Flying Attempts Through History


What was flight before the airplane? We know that the Wright brothers invented airplanes, but how did they get there? many failures were made, and here are the attempts of the inventions behind them.

Tower jumping

Many of the first attempts at flying were men attaching feathered wings to themselves and jumping off hills and towers. This usually resulted in death or extreme injury. However, some glided for a short amount of time before falling, these ideas were a fail. This happened from the 1st century all the way through to the 1600's.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Although Lenardo da Vinci is well known for is painting and his inventing, he drew up many plans for flying devices as well. These ideas could have flown, but they were to heavy to lift off of the ground. they were lacking one of the four forces of flight; thrust. He tried designing ornithopters, fixed-wing gliders, rotorcraft and parachutes. However, he came to realize the impracticality of these inventions and turned to gliding flight. He also understood many things about aerodynamics, but even still some of his drawings had major design flaws.


In 1670 Francesco Lana de Terzi created the first credible lifting mechanism. Hollow metal spheres from with all the air had been pumped out would be lighter than air and able to lift an airship. In practice de Terzi's spheres collapsed under air pressure, and further developments had to wait. In the mid-18th century the Montgolfier brothers. began experimenting with parachutes and balloons in France. Their balloons were made of paper, but didn't last long because of effect on the paper as it condensed, and the fact that it was made of paper.
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The first sustained powered flight in history is believed to have taken place on the 24th of September,1852 when Henri Giffard flew 24 kilometers in his non-rigid airship. This type of aircraft was not practical because they were frail and short-lived. They were also non-rigid and it was difficult to make them large enough to carry a load. Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin found that a rigid frame would allow a much bigger airship. He founded the Zeppelin firm, whose Luftschiff Zeppelin 1 first flew on the Swiss border on July 2nd 1900. The flight lasted only 18 minutes, but still flew.

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