This unit is designed for Middle School students. The main goal and objective of this unit is to acquaint the middle school student with the history of Aerodynamics and help to develop some fundamental mathematical skills relating to the field of aviation. Also, to study the history of flight, which will include the first transatlantic flight, the Wright Brothers and supersonic flight (old and new). The math criteria will entail the computation, concepts and problem solving of velocity; acceleration, speed, distance traveled, and time. The middle school student is an entity within himself without goals and objectives as to which route he or she is to travel. Not only will this unit apply to practical day to day situations but it will also aid the student in achieving the challenges that the world of aerodynamics has to offer in this ever changing highly-technological society.
Men have always wanted to fly. Watching the free flight of birds, they have been filled with envy and the desire to rise into the air and follow them. Man believe in the possibility of flight. The idea of flying haunted mankind from earliest times, and from the dawn of history man’s attempt to emulate the skill of the birds had been marked by the pathetic, broken bodies of adventures who had tried to flap their way through the air and had crashed, Icarus-like, admidst the wreckage of their artificial wings.
Heavier-than-air flight would not be possible until the early 1900’s, when the technical means had been developed that would bring it within man’s grasp. In the meantime there were other ways of getting into the air. Man’s first incredible escape from the earth, took place well over a century before the Wright Brothers lifted their crude machine from the sands of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In November of 1782 Joseph Montgolfier sat by the fire noticing the smoke and hot air rushing upwards and was seized with an inspiration. He asked his landlord for rags of silk, he constructed a sample cloth balloon, filled it with hot air and watched it rise quickly to the ceiling. The lighter-than-air balloon had been invented.
By the spring of 1783 Montgolfier, with his brother Etienne, had put together the world’s first balloon. It was a huge sphere of paper lined with linen and on June 4, filled with hot air from a fire of wool and straw, it rose some 6,000 feet. The event was immediately recognized and at the insistence of the Academy of Sciences at Paris the brothers constructed a new balloon, which was launched at Versailles in September. A sheep, a duck, and a cock were carried aloft on a free flight of some two miles and they managed to survive the ordeal. On the 2lst day of November, came Jacques Charles and the Roberts Brothers had harnessed the lifting power, “inflammable air” known today as hydrogen. Their first balloon had flown for fifteen miles on August 27, only to be attacked by terrified peasants on its landing. Mounting public excitement set the stage for human flight. The age of flight really began with the ascension of Charles and the younger Robert in a hydrogen balloon on December 1. That first great flight lasted over two hours, and the balloon landed twenty-seven miles from Paris (See Diagram 1). By the turn of the century the main lines of free-ballooning had been set.
In the United States John C. Wise and Thaddues C. Love prepared enormous balloons for transatlantic crossings, but both became frustrated. Wise tried again in 1873 but his balloon crashed forty miles outside of New York. Balloons, airships and dirigibles were in the making for the next thirty years. In the 1800’s when electricity was just coming to the fore, the Tissandier Brothers built and flew an electric dirigible. The first fully controllable airship, also powered by electricity was built by Charles Renard and Arthur Krebs with a heavy eight horsepower electric motor fed by storage batteries. The dirigible came of age with Santas-Dumont and Count Von Zeppelin applying internal combustion engines to their ships (See Diagram 2).
It was the airplane, not the balloon, that was destined to give mankind a whole new dimension of flight. The airplane, a heavier-than-air machine could not be held in the sky by hot air or hydrogen. Power was required to lift it up, speed to keep it going, and skill to fly it.
The glider made of cotton-covered bamboo and cane was introduced by Otto Lilenthal (See Diagram 3). The Wright Brothers who belonged to Lilenthal School had been working on flying machines. In 1899 the Wright Brothers were running a bicycle workshop which provided them with a machine shop for their experiments. The Brothers built and tested a biplane glider in 1900 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Encouraged, they built another glider almost twice as large and tested it again at Kitty Hawk, in 1901. In 1902 they tested another glider and this glider proved itself in flight ready for an engine. Provision for a light gasoline engine was set in motion. On December 17, 1903, after months of constructing an efficient propeller, the Wright Brothers returned to Kitty Hawk and flew their machine a distance of one hundred feet which lasted for twelve seconds.
The Wright Brothers moved their operations to Dayton, Ohio in 1904, constructed a new plan, rented sixty-eight acres of land and methodically proceeded to learn to fly. They flew one hundred and five flights. In 1905 with an improved machine the Wrights ended their flying season on October 5, with an incredible flight of nearly twenty-five miles in thirty-eight minutes. The airplane was invented in America, but aviation came of age in France. In 1907 Wilbur Wright went to Europe to negotiate with interested governments, including France, to set up an international flying business based on the Wright Brothers patents. As a result of their business transactions the Brothers began to fly again, practicing at Kitty Hawk. The first official flights were made in Germany, Russia, Italy, and spread from France to the United States. Flying was becoming international.
