WWI AIR COMBAT – WHAT IT CAME DOWN TO

What is more natural than looking back over major aviation innovations of the Great War today, the anniversary of the Armistice? Here is a very interesting video posted by the BBC on how the fighter pilots dealt with reconnaissance, bombing missions and dogfight techniques. Primitive flight controls are well explained as is the interest of performing missions with a triplane aircraft – three sets of wings are necessarily more narrow, providing the pilot with a better visual field.

From the flimsy Blériot XI to Sopwiths and Fokkers, the first aces developed early methods that are always taught in fighter schools even though beyond-visual-range air combat has taken over since. Major Charles Tricornot de Rose was considered by many as the father of air fighting as early as 1914. Then as shown in this video, the German ace Oswald Boelcke laid out a first set of rules for dogfighting called the Dicta Boelcke. Pilots’ life expectancy was not measured in years but in weeks.

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Legendary Alberto Santos-Dumont – First sportsman of the air

The Brazilian pioneer was the first to demonstrate that controlled flight was possible thanks to his dirigible balloons. He flew his « Number 6 » round the Eiffel Tower as early as 1901. He designed and flew the 14-bis « Oiseau de proie » (Bird of prey) in 1906. This invention was the first fixed-wing flying machine witnessed by the European press and French aviation authorities to achieve an actual controlled flight.

He designed and flew the Demoiselle (Damselfly) in 1908. This aircraft was controlled by wing warping, and a tail unit equipped with a rudder, and an elevator.

VIDEO:

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BLUE ANGELS & MAGIC OF FLIGHT

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