My Aviation History Papers


Biplane Guy
Hello everyone. In this thread I'll be showing you my papers for an aviation history independent study I'm taking this semester. New reports will come once every couple weeks at least. Constructive criticism is welcomed along with any other comments.

Here is the first paper regarding the wright brothers and their first flights at Kitty Hawk:

For the potential impact that the Wrights made on December 17th, 1903, their immediate impact was not very notable. Most people had already heard of zeppelins and other such airships so, when newspapers reported a new flying machine, most had assumed that there had been a new airship created. Newspaper reporters had reported the Wright’s creation only as an airship, and did not note the key differences between their heavier than air craft and the more common lighter than air craft most prevalent in Europe at the time.

The Wrights first became interested in flight as young boys. As was the fashion in the late eighteen hundreds, kites were often Wilbur and Orville’s favorite passtime. The first inkling of interest in building a flying machine was displayed in a letter that Wilbur had sent to the Smithsonian institution. The letter reads:

Wright Cycle Company
1127 West Third St.,
Dayton, Ohio. May 30, 1899
The Smithsonian Institution,
Dear Sirs:
I have been interested in the problem of mechanical and human flight ever since as a boy I constructed a number of bats of various sizes after the style of Crayley's and Penaud's machines. My observations since have only convinced me more firmly that human flight is possible and practicable. It is only a question of knowledge and skill just as in all acrobatic feats. Birds are the most perfectly trained gymnasts in the world and are specially well fitted for their work, and it may be that man will never equal them, but no one who has watched a bird chasing an insect or another bird can doubt that feats are performed which require three or four times the effort required in ordinary flight. I believe that simple flight at least is possible to man and that the experiments and investigations of a large number of independent workers will result in the accumulation of information and knowledge and skill which will finally lead to accomplished flight.
The works on the subject to which I have and access are Marey's and Jamieson's books published by Appleton's and various magazines and encyclopaedic articles. I am about to begin a systematic study of the subject in preparation for practical work to which I expect to devote what time I can spare from my regular business. I wish to obtain such papers as the Smithsonian Institution has published on this subject, and if possible a list of other works in print in the English language. I am an enthusiast, but not a crank in the sense that I have some pet theories as to the proper construction of a flying machine. I wish to avail myself of all that is already known and then if possible add my mite to help on the future workers who will attain final success. I do not know the terms on which you send out your publications but if you will inform me of the cost I will remit the price.
Yours truly,
Wilbur Wright

Wilbur had sent this letter in an attempt to gain knowledge of the “proper” theory and physics behind flight. The Smithsonian institute obliged happily and sent Wilbur and Orville copies of the latest books regarding the physics of flight.
Later that year, Orville and Wilbur built their first rendition of the “flyer” which was named after a bicycle made in the wright cycle company. The first test flights occurred at Kitty Hawk North Carolina in 1900. This unmanned glider was to be the starting point for all further experiments.

The Wrights came back for the next two years testing new gliders to get a viable airframe for a powered aircraft. It was not until 1902 that a working airframe had been completed. During the times between 1902 and 1903, the Wrights and their machinist, Charlie Taylor, designed and built a 12 horsepower internal combustion engine to power their first rendition of the powered airplane.

The Wright’s first flight took place on December 17th, 1903 on the windswept hills of Kitty Hawk North Carolina. The first flight only lasted about 12 seconds, but by the end of the 17th, the first airplane had flown for a record 59 seconds.
After their first flight, the Wrights moved on to better airplanes with improvements made in each iteration. The Flyer III was one of the most impressive machines the Wrights made. In 1908, Wilbur took a demonstration trip to France where he showed off what was certainly the best airplane at the time. By this time, there were a few other airplane companies in Europe that were competing with the Wrights. The critics of the Flyer III were silenced when it out flew the best machines in the world.

Unfortunately, the airplane had very little impact on anything but recreation in the early 1900’s. One general who was demonstrated the airplane’s capabilities was quoted as saying “the airplane is an interesting toy, but has no military value.” Most people in the US still did not know the difference between an airship and airplane until a few years after the first flight.
The airplane finally had it’s first major historic event in 1914, when both allied and central powers used them first as scouts, then armed escorts, and finally as tools of aerial bombardment.

