Since the dawn of time, humans have been fascinated with flight and there were many people in history who contributed to the creation of these modern flying machines. From the very first hot air balloons to the modern spacecraft and commercial airliners, these flying machines represent the pinnacle of human innovation and ambition. Here is a list of the 10 greatest flying machines ever created.
Technically named an ‘unmanned aerial vehicle’, this incredible invention is perhaps the most promising flying machine ever invented. A drone is an aircraft that does not require a human pilot and is the first time such an aircraft has been made. It was originally developed for military applications for missions that are too “dull, dirty, or dangerous” for humans and is regularly used to drop bombs on suspected terrorist targets in the ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
Before drones came into the picture, Photographers used to take cameras on kites to capture photos from the sky. There is an ambulance drone created by the students that are capable of carrying medical supplies along with a camera and a speaker so that it can easily reach an injured person and even instruct them what to do. The U.S. military uses drones a lot. It is estimated that roughly 30% of their aircraft are drones. Today, the drones are being developed for use in the retail industry as well and will most likely be used to deliver goods from retail giants like Amazon to your doorstep.
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2. Space Capsule
A space capsule, though not a flying machine, is used in most manned space missions. It is basically a conical pod that has everything required to sustain human life in outer space for the duration of the mission including food, water, air supply and protection from radiation and extreme cold. It is attached to a rocket and launched into space. Once in orbit, the auxiliary parts fall off and the space capsule continues with its own propulsion. The capsule is also equipped to provide communication with Earth.
The manned space capsule has everything necessary for daily life that includes primarily air, water and food. It is also must be well insulated and has an automatic control of inside temperature and environment. It is also equipped with a system that can knock out astronauts during launch or reentry. The capsule is also capable of saving astronauts from the cold and radiation of space.
A spacecraft is any flying machine that is designed to operate in outer space and can be used for a variety of purposes. Depending on the design, it can be used for communication, weather monitoring, meteorology, navigation, space colonization, planetary exploration, and transportation of humans and cargo. Unmanned and automatic spacecraft can stay in space for decades and are artificial satellites. They orbit the earth closer than the moon and their speed, distance from the Earth and frequency of communication with the Earth station depends on the purpose it was launched for.
Spacecraft are propelled by rocket engines that can shot gases in the opposite direction of travel, however, other forms of propulsion are also used when required. The spacecraft are very expensive to build, launch, and operate because of the amount of energy required to leave the Earth’s gravity. Scientists and researchers are working to reduce the cost of these spacecraft so that more people can participate in space. All spacecraft t was sponsored by national governments.
4. Space Plane
A space plane is an aerospace vehicle that has enough propulsion and speed to reach the Earth’s atmosphere and enter space, and also to return to Earth by landing safely. They can be propelled by rockets or use the assistance of air-breathing jet engines. As compared to unmanned spacecraft, very few space planes have been successfully launched to date and most of them were launched from the United States. The five successful launches were the North American X-15, Space Shuttle, Buran, SpaceShipOne and Boeing X-37.
As the name suggests, a bomber is an aircraft designed specifically to bomb targets using air-to-ground weaponry, firing torpedoes or deploying air-launched cruise missiles. Bombers are used to destroy two types of targets – strategic and tactical. Strategic targets are long-range targets that include critical production and communicant infrastructure of enemy forces. Bombers used for this purpose have longer flying ranges and less manoeuvrability.
During World War 1, the Germans have used these bombers known as zeppelins as a strategic bomber in raids on England, however, later it was replaced by faster biplanes known as the twin-engined Gotha G.IV equipped with four-engined Staaken R.VI that is capable of carrying two tons of bombs. These bombers aeroplanes are now developed by the other major combatant nations. On the other hand, tactical targets are battlefield targets that are short range but bombers used for this purpose require speed and manoeuvrability rather than range.
6. Cargo Aircraft
A cargo aircraft is a large aircraft that has been specially designed or retrofitted to carry cargo rather than passengers or live ammunition. These are usually fixed-wing aircraft’s and are not designed for comfort but for maximum load carrying capacity. The Antonov An-225 Mriya is the longest and heaviest cargo aircraft ever built and was the only one of its kind. The most popular cargo aircraft for military applications in the Hercules C-130 and is used by armed forces all over the world.
7. Flying Boat
A flying boat is a flying machine that combines a boat and a plane and has the ability to land and lift off from water, it has a hull and a streamlined design that allows it to function in water and the fixed wings and aerodynamic body allows it to fly. These planes were very popular before World War 2 and were one of the largest planes of their time. Their use declined after the war since commercial airlines became much cheaper.
8. Float Plane
Similar to the flying boat, the float plane is another type of flying machine that can function in both air and water. Like the flying boat, it too has a hull and wings but instead of landing directly on the water, it has two floats attached to the bottom that looks like skis and helps in navigating through the water. This plane is still used in many island countries where remote locations are difficult to reach by boat. However, their use to is now declining as helicopters become more common now.
9. Rocket Plane
A rocket plane is a plane that uses rocket propulsion instead of a jet engine and can achieve much higher speeds in much shorter times. The time and space used for takeoff are also lesser than other types of planes. The rocket plane uses propulsion to achieve high speeds at takeoff and then glides for the majority of the flight. It is most commonly used for extremely high altitude flights and when no payload has to be delivered.
Initially, rockets planes were used for fireworks and for rescuing people at sea. Robert Goddard is the father of modern rocketry because he built the first liquid-fueled rocket in 1926 and it climbed 12 meters in 2.5 seconds. The rocket plane can produce million pounds of thrust and that can travel 22,000 miles per hour and can carry 6,000 pounds. The total heat produced by rockets in the first moments can heat 85,000 homes for a full day.
Image Source: Wikimedia
10. Jet Airliner
The commercial jet airliner is one of the most used and manufactured flying machines in the world and is one that all of us have seen. It is an aircraft that is designed for the transportation of passengers and air cargo and is powered by jet engines. It can reach altitudes greater than 35,000 feet and can undertake long journeys without refuelling. Currently, the Airbus A380 is the world´s largest passenger jet airliner with a capacity of up 853 people. Also, please read luxurious airlines in the world.
Most of the airlines today are powered by jet engines because it is equipped with safety norms at high speeds and generate sufficient thrust to power large-capacity aircraft. The first jetliners were introduced in the 1950s used in the turbojet engine and later it was changed to using turbofans which are even more quieter and more fuel-efficient.
Did you know that it requires special and rigorous training to pilot each of these flying machines? Since no two aircraft are the same, piloting a new type of aircraft requires the pilot to be familiar with all the mechanisms of the aircraft and to be ready to handle any emergencies. Since these aircraft are also very expensive, great care is taken to ensure that they do not fall into the wrong hands.
These are the 10 greatest flying machines ever created. Do post your comments.