Tag Archives: history of aviation

Covington Aircraft March In Review

History of Aviation Part Seven Today’s Aviation

The history of aviation is rich and colorful, with 13th century inventors trying to find a way for people to fly and the famous flight at Kitty Hawk.  Today’s aviation has caught the same pioneering spirit evident in the Wright Brothers, Frederick Brant Rentschler, and William E. Boeing……..read more.

History of Aviation Part Eight: Today’s Aviation

From the Wright Brothers’ historic flight at Kitty Hawk to today’s corporate jet, the history of aviation has grown tremendously over the past century.  One of the leading aircraft manufacturers, Pratt & Whitney, and later United Aircraft Transport Corporation, developed today’s air-cooled radial engine with faster, safer and more easily-controlled aircraft………read more.

Aircraft Engine Overhaul Prices: What You Need to Look For

One of the most important requirements in owning an aircraft is understanding aircraft engine maintenance, so an aircraft engine overhaul may be necessary to keep an engine running like new.  An overhaul consists of removing, disassembling, cleaning, inspecting and repairing an aircraft engine.  Costs can run high with the extensiveness of an aircraft engine overhaul, thus it is important to know what to consider before choosing an overhaul company…………read more.

Aircraft engine overhauls: New versus Overhauled parts

In our series of posts intended to demystify the aircraft engine overhaul process, we at Covington Aircraft want to detail the differences between using new and overhauled parts in an engine overhaul, so that you can make the best and most informed decision possible when TBO time comes around again……….read more.

The AOPA Presents Spring Break for Pilots: The Sun ‘n Fun Airshow, Fly-In and Expo, 2012

The 38th Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In & Expo will begin on March 27 and run through April 1 , 2012.  This annual event takes place at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL), Lakeland, Fla., which is also the location of the Florida Air Museum.  Located northeast of Tampa, this location is close to many other attractions in the central Florida region.  If you have any interest in aviation, this is a great way to spend some early outdoor time, enjoying the great Florida springtime weather.  The airshows alone are worth the trip, but that is only a part of what makes the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in a great social event………….read more.

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History of Aviation Part Eight: Today’s Aviation

From the Wright Brothers’ historic flight at Kitty Hawk to today’s corporate jet, the history of aviation has grown tremendously over the past century.  One of the leading aircraft manufacturers, Pratt & Whitney, and later United Aircraft Transport Corporation, developed today’s air-cooled radial engine with faster, safer and more easily-controlled aircraft.History-of-Aviation-Part-Eight-150x150

Pratt and Whitney

Today, Pratt & Whitney’s engines account for more than 40% of the world’s passenger planes, serving customers in more than 160 countries.  In 2007, Pratt & Whitney surpassed 1 billion flight hours of service, playing an integral role in the history of aviation.

Radial Engines

The radial engine developed by Capt. Frederick Rentschler and partner George J. Mead became standard for aircraft engines during World War II – these were produced by Pratt & Whitney.  Radial engines continued to be the most popular aircraft engine until the development of jet engines.  In fact, the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp remains the most-produced engine in the history of aviation.

Looking to the Future

When looking at the history of aviation, it is important to look to the future as well.  Each step in aviation history led to an invention improving the current methods and models, and the same is true of today’s aviation.  Today’s aircraft are lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient than those of past generations, though the planes of the future will undoubtedly improve even more.  Researchers are studying alternative fuels like electricity, organics and other methods for powering aircraft in an effort to reduce environmental impacts.

Today’s aviation is a result of the ever-evolving history of aviation, and reflects what is to come in the aviation world.  For more information on the history of aviation, join Covington Aircraft’s online community on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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History of Aviation Part Seven Today’s Aviation

The history of aviation is rich and colorful, with 13th century inventors trying to find a way for people to fly and the famous flight at Kitty Hawk.  Today’s aviation has caught the same pioneering spirit evident in the Wright Brothers, Frederick Brant Rentschler, and William E. Boeing.

History-of-Aviation-Part-Seven

Military Aviation

In the history of aviation, prior to World War I, most planes entertained in stunt flying and barnstorming.  In the first World War however, planes were used in combat despite their slow speed and heaviness.  For this reason, Capt. Frank Rentschler developed his air-cooled radial engine and partnered with Pratt & Whitney to have it produced—his biggest customer was the military.  In fact, until the end of World War II, the primary user of all aviation equipment was the U.S. Armed Forces.  Stealth, speed, and maneuverability are now critical to the development of military aircraft as radar systems improve and other countries make technological advances in warfare.

