Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
As the quest for manned, heavier-than-air flight progressed into the latter half of the 19th century, man still did not possess sufficient scientific understanding of all the principles that would permit the successful accomplishment of what many still considered to be a fanciful pursuit and a waste of time. As a functional directional control system for aircraft had not yet been developed, little more than partially controlled glides or "powered hops", rather than fully controlled sustained flight, were even realized. Although gliders had been scientifically designed and tested with limited success since the beginning of the century, it became apparent that a sufficient source of motive power would be required for the sustained, powered flight of man. However, engines of the day were still crude and inefficient, and were just being developed and refined into devices that could do useful work. Some of the earliest aircraft designs of the day exhibited a range of potential for successfully accomplishing controlled, powered flight and incorporated sometimes novel and often primitive engine designs to develop propulsion.
Scholarly Commons Citation
Sanbongi, B. (1999). The Aircraft Engine: An Historical Perspective of Engine Development through World War I. Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research, 8(3). Retrieved from http://commons.erau.edu/jaaer/vol8/iss3/7