Why wasn't the airplane invented hundreds of years before it was?
The laws of physics have been understood for centuries, so its hard to believe that the airplane was only invented just a scant over 100 years ago. There were scientists and renaissance men in the 1700s- I'll bet they could've built one.
- Old Man DirtLv 72 months ago
The right answer is there was no suitable power plant. In the 1700's steam engines were slow and heavy (Newcome's engine). Clearly steam power with the need for a boiler also was a restriction. True the first internal combustion engine was invented in 1794, but it would almost a century before it was made small enough to be used. I suggest the year 1885 because that was the date of the Benz motor cycle. Keep in mind it was not until 1847 that any one took an interest in what to do with crude oil (James Young) and the refining of crude oil into a suitable fuel was still decades away. It took till 1872 for the carburetor to become reliable. Even the simple spark plug in dependable form did not exist until 1901.
So while a light weight power plant was the problem- there were several things left to be invented before that power plant was possible.
- 2 months ago
Although airplane was invented or outlined by Leonardo da Vinci hundreds of years ago, the technology was not available for a while to produce the actual airplane. Also, note that the airplane was not invented in one day by one person--- different concepts and aspects were put together over centuries by various scientists, to name a few: Da Vinci (concept), Newton (physics), Bernoulli (wing/lift), Diesel (engine/fuel). Eventually everything culminated in the creation of airplane.
- Anonymous2 months ago
Leonardo da Vinci invented a plane. The drawings indicate it could have worked.
- Anonymous2 months ago
Many laws of physics weren't understood for centuries. And aerodynamics wasn't really understood at all until the late 19th century. Furthermore, before the invention of the internal combustion engine any sort of winged flying machine would have had to be a glider, which would have limited its usefulness
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- bluLv 72 months ago
Because it's complicated. There were MANY failed attempts before the Wrights.
Aerodynamics work throughout the 19th century sought to achieve heavier-than-air flight. George Cayley developed the concept of the modern fixed-wing aircraft in 1799, and in doing so identified the four fundamental forces of flight - lift, thrust, drag, and weight. The development of reasonable predictions of the thrust needed to power flight in conjunction with the development of high-lift, low-drag airfoils paved the way for the first powered flight.
All those brilliant men you speak of in the 1700s, where were they going to get the thrust (for example)?
- Dj2541Lv 72 months ago
You need a source of power to shift the power to weight ratio in the right direction? To get the air to go over or under the wings you need to start with a source of motion, thats why modern hang gliders jump off cliffs or modern Gliders need to be taken up into the sky by a plane with a engine?
- L. E. GantLv 72 months ago
It was a matter of power in a light enough form being available. Think of it -- it's less than 150 years since we brought electricity into homes, and we still have problems with getting a car running on electricity for a decent distance, like about 500 miles per fill.
The theory was well understood by the late 1800's but steam engines weighed tons, and the fuel even more.
- Anonymous2 months ago
Because it wasn't you still carry guns in peace time how absurd in 2020
- xyzzyLv 72 months ago
They did not have a practical power plant before the late 1800s
- A.J.Lv 72 months ago
Leonardo Da Vinci designs- 1400's to 1500's
The kite was said to be the invention of the famous 5th century BC Chinese philosophers Mozi and Lu Ban. By 549 AD, paper kites were being flown — in that year a paper kite was used as a message for a rescue mission.
Material science, and the field of Engineering to go from design to physical production. And, the missing physics, according to a principle of aerodynamics called Bernoulli's law, fast-moving air is at lower pressure than slow-moving air, so the pressure above the wing is lower than the pressure below, and this creates the lift that powers the plane upward. The principle is named after Daniel Bernoulli who published it in his book Hydrodynamica in 1738.
A hundred years ago, most people thought that human beings would never fly. How could people fly without wings? The whole idea of flying seemed crazy and dangerous.
Connecting theories and principles to reality takes time and integration.
People didn't work together well. There were dreamers, mathematicians, builders, designers, but rarely a connecting from end to end.