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    - -----------------------------

    BY NAVKALA ROY . DESIGNED AND ILLUSTRATED BY SUBIR ROY

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    Flying machine des igned byLeonardo da Vinci (1505)

    _.----

    I.... and now I :'. AI. ..

    Wright brothers-inventorsof powered flight (1903)

    ..and takes off...

    Icarus-from Greek -= Man's f i rst attempt at flyingmythology - (1020 A.D.)=

    An idea takes shape ...

    Airship (1852)

    r- ---------- , - - _. -- - --- -

    -- - --Garuda-Indian mythologicalbird

    I Hot-air balloon (1783) 1_

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    Up above the world so highLike a big bird in the sky ....

    It's so unreal. At the same time sofascinating. This gigantic bird that manhas invented-the aeroplane.Unlike an automobile, a train or aship, itbreaks all barriers as it speeds along,sometimes faster than the speed of sound,across the limitless sky.To man, the aeroplane was a symbol offreedom. In ancient Hindu mythology it wasGaruda-the great celestial bird who is saidto have 'mocked the wind with hisfleetness.' And in Greece it was Icarus whois supposed to have risen from the earth onwings ofwax and flown until he came soclose to the sun that his wings melted.Perhaps it had always been man's secretdesire to compete with the birds. To glidegracefully in the air. To break free from theearth. To soar over the mountains and theseas. The aeroplane is in fact, a dream cometrue.

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    Try try againMany daring men tried to construct wings

    fo r themselves before the plane wasinvented. One such was Oliver ofMalmesbury, an English monk. He wore apair of thin wooden wings across hisshoulders, fixed a steering to his heels andwent flap, flap from the tower of MalmesburyAbbey, ti ll he flopped r ight down and almostbroke his crown! But that did not stop othersfrom trying. Infact, it was try, try again thatfinally worked. One person who contributedto the theory of f l ight is Leonardo da Vinci.What's a painter got to do with planes? Well,Leonardo's designs showed that muscle-power was not sufficient to fly. It neededcertain mechanical devices before fHghtcould be possible.But even this suggestion was of no helpto anyone fo r about 450 years. No one couldimagine that one day i t would be possible toget off the ground and stay there.

    Up goes the balloonFancy travelling in a balloon. It seems as

    remote as travelling on amagic carpet. Yet,the first t ime that man left the ground by acraft, he sat in a basket attached to aballoon. Bigger than the ones you play withof course!Two Frenchmen, the Montgolfierbrothers, made this possible.One day, sitting by the fireside, theynoticed little pieces of burned paper risingin the air. 'I f only we could trap enough of

    that gas produced by the bu rning fire', theythought, 'then we could use it to l if t evenmen off the ground'.

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    T. ontgol .r ot Ir alloon

    To begin with they held a small silk bagover an indoor f ire, open end downward.Then they le t go. It rose quickly to theceiling.In September 1783 they invited the Kingand Queen of France to a demonstration oftheir craft in the palace garden. For thisoccasion they buttoned together some linenpanels and made a huge balloon, 38 feet indiameter. They lined it with paper to make itairtight. Then they f il led it out with a gasfrom a fire of wool and straw and releasedit. The balloon, believe it or not, went upto aheight of more than 1,800 metres before itlanded a kilometre or so from its take-offpoint.The Montgolfiers became heroes

    instantly. After all they had created the firstaerial vehicle.The first successful human flight in aballoon was from Paris In 1783.

    Ballooning soon became a sport and aspectacle all over the world.

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    Sir George Cayley, an Englishman, triedto improve on the balloon by suggestingthe use of a streamlined gas-bag. Heintroduced steam driven propellers fo rsteering it. But it was not unti l 1850 thatsuch a craft was bui lt . It was called anairship.Two people associated with airships are aBrazilian, Alberto Santos Dumont and aGerman, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin.But airships, as it turned out, were slow andthe hydrogen gas which made them floatcaught fire easily.In 1937 the huge transatlantic airship

    'Hindenburg' exploded in flames over NewYork.With this ended the life of airships.The airship 'Hindenburg' had a dining

    room 4.5 metres by 15 metres for her 70passengers. The classic Hindenburg lunchover the Atlantic was-Indian swallows'nest soup, caviar and Rhine Salmon, lobster, saddle of venison, fruit and cheese.

