Origins of ordinary things: Aeroplanes

Aeroplanes are undeniably the most sophisticated means of transport. To travel from Kigali to Entebbe in a matter of minutes, whereas it would have taken you hours by bus, or to move from one continent to another when it would have been impossible, is truly fascinating.

Aeroplanes are undeniably the most sophisticated means of transport. To travel from Kigali to Entebbe in a matter of minutes, whereas it would have taken you hours by bus, or to move from one continent to another when it would have been impossible, is truly fascinating.

Unlike most inventions whose existence is prehistoric, airplanes have only been around for a little over a century, the first airplane having been invented by American brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright. The first flight was taken by Orville in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, United States of America on 17th December, 1903. This is according to the article “Who Invented the Aeroplane” by American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

 

The inspiration and love for flying, according to Wikipedia the online encyclopedia, came to the Wright Brothers at a young age. In 1878, their father gave them a toy helicopter that he had purchased on one of his travels. They played with it until it broke. They built their own toy helicopter. At the time, Orville was 7 and Wilbur was 11 years old.

 

The Wright brothers learnt a lot from their mother, Susan K. Wright who was conversant with mechanical things. Susan had gone to college in Indiana, United States of America which was a rare thing for women to do during that era.

 

The fact that the Wright brothers had toy helicopters shows that even though they were the first ones to successfully invent an airplane, the desire and attempt to fly had existed long before. This is according to the article “A history of the airplane” by Wright Brothers, a website that provides information on pioneer aviation.

The article says that in 1783, some aeronautic engineers made air balloons filled with hot air or nitrogen. The movement of such balloons solely depended on wind and this was inefficient and dangerous. There are also other scientists who made attempts at making airplanes. However, they are not credited with the invention because the Wright brothers were the first to make heavier than air controlled, sustained and powered airplanes.

As with many genius inventions, it took a lot of studying, trial and error before the airplane was successfully invented. According to NASA, after the Wright Brothers had studied a lot of material on flying, they started small by testing a glider in 1900. The glider looked like a kite.

The Wight Brothers then went back and forth until 1903 when they were ready to make a debut of the airplane that they called the Wright Flier. The first flight is said to have lasted twelve seconds. The Wrights kept reading and making improvements. By 1905, the Wright Brothers’ aircraft could last up to thirty-nine minutes in the air. This is according to the article “First airplane flies” History, an online general information platform. In 1908, they travelled to France.

Many developments have been made since airplanes were first invented and airplanes, more than other means of transport connect the world. The fact that airplanes were invented by Orville and Wilbur Wright, neither of whom received formal training in engineering and aeronautics goes to show that sometimes skill is inborn.

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News