The Wrights set off a great century of innovation through means of aviation, however, due to uneducated press and a lack of interest, their invention ironically did not take off right away.

And the second paper regarding aviation in WWI:

By 1914 the age of the mechanized military was the weapon of choice. Colossal ships roamed the globe above and below the water, some reaching targets from incredible distances. Tanks moved their crew across a new kind of battle field, one scorched with machine gun fire and chemical clouds, and for the first time ever, an airplane was used as a military asset. Enemy aircraft were originally relegated to observation duties, but soon the crisscrossing adversaries began shooting at eachother with their pistols, starting the airplane’s military career. The sky was now a battlefield.

After the news of what had happened in 1903, the Wright brothers were able to successfully start their own airplane company, selling to whomever wished to purchase an airplane for pleasure. Not long after this, other aircraft companies emerged to compete with Wright (most notably the Curtiss Aircraft Company). Of course, not all aircraft development happened in the United States. In Austria the Fokker company had started making it’s own aircraft for the European people.

Even though the airplane industry was on the rise by pre 1910, the market was not. Airplanes were expensive, even in the early 1900’s, and were really just considered toys for the rich. All of this changed when Orville Wright demonstrated the Flyer to the US Army. The demonstration flight ended in tragedy when the right propeller broke and the airplane crashed. Orville barely escaped with his life, but his passenger, Thomas Selfridge, was unfortunately killed.

This left a bad taste in the army’s mouth as to the implementation of the airplane into the ranks of military machines, but it did make the army interested in the development of the aircraft. The US was not the only country that was interested in procuring a flying machine. Germany had also started testing for their own air force.

Although it was an interesting time for aircraft development and implementation into the military, not everyone was on top of the ball when it ace to actually procuring their aircraft. The French military strategist Ferdinand Foch was quoted after witnessing a demonstration “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value”. (
Fast forwarding to the beginning of WWI, the airplane was becoming a vital asset to the militaries of both the Allied and Central Powers. In the earliest days of the war, generals used their airplanes to scout ahead of their troops to find any opposing soldiers that may block their path. It didn’t take long for higher ups to figure out that object could be dropped from an airplane flying above a battalion of enemy troops. At first pilots only dropped bricks, large rocks, or the occasional hand grenade, but soon purpose built bombs were being made.

This was not good for the people on the ground whose rifles would do little against a plane that was 500 to 100 feet above them, so the anti-aircraft battery was invented. Commonly called “flak”, the anti-aircraft shell would be shot to a set height where it would then explode in a cloud of black smoke and shrapnel.
Not every pilot that was in charge of scouting the enemy became a bomber pilot. A few of the pilots had service pistols that they would use to shoot at their adversaries rather than drop rocks on the ground below. With the invention of the machine gun happening at roughly the same time the airplane was invented, it did not take long for the two to be paired up. The first fighter planes were born.

Since the first fighter planes had machine guns that fired through the propeller’s spinning blades they had an alarming habit of shooting themselves down. The solution to this problem came from Anthony Fokker, the Austrian engineer who was designing aircraft for Germany. The “interrupter gear” as it was called, prohibited the machine gun from firing when the blade passed in front of the barrel thus preventing it from shooting the propeller off. A downed German fighter plane with the interrupter gear intact was recovered and reverse engineered to create a fighter plane for the allies, leading to the first dogfights.

The pilots that flew these first fighter planes were some of the best treated personnel in the military. Often times pilots that flew with the French forces were roomed in luxurious hotels and allowed to enjoy much of the culture that would never be appreciated by the ground and naval forces. Their comfort was only relative though. The average lifespan of a pilot in WWI was a measly 6 weeks by the end of the conflict. (

Pilots were also very gentlemanlike to their opponents. In one account a German pilot shot down a French observer aircraft and when he saw the crew land their craft in a field, he landed to assist. After the German pilot helped them out of their aircraft they shook hands and informed the French crew that they were now prisoners of war.

