The plane and the dream of conquering the sky

The documentary Ideas that revolutionized the world, available at Movistar +, explains how the plane has evolved from its initial idea, eleven centuries ago, to the present. Many inventions served to improve a machine that is currently the safest medium that exists.

Throughout our history, the human being had a dream he wanted to achieve: the dream of being able to fly. Thanks to our creativity, that idea has evolved over the centuries and it was possible to create the perfect machine to cross the sky: the plane.

The invention of the plane has meant a revolution in today’s world, but if we go back eleven centuries ago the sky was free of people. But there was a person who wanted to conquer heaven.

Legend has it that in around 860 A.D., in Muslim Spain, a man named Ibn Firnás created a suit made of feathers and his arms pretended to be the wings of a bird. He climbed to the top of a mountain and tested the suit, managed to fly, but fell too fast and unfortunately broke his back and never tried again.

Kites and fluid dynamics
Air is what helps us to sustain ourselves while we fly and the study of air flow is called fluid dynamics.

An example of how fluid mechanics works is thanks to the use of kites, an invention created in China 2,500 years ago.

The reason why this invention is important is because we understand how a structure can be maintained in the air by balancing the forces that push down and those that lift it through the air.

Take flight thanks to Da Vinci
To dominate the forces of the air we have to wait a few centuries later when in 1502, in Florence, a scientist ahead of his time wanted to find the solution: we talked about Leonardo Da Vinci.

Da Vinci was interested in birds, he wanted to know how they were able to stay in the air by moving their wings. He discovered that it was not only necessary to use the arms as wings because our muscles are not so strong to take flight.

Therefore, instead of tying wings to his arms, he came up with the idea of ​​creating a machine that could beat wings like birds. He had created the first machine in history, but failed to fly. Why didn’t he get it? Da Vinci needed more advanced technology.

The first planes: from George Cayley to the Wright brothers
We traveled a few centuries later, where British aristocrat George Cayley investigated why birds had the ability to plan. That investigation lasted 50 years until all his effort worked: he managed to create the first functional glider and the first crewman was a ten-year-old boy.

Later the German businessman, Otto Lilienthal built a flying machine based on previous studies. He combined all the inventions and the result was positive, he managed to descend a flying hill. These prototypes were driven by physical force, but how did the first motorized aircraft appear?

The Wright brothers have the answer, they perfected the previous inventions and with the application of a small engine the first flight propelled in history arises.

A rapid evolution
From the first motorized flight the evolution of the aircraft advanced rapidly. The Wright brothers sold the aircraft prototype to the United States Department of Defense and they were commissioned to refine the designs to serve as a resource in the war.

But these designs were faster and flew higher which posed a danger to the occupants. The security measures evolved, as is the case with pressurized cabins so that the high-pressure changes did not cause inconvenience to the pilots of the time.

Do you want to know more about the evolution of airplanes? Along with these ideas that we have listed, more inventions emerged that served to help improve an invention that millions of people use to make large displacements. All this you can see in the documentary Ideas that revolutionized the world, available on Movistar +.

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