AVSC 1010 Lecture 1 - AVSC 1010 Lecture 1 Brilliant,...

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AVSC 1010 Lecture 1 Brilliant, dashing, winged thing Moving there across the sky, What new message do you bring Unto mankind as you fly? —American poem from 1910, author unknown The last century of human achievement has been marked by astounding progress in medicine, computers, power, and hundreds of other fields. Of these, the field of aerospace has grown and developed more than any other. Aerospace is the combination of aviation (flight within the earth’s atmosphere) and space flight (flight beyond the protection of the atmosphere). The two fields are so unavoidably linked that the companies that manufacture aircraft also manufacture spacecraft. These companies comprise one of the largest contributors to the world economy: the aerospace industry. Aerospace has made the world a smaller place by decreasing our travel times between nations. Only fifty years ago it took weeks on a ocean voyager to travel to other continents; today that same trip may take only half a day in an airplane. It is now possible to fight forest fires from the air, rain death from bombers, drop food packages into remote, famine-stricken areas, and travel from California to New Jersey to visit your Aunt Martha for Thanksgiving dinner. The development of the aerospace field is fascinating. Of course, it is the obligation of all teachers to present their unique field as “the most important or fascinating,” but as a part-time professor and a full-time airline pilot, I can say that aviation is truly as exciting as your textbook says it is. But what did flying mean to the many people who made flight possible? What did flying mean to our ancestors watching the flight of birds? What does flying mean to us? Flying Was for the Birds We believe the earliest flights began with the dinosaurs. Giant flying reptiles larger than the largest birds seen today terrorized the skies some 100 million years ago. Actual glider models have been produced by paleontologists based on fossil records of the creatures. But we can only guess how far and how high they flew. Most paleontologists do agree that these flying dinosaurs are closely related to the birds. Some scientists also argue that the bird is the closest living relative of the dinosaur. Other flying creatures, including insects and mammals such as bats, were said to have evolved in different ways. An American Golden Eagle in flight The flights of birds, dinosaurs, and aircraft are explained by basic principles of physics, which will be discussed in greater detail in a few chapters. For now, but I’ll give you a foundation to help build your knowledge. Some of you may still be under the mistaken notion that “there is no there there” in the air (greatest apologies to Gertrude Stein for messing up her famous line). Yet air is not empty; it is full of trillions of nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide molecules as well as other microscopic particles. Air is very similar to the liquid of the oceans. The only real difference is the obvious one: the
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AVSC 1010 Lecture 1 - AVSC 1010 Lecture 1 Brilliant,...

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