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December 10, 2011

Planes of the World

How Did We Learn to Fly Like the Birds?
On a cold and windy day in December 1903, near a place called Kitty Hawk in Northern Carolina, USA, the Wright brothers made the first successful experiment in which a machine carrying a man actually flew. The machine rose by its own power, flew naturally, at even speed, and descended. This is considered as the first powered, controlled flight. But it was, by no means, the first attempt by men to fly like birds in the air.

Ancient Chinese kites are an indication of men's attempts to experiment with flying objects.   Leonardo da Vinci made several  designs of  flying machines with wings and tails. The drawing on the left is one such, called the ornithopter. Although never built, they  illustrated the concept of modern helicopters.

As the years passed, inventors built hot air balloons, airships and gliders in which people were borne aloft.  The sites Early Flying Machines and the History of Flight  describe the chronology of inventions and experiments in aviation.

A Woman Aviator
Among the many famous aviators, Amelia Earhart stands out as the only woman who set world records. She was also the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1928, a year after Charles Lindbergh.

Modern Airplanes
Immediately after planes were invented, they began to be used for warfare in Europe. Between the First and second World Wars, there were rapid advances in aviation. Click here  to see how the Indian Air Force has grown and made major strides since Independence.

Freight-carrying Fedex plane
Commercial airlines began to operate from the beginning of the 20th century. KLM, founded in 1919, is the oldest airline still in existence!

There are different types of aircraft to fly people, luggage, cargo, military personnel and weapons.

Today  every new generation of aircrafts flies faster and higher. Planes  are getting bigger and more sophisticated.



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