Pioneers of Flight

1900 - 1950

The first winged transport prototypes, which were heavier than air, fitted with an engine and capable of stable flight under human control, are considered to be the ones developed by the brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright in the early twentieth century in Ohio (USA). However, there were many pioneers of flight all over the world during the same period. In 1909, the Frenchman Louis Blériot completed the first flight across the English Channel, while the following year the Peruvian Geo Chavez completed the first flight across the Alps from Brig (CH) to Domodossola (I).

The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth 

Antoine De Saint-Exupery  

Within the space of a few decades, technology replaced the canvas and wood frame of the original models with metal wings and fuselage in the first half of the twentieth century. Increasingly sophisticated ailerons and stabilisers were introduced for better flight control and jet engine technology was developed. This resulted in seaplanes, helicopters and jets: bigger and faster every time.