Human beings are always going somewhere or want to go somewhere. What is on the other side of that ridge? That mountain range? We go to the store, to the movies, to the bank, to the supermarket, to the kitchen, to bed (usually on a daily basis), to the bathroom (sometimes more than once), to the moon (we haven’t been there in a while). We are even told where to go – “Go west young man!”, or “You can go to hell!” First, humans walked/hiked/trekked to explore. Then humans rode animals, and then they had carts or wagons, and then boats. We went up and down rivers, across ponds, lakes, seas, oceans. Then we wanted to copy the birds and fly, or was it more than that? To slip those surly bonds of earth as it were. Do we want and need to conquer our surroundings? our world? To show that we are the masters? We always want to get somewhere quicker or faster. When the Mayflower came across the Atlantic Ocean in 1620 it took 65-days to do it. In 1927 when Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean it took 33-1/2-hours. In 1996 a Concorde Supersonic Airliner flew across the Atlantic Ocean in under 3-hours. In 1974 (22-years earlier) a U.S. Air Force ‘spy’ plane flew across the Atlantic Ocean in under 2-hours. It used to take days, weeks, or even months for a letter to reach someone via snail mail (do people even write letters anymore?). Now with the click of a button we can send an e-mail or a tweet to anyone anywhere on or off the earth instantly. The world is shrinking. Aviation and Technology are rapidly advancing.
Speaking of aviation, I love aviation! That is an understatement! Aviation is more that just people, aircraft, technology, or history. Imagine the joy, admiration and/or fascination a young child has when they see an airplane up in the sky for the first time.
And what about Rotorcraft or Helicopters? They have been used throughout aviations short history. First to save peoples lives, then later on to be used as a weapon in war. It has also been used to save peoples lives in war.
People talk about the spinoffs from NASA, well what about the spinoffs from aviation? Have we gone far or have we advanced from the technologies derived from aviation? Yes we have. Automobiles for instance are more aerodynamic. Speaking of automobiles, here is a little side note, the SAAB automobile comes from a company that started out by making airplanes. The name SAAB means “Svenska Aeroplan AB”. “AB” is the rough equivalent of company, so SAAB literally means Swedish Airplane Company. There have been may more spinoffs from aviation, in the areas of metallurgy, composite materials, and electronics. Anti-lock brakes were first developed for aircraft back in 1929.
So, are we going to go far? Yes. We have gone far from that famous first flight on December 17, 1903 and we will keep going far.