Recent History

During the 1920s and 1930s, there was a huge leap forward in the field of aviation. Noteworthy milestones included Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight in 1927, and Charles Kingsford Smith’s transpacific flight the following year.

Without doubt, the most successful design of this period was the Douglas DC3, which became the first airliner to carry passengers profitably, and ushered in a new era in passenger airline service.

By the beginning of the Second World War, many towns and cities had built airports, and there were many eager and qualified pilots available. There were many new innovations in aviation, including the first jet aircraft and the first liquid-fueled rockets, which were the result of research generated during WW2.

There was a boom in aviation, in both the private and commercial sectors, after the war, in particular in North America. This was due, in no small part, to the thousands of pilots who became available from the military, and the plethora of inexpensive war-surplus transport and training aircraft which became available. Manufacturers such as Cessna, Piper, and Beechcraft rapidly expanded production in order to provide a ready supply of light aircraft for the new middle class market.

As the 1950s dawned, the development of civil jets had expanded at a pace, starting with the de Havilland Comet. The Boeing 707 was the first commercially successful passenger jet, since it was much more economical than its competitors of the period. By now, turboprop propulsion was coming into its own on smaller commuter planes, with the result that low-volume routes could now be served in a much wider range of weather conditions.

In 1961, Yuri Gagarin was the first human to travel to space whilst, in 1969, Neil Armstrong was the first to set foot on the moon. Since the 1960s, composite airframes, which are engineered materials made from two or more constituent materials, and quieter more efficient engines had become available, and Concorde was the first supersonic passenger airliner.

However, the most important, and lasting innovations took place in the field of instrumentation and control. This was exemplified by the arrival of solid state electronics, GPS, or Global Positioning Satellite, satellite communications, and increasingly small and powerful computers and LED displays, which is a semiconductor diode that emits light when an electric current is applied in the forward direction of the device, have dramatically changed the cockpits of airliners and, increasingly, of smaller aircraft as well.

Pilots can navigate much more accurately and view terrain, obstructions, and other nearby aircraft on a map or through synthetic vision, which is a technology that provides pilots with a clear and precise method of understanding the environment in which they are flying, even at night or in low visibility.

In 2004, SpaceShipOne became the first privately funded aircraft to make a spaceflight which presented the spectre of an aviation market outside the earth's atmosphere. Aircraft powered by alternative fuels, such as ethanol, electricity, and even solar power, are becoming more common and may soon become a reality, at least for light aircraft.

Aviation – How To Succeed

Author's Bio: 

Peter Radford writes Articles with Websites on a wide range of subjects. Aviation Articles cover History, Aircraft Types, Air Traffic Control.

His Website contains a total of 75 Aviation Articles, written by others and carefully selected.

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