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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
Introduction To Flying
History of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

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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




For the half-century after Cayley's death, contless scientists,
flying enthusiasts, and inventors worked toward building
a powered flying machine. Men, such as William Samuel
Henson, who designed a huge monoplane that was propelled
by a steam engine housed inside the fuselage, and Otto
Lilienthal, who proved human flight in aircraft heavier than
air was practical, worked toward the dream of powered flight.
A dream turned into reality by Wilbur and Orville Wright at
Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903.

The bicycle-building Wright brothers of Dayton, Ohio, had
experimented for 4 years with kites, their own homemade
wind tunnel, and different engines to power their biplane.
One of their great achievements was proving the value of the
scientific, rather than build-it-and-see approach to flight. Their
biplane, The Flyer, combined inspired design and engineering
with superior craftsmanship. [Figure 1-3] By the afternoon of
December 17th, the Wright brothers had flown a total of 98
seconds on four flights The age of flight had arrived.

First flight by the Wright brothers.
Figure 1-3. First flight by the Wright brothers.

History of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

During the early years of manned flight, aviation was a
free for all because no government body was in place to
establish policies or regulate and enforce safety standards.
Individuals were free to conduct flights and operate aircraft
with no government oversight. Most of the early flights were
conducted for sport. Aviation was expensive and became the
playground of the wealthy. Since these early airplanes were
small, many people doubted their commercial value. One
group of individuals believed otherwise and they became
the genesis for modern airline travel.

P. E. Fansler, a Florida businessman living in St. Petersburg
approached Tom Benoist of the Benoist Aircraft Company
in St. Louis, Missouri, about starting a flight route from St.
Petersburg across the waterway to Tampa. Benoist suggested
using his "Safety First" airboat and the two men signed an
agreement for what would become the first scheduled airline
in the United States. The first aircraft was delivered to St.
Petersburg and made the first test flight on December 31,
1913. [Figure 1-4]

Benoist airboat
Figure 1-4. Benoist airboat.

A public auction decided who would win the honor of
becoming the first paying airline customer. The former
mayor of St. Petersburg, A. C. Pheil made the winning bid
of $400.00 which secured his place in history as the first
paying airline passenger.

On January 1, 1914, the first scheduled airline flight was
conducted. The flight length was 21 miles and lasted 23
minutes due to a headwind. The return trip took 20 minutes.
The line, which was subsidized by Florida businessmen,
continued for 4 months and offered regular passage for $5.00
per person or $5.00 per 100 pounds of cargo. Shortly after the
opening of the line, Benoist added a new airboat that afforded
more protection from spray during takeoff and landing.
The routes were also extended to Manatee, Bradenton, and
Sarasota giving further credence to the idea of a portable
commercial airline.

The St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line continued throughout
the winter months with flights finally being suspended when
the winter tourist industry began to dry up. The airline
operated only for 4 months, but 1,205 passengers were
carried without injury. This experiment proved commercial
passenger airline travel was viable.

The advent of World War I offered the airplane a chance
to demonstrate its varied capabilities. It began the war as a
reconnaissance platform, but by 1918, airplanes were being
mass produced to serve as fighters, bombers, trainers, as well
as reconnaissance platforms.