Development Of Flight WWI

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The successful construction of a heavier than air flying machine is generally attributed to the Wright brothers. Although this is, arguably, correct the fact is that there was a number of factors present at that time which preclude a claim to the invention of flight.

The French genius, Eiffel, had conducted air flow tests during the construction of his tower and had discovered the effect of low and high air pressures under and over laterally opposed forces. He was the first person in the world to construct a wind tunnel to analyse these effects. There is little doubt that Wilbur and Orville would have considered these findings whilst designing their aircraft.

At the same time, Louis Bleriot was conducting his own research in to the theory of flight and was the first to espouse the, later proven, theory that air passing over a curved air foil on the top whilst air passed over a flat air foil on the bottom of a wing created a low pressure area under the wing, thus creating lift. A theory that is still taught to pilots today.

I have no doubt that intelligent people such as the Wright brothers would have taken note of such interesting findings.

Irrespective of who first got into the air, it has to be said that aircraft developed dramatically during the first world war. Developments in metallurgy, engine design, artificial aspiration and air foil design were exponential. Weaponry and the means to deliver it became a science unto itself.

Equally as much the logarithms that calculate the air flow over a curved surface of a particular length whilst thesame amount of air is travelling over a flat surface of the same length. High speed over the top and lower speed over the bottom, and wing shape was starting to be recognised as a factor.

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BY Dave Fryer

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