ASSIGNMENT THREE (100 pts; due 20 June):
The third assignment is based on a careful and thorough reading Leonard S. Riech, “From the Spirit of St. Louis to the SST: Charles Lindbergh, Technology, and the Environment” (Isidore) and James R. Hansen, The Bird is on the Wing: Aerodynamics and the Progress of the American Airplane, Chapters 2 and 3. Charles Lindbergh is one of the most important figures in the history of American aviation. You will be reading a good, short biographical study of a very complex individual. Hansen’s book on aerodynamics, like Courtwright’s, is new – just published in 2004. For those interested in aviation technology and science, this is a very good, readable introduction
I am breaking up the reading in the Hansen book into smaller “pieces” for this and the following assignments. Hansen’s book is a more traditional aviation history work than the other books you have read so far for this course. Although less “internalist” and more informed by the new aviation history than most, it is still very much focused within the world of “the thing” — in this case the influence of the science of aerodynamics on aircraft design. Because of the highly technical nature of the subject matter, I think it constitutes a much more “dense” form of reading. In other words, though the number of pages may be less, the pages must be read more slowly and carefully than other type of reading. [Real world example: Think of the differences you have experienced when reading a popular novel versus a textbook. Ten pages of a novel read for fun can be read far more quickly than 10 pages of textbook read for information and instruction. The point being that reading, like time, is relative and reading time can also be relative.]
For this assignment you will write three essays. Essay one should be a 3-4 page essay. Essays two and three should be 3 page essays. The total number of pages should be 9-10 pages. Essay one will be worth 40 points. Essays two and three will each be worth 30 points.
Essay One: (based on Reich) Write an essay in which you trace Lindbergh’s changing view of technology. How, when and why did it change?
Essay Two: (based on Hansen) Write an essay in which you explain what Hansen meant when he argued that the airplane was “re-invented” in the 1920s and 1930s. Be sure to include specific examples.
Essay Three: (based on Hansen) Write an essay in which you examine three important breakthroughs or events associated with the first supersonic flight (October 14, 1947). For example, what made it possible? What led up to the creation of the X-1? What technologies were needed for the X-1 to break the sound barrier? All breakthroughs and/or events in this essay should be dated before October 14, 1947.
ASSIGNMENT FOUR (100 pts; due 4 July):
The fourth assignment is based on a thorough and careful reading of Call, Selling Airpower: Military Aviation and American Popular Culture after World War II. This is another of the newer works that look at the relationship between technology and culture – in this case popular culture and media. Although the title indicates a focus on the post-WWII era, the book includes chapters on the early, pre-WWII era of airpower promotion. The author references a number of popular books, movies, magazine articles, radio programs and television shows that airpower advocates used to promote their vision of American military aviation. He also focuses on the way in which critics of that vision eventually used the same popular culture to deliver their message. While many of the books, magazines and programs may not be familiar to you, some of the movies might be familiar. And, if not, many of the movies mentioned in the book are frequently replayed on television. This might give you a new interest in old movies.
For this assignment you will write two 4-5 page essays. Each essay will be worth 50 points.
Essay One: (based on Call): Write an essay in which you explain four or five of the chief arguments airpower advocates made in the pre-WWII and immediate post-WWII periods as to the value, significance, and/or benefits of military airpower (i.e. how it would revolutionize warfare). You must include examples of arguments from both the pre- and post-WWII periods.
Essay Two: (based on Call): Write an essay in which you explain three or four major critiques of airpower from the late 1940s through the mid-1960s. In other words, focus on arguments that were critical – negative – about airpower and the arguments of airpower advocates. Include at least one example from the Korean War period (just before and during) and one from the period after the Korean War. Why were the critiques after the Korean War more successful in challenging and changing the public’s perception of airpower than those made before or during the war?
