Friday, August 26, 2011

Horten Ho 229 Spirit of Thuringia - The Horten All-wing Jet Fighter

THE history of aviation is full of great ideas. Some of the ideas from the early pioneers have survived to this day; others have been passed by as too difficult to create with current technology, and some have just proven to be outright wrong. But in the Pantheon of truly great revolutionary ideas, there are few. Over one hundred years ago, two brothers decided to create practical flight. Their innovations and approach survive to this day. These two brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright, and their ideas, are generally recognized by history and by nearly all scientists and engineers as being the first truly practical approach to flight. The Wrights created flight by breaking the necessary components of flight down to their respective parts. They solved the problems of structure, propulsion, stability, control, and performance. To do this, they started with the fundamentals they observed from the flight of birds. One of the great leaps forward the Wrights made was when they shook off the illusion of mechanical flight as being simply an extension of two-dimensional travel, namely railroad technology. They saw the problem of flight as being one of banking the aircraft to turn it. In so doing, it was necessary to invent the vertical tail and three-axis control. This is the same thing most aeronautical engineers do today to design aircraft.