Any structure, machine, or contrivance, especially a vehicle, designed to be supported by the air, being borne up either by the dynamic action of the air upon the surfaces of the structure or object, or by its own buoyancy; such structures, machines, or vehicles collectively.
Aircraft, in its broadest meaning, includes fixed-wing airplanes, helicopters, gliders, airships, free and captive balloons, ornithopters, flying model aircraft, kites, etc., but since the term carries a strong vehicular suggestion, it is more often applied, or recognized to apply, only to such of these craft as are designed to support or convey a burden in or through the air.
- Denotes a lighter than air craft.
- A powered lighter-than-air craft.
- An aeroplane that flies by virtue of the lift generated by freewheeling rotating wings set windmill fashion above the fuselage.
- A lighter than air craft. The Montgolfier brothers made the first flight in a hot air balloon in 1783.
- An airplane with two sets of wings, one on top of the other. Historically the biplane configuration was used as it improves the bending stiffness of the wing that was otherwise difficult to achieve in early monoplane designs.
- A highly efficient engineless aeroplane. Capable of flying for long periods in gently rising air currents.
- An aircraft that produces lift using airfoils that are driven and rotate about a vertical axis.
- An aircraft with one set of wings. Early monoplane designs used wire braces or rigid struts to improve the strength of the wing.
- A fixed wing aeroplane with 3 wings arranged one above the other.
- Historical Notes
- 1783 The Montgolfier brothers make the first flight in a hot air balloon.
- 1785 The first balloon crossing of the English Channel by Blanchard and Jeffries.
- 1852 A steam powered airship was flown over Paris by Henri Giffard.
- 1853 Sir George Cayley built a glider in which his coachman flew across a valley in Yorkshire.
- 17 December 1903 On this day Orville Wright made the first controlled powered flight. He flew a distance of 120 feet, lasting 12 seconds. On the second flight his brother Wilbur Wright flew a distance of 850 feet, lasting 69 seconds.
- 1908 Samuel Cody made the first powered flight in the UK. Perhaps more famous for his wild west shows before this.
- 25 July 1909 Louis Bleriot crosses the English Channel from Baraques (nr Calais, France) to Dover Castle (England) in a Bleriot XI a distance of 231/2 miles in 36 minutes and 30 seconds winning the £1000 prize offered by the Daily Mail.
See also: Aerodynamic Vehicle, Aerofoil, Aerostat, Airfield, Airfoil, Airframe, Autogyro, Automobile, Biplane, Civil Aviation Authority, Cockpit, Elevator, Glider, Helicopter, Monoplane, Rudder, Triplane.
- glue-it.co.uk Photographic reference material.