Back to the Future: An Engineering Evolution

Paper #:
  • 922064

Published:
  • 1992-10-05
Citation:
May, C., "Back to the Future: An Engineering Evolution," SAE Technical Paper 922064, 1992, https://doi.org/10.4271/922064.
Author(s):
Pages:
16
Abstract:
“Learning the secret of flight from a bird was a good deal like learning the secret of magic from a magician. After you know what to look for, you see things that you did not notice when you did not know exactly what to look for.” Orville Wright, American Inventor and Aviator [1871-1948]The founders of commercial aviation are among the more courageous visionaries in world history. Their talent, fortitude, and interest forged a fiercely competitive and fiercely cooperative aviation community. Thousands of men and women who have shared in this vision have contributed to America's nearly century-long leadership role in commercial aviation.Ron Davies, Curator of Air Transport - National Air & Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution recently wrote, “There have been five eras of development in international air transportation history: [1] infancy [1919-1929]; [2] Great Flying Boats [1930-1945]; [3] Great Piston-Engined Airliners [1946-1958]; [4] First Jet Age [1958-1970]; and [5] Wide-Bodied or “Jumbo” Jet age [1970- ].” Each of these eras was launched by a major technical advance.Where are these major advances today? After thirty-five years of aircraft engineering, I believe that the opportunity to refine systems, to improve efficiency and performance, to achieve engineering excellence is greater than ever in the past.
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