The second essay should focus on those who were critical of airpower theory, who challenged those arguing the merits and values of the use of airpower. As with those who were promoting airpower, the critics also aimed many of their remarks at the American public. While airpower had critics from the very beginning, this essay is also aimed at exploring why the American public was much more receptive to arguments against the merit and value of airpower from the 1950s onward.
Trace Lindbergh’s changing view of technology. How, when and why did it change?
The American Aviation Pioneer, Charles Lindbergh, was born in 1902 at a time when America was experiencing technological advancements. The Americans were experiencing both industrial and technical revolution. It was a time when Americans were turning villages to towns and forests into settlement areas in pursuit for technology. In Charles early years, he helped his father in his political campaigns but was mostly inspired by his grandfather, Charles Land into the passion for technology. Land owned a dental laboratory where Lindbergh spent most of the time thus falling in love with technology. He was thrilled in the power in electrified wires especially in 1912 when he operated the Model T used in their farm. His mother inspired his passion for Aviation in 1920 when he took him to Fort Myer where the Wright Brothers flew their Kitty Hawk airplane. Additionally, his passion was stirred by attending the Aviation School in Michigan University. As he further explored the technology in Aviation, he came to believe that science is key to all mystery. Charles asserted that air flying technology is all one would want out of life because it gave one science in the design, beauty in the nature exploration, adventure in the unlimited horizon and freedom against the law of gravity.
In the early years, Charles equated technology to progress. His later inventions and achievements further support his appreciation and love of technology. Charles became the first to fly solo non-stop from New York to Paris in 1927. The incident earned him publicity and celebrity thus became a hero. Later he flew airplanes in over fifty combat Missions in the south during the World War II. Additionally he helped establish the Strategic Air Command of Intercontinental bombers that aided in the war. Charles was not only interested in aviation technology but also in medical technology. Under the influence of his grandfather and Dr. Alexis Carrel, Charles developed a prototype of the human heart. Before 1930s Lindbergh was so passionate about technology that influenced him to discover one technology after the other. In these years, Charles held that no technology is bad or bad and neither neutral but how we design and use it in terms of its values is what makes it bad or good. He advocated for the value in the outcome of technology that influenced him to change his views about technology.
Charles was enthusiastic about both technology and nature. When he examined the value of technology in terms of social and environmental degradation, he began to question the value of technology. Charles wondered if civilization was equitable to social development. Influenced by different experiences, Charles concluded that the technological advancement does not necessarily bring about social development. His conclusion was influenced by his flight in 1930 to the desert where he spent the whole night. During this flight, he questioned the deprived environmental conditions of the area wondering if they fit in the civilization framework of technology. He said that although he had reached there by technology, the ignorance of the conditions of the place portrayed lack technological value. Charles meant that the technological value does not aid in environmental conservation instead it degrades it.
Additionally, when he visited Germany in 1945 to review the war for the United States Department, the destruction of property and lives by Luftwaffe made him question technological significance and results. Luftwaffe was the strongest and most experienced battle military force that engaged in aerial warfare. Charles noticed that Germany had been destroyed by allied bombing during the World War II. Charles argued that the cause of the destruction was not the bombing but the obsession of man with technology. Charles argued that if man would have designed and used the military airpower for the right reasons destruction would not have occurred.
Charles further questioning of the effects and uses of technology made him conclude that the technology thrives upon individualistic views. Despite the fact that he had opposed American entry into the war, he did not succeed. Charles was the pilot of the aircrafts involved in the war. In 1941, he almost lost his life at the height of 36,000 feet when he was testing the B-24 Bombers which he had helped to manufacture. In 1943 as he flew the P-38 Lightening during the Military War, he was almost shot by a Japanese pilot whom he managed to shot first. The two experiences made him conclude that man was so blind to impress his mind at the expense of enslaving his body. He noted critically that scientists are ignorant at the expense of environmental degradation and human life and property destruction. Charles argued that Americans had ignorantly pegged their security on weapons and entangled in scientific materialism individualistic views.