Commercial Aviation

Never in the history of aviation has it been as easy to fly as one can today.  A trip that would have taken days now lasts a couple hours.  Executives can meet with clients thousands of miles away and be home in time for dinner.  Today’s commercial jets burn less fuel and carry more passengers, creating a multibillion-dollar business worldwide.

Corporate Jets

Due to the increased concerns about security and with more restrictive/costly commercial flights, the history of aviation has evolved to corporate jets becoming more common.  Corporate jets allow travelers more flexibility and reduced time delays, making them more efficient.  Although owning a private jet has always been associated with the rich, businesses such as Executive Jet have made it possible for companies to own jets with their fractionalized ownership program.

The history of aviation has evolved tremendously over the past century, promising to continue as companies transport more efficiently and economically by air than ever before.  For more information on the history of aviation, join Covington Aircraft on their social network on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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History of Aviation Part Six: The Rise of the Corporate Jet

The rise of the corporate jet is a recent segment in the history of aviation, since its use did not really begin until the mid-1960s.  Corporate jets were lavish and opulent when they were first developed, but in the ’70s and ’80s many corporations scaled down in an effort to appear prudent in spending.  However, executive jets had a surge in popularity in recent years for several reasons.

History-of-Aviation-Part-Six

Partnership Shares

One reason for the rising popularity of corporate jets was a company known as Executive Jets; they developed a business model called fractionalized ownership in the early ’90s.  Offering businesses partial ownership in a private jet, Executive Jets allowed them to share the costs of using, maintaining, storing, and staffing an executive jet.  Today, fractionalized partnerships account for as much as 20% of the executive jet market.

Uses for More than Just Business

In the history of aviation, corporate jets have been used for more than just transporting executives to meetings.  In fact, organizations often donated business planes to emergency causes such as organ transplant transportation, angel flights, air ambulance services, and supply delivery for disaster relief.  Since dispatching corporate jets was easier than re-routing commercial planes, supplies and personnel reached their destination in a shorter period.

Security

One issue of concern over the history of aviation included security of the aircraft and the airport.  Private jets are more secure now as the plane owner knows everyone on board.  Although those flying via private jet must submit to security screenings, there is no need to stand in long security lines since airlines handle private jet security differently.

The history of aviation has gone through many changes over the last century with no signs of stopping its flight.  An industry starting with DaVinci’s simple airscrew and led to the Wright Brothers historic flight has almost become as easy as car travel.  For more information on the history of aviation, join Covington Aircraft’s social community on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

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History of Aviation Part Five: The Rise of the Corporate Jet

The history of aviation has flown from 13th century inventors only dreaming of a way for people to fly to the historic flight of the Wright Brothers, and through two World Wars.  Commercial jets’ growing popularity and improvements to passenger safety/comfort has made air travel almost as common as car travel.  Businesses now realized corporate jet ownership was not only practical, but also economical.

Early Corporate Jets

History-of-Aviation-Part-Five-The-Rise-of-the-Corporate-Jet-448x198After World War II, commercial planes powered by jet engines grew in popularity.  Jet engines were far more powerful and quickened time spent to reach destinations.   Less travel time meant more freedom for corporate travelers to conduct business and return to the office.  However, as more people chose to fly for both business and pleasure, the airports became complicated by reducing again the time corporate executives had to conduct business.  In the early 1960s Lockheed created the L-1329 Jetstar, a plane designed to carry ten passengers and two crew members, as one of the first corporate jets in the history of aviation.  Competitors soon followed with the Learjet and the Gulfstream II.

Only for the Wealthy

When corporate jets began servicing, only the ultra-rich could afford the high cost of owning a plane, with price tags that often exceeded $1 million.  The original corporate jets were lavish in offering larger seats, extensive workspace, and many amenities unavailable on commercial jets in the 1960s.  Many even provided sleeping spaces for longer flights.  Travelling executives used separate conference rooms available to conduct business. This era of the history of aviation was a time of opulence and outward display of corporate wealth.

Scaled Down

During the 1970s and ’80s, many businesses found it necessary to scale down these displays of corporate wealth, and some eliminated the corporate jet altogether.  For those who kept the aircraft, jet interiors became less lavish and more office-like.  Business amenities remained however, such as satellite phones and flat-screen monitors, so corporate executives could continue working with familiar technology.  As the history of aviation continued, the view of the corporate jet took yet another turn.

