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 space craft 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.
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. 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.
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.
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 till 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 maneuverability. On the other hand, tactical targets are battlefield targets that are short range but bombers used for this purpose require speed and maneuverability 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.
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 refueling. 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.
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.