His Wives, Anne book the ‘Gift from the Sea’ (1955) made him move into the action of advocating for the technology that protects the nature. In the book, Anne warned the individualistic Americans who were so obsessed with growth and development at expense of the environment. Charles inspired by her views in 1961 involved into a trip to the game parks of East Africa to promote wildlife conservation. Out of the trip Charles demonstrated his advocacy for environmental conservation. In 1971, he supported his criticism on technological blind faith when he publicly disapproved Federal funding of Supersonic Transport (STT). He argued that scientists had blindly pursued technology development and invention ignoring their later issues. He advocated for technology that had value and one that promoted social progressed. He despised the technology that leads to environmental degradation, property and life destruction, individualism and materialism.
In conclusion, Lindbergh’s views about technology before 1930s were inclined to praise of technology. He equated technology to the development and described it as the key to all mystery. However, after 1940s particular experiences made him question technological value. Some of the experiences included the German Luftwaffe and experiences when he almost died. Charles had the value for nature and after close examination; he found out that the technology had led to environmental degradation through the industrial wastes and pollution. Additionally, technology had made people machine-like with no connection to the nature who emphasized on labor over skills and on the quantity over quality. By 1960s Charles views had changed from questioning to actions against the negative effects of technology.
Explain what Hansen meant when he argued that the airplane was “re-invented” in the 1920s and 1930s. Be sure to include specific examples.
The history of airplanes can be traced from the history of simple inventions such as steam jets and flying of balloons. The most significant invention before 1920s was the airplane invention by the Wright brothers. Wilbur and Orville had managed to take the first flight up to a height of 120feet in Kitty Hawk. The plane was heavier than air and had poor control because it was unstable. At this time, aviation knew no accidents and no human or environmental destruction. The plane models of the time were too heavy to fly long distances. Additionally, they used internal combustion engines which made them use a lot of fuels and to overheat. As a result, aeronautical engineers wondered what would be done to solve the challenges of long distance. The aviation technology was still new to them and was not aware what technology was appropriate to solve the phenomena. Moreover, there were few institutions that taught aviation technology such as Michigan University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was until the age of 1920s and 1930s that aviation technology experienced new inventions such as retractable gear, streamlined form, commercial significance and the jet powered engines. The period was immediately after World War I. James Hansen called this re-invention of the airplane. Hansen argued that the necessity is the mother of invention. He said that the technological advancement requirements of before 1920s such as how to overcome the distance barrier necessitated the invention of better airplane models and designs in the 1920s and 1930s. Hansen argued further that the inventions were initiated by individual pursuit, military air power races and competition, streamlining ideas and the re-invention of the ‘shelf items.’
Hansen noted that the inventions were built upon the ideas of the aeronautical analysis prior to 1920s. After 1920s, these ideas were not just put on paper but in action. For example, the ideas of Frederick W. Lanchester about streamlining were put in action through invention of streamlined airplane models such as Curtiss CR3 airplane models. Streamlining was commonly known as drag reduction and aided in the invention of airplane models that could fly faster without resistance by air. Faster speed of flight meant saving of energy. In support of streamlining, Frederick gave a speech before the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1922 entitled, ’Aerodynamical Efficiency in the Reduction of Transport Cost.’ These ideas also inspired individuals like John K. Northrop to invent the Lockheed Vega Plan plane in 1926. The plane had a streamlined shape, lightweight, had air-cooled engine and internal braced wings. John re-invented new features in the airplane such as streamlined shape instead of rectangular shape and the use of plywood stressed skin fuselage thus light. However, the design had the weaknesses of a fixed gear and overheating in the engine thus it necessitated further inventions to solve this.