France along with other countries began to think of military aviation. After the Wrights plane had been accepted a few plans such as the Bleriots, Farmans, Antoinettes and Voisins were placed into service. Airplanes although fragile and unexperienced were used during World War I in 1914. Airpower grew rapidly during the war years, but at the end of the war years the whole elaborate military structure was disbanded. Commercial aviation did not develop in the United States for many years, but in Europe with its shorter distance, the first tentative airline appeared right after the war.
Crudely modified war planes were put into use and covered a route between Berlin and Weimar. There was progress. The Dutch K.L.M., was formed in 1919 and staged its first flight from London to Amsterdam on May 17, 1920. By 1921, ten small airplanes were operating in France. In 1923, the Belgian government organized the airline Sabena. Aviation in the United States was at a standstill until 1925 except for a flight in 1920 which flew some Americans from Florida to Cuba. In 1918 an airmail flight was staged from New York to Washington. A New York to Chicago flight was also staged and in 1920 it was extended to San Francsisco. America led in airmail but France took over and they laid the foundation for the international air routes of today.
The greatest challenge was when the Atlantic was crossed four times in 1919. The work goals and objectives that had been accomplished were merely preliminary to the hundreds of great flights that would take place during the next two decades and open up air routes of the world. The United States was spanned nonstop from east to west in a record of twenty hours and fifty minutes. The flights multiplied;, France explored North Africa, Britian began to link their empire by air, two Portuguese flew the South Atlantic to Rio, and the first flight from Belgium to the Belgian Congo was accomplished. Looking to the future, the important explorations were those of the polar routes. Lindbergh’s daring flight from New York to Paris in 1927 was a culmination of all previous events and the beginning of a new age of flight.
After the great transoceanic flight the international air routes of the world were opened in the 1930’s. Seaplanes became the aircraft of the expansion. But their engines were not powerful enough for its bulk, and its poor performance and many accidents doomed it to failure. Pan American an airline of today built up a fleet of giant flying boats, began its Atlantic and Pacific service. Finally the lighter-than-air craft lost out to airplanes. The rapidly growing airlines needed a transport capable of carrying a large number of passengers at a maximum speed but at a minimum expense. The United States put together many elements that produced the first modern airplane, the DC-3. It was an all metal, thick-winged, internally braced monoplane with a thick fuselage. It was enough to carry two of the more powerful, radial aircooled engines, their drag reduced by a streamlined cowling.
Aviation played an extremely important role during the war years. After World War II the importance of military aviation could not longer be doubted. War planes had been in action in every theater of the war. Planes had flown over every ocean and penetrated the remotest jungles and snowbound wilderness of the world, leaving behind them serviceable airports wherever they had operated.
Commercial aviation in the postwar era was dominated by the United States. The American manufacturers, with years of experience had learned to build the best aircrafts in the world and at a low cost. Outside the United States civil aviation has had its fastest growth and its greatest in underdeveloped areas such as Latin America and Africa. Air freight grew even faster than passenger-carrying. In the fifties, low fare tourist flights and stiff competition caused international air travel to become commonplace. Farsighted aircraft designers realized that propeller-driven planes had reached their potential speed limits began to study the possibilities of a jet engine. The Germans flew the first successful turbojet aircraft. England’s was jet powered by a Whittle engine two years later.
After studying the Whittle engine, the Americans flew their first experimental jet, the Bell XP-59A. When the British flew their first jet faster than the speed of sound, the jet age was ready to be born and it was. The British, leading in jet engines, decided to leap into the future with a bold program for high-speed jet transports which proved to be unsuccessful.
The entry in the race appeared at London in 1956 astonishing the Western World. It was the twin-jet TU-104 which went into general service. The MIG-15 was unveiled in Korea. Russian introduced the giant turboprop TU-114, the largest commercial plane, powered by four huge engines capable of carrying from 170 to 225 passengers. In the United States in October of 195B Pan America launched its jet service to Europe, a Boeing 707. It was not only a commercial aviation important but also military. War or the threat of war, so often spells technical progress. Since 1945 military aviation has undergone an astonshing transformation in its history. Today’s military planes are flying faster than the speed of sound and they are armed with missles and other destructive ammunition. One of the important piece’s of aircraft today is the jet. It is a piece of machinery that functions in many ways.