From the visions of Leonardo DaVinci to corporate jet ownership, the history of aviation has taken many twists and turns, but has always continued to expand and diversify.  For more information on the history of aviation, join Covington Aircraft’s social community on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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History of Aviation Part Four: World War II to 1980s

Many historians declare World War II as a turning point in the history of aviation, since it is believed the sheer force of the Allies’ air power defeated the Axis powers.  Despite Germany’s boastings that their air force exceeded the enemies’, the large-scale bombings and development of planes based on weapons systems brought an Allied success.  After the war, many available ex-military planes led to an increase in commercial aviation. Continue reading History of Aviation Part Four: World War II to 1980s

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History of Aviation Part Three: World War II through 1980’s

The history of aviation began before the 13th century, progressing on throughout World War I. During the Great Depression, the aviation industry became so successful that Congress instituted specific antitrust laws, ensuring consumers were not victims of monopolies in the airline industry.  In fact, the years between World War I and World War II saw so much growth in the airline industry it gained the nickname “the Golden Age of Aviation.”

Start of World War II

There is no doubt that World War II will go down in the history of aviation as a pivotal point in fighting wars in the future.  In fact, one key factor in bringing the Allies to war was a meeting called by Hermann Goering, the Air Minister of the German Air Force on March 10, 1935.  At the meeting, Goering informed England and France’s military advisors that Germany would no longer abide by the Treaty of Versailles’ restrictions regarding military aircraft development, and demonstrated this fact by opening the curtains of his office so the visiting officials could see the aircraft-filled sky.  The history of aviation changed rapidly from this point as aviation became a deciding factor in the war.  Production and development of aircraft became a priority.  In fact, prior to the outbreak of the war, there were approximately 193,000 personnel working in the aviation industry; after the war began, there was an increase to 450,000 employees in the industry.

During the War

History-of-Aviation-Part-Three-World-War-II-through-1980sAir combat in World War II significantly differed from World War I.  Large-scale bombings and the ability to destroy entire buildings/battleships made aviation equipment critical to the success of many battles.  A Boeing-built plane, the B-17 Flying Fortress, has often been credited with defeating the Germans.  In the history of aviation, World War II began a method of combat relying heavily on air strikes.

Jet Airplanes

The history of aviation continued to change as the first jet airlines appeared in Germany and Britain.  However, fuel shortages made them less economical than the radial engines gaining popularity after World War I.  After the war, commercial flights became increasingly popular, and many airline companies simply converted ex-military aircraft to transport both people and cargo.  By 1952, the British state airline introduced the de Havilland Comet into commercial service, but cycles of pressurization in the cabins caused metal fatigue and cracks, resulting in many catastrophic failures.  Other jet designs eventually replaced the Comet.

World War II was the catalyst for a major change in the history of aviation, as battles during the war were fought predominantly in the air and less on the ground.  The development of jet engines also led to increased commercial use of aircraft, especially with the surplus of ex-military aircraft when the war ended.  For more information on the history of aviation, join Covington Aircraft’s online community on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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History of Aviation Part Two: The Early Years

The history of aviation is full of interesting stories, facts, and statistics that still surprise Americans today.  From Leonardo DaVinci’s creation of the airscrew (which became the model for the propeller), to the Wright Brothers’ historic flight, to the development of rotary and radial engines, the aviation industry has grown tremendously over the past century.

Rotary vs. Radial Engines

History-of-Aviation-Part-Two-420x198Before World War I, aviation consisted of stunt flying and barnstorming, having very little purpose other than entertainment.  Aircrafts became critical in defeating the enemy during the war, but since WWI planes were heavier and flew at slower speeds, the military preferred the use of rotary engines.  However, these engines had significant drawbacks, as pilots were often overcome by castor oil fumes.  In addition, scaling up the engines caused steering problems.  Thus the development of the radial engine became the next step in the history of aviation.

Captain Frederick Brant Rentschler

During World War I, Captain Frederick Brant Rentschler was responsible for procurement of aircraft engines in the US Army.  While in the military, Rentschler noticed a need for an air-cooled engine that was lighter and more powerful; he began working on the design of what would soon become the radial engine.  After leaving the Army, he served as President for Wright Aeronautical.  In 1925, after the board of Wright Aeronautical refused to investigate if radial engines were superior to rotary engines, Rentschler resigned and approached tool manufacturers Pratt & Whitney on creating an aviation company.  On July 23, 1925, the history of aviation took another turn when Pratt & Whitney tool company agreed to fund the development of the radial engine.

Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company

Rentschler remained in close contact with his military colleagues upon leaving service.  Working with a long-time friends, George J. Mead and Andrew Willgoos, Rentschler developed a proposal for an air-cooled radial engine. He obtained a commitment from Admiral William H. Moffet to purchase the engine for the US Navy once it was developed.  The first engine created by Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company, built in a garage in six months, reached completion on Christmas Eve 1925.  Rentschler’s wife, Fran, became a permanent part of the history of aviation when she named the engine “the Wasp,” and the Navy immediately ordered 200 engines.

United Aircraft Transportation Company

In 1929, Rentschler moved from Pratt & Whitney to join United Aircraft Company of which Pratt & Whitney was a part. .  He joined forces with two other history of aviation pioneers, Chance M. Vought and William E. Boeing, creating the first coast-to-coast passenger network in March of that year.  Since the military remained the biggest customer for airplane engines, also requiring constant alterations and improvements, commercial airlines benefitted from the many upgrades that military planes required.

Great Depression

During the Great Depression, many industries suffered and failed while aviation manufacturers continued to grow.  Like many moments in the history of aviation, the government intervened to protect customers against monopolies in1934, and Boeing and United Aircraft became separate companies to avoid the new antitrust laws.   The laws made it illegal for aviation engine manufacturers to have a controlling interest in an airline.

The Great Depression ended with the United States’ entrance into World War II, also when the history of aviation entered its golden era.  To learn more about the history of aviation, join Covington Aircraft’s online community on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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History of Aviation Part One: The Early Years

The history of aviation extends much further than Orville Wright’s famous first flight in 1903.  In fact, people have studied concepts useful in flying and the dynamics behind flight since the 1200s.

History-of-Aviation-Part-One

Early Aviation

Roger Bacon, an ambitious monk from the 13th century, performed studies determining if air could support a craft just as water could support boats.  Leonardo DaVinci grew fascinated with flight, studying how birds were able to fly.  His discoveries helped him produce the parachute and the airscrew; the invention of the airscrew is credited with the invention of the propeller.  In the 19th century, John Stringfellow designed a steam engine that powered an aircraft attached to a wire.  Although the craft was able to lift, it could not climb.  Major developments throughout the rest of the 19th century contributed heavily to the history of aviation, and led to the historic flight of Orville and Wilbur Wright.

First Flight

On December 17, 1903, Orville Wright piloted the first aircraft at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina.  The plane flew for 12 seconds and traveled 120 feet.  Orville and his brother Wilbur continued to improve their aircraft, and on December 31st of the same year, Wilbur flew a Flyer in France for two hours and 20 minutes. Now it was proven that the Wright Brothers aircraft was controllable.  This plane became the first military aircraft, servicing other pilots for two more years.  However, the history of aviation has not always been pleasant.  In September 1908, a plane piloted by Orville crashed, injuring himself and his passenger Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge.  Selfridge died of a concussion a few hours later, becoming the first person killed in an airplane crash.

Radial Engines

Radial engines were invented several years prior to Orville and Wilbur Wright’s historic flight.  C.M. Manley invented the first water-cooled radial engine in 1901, a five-cylinder model.  In 1903, Jacob Ellehammer installed a three-cylinder radial engine in a tri-plane that made short hops, inspiring him to develop a six-cylinder engine (with two rows of three cylinders) in 1908.  However, even with a good power-to-weight ratio, the engine still lacked control.  Since early radial engines often frustrated with cooling problems, rotary engines were more popular from 1909-1919. Throughout World War I, rotary engines took precedence in military aircraft.  In the 1920’s, Bristol Aeroplane Company and Armstrong Siddeley developed a more reliable cooling system for rotary engines;  the US Navy announced it would only purchase aircraft with air-cooled radial engines in 1921.  This led to the founding of Pratt and Whitney, who eventually created the Pratt and WhitneyR-1340/Wasp, R-985/Wasp Jr. and numerous other radial engines.,

Human beings have been fascinated with flight even since the 13thcentury.  Early aviation pioneers like Leonardo DaVinci were instrumental in the creation of today’s air travel.  Covington Aircraft invites you to join their online community on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to learn more about the history of aviation.

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