The age before 1920s airplane models function was primarily for invention purposes. The 1920-1930 ages were marked by the invention of faster automobiles used for wider purposes such as in the air races, commercial transport and adventure. In 1927, out of adventure, Charles Lindbergh undertook the first non-stop solo flight from New York to Paris in the Spirit of St. Louis plane at a distance of 36,000 miles. Others followed, for example, Wiley Post, who flew in Winnie Mae Vega plane around the world for eight days. Since the airplanes were first and strong, they were used for war and race competition. For example, Luftwaffe war air force in Germany and the Boeing B-29 bomber used during the World War II. The United States Navy Curtis CR3 took the 1st and 2nd position .he Schneider Trophy race. Its most significant features were the thin, cantilever wings and retractable gear which made it fast and efficient. It marked the highest speed of 243.8mph. The age saw the invention of the first commercial airlines such as the DC-3 and the Boeing 247 of 1933. Aviation became a business since profits incurred through passage transportation. In return many travelling routes were invented, for example, the route from Florida to Havana, Cuba by Inglis Upperca.
Hansen argues that the above aircraft inventions were made possible by the re-invention in the airplane ‘shelf items’ such as airfoils, engine cowlings, propellers, flaps and retractable gears. The re-invention was pioneered by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) through the Propeller Research Tunnel (PRT) program of 1927. PRT foresaw the re-invention of airplane gears from fixed to retractable gears. Additionally, the old airplane models flap only boosted their landing but the re-invented flaps boosted lifting too. The heavy wooden propellers reinvented into thin Aluminum alloy propellers were light that boosted fast movement. Engine cowlings were invented to reduce overheating. All the above reinvention of some parts of the airplane led to the invention of new models of airplane.
In conclusion, the new inventions in the airplanes ‘shelf items’ and new uses of airplanes are what Hansen described as re-inventions of the 1920s and 1930s. Airplane before 1920s only use was experimental and research purposes but after 1920, they were also used for commercial purposes, air races competitions, Military War and transportation of mails. Additionally, before 1920s the only noticeable model was that one by the Wright brothers with heavy, unstable shelf parts, but the age after 1920 led to inventions of faster and sound airplanes. The new models were streamlined to overcome air resistance. The also had thin wings and propellers to overcome turbulence and also used retractable gears the aided control of the airplane during instability
Examine three important breakthroughs or events associated with the first supersonic flight (October 14, 1947)
Aviation technology has undergone development and re-invention from the first simple flying balloons to the heavy, unstable craft by the Wright brothers followed by the 1920s to 1930s fast, streamlined and strong airplane models. Until 1947 aircrafts, flew at transonic speed ranges unable to overcome the sound barrier. When aircrafts reached the sound barrier, their propellers would stop functioning due to the shock waves created by the fast moving air outside the plane. As a result, the plane wound experience turbulences making the pilot unable to control it eventually diving to the ground at high speed. Many accidents were caused by the phenomena, for example, the 1937 accident in Massachusetts involving the Bf 109 plane. The need of breaking the sound barrier led to the launching of the X- planes program. The X-planes were United States Experimental Supersonic Transportation (SST) designed for transonic speed range research. The X-planes were three of them, the Bell X-1-1, X-1-2 and X-1-3 created by the Bell Aircraft Corporation in association with National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).
Bell X-1 plane was the first supersonic plane to fly past the sound barrier. In 1944, it was originally the United States Experimental Sonic One (XS-1) but turned to Bell X-1. The ‘Glamorous Genius’ as nicknamed by its pilot Charles Yeager was the first X-plane. The purpose of creating the X-planes was to break the sound barrier that created impossibilities for aircrafts to travel beyond Mach 1. Mach 1 was the speed of sound. Planes flew at a transonic speed which is below the Mach 1. A plane that was able to travel at a speed above the Mach 1 was said to be travelling at a supersonic speed. Additionally, the creation of the X-1 plane was as influenced by the failure of other attempts to invent a plane that would break the sound barrier. For example, the M. S2 jet aircraft by the United Kingdom of Aviation had attained a speed of Mach 0.86 in 1944 thus unable to break the sound barrier. However on land the speed barrier had been conquered by the invention of the V-2 Ballistic Missile self-propelled vehicle in 1942 which reached a speed of Mach 4. The vehicle achievement inspired NACA and Bell Aircraft Corporation that it was possible to break the sound barrier.
