Mode of Air Transportation changes throughout history
Describe how technological changes have affected the mode of transportation by air throughout its history
Excluding the legendary physical approach to flying, with eclectic ideas from da Vinci, Montgolfier and George Cayley, greater reliability, speed and safety only came to air transport when the Wright brothers finally flew a craft heavier than air. However, it would still be a good three decades, up until the time period between the two world wars when commercial transport really took off. Subsequently, in the postwar prosperity, the jet age was ushered in, with every incident consolidating a process of learning but perhaps there would not be another major change such as this in decades to come. Instead, improvements would come about in terms of average speed, the range of the craft, the size as well as fuel efficiency. Only now, within the past five years we have been looking at air transport in terms of renewable energy, and most promisingly, without an actual engine. Initial prototypes and success to a certain extent has come from solar powered drones and small aircraft. Air transportation, today, has been verified as the safest form of transportation. Important technological changes that have made significant impact upon the mode of air transportation have been taken up underneath.
Fuselage Material fatigue
Production and material engineering resolved one of the earliest problems related to repeated disasters, the fatigue characteristics of the material making up the fuselage (Nicolai, & Carichner, 2001). To prevent cracking in the windows in the fuselage, the rectangular element was dropped. Among the most important subsequent steps were bigger wings, allowing greater amounts of fuel, improving upon the range of the aircraft, adding several direct routes to air transportation between the continents. Direct operating costs also would go down by as much as 15%. In the years to come immediately thereafter, jet engines would support higher bypass ratios, improving fuel consumption and supporting even larger cabins (Anderson, 1999).
Also remarkable is the ground infrastructure, which also employed technology to improve capability and capacity, spreading a boom in air transportation. New and larger air terminals allowed for accommodation of the gradually increasing size of jumbo jets. Airports have gradually added permanency and civil facilities. By the 1930s, European airports began using paved aprons for the very first time, allowing nighttime flying, as well as landing of possibly heavier aircraft. Approach lighting would subsequently be introduced, allowing for indication of proper direction and angle of descent. In this entire development, information technology allowed for organizations like the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) to standardize code, and gradually gain prominence. By the 1940s, slope line approach systems were commonplace. In order to accommodate jet engines of 1960s, slip form machines would be employed to lay out reinforced concrete slabs without any disruptions along the length. Deliberate assistance would also be instituted with up-and-coming airport terminals phasing out outdoor passenger boarding.
New technological Challenges
Upcoming challenges along the technological frontier do not come from the size of the aircraft, the range or speed. Instead, now the technology is focused upon streamlining the machinery for improving the seat mile cost – the single most important parameter driving technology in the sector today. At the same time, low admissions and incorporation of other green technologies is becoming important. Over the past few years, a prototype of an entirely solar aircraft successfully completed its flight around the world. However, emphasis is upon improving the battery capacity, and reliability while also bringing the cost of the solar cell down.
Anderson, J. D. (1999). Aircraft performance and design. McGraw-Hill Science/Engineering/Math.
Nicolai, L. M., & Carichner, G. (2001). Fundamentals of aircraft and airship design. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics,.