World of Aerospace  

        Introduction to Aeronautics, Early History and Developments of Aeronautics, Modern Developments and history of Aeronautics, 
      Aeronautics Today and Future of Aeronautics


Aeronautics is derived from the Greek words aero and nautics. Aero means air or sky and nautics means to sail or sailor i.e. Aeronautics means to sail the sky and air.


Introduction to Aeronautics

Technically speaking, Aeronautics is the branch of science involved the understanding, design, operations and manufacturing of flying vehicles within the Earth Atmosphere e.g. Aircrafts, Flying ships, Helicopters etc. Aeronautics is a sub-branch of Aerospace.


Aeronautics is also involved with the techniques of operating and flying the aircraft. However, Aeronautics has grown to include technology and others aspects related to the design, manufacture, maintenance and operations of aircrafts. Aviation is a term sometimes used interchangeably with aeronautics although aeronautics is now widely recognized as the science, design, engineering and operations of aircrafts or other flying vehicles within an Earth atmosphere.


Aeronautics is related to Aeronautical Engineering. Aeronautics started with the urge of man to reach for the sky and to fly. Aeronautics has contributed vastly to the study of science of aerodynamics which is a science involving the flow of the fluid (air) in the atmosphere and related phenomenon. Aerodynamics deals with the motion of the air and the way in which it attracts with flying vehicles in air like aircrafts, helicopters, even golf balls etc. Anything that fly’s in the air interacts with the air and so an understanding of aerodynamics was a must towards the development and understanding of aeronautics.


History of Aeronautics


Early Developments and History of Aeronautics

Even before the science of aeronautics was not fully understood, man dreamed to fly in the air. It was the final frontier for the human kind. It was the dream of man to reach for the sky and fly like a bird. Early accounts of interests in flying can be traced back to the mythical story of two Greek legends, Icarus and his father Daedulus. Icarus was the son of Daedulus they were both trapped in a prison. So they built wings of feathers and wax and flew into the air like a bird. Icarus in an excitement flew higher and higher close to the sun. Daedulus won his son not to fly so high, but Icarus didn’t listen. The burning sunshine melted his wax joined wings and he dropped from the sky and fell into the sea.


Early interest in aeronautics can also be traced back to China where Chinese people flew kites in celebrations. The kites are an example of flying vehicles. They were unknowingly controlling a flying vehicle be it made of paper or light fabrics from ground. Early interest in rocketry in China also points towards interest in flying in air and going to space. A legend has it a Chinese priest attached many rockets with his chair and claimed that when he would fire the rockets he will fly and go to the moon.

Early attempts to fly can also be traced back to Syrians which people attempted to fly like a bird by attaching to themselves wings made of fabrics and jumping off minarets. It can be seen that an interest in flight has always been there in the human history.


Up ahead of 1500-1600 AD scientific approach to problem solving and understanding of physical phenomenon’s started taking place. Many scholars took interest in understanding the bird flight. People thought that once an understanding of bird flight can be understood than the human flight can also be made possible. Leonardo Da Vinci in Italy was inspired by the bird flight and his early engineering schematics and drawings closely resemble and copy the mechanism of bird wings. Leonardo Da Vinci was the first one to design these early flying machines. He thought that the flapping wing mechanism of the birds is the only way in which flight could be achieved. He developed the ornithopter which failed to become a practical aircraft. The flapping mechanism designed by Leonardo were either to small to generate the necessary lift force for flight or were either too heavy.


Modern Developments and History of Aeronautics

Modern Developments in the field of Aeronautics again started with the study of bird flight. Eminent contributors of aeronautics like the Wright Brothers studied bird flight before they were able to build and fly a heavier than air flying vehicle. A major contribution in Aeronautics can be traced back to Sir George Cayley who can be called as the father of modern day aircraft. He gave the general idea of the configuration of an airplane including the fixed wing and tail.


In the late 19th century human flight was achieved through the use of gliders.  Early pioneers in aeronautics studied and flown many gliders. The glider flight gave early aeronautical pioneers the knowledge and understanding to build heavier than air powered airplanes.


 In the 20th Century, Wright Brother in 1903 after studying bird flight and then making there own gliders and finally were able to fly a heavier than air flying vehicle called the Wright Flyer and can be called as the modern founders of Aeronautics.


After the Wright Brothers successful flight of Wright Brothers interested in Aeronautics grew a thousand times. People started understanding the science of aerodynamics and were able to start making better and better aeronautical flying vehicles. Aeronautics came to America, Europe, Russia and then to the rest of the world. New records of flying and better performance airplanes were coming every year. These modern developments in Aeronautics were able because of man’s better understanding of aerodynamics, flight principles and aeronautics.


Aeronautics Today

From the humble beginnings in 1903 with the Wright Flyer, Aeronautics has grown to build bigger and better flying airplanes. Aeronautics contributed to faster flying vehicles and making the world a global village. Aeronautics enabled the exploration of the world and the discovery of unknown or hard to reach places. Early aeronautical airplanes use piston engines; these were then replaced by turboprop engines and then turbojet and turbofan engines. Today, the world’s largest airplane the Airbus A380 is a milestone in the development of aeronautics.


Future of Aeronautics

Future of Aeronautics is very bright as new and new technologies come to offer more cheap and safer flight possible. More and more population of the world wants to fly to more destinations all across the world. From military to commercial airplanes the demand for better performance airplanes are on the rise. Even supersonic commercial airplanes have sperm new interest in the field of aeronautics and aeronautical research. The development of Blended wing body aircraft is also an indicator of future of flight and aeronautics to come.




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