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Aviation The Way it Changed America K To soar with the birds has been mans dream since the Neolithic era. Centuries of studies and experiments precede the first successful flight. Only until the beginning of the 20th century have we accomplished flight in a heavier-than-air craft. Throughout the past century of evolution, aviation has acquired a responsibility much greater then ever conceived. The utilization spectrum of aviation expands from air combat and dogfights to shipping mail and cargo. With such versatility, these aircraft's have contributed to augmenting the fast paced lives we already live. Air transport has contributed to the global expansion of our economy, leisure in our society, and influenced our government to diversify. The portrayal of aviation has impacted our society on three stages: socially, politically and economically. Leonardo de Vinci had begun drawing blueprints of a flying machine in the 15th century. At that time, human flight had nevermore been contemplated beyond a dream. Practicality worked against Leonardo, however his thoughts were quite contemporary by today's standards being how his drawings resemble those of modern aircraft. Towards the end of the 19th century and into the beginning of the 20th century, there was a race to construct the first heavier-then-air craft. Several different concepts were tested, however only one was found to be functional and practical. On December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright made the world's first successful flights in a heavier-than-air craft under power and control. Shortly there after, in 1909, the US military asked the Wright brothers to build an airplane for military use (go figure). Europe commenced the use of propeller driven airplanes in the Turkish war of 1911 and 1912. They found airplanes to be much less vulnerable and more maneuverable then the Zeppelin blimps. By 1915, Roland Garros became the first to shoot down another plane in combat. During World War I, the belligerents began the use of airplanes. The immediate essentials of war provided the catalyst for designers to construct special planes for reconnaissance, attack, pursuit, bombing, and other highly specialized military purposes. Several large airplane manufacturers of today were established during these times of war when airplanes were needed in great quantities. Advancements within postal delivery increased through the expeditious and economical method via air. The first airmail service authorized in the U.S. was flown between Garden City and Mineola, New York, in September 1911. The first regular airmail route in the U.S. was established between New York City and Washington, D.C., in 1918. Transcontinental service, between New York City and San Francisco, began in 1921; the scheduled flying time varied from 29 to 33 hours. With the enactment of the Kelly Act in 1925, private companies began to carry mail under contract. The air cargo business in the 1930s expanded as larger airliners came into service, but air cargo still lagged far behind passengers and mail as a source of revenue. Nonetheless, for certain categories of compact, lightweight, and high-value items, air transport proved highly useful. The Air Transport Industry started around 1910 when benefits to air travel was recognized. In 1914, the first scheduled airplane service to carry passengers began. Prevalent operation of airliners became firmly established during World War II. In 1930 there were forty-three airlines that carried 384,000 people over routes totaling 30,000 miles. In 1940, nineteen airliners carried 2.8 million passengers over routes of 43,000 miles. After the war the new long-range four-engine transports with fully pressurized cabins and advanced instrumentation, enhancing passenger comfort and making operations more economical and consistent. These new planes and the jet airliners introduced in 1958 replaced railroad trains and ocean liners as the primary mode of long-distance travel. Air transport became more affordable and practical for shipping goods, sending mail, or transportation. Companies were now capable of shipping products world wide, dramatically increasing the amount of imports and exports. Large supplies of products shipped worldwide decreased the price of merchandise (supply and demand). Global expansion occurred through transportation advancements. Living 1,000 miles from family wasn't nearly as far, taking only a few hours by plane. Beforehand travel time was longer and not as efficient. The general aviation sector of the air transport industry comprises such non-airline and non-military activities as business flying, commercial flying, instructional flying, and recreational flying. Business flying involves individually owned planes, as well as larger corporate aircraft. Aviation went to the extent of benefiting crop fields. Farmers could plant seeds by dropping them from the air or find rich, fertile soil for planting. This saved them the backbreaking and outdated labor of walking through acres of fields and planting or spraying pesticides. Crop dusting became a new method where chemicals were sprayed from the air that annihilated hazardous parasites from obliterating the crops. Commercial activities range from chartered passenger and cargo flights to crop treatment, mapping, and advertising. People flew over an area to map out, which was easier and more accurate. Business and commercial activities such as these account for approximately half of all hours flown in general aviation, and business flying alone accounts for about one-third of the total. With the transportation industry broadening exponentially, the government was forced by the Air Commerce Act of 1926 to encourage civil aviation as well as setting standards for both planes and pilots. The Civil Aeronautics Authority, established in 1938 performed these duties, which was split into two different bureaus in 1940, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). The CAB handled economic and safety rule-making as well as accident investigation. The CAA developed the airway and enforced the safety standards. In 1958, Congress created the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), who was responsible for rule-making and safety enforcement. The FAA was also responsible for maintaining air navigation and air traffic control. In 1967, the FAA was renamed the Federal Aviation Administration and placed within the Department of Transportation. The primary responsibilities of the FAA are to regulate the air commerce in order to assist its development and safety. They must also develop civil aviation and national systems of airports assuring a navigable airspace within the U.S. and regulated air traffic. Airplanes are required to pass an annual inspection that certifies the airplane is FAA approved. These "police officers" of the skies are crucial for maintaining a safe environment for people to fly recreationally or commercially. The marvelous creation of aviation is camouflaged behind such benefits we take for granted. Aviation is more then airplanes buzzing overhead but a checkpoint and landmark of our evolution. In one way or another, our lives are influenced everyday directly or indirectly through flight. Receiving the mail or biting into corn, aviation has helped our day. Men of the Neolithic Era could never have dreamt such machines we have today. Though aviation is only air transportation, its affects on our social, economical and political systems is extraordinary. Bibliography X Microsoft (R) Encarta. Copyright (c) 1994 Microsoft Corporation. Copyright (c) 1994 Funk & Wagnall's Corporation. X Wall, Robert. Airliners. Prentice Co., 1980. X Hickey, Michael. Out of the Sky: A history of air born warfare. Scribner, 1979. X Owen, Wilfred. Transportation and World Development. Simmon & Schuster, 1987. X America, A Narrative History 4th edition. New Era. Norton & Co., 1996.

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