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Abstract :The ease with which birds roam the skies has always been envied by man. The dream to be able to take off to the skies is probably as old as mankind itself.
However, the concept of the aircraft or airplane is fairly new. Just about 2 centuries ago man tried imitating birds by creating the omithopter.
The omithopter was basically a machine with flapping wings. Unfortunately, it did not scale well. Flapping wings were great to lift light bodied birds.
However, they simply did not have the power required to lift an entire machine and a human body as well. The concept was good but could not be executed.
In around 1783, another attempt at flying was made by a few daring aeronauts in lighter-than-air balloons. While this experiment succeeded in getting off the ground – literally – it did not go very far either.
The aeronauts had no way to maneuver the balloon and were completely dependent on the strength and direction of the wind for their flight.
The project was grounded soon after. It was only in 1799, that an Englishman named Sir George Clayey built the first true airplane. He conceptualized a flying machine that had fixed wings instead of flapping ones, a propulsion system and even movable control surfaces.
Thus, the fundamental concept of airplanes came into existence.
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