The Invention of the Airplane
This paper addresses the history of the invention of the airplane and its impact on society.
The paper looks at the contributions of German engineer Otto Lilienthal to the field of flight engineering and then focuses on the achievements of the Wright brothers. The paper discusses the challenges in developing a stable body design that was also able to achieve lift and highlights the perseverance of these two men in overcoming the obstacles. The paper asserts that while other engineers of the period were important to the development and application of the mechanized airplane, no one was as crucial as the Wright brothers.
“The quest for flight began in earnest ten years before the start of the last century. In 1891, German engineer Otto Lilienthal began experimenting with mechanized hang gliders. He determined that there existed the potential for extending the flight time of a hang glider indefinitely through the application of motors as a counterbalance to gravity. Lilienthal estimated that the physics of propulsion would overcome the natural tendency of the glider to lose momentum and come to earth. One of Lilienthal’s major contributions to the field of flight engineering was the successful implementation of a curved wing, rather than the traditional straight and flat wing. Some scholars believe that Lilienthal would have invented the first airplane, but he was killed in a hang glider accident in 1896. (Gibbs-Smith: 24-27)”