In October, 14 1947 Charles Yeager took the first supersonic flight in the X-1 to a height of 43,000 feet (13.7km). The flight was the fast supersonic flight where X-1 was able to break the sound barrier at a speed of Mach 1.06. In the flight, X-1 became the first X-plane to overcome the sound barrier. The plane had travelled at a speed higher that sound of Mach 1.06. The speed of sound is Mach 1. In addition, the flight was the first to overcome the problems of compressibility. Before the flight, planes that experienced turbulence at the sound barrier would loose control thus diving downwards at high speed. The X-1 plane despite the turbulences, it overcame while flying at supersonic speed thus eliminated the problems of compressibility. Finally, X-1 was the first liquid rocket-powered airplane that travelled for long distances at low amounts of fuel thus conserving energy.
A poorly designed airplane would not have achieved such breakthroughs. So, the X-1 plane was one that was skillfully created using fashionable technological inventions. Its bullet kind form made it achieve the streamlining effect. The streamlined shape of the airplane helped it to overcome compressibility in air and increased its stability at supersonic speeds. Secondly, the plane had super-twin thin wings that were flat. Its wingspan was 28feet. The wings thin and flat wings helped it to overcome the shock at supersonic speeds thus high performance and control. Thirdly, the airplane supersonic fuselage of length 31feet and aluminum stressed skin. The all-moving horizontal and vertical tails acted as stabilizers during turbulence. Fourth, the airplane had a compatible power plant made up with an independent four-chamber engine. The engine had greater fuel capacity thus burning of fuel for longer distances. The oxygen, nitrogen, alcohol and water pumps aided in simple operation since the use of each were different when the need arose. The canopy was flexible with better vision, and its accessibility was from all directions. In the earlier plane models, the canopy was just a small hatch in the starboard side. So, it was risky for the pilot during accidents since escape was limited. All these unique technologies of the X-1 plane model aided it to overcome the sound barrier and compressibility problems.
In conclusion, the X-1 October 14, 1947 flight is the first historical supersonic flight that overcame the sound barrier. However by 1960s science and technological advancements heightened fading away the sound barrier phenomena which no longer was a problem. As a result, a number of other inventions came into existence like the first commercial Supersonic Transportation in Concorde and Tu-144 airplane models. In 1961-72, aviation inventions became concerned with space exploration. The Apollo Program was the first program that supported the landing of humans into the moon. The plane carried astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. In short, the supersonic flight was one of the historical inventions of aviation that was developed by other inventions. Therefore, the aviation technology has undergone transformations in the design of faster and stronger airplanes. All these inventions are brought about by necessity. In October, 14, 1947 the invention of the X-1 supersonic plane was influenced by the need to overcome the sound barrier.
Airpower Advocates Arguments
The superiority of man in war since civilization remains profound. The desire to win drove him to attempt all sorts of discoveries in the order to enhance his power in war. The desire for man to create an invincible warfare machine continued into the 18th and beginning 19th century. The discovery of an airplane by the wright brother and its improvement made everything easy. The plane underwent major improvements and by the beginning of 19th century it was seen as the main hope in the battlefield. Steve Call in his book Selling Airpower, documented multiple activities that took place in the battle field, the advocates air visions and the campaign of promoting popular culture of air power. In his book, Steve discusses how air power was popularized all over United States and the impact it could have when used in battles.
In this essay, the arguments that advocates put across in the process promoting airpower culture among citizens. They focused on popular media such as films, novels, plays and magazine articles. The main goal of the advocates was to ensure they reached the largest audience possible.
