Aircraft

From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is developing and not approved.
Main Article
Talk
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
 
This editable Main Article is under development and not meant to be cited; by editing it you can help to improve it towards a future approved, citable version. These unapproved articles are subject to a disclaimer.
(PD) Photo: PDPhoto.org
Airplanes are a type of heavier-than-air aircraft.
(PD) Photo: -- US Army TACOM
Helicopters are a type of heavier-than-air aircraft.
(PD) Photo: -- Bryan Kennedy
A hot air balloon is a type of lighter-than-air aircraft.

Aircraft are vehicles capable of sustained flight within the Earth's atmosphere.

Vehicles that travel beyond the Earth's atmosphere, normally defined as 100,000 meters altitude, are called spacecraft.

Types

Most aircraft remain aloft by pushing air downward, in other words creating aerodynamic lift, are called heavier-than-air aircraft. Examples are airplanes, gliders, and helicopters.

Aircraft that remain aloft by using low density gas to create buoyancy, called aerostatic lift, are called lighter-than-air aircraft. Examples include balloons and airships. Collectively they are called aerostats.

History

First flight of the Wright brothers.

The first flight of a human being was made in Paris in 1783 in an aircraft built by the Montgofier brothers.

Although there remains some controversy about who should be credited with the first heavier-than-air flight, the honor is most commonly assigned to the Wright brothers for their flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903.


The first supersonic flight was made on Oct. 14, 1947 by Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager in the Bell X-1 by reaching about 700 miles per hour (Mach 1.06) at an altitude of approximately 43,000 feet.