Boys and men especially love this beautiful Vintage Airplanes Scramble Squares® puzzle, which shows the Wright Brothers plane, the Red Barron’s World War I Fokker, Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis and the B-17 bomber of World War II all diving and gliding through the wild blue yonder.
Humankind’s fascination with flight must have begun the first time that one of our ancestors saw a bird flying overhead millions of years ago. As recently as only four hundred years ago in Renaissance Italy, Leonardo Da Vinci could only begin to conceptualize in his notebook specific plans for flying machines. Can there be any greater testimony to human inventiveness than our success, within the short span of the 20th Century, in not only flying with the birds, but in soaring beyond them, many times faster than the speed of sound, even to the moon and back and now routinely into orbit around their earthly habitat?! Flying has become an incidental part of life for the average citizen of the world’s industrialized nations, who fly for business or pleasure, traveling to destinations in hours or even minutes that would have taken their forbearers weeks or months, if they could have made such a journey at all.
Almost from the moment that Orville and Wilbur Wright first achieved 12 seconds of sustained flight with their power driven aircraft for 120 feet (37 meters) on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, we have been accelerating to faster speeds and greater distances. Aircraft today are capable of speeds over 2,000 miles per hour (3,200 km/hr) at altitudes greater than 80,000 feet. Today’s commercial jumbo jets are 50% longer than the entire length of the Wright brother’s original flight. Only 6 years after the Wright brothers’ 12 second hop, Bleriot flew over the English Channel, and just ten years later, John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown flew a modified Vickers Vimy World War I bomber nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean from Newfoundland, Canada to Galway, Ireland! By 1947, the F-86 Sabre and the MiG-15, American and Russian military fighter planes, employed jet engines and swept back wings to fly at speeds approaching the speed of sound. In August of that same year, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the Bell XS-1, a plane powered by rocket engines. A new age of air travel was achieved in 1969 when Boeing introduced its Boeing 747, the first “jumbo jet” widebody passenger transport, capable of carrying from 366 to 550 passengers at a significantly reduced cost per passenger seat mile. Long distance jet travel had become affordable for almost everyone.