as the 1800s but the first successful manned, powered flight is credited to the Wright Brothers on December 17, 1903.
The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were born four years apart and grew up in a small town in Ohio. Both were intellectually curious with a natural aptitude for science. Man-in-flight was already being investigated which appealed wholeheartedly to the brothers' curious nature. They began experimentation in 1896 at their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio. Kitty Hawk, North Carolina was selected as the proving ground because of the constant wind that added lift to their newly designed craft.
The Wright Brothers were not the first to build experimental aircraft, and news of fatal glider crashes involving other aviation trailblazers influenced the direction of their research and development. The Wright brothers focused their efforts on pilot-activated flight-stabilizing controls. Their discoveries form the basis of modern flight. In 1903 when aviation was in its infancy, sustained flight was measured in seconds and piloting was a developing skill, and although early flight lacked sophistication, it threw open the doors for the evolution of the aviation industry, and set the stage for the global travel system that we take for granted today.
Wilbur just after landing the 1901 glider. Glider skid marks are visible behind it, and marks from a previous landing are seen in front; Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.
'Til Now...First flight of the Wright Flyer I, December 17, 1903, Orville piloting, Wilbur running at wingtip.
Some versions of the Boeing 767 are used for military applications and even for transporting certain VIP people by air routes.
Boeing 797 meeting the huge demand for air transportation...Boeing is preparing this 1000 passenger Jet Liner that could reshape the Air Travel Industry. Its radical "Blended Wing & Fuselage" design has been developed by Boeing in cooperation with NASA Langley Research Centre.
Next on the Calendar...Sweet & Syrupy