Aviation covers the manufacturing, design, and operation of aircraft, and some of them are lighter like the air balloon while others are heavier than air. They include the airplane, gliders, and helicopters. Some of the famous airplane inventors are Leonardo da Vinci and Wright Brothers. United States aviation history dates back to the 5th century. Orville and Wilbur Wright managed to have 120-foot, 12-second flight, and this after taking four years of study and research in North Carolina (Merriman & Karn, 2019). It was considered to be a first powered flight to have taken place in a heavier-than-air machine considering that before, the initiation of this machine and people were flying on gliders and balloons.
Charles Furnas became the first American that managed to fly an airplane for passengers in 1908. After a critical analysis of the airline industry in the United States, it will be crucial to note that the airmail services have contributed significantly to the growth of the sector. Therefore, it is not possible to cover the history of the aircraft in the United States without focusing on its relationship with the airmail services. In the initial stages of the growth process, passenger airlines were not a common feature, and most of the available aircrafts were being used to transport mails. However, with time, stronger and efficient airlines were initiated, and this supported the development of passenger airlines with time.
The first air services to get scheduled for travel happened in 1914 in Florida when Glenn Curtiss managed to design an aircraft that could manage to take off and land in the water. Therefore, it was possible to make the plane in comparison to the ones that are currently being used, for they never needed a heavier carriage for hard ground landing. Thomas Benoist built a flying boat and managed to fly for 23 minutes. It was a single-plane, and it managed to carry one passenger for every trip, and it charged $5 for every trip made (Althoff, 2016). However, the organization only managed to have two flights that were running every single day for a duration of four months, and it later closed its operations when the tourist period ended.
Commercial aviation was not widely accepted by the general public, for they were afraid of using flying machines, and the improvements that were done on the design happened at a slow pace. However, the World War I end helped to raise the aircrafts value and there was a significant rise in the production process with the goal of meeting the demand from the various governments (Merriman & Karn, 2019). There was the introduction of powerful motors that enabled them to reach 130 miles per hour, and its performance was twice that of pre-war aircraft.
The improved energy levels made it possible to make more powerful aircraft. The war at the time was not favoring the commercial aviation and in the mind of the public at the time was focusing on the aerial dogfights, surveillance, and bombing runs. When conflicts ended, there was a significant rise in the number of planes available for use, and this meant that demand was non-existence for several financial years. Therefore, a significant number of aircraft builders closed their businesses, and this is when the United States mainly moved to the production of commercial aircraft. However, the number of natural obstacles were limited in this country, and the railroads would be used in transporting people at equal speeds to the aircraft. Therefore, the production was not done in large numbers, and the United States aviation industry was salvaged by the government under a program that was not intended to transport people.
Airmail Transportation by Airplane
In 1917, the United States government felt that adequate progress had been made on the issue of plane development, and there was a need to warrant something new, and this included the transportation of mail by air. Around $100,000 was apportioned by Congress to undertake airmail services that was supposed to be initiated by the collaboration between the army and the organizations that were offering post office services between New York and Washington and a stop in Philadelphia.
The initial flights started at Belmont Parkon May 14, 1918, and then moved to Washington the following day, and it was inspected by President Woodrow Wilson. The war-surplus aircraft led to the formation of transcontinental air service, with the first segment being formed in Cleveland and Chicago in 1919, spanning the Rocky Mountains, which was one of the difficult routes at the time. The planes could manage to operate during the night when the airmail service began to operate, and the mails would be delivered to the trail-line service. When the post office delivery started to rely on the airplane for delivery, they mainly to shave 22 hours off (Althoff, 2016). Therefore, it is clear that the aircraft in the United States has been used for various purposes over the years, and this is evidenced by its use for war, transportation of people, and mail services.
The Morrow Board
The history of aircraft in the United States cannot be highlighted without the incorporation of The Morrow Board issue. When the Contract Air Mail Act was passed, there was a board that was organized by President Calvin Coolidge under the chairmanship of Dwight Morrow, and it was intended to give recommendations on the national aviation policy. The board listened to testimonies of more than 99 people, and a report was tabled to President Coolidge in 1925, and some of the critical issues that were highlighted include that the authorities need to set standards that will help in the running of the civil aviation and these policies should not be within the military.
