Essay on the conquest of the Air

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“None but the brave deserves the fair”, says the poet. It means to enjoy one has to be bold. Formerly the hero was he who conquered his fellow men by might of arms. But today he has got to conquer matter with the help of mind.

It is out of the impulse that the desire to conquer the air and fly like birds arose in the human mind. Poets imagined this. The puspakarath of Ravana, the wings of Deadalus,-all these are imaginative efforts on the part of poets to ride the spaces.

But only in recent years has science been able to translate the dreams of the poets and practical visionaries like Leonardo da Vinci into facts of reality. To achieve this, scientists studied the upward tendency of gases; they studied the mechanism of the flight of birds; they improved the motor-power of mechanical engines. They made experi­ments and risked their lives; they fumbled with the balloon; they struggled with the airship; and at long last, after repeated failures they came out with the modern aeroplane with all its varieties. Today the air is full of the hum of mighty aero-engines rushing through space, and the racing jumbo-jets, carrying with ease and speed a thousand passengers.

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Experiments were then started to navigate the balloon and control its movements. With the discovery of steam-power, a steam-driven airship was made in 1852.

Meanwhile, the followers of the “heavier-than-air” principle were carrying on their experiments. Gliders with rigid wings and movable tails came first in the field. But the real credit for evolving the modern aeroplane belongs to Wright Brothers of America, who successfully flew an aeroplane over the English Channel in 1903 with a petrol engine. From 1903 to 1908 was the period of decisive experiments. Then came the European War of 1914. The construction of aeroplane was improved upon considerably. During World War II the aeroplane had become almost perfect and was the decisive factor in winning the war. Today for long distance travel, the aeroplane is superseding all other means of transport.

This closer communication due to air travel and radiotelephones must develop intimacy among nations. We reach London in less than a day, America in two days. Time and space have been practically done away with. A student can go out to distant universities with ease; merchants can carry on their trade far and wide. The conquest of the will then is a means of promoting human welfare in the widest sense. We are on the threshold of a new era of interplanetary communication. Russian and American space scientists have proved pioneers who opened the unlimited regions of the firmament. And even now man-made space-ships are entering the wide space and they have landed on the moon and hope to reach other planets —Mars, Venus etc.

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