One of the very early natural phenomenon that must have intrigued prehistoric man was the swarms of little creatures seemingly small and weak but incredibly skillful to be able to fly through the air with the greatest of ease.
Just like the rising sun and changing weather impacted early human’s psychology, seeing birds fly also sparked a unique sense of curiosity in man.
Some experts go so far as to suggest that the reason early humans were hooked on building tall monuments was partly down to this interest in seeing the world from above, just like a bird; having a bird’s eye view so to speak.
For a broader period in human history, man has simply imagined and wrote about flying, as found in the ancient Hindu scripture of Mahabharata wherein strange manned-flying machines are mentioned called Vimana, amongst other ancient references.
However, when humans adopted a more scientific approach towards the world and its mechanics the obsession with flight took a dramatic turn. The aim was to one day frequently fly in the skies like birds and for that noble cause many scientists contributed their fair share of effort.
The focus on a Steam powered glider in the mid 19th century is believed to have been a pivotal moment in the history of flights which helped paved the way for a controlled manned glider flight in 1850’s. Seeing men flying through the air in gliders surely amazed the world and generating a more enthusiastic response and interest in the field.
It took less than half a century for science to make the leap from gliders to first manned flying structure famously known as the Zeppelin that took to the air for the first time in 1900. In the short span between 1900 to 1910 so much happened in the aviation industry that it put mankind on a different path, with progress and innovation taking a radical shift.
It is a sad fact that the Frist World War and to some extent the Second World War heavily contributed to flight industry. It is famously said that men went to First World War on horsebacks and left on planes.
Later came the cold war that gave mankind a fear of Armageddon and nuclear apocalypse but inspired a drive forward with technology previously unfathomable even by the brightest of the minds.
Now we are on Moon, hoping to set foot on Mars soon, and our obsession with flying higher and farther is not going to go away anytime soon.
However, the progress in the field of aviation has clearly a lot to tell about the strength of human imagination and scope of our ingenuity.