– History of Aviation Industry

An overview of the aerospace industry. A brief account of how modern aerospace began with Sir George Cayley in 1799 and the success of the Wright brothers through to the massive developments in today’s international airspace.

Modern aerospace began with Sir George Cayley in 1799 when he proposed a fixed-wing aircraft with horizontal and vertical tail, defining the characteristics of modern aircraft. The 19th century saw the establishment of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain, the American Rocketry Society and the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, all of which made aeronautics a more serious scientific discipline. Aviators like Otto Lilienthal, who introduced cambered airfoils in 1891, used gliders to analyze aerodynamic forces. The Wright brothers made the first sustained powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. The launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 marked the beginning of the space age, and on July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 took made the first manned moon landing. In 1981, the space shuttle “Columbia” launched the beginning of regular manned access to orbital space. A sustained human presence in orbital space began with “Mir” in 1986 and continues with the “International Space Station”. Space commercialization and space tourism are more recent areas of interest for aerospace.

First years :

The aircraft remained an experimental aircraft for five years, even after Brother Wright’s first flight in December 1903. In 1908, the Wrights were awarded a contract to manufacture a single US Army aircraft and also licensed their patents for allow the Astra company to manufacture planes in France. . Glenn Curtiss of New York began selling his own airplane in 1909, inspiring many American airplane enthusiasts to become entrepreneurs.


The Europeans took a clear lead in aircraft manufacturing. By the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914, French companies had built over 2,000 aircraft; German companies had built about 1,000, and Britain slightly less. American companies had built less than a hundred, most of which were unique. Seven companies built more than 22,500 of the 400 horsepower Liberty engines, and their efforts laid the foundation for an efficient and well-focused aero-engine industry, led by Wright Aeronautical Company and Curtiss Airplane and Motor.

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was established in May 1915 in the United States and disseminated scientific information for explicit use in industry. Universities began to offer aircraft-specific engineering degrees. American aircraft designers formed a patent pool in July 1917, whereby all aircraft companies cross-licensed key patents and paid into the pool without fear of infringement suits. The post-war glut of light aircraft made it possible for anyone who dreamed of flying to become a pilot.

During the 1920s, airplanes took on their modern form. By the mid-1930s, metal replaced wood as the material of choice in aircraft construction, so new types of component suppliers fueled aircraft manufacturers. Aircraft customers became more sophisticated in matching designs to their needs, and the military trained air weapons specifically to exploit this new technology. Airline companies began carrying passengers in the 1920s. European nations developed airmail routes around their colonies.

Airmail company:

The United States was the only country with an extensive indigenous airmail system, and it led the structure of the industry during the 1920s. The Kelly Air Mail Act of 1925 gave the airmail industry to hundreds of small businesses owned by pilots who jumped from the airport and the airport. Gradually, these operations were consolidated into larger airlines.

Many advances in aircraft design during the 1930s focused on the comfort, efficiency and safety of air travel – cabin pressurization, retractable landing gear, better instrumentation and better navigational devices around airports . During the six-year period from 1940 to 1945, American companies built 300,000 military aircraft compared to 20,000 in the previous six years. In 1943, the aircraft industry was the largest producer and employer in the United States – with 1,345,000 people working in aircraft manufacturing.

New technologies have led to a massive restructuring of the industry. Established airframe companies have shifted from manufacturing to research, while the military funneled funds to start-up companies specializing in technology. Intercontinental ballistic missile programs began in 1954 and fueled micro-level restructuring in the industry. ICBMs were touted as “winning weapons” to replace large numbers of aircraft, so missile companies invested in smaller but better factories.

The spacecraft and the rockets that put them into orbit were also revolutionary. The neologism “aerospace” reflected the form of money that poured into the industry after the Soviet launch of Sputnik in October 1957. In 1961, NASA was given the mission to send an American to the Moon and return him safely security on Earth before the end of the decade. out. NASA has built massive spaceports in Florida and Texas, upgraded its arsenal of research labs, bolstered its own network of hardware contractors, opened up new areas of materials science, and pioneered new methods for testing reliability. Following the success of Apollo, in the 1970s NASA invested ahead of demand to create the Space Shuttle for regular access to space. Program management and systems engineering were applied to military aircraft in the 1960s.

International industry:

International politics has always played a role in aviation. Airplanes in flight easily crossed national borders, so governments jointly developed navigation systems and airspace protocols. Spacecraft flew over national borders in seconds, so nations created international bodies to allocate portions of near-Earth space. INTELSAT, an international consortium modeled after COMSAT (the American consortium that governed the operations of commercial satellites) standardized the operation of geosynchronous satellites to start the commercialization of space.

International travel has grown rapidly and airlines have become one of the largest employers in the world. By the late 1950s, major airlines had switched to jet airliners built by Boeing or Douglas, which carried twice as many passengers at twice the speed in greater comfort. The Boeing 747 took international air travel to a new level after its introduction in January 1970. Every country had at least one airline, and each airline had slightly different requirements for the aircraft they used. By the 1990s, more than thirty countries had some capacity to manufacture complete aircraft. Some only made small general-purpose planes.