Go to contents

The horror and fantasy of flight

Posted April. 28, 2020 07:38,   

Updated April. 28, 2020 07:38


The Wright brothers made the first successful flight of a self-propelled aircraft on Dec. 17, 1903, even though it lasted just 12 seconds. Aircrafts could fly over an hour, covering 20-30 kilometers, by 1908. Amid fierce competition for aircraft between the U.S. and Europe, military officials would attend every flight attempt whenever there was one.

The inspiration for air warfare began in the early days of hot air balloon flights even before airships were invented, not to mention aircrafts. Papers on air warfare were published in the late 19th century. Militaries bought the first airships and started studying reconnaissance and attacks with them. At that time, air warfare was a hard thing to imagine in the absence of a decent aircraft but some people must have been terrified and inspired by a future warfare. Surprisingly in 1899, countries signed the Hague Conventions, which prohibited the bombardment of undefended towns or habitations for the following five years. But the agreement was useless since there were no flying vehicles, such as airships, to travel to a target destination and drop bombs. But the five-year deadline was quite significant. With the fast development of aviation technology, the idea of the weapons in the air began to make sense and showed much promise within 10 years. The international law finally recognized aircrafts as a weapon and aviation attacks were strategically reviewed by air force operations commands in major countries.

Human beings are sometimes clever and sometimes so insensitive to changes. The latter was more common in the history of warfare. But the military, which is usually considered a conservative organization, oddly went ahead with air warfare. The thought of bombarding an undefended target on the ground must have been so tempting. How thrilling is it to think of waging a war with an undefended enemy? This idea gave birth to air force and the aviation industry, but air warfare proved not to be easy once it actually started.