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Aircraft

Story of flight

The first successful flight of the Wright FlyerThe first successful flight of the Wright Flyer The first manned flight took place in 1783 in a hot-air balloon. It took another 120 years before the Wright brothers made the first controlled, powered flight in an aeroplane. After this, aviation technology made rapid advances. In the 1920s, the first passenger airlines were formed, enabling people to travel quickly all over the world. Since the end of World War II, and the invention of jet aircraft, millions of people travel long distances each year by jet airliner.

The Montgolfiers' balloon, MontgolfièreThe Montgolfiers' balloon, Montgolfière

Montgolfiers' balloon

The first aircraft to carry humans free of the Earth’s surface was a balloon. In 1783 the French brothers Joseph and Étienne Montgolfier discovered that an airtight bag filled with hot air would rise. They made a much larger bag, attached a wicker basket, and sent a sheep, a cockerel and a duck on a short flight before the astonished gaze of King Louis XVI. Later that year, on 21st November, Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquis d’Arlandes became the first aviators in history when their paper-lined linen balloon lifted off to a height of 85 metres (279 feet). Powered by the rising hot air from a fire of burning straw, the Montgolfière drifted over Paris for 25 minutes before landing 8.5 kilometres (5.3 miles) away.


The first craft to fly humans above the Earth’s surface were kites. In AD 550, enemies of the Chinese prince Yuan Huangtou tied him to a large kite and flew it from a tower. Possibly, he was the first person ever to fly.

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