The human desire to fly dates back to at least the times of Greek mythology, when the young Icarus attempted to escape the island of Crete with some makeshift wings. Since then, there have been many visionaries who, to greater or lesser success, have designed contraptions to try and emulate birds. Abbás Ibn Firnás (IX c), Leonardo da Vinci ( XV c) and the Montgolfier brothers ( XVIII c) were just a part of a long list of pioneers, scientists, adventurers and eccentrics who set milestones in aircraft history.
The dream of flight has led to centuries of ideas, developments, successes and failures. But the dream became reality.
However, the real turning point came with the first aircraft at the end of the XIX century. Since the flights of Clément Ader in the Éole in 1890 (although not recognised by some), and the Wright brothers in Flyer I in 1903, aeronautics has just not stopped evolving. This continues to this day.
The objective for aircraft development has changed over the years. In the beginning, the goal was to keep aircraft in the air as long as possible and cover ever longer distances, afterwards it was to increase passenger or cargo load capacity. Speed was another barrier which had to be conquered step-by-step, until the SR-71’s current record was achieved. Currently, nearly all aeronautical advances are focused on efficiency and safety improvements.
Furthermore, we have the privilege to be living in a period where we can make changes to matters that until now seemed unsolvable in terms of aircraft design. For example, we can now speak of pilotless aircraft or aeroplanes which use non-fossil fuels. These concepts will become reality one day soon and, without a shadow of a doubt, become part of the historical account,
This infographic is not intended to be a systematic and thorough journey through the history of aircraft, because there’s just not enough space to detail all the events. Rather, it is a review of the major milestones – some relatively unknown – which have marked a trend in aircraft evolution, or ones that have been important achievements in the development of aviation solutions.
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Source: Produced internally.
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