How Did We Take the Leap and Fly Like a Bird

People have been filled with the desire to fly ever since the dawn of time. While some have tried and failed, others established the groundwork for modern airplanes.

People have long dreamed of soaring through the skies, wings outstretched and free.

Many interesting inventions have been thought up over the years to make this dream a reality.

In 1783, French brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier designed a hot air balloon to float them toward the clouds. It managed to travel 5 miles in about half an hour. A short time later, Jacques Alexander Charles and Nicholas Louis Robert designed a balloon that managed to travel 22 miles in two hours. 

Then, almost 100 years later, an engineer named Henri Giffard invented the first steam-powered air flight. He designed a cigar-shaped airship powered by a 3-horsepower steam engine and driven by a three-bladed propeller. He traveled exactly 26 miles from Paris to Élancourt with this airship he named "Giffard Dirigible." The flight was the first example that a steam-powered airship could be steered and controlled. Sadly, the design was abandoned because it was easily affected by weather conditions. I hear it was a pretty bumpy ride! However, it gave hope for a bigger, greater invention to follow: the airplane!

Inspired by their predecessors, Orville and Wilbur Wright built the very first airplane in 1903. The American brothers accomplished the first gas-powered flight in history after taking off and flying for around 131 feet for 12 seconds.

Of course, the first thing these marvelous machines were used for was war. The Germans and their allies used the newly-developed aircraft extensively as a combat tool during World War I.

After the war, the race to develop faster, longer-flying, better airplanes was on!

In 1947, Chuck Yeager broke the speed of sound, flying 662 miles per hour at an altitude of 40.000 with the plane named X-1, and opened a new era in the history of airplanes.

And a few years later, in 1952, jet engines began to be used in passenger transport and for commercial purposes. Jet-powered airplanes have become one of the most popular and effective ways of travel. They have given us the freedom to get from point A to B in an incredibly quick and efficient way. We can even fly around the world! Something only dreamed of just a short time ago.