Airplanes are everywhere around us in this modern world. Aircraft have developed a lot throughout the hundred plus years they have existed. Although, as an invention they are pretty new, compared to other inventions that have shaped humanity, they have already changed a lot of the aspects of transportation.
Since the dawn of time people have always wanted to be able to fly into the skies like a free birds do. Although humans are not gifted with that ability, many of the passionate engineers took this task to heart and started planning flying machines which can stay aloft for more than a couple of seconds, which was the maximum time a person could stay airborne without falling to most certain death. Everything started with Leonardo Da Vinci’s plans and blueprints for a flying contraption resembling to some extent a modern helicopter. Since then, countless blueprints and new ideas have popped up in the worlds engineers, but the first aircraft to successfully stay airborne for longer than two seconds was the Wright brothers’ first glider. After extensive research, modification, and trial and error the first motor powered aircraft, called “Flyer”, was finished, but could fly for only 12 seconds. On the following year, however, after some modification Flyer || rolled out and was capable of a five minute continuous flight. Following those events and researches many more aircraft have been planned, tested and then used for various different tasks changing and bringing the world a step closer with every new model built and used.
Although the airplane industry was growing steadily, what really boosted the research and building of new planes was WW I. A lot of the big and already pretty powerful countries such as the US, Soviet Russia and later on The Soviet Union, just to name a few, all rushed to make as much and as good airplanes as they could because they understood that airplanes were perfect for warfare domination and combat. The three main aspects in which airplanes can be helpful in warfare are the fact that planes drastically enlarge the “chessboard” of the battlefield and bring commanders new tactics at hand, the second change is the fact that a lot of new weapons can be fitted to those planes and the third main purpose of aircraft on the battlefield is of a support role – they can transport people or supplies to the battlefield as well as supporting ground troops in the fight. The tactics which airplanes brought were drastically different from the ones used before. One of the crucial changes to the warfare tactics at that time was that planes could only be stopped by Anti-Aircraft-Artillery (AAA guns) or other planes. Before there were airplanes for leaders to invade a country it was needed to transport the whole army (or the chosen part of it) by ships or ground vehicles. This by itself costed a lot of time and resources to the invaders, but when aircraft were introduced to war everything changed. Commanders could send a fleet of airplanes which would then do all of the work which ground troops should’ve done. This saved a lot of precious time, resources and man loss. That meant that invading cities and countries was a lot more easier than before. Although planes were the best method to pave the way to the center of the invaded country for the ground troops, when most of the countries got their hands on their own airplanes, the weapons on all planes got obsolete. And so the “race” for air supremacy began. All of the engineers assigned to the air force were hard at work because they had to come up with new and clever designs in order to have that air supremacy. A lot of different machine guns which shot as much rounds as possible, cannon guns which shot larger, and consequently deadlier, rounds, and last, but not least – bombs, which speak for their power themselves. Although machine guns and cannon guns can have a lot of intricate details for their advancements, aircraft changed the way nuclear and TNT bombs were used. Before airplanes the most basic form of bombs were hand grenades and landmines which were used by ground forces to do a big amount of damage in a small area, while also risking their own lives carrying and throwing those grenades. When planes were fitted with nuclear bombs they can fly over the target and drop the bombs from heights which AAA rounds can’t reach. This can deal massive amount of damage to a big area because of the bigger explosion power of the bombs, while also being safe and not risking any of the lives of the airplane crew. Despite the fact that guns played a big role in the “air war”, for those guns to be effective there must be better planes to which they would be attached. The engineering of the war was amazing. The engineers managed to make more agile, faster, stronger and bigger aircraft by having a very tightly scheduled deadline is mindblowing. There were five main types of war airplanes and each of which had a different role to fill. Those engineers had to think of the strategies of the commanders, their needs, costs and time. All in all, airplanes played a massive role in warfare and helped shape history as it is now is.
The most well-known to people kind of aviation is the commercial aviation. There are 3 main aspects to commercial aviation. The transport of people around the globe for vacation travelling, business travelling and the fact that commercial and cargo aviation, which I will discuss in the next paragraph, are the most notorious aspects to commercial aviation. The most common knowledge of people in the field of aviation is the fact that airplanes can transport people from one place to another very fast over long distances. Before airplanes people had to travel either by a train or a very slow car, but no matter what vehicle they chose it was very time consuming and dreaded travel. Nowadays some people travel only because of the experience of the travel itself, not because of the destination, but back then nobody would like to travel. This meant that when planes were introduced to the public for transport they gained popularity very fast. They offered shortened travel times and the distances travelled became “smaller”. Although the mass of people travel to have fun there is the other side of the coin, business travel. This type of travel is mainly used for personal meeting with an important person, crucial for the business of the traveller, or to finalize a deal which is also crucial. Business travel has changed a lot since the times when travelling between place which were far apart took days, weeks and even months. Commercial aviation has made some types of long distance businesses possible, which by itself has enlarged the business market. All in all, commercial travel has changed the way people travel around the world a lot.
Last, but not least, is the cargo and medical aviation. The cargo aviation category is pretty self explanatory. The main two purposes of cargo aviation is to transport different goods from all around the globe and transport them very fast. One of the abilities of cargo planes and cargo transport in general is the fact that loot can be delivered from one end of the world to the other for less than 24 hours. This alone expands the market everywhere in the world, where there is an airport, massively. Goods from around the world can be sold at different points on the globe simultaneously, making everything cost less because of the market’s size and whereabouts. However, medical aviation can hugely impact markets and people’s lives directly by saving their lives or transporting special medecine to people in need as fast as possible. Many of the more advanced hospitals around the globe have a specialized helicopter which is used to transport a badly wounded or dying person to a hospital without the need to wait in traffic. Those helicopters are fitted with the most essential medicines and life saving devices which every ambulance comes with, but the added benefit of those helicopters is ofcourse their speed. Those two factors bring the world closer by making the exchange of goods and cargo very easy and fast. All in all, aviation has not only made the transport of cargo and medication faster and easier, but has also saved thousands of lives while bringing the world closer together.
As a matter of fact aviation has impacted the course of history, commercial travel and the transportation of different goods a lot. Many of the world standards for speed and efficiency have changed dramatically since the first aircraft were used. Although people get the idea that planes have always been there because they have never experienced a plane-less world, aviation and the technology of air travel is still improving and maybe someday might even change itself as dramatically as it changed the world.