The era of helicopter use in warfare began in Vietnam, where they were initially used as combat support
The First Moon Landing: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
Muslim engineer, Abbas Ibn Firnas, performed the first parachuting The world of aviation came into our lives and brought us revolutions: distances no longer seem so far, while the sky no longer seems so high. But even inventions that accompany us daily, from a bird’s eye view, all started with a proto-type, an inventor, and countless failed attempts.
It has only been 230 years since the first aircraft flew in the air. In these 230 years, the world of aviation has experienced a number of revolutions and developments. Every few years, a revolution pushes the boundaries of our imagination and encourages man to fly higher, farther, and faster. This week, IAF site returns to the roots of aviation and answers a few questions: How did two anonymous bicycle builders make history? Who was the Israeli who spawned the UAV revolution in the army?
The First Parachuting
Even before the invention of the hot air balloon by the Montgolfier brothers in France, Muslim engineer, Abbas Ibn Firnas, tried to build a flying glider. When he tried his luck at a glider made with stretched fabric and an umbrella-like device, Ibn Firnas made history and carried out the first recorded parachuting. Although the construction of the glider itself was unsuccessful, the umbrella-like device opened up and slowed his fall, allowing him to skydive. Thereafter, the way was paved for future designers. During the Renaissance, one of the most prominent engineers was Leonardo da Vinci; one of his many models was built in the 20th century, and even performed a successful flight.
The First Flight
Exactly 110 years ago, in late 1903, two anonymous brothers from the Wright family, announced that they had achieved flight, something that, until then, had not been heard of, even by experts in the field. The two former bicycle builders were the first to put man on a flying machine and successfully achieve manned flight. The first flight, which Orville Wright conducted, reached a height of 37 meters and lasted only 12 seconds.
The First Air Battle
Just ten years after the first ascent of man into the sky, an air battle took place for the first time. In the skies of the Sahara Desert, Italian and Ottoman airplanes fought one another, in order to defeat one another. Less than a year later, the First World War broke out, in which the countries of world understood the benefits the plane grants in battle. Developing air forces went out to bloody battles on land and in the sky, and during the war years, the first airplanes equipped with machine guns were developed.
The First Military Use of Helicopters
Nowadays, the Helicopter Division constitutes an inseparable part of the IAF and plays many roles, centering on cooperation with ground forces. The beginning of the era of the use of helicopter in warfare began in Vietnam, where they were initially used as combat support and performed tasks such as evacuation of the wounded and transport of combat soldiers, but soon enough, combat helicopters entered the battlefield. As the war came to an end in 1975, the Cobra helicopter came into use, the new models of which have even served in the IAF.
The First Astronauts in Space
After conquering the sky, man’s aspirations continued to skyrocket; the next goal: manned landing in space. Indeed, in 1961, the Soviets launched Yuri Gagarin into space, making him the first man in space, but not far behind them were the Americans who, in 1969, made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin the first two astronauts to walk on the moon.
The First Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
The first UAVs were actually 200 hot air balloons armed with bombs that were triggered by a timer, which were sent by the Austrian army to its enemies in 1849. The idea also appealed to the Japanese army, which tried to send a fleet of unmanned hot air balloons towards the United States during WWII, but without success. In the 60s, a model plane controlled by radio waves was invented and served as a toy for children. But, the first person who thought of integrating the platform into the army was actually an Israeli: Major Shabatai Brill. Since then, the world of UAVs has continued to develop and gain momentum, and many air forces all over the world have expanding UAV divisions.