A Brief History of Aviation
Man has always been fascinated by the prospect of flight. The human history of aviation dates well before the 1800s with more than fifty documented endeavors in flight. The Montgolfiers, two French brothers, succeeded in 1783 in creating the first true apparatus to "fly" when they created a linen, fire powered balloon that floated along for more than five miles.The first bona fide, patented plans for an airplane with an engine were developed in 1843 by William S. Henderson, although the plane was not actually capable of flying.In 1848, John Stringfellow created a small, steam powered model plane that was capable of "brief flight." It was during the early 1900s when the actual turning point for aviation occurred and two determined brothers from Dayton, Ohio struggled to make their dream of flight a reality.Orville and Wilbur Wright disregarded several failed attempts to fly and persevered in their seemingly unattainable goal.. As a result, the Wright Brothers ushered in a new era of flight and the "air age" was born.Shortly thereafter, in 1905, the first aircraft company was created by two French fliers, Charles and Gabriel Voisin while Glenn Curtiss was founding the first US airplane company in New York. In 1909, After the World War I the abundance of warplanes enabled them to be converted for commercial use and the U.S. Post Office began using aviation to its benefit with the introduction of "airmail" in 1918. After acontinent-to-continent flight by Charles Lindbergh in 1927 when he flew from New Jersey to Paris in 33 hours generating strong support for aviation. Americans were no longer afraid to fly and the number of passengers dramatically increased as did private investments into the aviation industry.In the modern era, aviation has broadened opportunities worldwide and has made our world increasingly smaller while it has allowed numerous technological advancements. Airline Industry
Because of all of the equipment and facilities involved in air transportation, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that this is, fundamentally, a service industry. In that sense, the airline business is similar to other service businesses like banks, insurance companies or even barbershops. There is no physical product given in return for the money paid by the customer, nor inventory created and stored for sale at some later date. Capital-Intensive
In contrast with many service businesses, airlines today need more than storefronts and telephones to get started. They need an enormous range of expensive equipment and facilities, from airplanes to flight simulators to maintenance hangars, aircraft tugs, airport counter space and gates. Consequently, the airline industry is a capital-intensive business, requiring large sums of money to operate effectively. Most equipment is financed through loans or the issuance of stock. Airlines also lease equipment, including assets they owned previously but sold to someone else and leased back. Whatever arrangements an airline chooses to pursue, its capital needs require consistent profitability. Because airlines own large fleets of expensive aircraft that depreciate in value over time, they historically have generated a substantial positive cash flow (profits plus depreciation). Most airlines use their cash flow to repay debt, acquire new aircraft or upgrade facilities. When cash flow is significant, airlines may also issue dividends to shareholders.
The U.S. airline industry employs several hundred thousand pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, baggage handlers, reservation and customer service representatives, cleaners, analysts, salespersons, accountants, lawyers, engineers, schedulers, auditors, computer programmers and others. About half of airline workers belong to professional unions and are governed by collective bargaining agreements. Over the years, technological developments have enabled airlines increasingly to automate...
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