History of Technology 2: Early Stages of Flying

Today, we're looking at the early stages of flying. And no, that doesn't refer to raising your tray table and putting your seat in the upright and locked position.

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TechnologyHistory of Technology

Transcript

00:23

was pondering that question . guy talking about him right now we're talking about

00:29

the other guy who spent a long time pondering that question. Leonardo da

00:33

Vinci. don't know him well he was a famous Italian genius inventor pasta

00:38

eater and painter of the Mona Lisa. in his spare time he drew designs for tons [painter with machines]

00:43

of elaborate flying machines made out of leather and wood and a few hundred years

00:47

later his dreams became reality. which isn't too long ago wait as far as dreams

00:52

go. just imagine how long we'll have to wait to finally become dogs. in 1783 the

00:58

first working hot-air balloon was able to lift people 80 feet into the air for

01:03

about 10 minutes. and sure it couldn't be steered and yeah it could involve

01:07

more than one or two people but a neat party trick. balloons and dirigibles are

01:11

also called lighter than air flying machines. they

01:15

float because the air inside the balloons isn't as dense as the air

01:19

outside the balloons. flying you the machine that's heavier than air turned

01:23

out to be a lot more complicated physics wise. think about it in comic books and [superman flies next to man flapping arms]

01:27

awesome dreams flying is totally simple. we just float upwards by the reality

01:32

getting something heavier than air to fly is no easy task.

01:37

every object that flies has to deal with four forces: lift weight thrust and drag.

01:43

the lift is the amount of oomph needed to overcome the object's weight and

01:48

actually push it into the air. weight or gravity is the opposite of lift. it's the

01:53

force that's continually trying to pull the object back to the ground or crash

01:57

the plane. yeah he's gonna hate. right thrust is the

02:01

force moving the object forward through the air. turns out if we don't have

02:05

thrust we don't have lift. they need each other like buffalo wings need blue

02:09

cheese dressing and don't argue us on that point just

02:12

don't. drag is the opposite of thrust and it's just the effect of air pushing [yellow plane carries wings]

02:17

against the object as it tries to fly. so in order to get to genuine flight people

02:22

had to invent a machine that had enough thrust and lift to overcome the drag and

02:26

weight. that required more powerful engines or thrust and very carefully

02:31

designed wings or lift. so one of these carefully designed wings look like? well

02:36

put it simply the tops of the airplane wings are slightly curved wide so that

02:41

air passes more quickly above than below. because the air moves faster over the

02:46

top part of the wing the air is actually exerting less pressure so the pressure

02:51

on the bottom of the wing is stronger that means the air is actually pushing [plane takes off]

02:55

the plane up. thanks for the assist there air. it's amazingly simple when we think

03:00

about it but it took humanity centuries to really figure it out. and wasn't until

03:05

1903 that people got smart about all the lift weight thrust drag stuff and

03:09

managed to build a machine that would actually fly. and it took 2 high-end

03:13

bicycle shop owners and Orville and Wilbur Wright to make it really happen.

03:18

their first successful test flight in the sandy dunes of Kitty Hawk North

03:22

Carolina changed the world even if it was for only 12 seconds. still impressive

03:27

though we go to the beach for the whole day and don't get nearly as much done. [people lounge on beach]

03:37