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history of flightThose Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines; that wasn’t just the title of the 1965 British comedy film but also the title that should be bestowed on those fearless men who made the modern miracle of flight possible. Today, we take airplanes and flying for granted. But where it not for developments beginning early (in fact earlier) last century, we still would have been grounded on terra firma.

Studying the history of flight makes us appreciate the events that made it all possible. The history of aircrafts and flight is also the success story of human adventure. It is not only educational but also inspirational. Thanks to the web we can today easily take a peek into the past and learn about the turn of events that shaped aviation. Then there are the interactive ‘simulators’ like the Wright Brothers 1903 plane which gives us a ‘virtual’ feel of the first flight.

Fly out to the five websites listed below.

Century of Flight

history of flight

You can start off with the Aviation Timeline. The site records the complete history of aviation from early flight myths to today’s cutting edge space exploration. The site is very simply organized with the menu on the left. Some sections of special interest could be the one on the early aviation pathfinders and the collection of classic aviation posters.

The Aerodrome

aircraft history

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Probably nothing captured the popular imagination than the flying aces from the First World War. This website documents those wonderful flying men and their flying machines. Through articles, photographs, medals awarded, books, and timelines explore aviation history of that eventful period. For instance, the World War I aircraft timeline is a well illustrated look at how the development of the fighter aircraft really took off because of the war. The information is well categorized and there are multiple ways by which you can narrow down on a specific item. The site also has an online discussion board where you can talk shop with other aviation buffs. Go through the Links section and the one on Today in History.

Air Force Historical Research Agency

aircraft history

The agency and the site documents the development of the U.S Air Force since the days of the Second World War. Today, it consists of over 70,000,000 pages devoted to the history of the service, and is the world’s largest and most valuable organized collection of documents on US military aviation. You can dive into the site or target specific documents using AFHRA’s search engine. Many information records are provided as downloadable PDF guides. The site also has a superb collection of photographs like the ones on the early Wright Brothers flying machines. There’s also an Art Archive with an interesting section by Disney.

Chasing The Sun

aircraft history

This cool website is courtesy the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) program that chronicles the history of commercial aviation. The website directly offers or links to interactive sources which explore planes through the years and the innovators behind them. You can peek into aviation history with the help of old newsreels on plane flights and launches. Check out the Aviation Timeline and the Resources section for other informative links. For instance, you come across NOVA (PBS’ science program) website which has a really cool animated interactive Wright Brother’s Flying Machine from 1903. You can ‘pilot’ the plane thanks to the Flash player.

To Fly Is Everything

history of flight

This is a virtual museum that’s all about the invention and development of the airplane. Aviation history buffs will love the movies & photos database while more serious students of aviation history would dive into the text intensive library. Me…I am busy downloading and playing the 1903 Wright Brother’s Shockwave simulator and notching up some airtime.

Just five websites on the more than a century’s worth of the history of flight! Not at all; there are lots more out there. For instance, you can go to the History channel website and try out a search on aviation related content. So, let us know if you are an aviation buff and your favorite site for reading up on the stuff that takes us up into the air.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

  1. European Inventor Award
    April 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Really interesting article about a groundbreaking invention. Check out our Facebook page to get to know past and present nominees of our European Inventor Award! http://www.facebook.com/europe...

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