The History of Aviation: Part 1

At J & K Connectors, we love aircrafts and flight just as much as we enjoy supplying manufacturers with hard-to-find and customized aircraft connectors and components. To honor our passion for this wonderful industry, we thought we’d take some time to reflect on the early days of aviation and how it’s evolved throughout the centuries.

 Myths, Tower Jumping, and Wings

Our record of man’s predilection towards soaring through the clouds began with the written word. Myths and legend spread through the ancient world and throughout Daedalus_und_Ikarus_MK1888different civilizations: Pegasus and Icarus in Greek Mythology, Persian King Kaj Kaoos, and even Alexander the Great supposedly had Griffins that carried him throughout his realm.

These stories were obviously false, but they nurtured a fascination with flight that carried through generations of human existence. Though human inspiration at the movement of birds influenced the earliest man-made aircrafts, the earliest attempts at human flight were laughably primitive by today’s standards.

The first known attempts at actual hFlying_tailoruman flight are now referred to as “tower jumping,” or simply leaping off an elevated position with the aid of birdlike wings, hardened fabric cloaks, and other devices. Since lift and control were not understood, many attempts led to death or dismemberment by experimenters. The first recorded tower jump was by Armen Firman in 852 AD, when he covered himself with vulture wings and a set of wings before jumping off a tower in Cordoba, Spain.

The First Aircraft

The first successful man-made flights didn’t include man at all: in fact, ancient China boasted the first human-made aircrafts in the form of kites. Designs resembling birds, dragons, and other animals were popular and fit with strings and whistles. They used kites to measure distance, wind conditions, and communicate over vast distances. Crude man-carrying kites had military uses in both China and Japan, but were also used as a form of punishment (which tells you a lot about their reliability).

Next time, we’ll cover hot air balloons, Leonardo da Vinci, and the earliest theories of human flight that will influence generations of aviators to come. 

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out J & K Connector’s vast on-hand inventory or contact us for more information.

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