Who Invented Aircraft? The Incredible History of this Incredible Invention
Who invented aircraft? Well, this question has an incredibly long and complicated answer, but we’ll do our best to answer it in the most concise way possible! Here are a few ground rules first though we’re talking about the modern airplane here, not hot air balloons or zeppelins or other non-powered flight machines. For example, we don’t count Otto Lilienthal as one of the inventors of aircraft because he only made gliders and never flew in them himself.
Introduction: The First Ever Invention of Aircraft
Airplanes have become an integral part of the world we live in today. We use them to commute, travel, and connect cultures from one side of the globe to the other. But who invented aircraft, and when did they do it? Let’s take a look at the history and who invented aircraft in order to gain a better understanding. (Read Why gasoline prices are going up – and what you can do about it).
Right before the turn of the 20th century (1897), two brothers named Wilbur and Orville Wright set out on their quest to create a working airplane. A couple of years later, in 1903, their work paid off as they successfully took flight for 59 seconds with a top speed of 8 miles per hour.
Since then countless inventors and engineers have been credited with inventing planes throughout time; some even go so far as saying that whoever builds and designs planes is considered their inventor!
It’s impossible to pinpoint just one person as being the sole inventor of airplanes because there are so many individuals who’ve contributed over time. One major event that had a significant impact on aviation was World War I which took place between 1914-1918.
Although planes were not widely used during the war, militaries all around the world were observing and documenting how well these new inventions performed. For example, in 1915 German pilots were taking photographs from the sky to help generals plan strategies for attacking enemy trenches.
Once pilots saw how effective air warfare could be, more countries began investing more money into developing aircrafts capable of aerial combat. When WWI ended, Germany led the pack with a long list of impressive flying feats accomplished by their military during wartime operations.
They created what was known as The Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen who had 80 victories under his belt while piloting a Fokker Dr1 triplane and became regarded as one of the best fighter pilots ever seen up until that point in history. (Read How to Choose the Right Yacht vs Boat for Your Next Vacation)
The Invention of the Wright Brother’s Airplane
Who Invented Aircraft? The Wright Brothers have often been attributed to the invention of the airplane, but in fact, they are not the inventors. It can be argued that they were, however, the first to develop a plane that could make sustained, controlled, and powered flights.
However, this is by no means an accurate portrayal of the inventors who preceded them and laid the foundations for flight. Most notably among these was Alphonse Pénaud who attempted to build his own aircraft in 1876 before coming to understand that human power alone was insufficient to sustain flight.
He then turned his attention to understanding how birds fly, concluding that birds must use both wings together and work in unison. He subsequently developed the idea of using wing warping twisting one wingtip relative to the other as a way of controlling an aircraft’s direction.
In 1889 he patented the technology and a French company began manufacturing it, but this did not produce much success. (Read The Economy vs Premium Economy: Which One Should You Choose?)
In 1891 he built an unmanned glider and had it tethered to a string so that it would rise up into the air when released.
A person standing on top of it would be able to direct its movement through cables running from pulleys attached to each wingtip; such movement pulled on each cable which warped or twisted one wingtip relative to the other.
When released from its tethers, the glider soared up into the air, much like a bird being released from captivity after having been caged for too long.
Who Invented the Air-Ship?
In 1783, a French inventor made the first unmanned and untethered flight in a hot air balloon. This invention and many others helped pioneer aircraft engineering that finally culminated in the practical and reliable flying machines we all know today.
You may be wondering, who invented aircraft and took the final step to make it a viable, man-made invention. Well, aviation history actually has two inventors; they were Otto Lilienthal and Octave Chanute.
And while Octave Chanute was not able to successfully engineer flying machines before his death, he wrote extensively about what he had learned in hopes that one day other engineers would continue his work.
As a result, some sources consider him an indirect contributor to the eventual invention of aircraft. But thanks to Otto Lilienthal’s persistence and hard work, aeronautical engineering was soon born.
The History of the Invention of Aircraft: One might ask what came first, the chicken or the egg? That is difficult to answer because one cannot exist without the other.
However with regard to inventing aircraft, if we are referring to wings on either birds or planes, then that question can be answered by tracing back from airplanes in use today.
We can find out who invented these wings by looking at when these inventions occurred and tracing them back through time.
The History of Charles F. Voisin and His Contributions to Aviation Innovation
Charles F. Voisin was a brilliant aviator who designed and produced airplanes that were so far ahead of his time they still stand out to be some of the best in the world.
His contribution to aviation innovation is simply monumental. Although he had always aspired to become an artist, Charles got his chance at fame when he finally obtained his pilot’s license in 1912.
Shortly after obtaining his license, he took up an apprenticeship with André Wessonneau, the co-founder of one of France’s first aircraft companies Société des Avions Michel Wessonneau et Cie. They worked together for 3 years before going their separate ways.
He then teamed up with Leon Bollée, inventor of the modern automobile starter motor, and established what would become Aéroplanes Voisin in 1910. From 1910 until 1913, they delivered 27 planes to the French military but ceased production because of World War I.