History Bombs, Pilot Episode, Action! Yo, Narrator Man, whatsup? Wilbur Wright, what are you doing? Well this is my gig man, History of Aviation Yes, but we don’t get to you for 2:50 Now get lost! Whatever man, Jeez! Why are the British so uptight! It’s time for the History Bomb of Aviation And our journey begins in Ancient Greece Icarus and Daedalus took to the skies Tragically flew just a little too high Waxy wings got melty like a candle The Sun proved too hot to handle So before you make wings don’t be a hero Keep the wax for your legs and the feathers in a pillow Wise words there So not the most promising start for human aviation But bizarrely this mythical mishap inspired the first pioneers of flight Let’s meet one of them now The year is 1010 An English monk has a similar plan Homemade wings, jumps off an abbey Flew 200 metres then got a bit flappy Crash landed and broke his limbs Shoult have stuck to praying and singing hymns Ah yes, silly monk! And that set the tone for the next few hundred years of human aviation Not so much flying but assisted falling The first person to think logically about human flight was this chap Welcome to Florence, lovely to meet ya! I’m in the middle of the Mona Lisa But when I’m not painting a like to sketch drafts For parachutes, gliders and rotorcraft. I didn’t have the time to make them, I’m far too busy! Arrivederci, Leonardo da Vinci Arrivederci indeed! He did have some pretty good drawings but sadly These weren’t discovered for 300 years In the meantime Europeans were getting very excited about hot air ballooning And at the forefront were the Montgolfier Brothers Bonjour, we’re Montgolfiers! Gonna take you up in the air We learnt that hot air rises Sent up balloons and we won some prizes Lifted a sheep with a chicken and a duck Most of France were like ‘Qu’est-ce que sup’? But that’s our style, that’s how we roll Just like our balloons we are out of control! Zut alors! Two problems with balloons; 1) Impossible to change direction 2) They caught on fire Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin solved the first problem with his dirigible airships but they still caught on fire. Hindenburg Disaster anyone? Now whilst the French were messing around with airships It was naturally left to a right minded Englishman to get on with the proper business of pioneering fixed wing aircraft That man was Sir George Cayley Silly French I have no time for dirigibles It’s time for the fundamental principles of flight I say, what, what, where? My butler flew a glider from here to there The mechanics of flying, they are a must Weight, Lift, Drag, THRUST! I need a lightweight engine but they think I’m demented. Sir it’s the 1850s, they haven’t been invented! Cayley’s work ushered in the age of steam From the 1870s lightweight steam engines were being used for short test flights And in the 1890s, Samuel Langley achieved an unmanned flight of 1km At the dawn of the 20th century, manned flight was finally realised Hey Wilbur, let’s do this right We’re gonna be the grand masters of flight (Oh Yeah!) Got the power of 3-axis control Yaw, pitch and roll Built a bi-plane called it ‘The Flyer’ Launched off a catapult and got much higher Planes were our invention, loud and clear So quit whining about our landing gear (Oh Yeah!) There is still arguement as to whether the Wright brothers did make the first plane Because they used a catapult, not wheels, to take off Nevertheless their revolutionary steering mechanism changed everything In 1908 Louis Bleriot flew from France to England And other pilots, both men and women, started taking to the skies to push forward the barriers of speed and distance Pretty soon however planes were being put to a far more destructive task Mein name ist Manfred von Richtofen You might know me as ‘The Red Baron’ Shot down Allied planes for fun 80 kills with just two machine gun Bonjour je m’appelle Rene Fonck No. 1 pilot for La France 75 kills I’m as good as they get Even more deadly than a stale baguette! Phew, thank goodness that’s over with! Oh, here we go, here’s WWII, and interestingly it wasn’t just the men who were flying as pilots We are the night witches from Russia with love We dropped 3,000 tonnes of bombs from above Flying at night over enemy lines Each woman flew over 1,000 times When you think about WWII And the brave pilots who fought for you It wasn’t just Bertie, Percy and Peter It was Mary, Natalia, Irena and Vera Incredible story. Both World Wars were unimaginably destructive But through their course human flight was revolutionised Planes were getting faster and more ambitious, and gutsy test pilots were pushing them to the limit After WWII, flying got sexy! Chuck Yeagar, pilot of renown, in ’47 I broke the speed of sound Albert Crossfield, US Pilot too, took a Skyrocket past Mk II Yuri Gargarin, Russian ace, in ’61 I went to outerspace Neil Armstrong, how d’ya do, in ’69 I walked on the moon And the need for speed is still alive, in 2010 Boeing hit Mk V And now for space, the final frontier, will space tourism soon appear? Whatever happens we’ve come a long way from Icarus and Daedalus flapping away Thanks for joining us for the ride, you’ve got half a second to SUBSCRIBE!