    Tho e magnificent boyThe brains behind the more familiar

    heavier-than-air aeroplane that we seetoday were two boys-Wilbur and OrvilleWright. Theyweren't extraordinary. Justpersistent and dedicated.One day theirfather brought home a toy aeroplane. Itwas made of bamboo, cork and paper anddriven by rubber bands. But it flew.Wilbur and Orville, when they saw it,were determined to be the first men to f ly. Itwas this determination that led them tobuild a flyin,g machine in their bicycle shop.Then, instead of holidaying in summer,

    they toddled of f to Kitty Hawk-a desertedseacoast in North Carolina-to experimentwith their craft. After thousands of trials anderrors they were able to glide this machinemade of sticks and cloth, controlling bothup and down as well as sidewaysmovement. Then they fitted an internalcombustion engine and two propellers to it.

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    flyer-I- the world ' . f i r. t powered flight

    ~ / , . //11

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    12 seconds that changed the worldOn December 17, 1903 dawned the bigday. The two brothers took their machine,Flyer I, to the same sandy beach, Kitty Hawk.Both brothers were bachelors because, asOrville said, they couldn't "support awife

    as well as an aeroplane".Orville lay flat on the lower wing ready toguide the machine, while Wilbur started it.The engine came alive. The propellersspun. The plane shook. It rolled down thebeach. Then suddenly it was up in the air. Itbobbed up and down. I t swayed a l it tle fromside to side. But the important thing wasthat it f lew. It flew a distance of 36 metres in12 seconds before it came down in thesand. Theywere themost momentous 12seconds in the history of powered flight.Man had learnt to fly. First a few hundredfeet, then several miles, then across theNorth Sea, then over the Atlantic Ocean andthen round the world.

    Puss moth

    Flight to BombayOctober 15, 1932. Twenty-nine years afterthe Wright brothers had created arevolution in the field of transport. At break

    of day in Karachi, a light single-enginedaircraft spinned into l ife. It swung into theair and took wing almost instantly. It washeading for Bombay.At the controls was the strapping 28year-old pilot,J.R.D. Tata. The aircraft he

    was flying was a Puss Moth,a wooden planewith fabric covering, except for the frontportion of the cabin door pillars and the

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    engine mounts which were of tubular steel.He carried no passengers, only mail,because his plane was not big enough for

    both.Nervous he must have been. But alsovery very proud. For, as he brought in theplane to land at Juhu, in Bombay, he knewhe would be making history. That was theday that changed the face of the Indian sky.J.R.D. Tata brought to India the adventureof flying; the advantages of this remarkableinvention.We've come a long way since.From the Puss Moth, the Leopard Moth, theDH-86, the DH-89 and the Stintson to themore familiar Dakota, Viking, Skymaster,Constellation, Super Constellation, Boeing707 and now the Boeing 747 and the Airbus.Tata Airlines is now Air India.

    Air-India is one of the oldest airlines in theworld.

    The aeroplane todayIn just over eighty years aeroplanes have

    developed from frail curios to machines wecan't do without in the field of transport,communication and defence. Every secondone aircraft is taking off or landingsomewhere in the world.

    In 1927, i t took Lindbergh, a 25-year-oldAmerican, 33 hours and 29 minutes to flyf rom New York to Paris. Today we havesupersonic transport (SST) that travelstwice as fast as the speed of sound and jets. across the Atlantic Ocean in just threehours. Flying at a speed of 2150 km/h, it cancarry over a hundred people.Aside from carrying passengers and mailacross the world, aeroplanes are also goodfreight carriers. A single Boeing 747FJumbo je t can carry as much cargo in ayearas was conveyed by all the world's airlinestogether in 1939.We also have fighter planes which have

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    How does this huge object, someweighing 320 tons fly so gracefully in thesky and manage to stay up there fo r so longalmost as if it were part of God's creation.Lift, thrust and drag. These are thefundamentals of f light. Al l three areinvisible, yet this is what man has devotedmany, many years to , in order to get anobject that is heavier than air up in theclouds.

    A Qiant in the s y

    Supersonic Jet

    the ability to go 'zang'! This means that theplane will suddenly dart sideways, gostraight up or straight down withoutchanging wing or nose position. The Harriercan take-off and land vertically. It can landin rough counrty without runways, or on the ....I"f---------------_eck of a ship. " l " , , ~These are just some of the recent , The world's first airmail fl ight was flownadvances in aviation technology. A new in I n ~ i a on