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Aircraft
Performance: Post-War Aviation Industry

I. Summary

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Any advancement in aviation was
crawling before the United States thought of engaging in World War II. The
Wright brothers first attempted powered flight in 1903, which didn’t spark a
large interest in the public for commercial aviation. Commercial aviation
really started to come around during the engagement of WWI, because the
government and military saw a use for airplanes in order to complete the complicated and demanding mission in support of
the war efforts. As WWI came to a close, the commercial aviation industry
nearly bankrupt itself due to a surplus
of airplanes produced during the war. With America’s involvement in WWII, the commercial aviation industry would
change when the need for bigger and better technology was exhibited. 

II. Problem

Early on in the century, the
American aviation industry did not have the advancements in technology that
other countries in Asia and Europe had. Allied forces flew biplanes with
piston-engines, which gave them no air superiority due to the Germans having
advanced fighter planes and bombers.

III. Significance
of the Problem

As WWII slowly started to become
a reality, President Roosevelt orders the production of aircraft that would be
used by the military in support of both U.S. and Allied troops across the
Atlantic. By 1940 the production of aircraft was less than 6,000 compared to
the 95,000 that were being produced by
1944. The advancements in technology for the aircraft first being produced had
not changed much compared to the ones flown in WWI. It was the Germans, and
their advancements in aviation technology, and the need for air superiority
that pushed aviation industry companies, such Northrop and Lockheed, to design
and develop prototype aircraft that could pose a threat. In 1942 General
Electric would change the way that aviation operates in all wars, by
introducing the jet engine. The bombers and fighter planes were doing a good
job, but the need for air troop transport and resupply sparked the development of complex aircraft. These complex developments
began a new era in commercial aviation travel as we know it today.

Jet engines started to take over
the commercial airline industry after WWII. Warplanes demonstrated the
reliability and speed of the jet engine, so airlines began implementing engines
into their airplanes, incorporating designs that were faster, more efficient
with reduced drag.  This opened the floodgates for commercial airline travel. By
the end of the war, funding was secured to continue testing and enhancements of
the jet engine. The testing was improving the engines, by reducing the
vibration, extending the airplanes lifespan due to the reduced stress on the
airframe. Because of the continued advancements in the jet engines, companies
such as Pan Am were producing planes that were bigger, faster, and more
efficient, such as the Boeing 747. The Soviet Union first introduced the
development of the supersonic aircraft in the 1960’s that was followed by other
countries in Europe, as the need for a faster and farther travel continued to
increase.

IV.
Development of Alternative Actions

Alternative Action
1: The
improvement and enhancement of the aviation industry are certainly based on private corporations and their interest in
developing planes and engines that can attract the consumer to their product.  

Advantages: Certainly the introduction of
the jet airplane early in the 20th century lured individuals from
traveling in piston engine biplanes. The desire to be on the cutting edge of
technology is what continues to drive the aviation industry to develop engines
and airplanes that can go faster, transport more weight, and all while being
cost-efficient to the developer and the consumer.

Disadvantages:
The desire to
produce quantity can surpass the need for quality, leading to safety issues and
concerns that can possibly cause accidents and/or injury/death.

Alternative Action
2: Wars and
conflicts are inevitable in today’s world. Government and militaries need to
look ahead into future technologies that give America the aviation advantage
during the war.

Advantages: Multiple wars in the early 21st
century led to an increased need for the procreation of aviation assets for the
military that can provide support, out-last, and out-maneuver anything that had
been in the previous production, such as the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
(UAV) and the AH-64 Apache.

Disadvantages:
Post-war, the
military is downsizing due to the exhaustion of funds for the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq. The costliness of technology development for better-equipped
aircraft can be a reason to put the brakes on said research.

V. Recommendations

Lessons that have been learned in
regards to America’s aviation industry is that the market is always expanding,
and other countries will always try to remain one step ahead of developments
and technologies. Attention, importance, and funding are essential to both the
commercial and military sides of aviation in order to remain in the forefront
of the industry. With aviation, much more can be expected that will further
revolutionize air and space travel, as well as creating a military that has
vast air superiority.

 

References

 

Bright,
C. (1978). The Jet Makers: The Aerospace
Industry from 1945 to 1972. Retrieved May 5, 2015, from http://www.generalatomic.com/jetmakers/chapter1.html

Shankman,
S. (2014, October 14). 3 Biggest
Challenges Facing the Global Aviation Industry. Retrieved May 6, 2015, from

3 Biggest Challenges Facing the Global Aviation Industry

Piston Engine Aircraft vs. Turboprop
Engine Aircraft. (2011, December 12). Retrieved May
5, 2015, from http://www.shorelineaviation.net/news—events/bid/50442/Piston-Engine-Aircraft-vs-Turboprop-Engine-Aircraft
 

History of Aviation: First Flights.
(n.d.). Retrieved May 5, 2015, from http://www.avjobs.com/history/

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