Re: Firsts In Flight
Around 1480, Leonardo Da Vinci drew plans for an airscrew-operated flying machine, the first helicopter design, long before the first helicopter was successfully developed. It incorporated Archimedes’ screw as the main rotor.
Joseph Michel and Jacques Etienne Montgolfier invented the first hot air balloon in 1783. Their first passengers would have been right at home on a woot tee - a sheep, a rooster and a duck. The volunteer aviators traveled upwards approximately 6,000 feet and covered a distance of more than 1 mile. Then they were probably eaten.
German engineer, Otto Lilienthal, was the first person to design a manned glider. He wrote a book on aerodynamics that the Wright Brothers used as the basis for their designs. After making more than 2500 successful flights, Lilienthal lost control of his glider and suffered a fatal crash.
Orville and Wilbur Wright’s Flyer made the first heavier-than-air flight at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. The Wright Flyer weighed six hundred and five pounds and traveled one hundred twenty feet in twelve seconds.
The F-111 ‘Aardvark’ was the world's first operational swing wing aircraft - leading the way for future global counterparts in the form of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, the Tornado, the MiG and the Su-17. My brother was an F111 pilot, who was killed as the result of a bird strike while flying over the North Sea, which is why I chose to include the F111.
NASA's Ares 1-X rocket completed its first test flight at the Kennedy Space Center Wednesday of this week. The Ares rocket will eventually replace the space shuttle. The Ares is part of the Constellation program, the purpose of which is to allow astronauts to return to the moon and eventually land on Mars. Our favorite fishing spot on the Tennessee River was recently closed - rumor has it that it was because they had to make way for a huge barge for NASA – hmmm. We live near Huntsville, AL, known as Rocket City.