Those pilots that did survive lead the world into the famed golden age of aviation. The first flying circuses (airshows), airmail routes, and passenger services were mainly staffed by veteran pilots of WWI.

The airplane had matured greatly over the course of the 4 years it was employed by the militaries of the world and it experience several technological developments that greatly increased its range and performance. However great the advancements might be to the any, civilian or military aircraft after the war, the seeds were sown and the sky would forever be another battlefield.


Driftin' with the wind...
That is (in my opinion), great! :applause:
One little typo: "ace" instead of "came".
Although it was an interesting time for aircraft development and implementation into the military, not everyone was on top of the ball when it ace to actually procuring their aircraft. The French military strategist Ferdinand Foch was quoted after witnessing a demonstration “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value”. (


Junior Member
Wow! I'm a professional writer and must admit these papers are of the highest quality! I'm currently writing a review of The Bermuda Triangle Mystery: Solved (1975) by Lawrence David Kusche :) Actually, the topic is focused on that time planes' engines and I've never thought how interesting it can be :)


Junior Member
My research paper is about the anatomy of an optical illusion. Optical Illusions are relevant to aviation in that the main guidance system of most aircraft on most flights is the pilot's eyes. Everyone, including pilots, is susceptible to an optical illusion. The hazards of optical illusions are many considering that at any time during the flight they can cause a healthy and experienced.However, through education on the basic concepts of aviation I hope to reduce the fears that many people have concerning aviation and provide an insight to aviation in our future.
rush essay


Wake up! Time to fly!
Nice papers mate. Other then a few spell check fails they were both good reads. I learned the hard way to proof ALL my papers even after spell check and grammar check by the computer. They don't care about proper use of words like there they're and their and can make you look less impressive no matter how intellectually written the works had been. Also same with numbers, dates and times can use numerals but anything else should be in written form like time references for example you use 4 years vs. four years.

Not trying to teach here just remembering what I got hammered for in my papers years ago. May save you a few points on your scores. Nice work.


Winter is coming
Nice papers Keegan! It's always been my experience that the best research papers come about when you're passionate about a subject because that really comes out to the reader and makes it much more dynamic.


Faster than a speeding face plant!
The only editorial negative I have is this sentence. "By 1914 the age of the mechanized military was the weapon of choice." I'm not sure what you are saying in the opening sentence of the second paper.

How about:
By 1914 the age of mechanized military was in full swing.
By 1914 mechanized military was changing the face of warfare.
By 1914 governments of the world were embracing the concept of mechanized military.
By 1914 mechanized military had proven to be more than a match for non-mechanized forces.
By 1914 machines of war dominated battlefields in ways humans could not. The age of mechanized warfare had arrived.

My words have not been researched and should include a footnote. I am only attempting to rewrite what I think you are trying to say. If you use my words, please prove them first as I don't know much about mechanization in 1914. :)

I found your papers to be engaging, educational, and easy to read. This one sentence sticks out because it opens the second paper.

Thanks for the history lesson. :)


Biplane Guy
Yeah, that should have gotten fixed a while ago. When it was turned in I did a final edit on all of those papers, so that sentence might be changed in my google drive.


Faster than a speeding face plant!
Sorry, I hadn't realized how old the thread was. I wonder why it showed up in new posts today...

Still made for a good read this morning. :)


Hostage Taker of Quads
Staff member

A spammer posted an ad, bumping it up in the threads long enough for you to reply . . . then they got banned and deleted, and the now missing post makes it look like you took a turn for Necro-posting. You'd have to be a mod to see the gap.

Agreed -- cool papers to read :)


Faster than a speeding face plant!
I have been playing on linux and KSP forums lately. I am CONSTANTLY reminded how unusually well this forum is moderated.

Just keep on banning spammers and kicking cybera$$ please. :)


Biplane Guy
+1 for the great mods.

You do KSP stuff? You should look up Robbaz on YT (if you don't mind swearing/other not-so-family-friendly moments.) The shenanigans he does in KSP is hilarious.