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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Introduction To Flying
History of Flight

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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge



Table of Contents

Chapter 1, Introduction To Flying
Chapter 2, Aircraft Structure
Chapter 3, Principles of Flight
Chapter 4, Aerodynamics of Flight
Chapter 5, Flight Controls
Chapter 6, Aircraft Systems
Chapter 7, Flight Instruments
Chapter 8, Flight Manuals and Other Documents
Chapter 9, Weight and Balance
Chapter 10, Aircraft Performance
Chapter 11, Weather Theory
Chapter 12, Aviation Weather Services
Chapter 13, Airport Operation
Chapter 14, Airspace
Chapter 15, Navigation
Chapter 16, Aeromedical Factors
Chapter 17, Aeronautical Decision Making




History of Flight

From prehistoric times, humans have watched the flight of
birds, longed to imitate them, but lacked the power to do
so. Logic dictated that if the small muscles of birds can lift
them into the air and sustain them, then the larger muscles
of humans should be able to duplicate the feat. No one knew
about the intricate mesh of muscles, sinew, heart, breathing
system, and devices not unlike wing flaps, variable-camber
and spoilers of the modern airplane that enabled a bird to
fly. Still, thousands of years and countless lives were lost in
attempts to fly like birds.

The identity of the first "bird-men" who fitted themselves
with wings and leapt off a cliff in an effort to fly are lost in
time, but each failure gave those who wished to fly questions
that needed answering. Where had the wing flappers gone
wrong? Philosophers, scientists, and inventors offered
solutions, but no one could add wings to the human body
and soar like a bird. During the 1500s, Leonardo da Vinci
filled pages of his notebooks with sketches of proposed
flying machines, but most of his ideas were flawed because
he clung to the idea of birdlike wings. [Figure 1-1] By
1655, mathematician, physicist, and inventor Robert Hooke
concluded the human body does not possess the strength
to power artificial wings. He believed human flight would
require some form of artificial propulsion.

Leonardo da Vinci’s ornithopter wings.
Figure 1-1. Leonardo da Vinci's ornithopter wings.

The quest for human flight led some practitioners in another direction. In 1783, the first manned hot air balloon, crafted by Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier, flew for 23 minutes. Ten days
later, Professor Jacques Charles flew the first gas balloon. A
madness for balloon flight captivated the public's imagination and for a time flying enthusiasts turned their expertise to the promise of lighter-than-air flight But for all its majesty in the air, the balloon was little more than a billowing heap of cloth capable of no more than a one-way, downwind journey.

Balloons solved the problem of lift, but that was only one of
the problems of human flight The ability to control speed
and direction eluded balloonists. The solution to that problem
lay in a child's toy familiar to the East for 2,000 years, but
not introduced to the West until the 13th century. The kite,
used by the Chinese manned for aerial observation and to test
winds for sailing, and unmanned as a signaling device and as
a toy, held many of the answers to lifting a heavier-than-air
device into the air.

One of the men who believed the study of kites unlocked
the secrets of winged flight was Sir George Cayley. Born
in England 10 years before the Mongolfier balloon flight,
Cayley spent his 84 years seeking to develop a heavier-thanair
vehicle supported by kite-shaped wings. [Figure 1-2] The
"Father of Aerial Navigation," Cayley discovered the basic
principles on which the modern science of aeronautics is
founded, built what is recognized as the first successful flying
model, and tested the first full-size man-carrying airplane.

Glider from 1852 by Sir George Cayley, British aviator
Figure 1-2. Glider from 1852 by Sir George Cayley, British aviator