Another concept that is highlighted when studying the history of the aircraft is The Air Commerce Act of 1926. The recommendations given by the Morrow Board were adopted, and this gave rise to the legislation. The Secretary of Commerce was expected to introduce air routes and give licenses to the various stakeholders involved in the air industry, such as pilots and aircraft. Additionally, the officer was given the mandate of investigating any accidents that may happen, understand its causes, and the measures that can be adopted to avoid similar occurrences in the future.
The Act enabled the government to enter into commercial aviation, and it played a significant role as the regulator of the private airlines that were running their operations in the sector. Therefore, these private entities had a duty to observe all the security measures that were introduced into the industry, observe travellers security, and operate within their licensed area. Some of the private airlines could not travel for long distances for their licenses were designated to operate within a small region, and the body had the responsibility of making sure that these measures were observed all the time.
The Congress amended the Kelly Act, and this enabled it to adopt the recommendations raised by the board concerning the airmail contracting, and this touched on the changes to the compensations that were being done regarding the airmail service. The carrier of these mails were getting paid by the authorities based on the mail weight and not based on a percentage of mail paid, and the payment in the aviation sectors was simplified.
Ford's Tin Goose
Henry Ford joined the airline industry in 1927 and started the manufacturing process, and this led to the production of Ford Trimotor. It was an all-metal plane which was made of the duralumin materials that was light like aluminum, but much stronger. It was the first plane that was designed specifically for passenger carriage and not mail transportation, and it consisted of 12-passenger seats, steward room, and nurses. It comprised of three engines, and this enabled it reach 130 miles per hour.
The sturdy appearance that was adopted by this plane and the utilization of the names Ford had a great influence on the way that the public viewed the concept of flying. They were previously afraid of taking flights due there were now assured of their safety with a guarantee that nothing bad would happen while onboard. Another event that took place in 1927 had a great effect on the future of aviation, and the way that the public viewed the sector.
Charles Lindbergh was one of the pioneers that had a great impact on the future of the aviation industry, and this happened after the pilot took a great initiative on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. The young pilot travelled from New York to France on the city of Paris, and this was considered to be the first trans-Atlantic flight to happen in the aeroplane industry, and it triggered a significant effect on the aviation sector and Lindbergh.
The sector became more established and was a significant component of the transportation industry. A large number of investors were attracted to the industry, and the wider American public was willing to play a part in the growth and expansion of the airline industry in the country. It is crucial to note the significant role that the mail sector played in the growth of the aircraft sector in the United States. Lindbergh dropped out of engineering school to join an aviation school and later became part of the Robertson Aircraft Corporation, an entity that was part of the mail transportation between St. Louis and Chicago. Therefore, the aircraft process in the United States was greatly developed by the growth of mail services in the country.
When undertaking the trans-Atlantic voyage, Lindbergh did not take a navigator, and this was a move that was intended to ensure that he could manage to carry more fuel. He decided to divide maps into thirty-three segments that were apportioned into 100-mile each, and he had to select the heading to follow when taking each segment. There have been great improvements realized over the years, for in the current setting of the aircraft industry in the United States, the sector has changed a lot in comparison to the status it was when Lindbergh initiated the process.
The journey was exhausting, and it took more than 30 hours. Additionally, the instability within the plane would not allow him to sleep, and this shows the massive changes that have been experienced in the airline over the years based on the highlights that will be made on the status of the current airline industry in the United States. When he landed in Paris, a large crowd came to meet him, and he had achieved a lot, and this was a great achievement that signified the arrival of the Air Age.
The Waters Act and the Spoils Conference
Postmaster General Walter Brown was another individual that significantly helped in the growth of the aircraft industry in the United States and the commercial aviation process. There was legalization of Watres Act, and it enabled the Post Office to enter into agreements involving airmail with rate charges being based on volume or space instead of weight as it was earlier being done. The airmail routes were consolidated for national interest, for this aided in easing the process of mail travel and enabled the industry to streamline its activities. According to Brown, these changes would enable the development of stronger airlines and the initiation of 24-hour service.
After the Act approval, Spoils Conference was initiated, and this included a small number of people that are brought together by Brown. The primary agenda of the meeting was to ensure that mail routes were assigned to a small number of large airlines instead of having many small airlines managing the different routes. These proposals led to apolitical uproar and changes to the system.
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