Airpower advocacy started in the Italy when Giulio Douhet, an Italian theorist stated that airpower was key to fighting enemies in 1921. He profound the doctrine of strategic air attack where he termed it as the perfect method to apply in warfare rather than the slow ground action. He said that, fighting enemies from the air gave one advantage over the enemy. Douhet identified five key target areas of modern states that were vital centers in war supplies. The centers were industries, transport infrastructure, communication nodes and civilians. The defeat of the Italians proved Douhet’s ideas by Austria and that earned him an appointment in the air force as a Brigadier. The ideas that he documented in his book by 1921 prompted Italy to channel resources to technology in order to achieve air power capabilities. Douhet’s views were confirmed by the Germans whereby they manufactured the Gotha that they used to attack London. His ideas seemed to work and William Billy Mitchell liked it a lot after witnessing the 1971 destruction done by Germany war crafts.
General Hugh Trenchard commander of the Royal Air Force (RAF) was another advocate who contributed immensely in promoting air power culture. He believed in the offensive part of air power and was sure the major part of air power was to bomb and weaken an enemy from the air. He advocated for more resource allocation to the aviation sector for any future attack was to come from the air and not from the ground. He said that destroying the enemy’s warfare base would cause them to succumb. By the end of 1920s, Tranchard had installed his strategies in the air ministry and the major part of aircrafts was strategic bombing. He said that huge investment in navy and army without protection of the air was useless since they could not stop an attack from the air. The RAF forces embraced Hugh’s ideas in WW II and they had a huge impact.
Mitchell returned to United States and said mobilizing the state to use airpower in attacking enemies. In 1931, Billy testified before the congress that United States lagged behind in terms of air power and, therefore, needed a high upgrade of aviation standards in an endeavor to match the standard he witnessed in Europe. He preferred the production of pursuit plane and defense plans. His aim was to utilize technology to the maximum. Mitchell argued that airplanes were offensive weapons and not for defending, therefore if well used one can attack enemies even though they are offensive. According to Mitchell, men fighting in the battlefield were not guaranteed of winning. The loss and deaths incurred through bombing of battle ships in the sea were huge and, the only solution that remained was the use of airplanes. He pointed to air corps as the main defense from the air. Mitchell was the most thoughtful person and he even foresaw use of radars to guide airplanes to the target. To demonstrate that, Billy toppled a Germany ship with a navy plane and many started believing him. His determination did not end even after his conviction because of accusing army and navy of being incompetent. He resigned in 1925 and continued writing books and preaching airpower.
In ensuring progress in popularizing airpower culture, America oversaw the adoption of Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS). Its purpose was to help formulate American air policies and doctrines. The policies and doctrines formed the basis of air power strategies for the America. Mitchell’s idea of pursuing the enemy was opposed by ACTS forces who stressed on economic destruction by bombing of enemy’s weapon production bases and destroying their supply channels. ACTS plans seemed true because the dropping of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not necessary since the destruction of the supply channels had already weakened the Japanese.
The role played by film producer in the popularization of airpower culture was also important. For example, Air Force, a movie produced in 1943 by Howard Hawks and featured American Air Force leaders showed how airpower can be useful when applied. The movie depicted technological superiority and set the base of how the AAF should be all over the state. Publishers were not left behind in advocating for airpower. John Slessor, the author of Airpower and Armies in 1936 also helped in popularization of airpower. The Air Force was also represented by pictures of a huge eagle tearing an octopus on big screens across America. It showed the power that Air Force had and it helped to promote public confidence in aircraft war technology.
The peak of airpower campaign resulted from the dropping of the atomic bombs in Japan by United States in 1945 that killed thousands of civilians. The bombing led to the submission of the Japanese and brought the World War II to an end. In the United States, airpower was seen as a success and the public embraced air power as the new way to fight battles.
The government allocated more resources to the aviation industry in the process of ensuring full superiority of airpower.The production of aircrafts with advanced technology continued into the cold war period when United States began competing with Russia in terms weaponry sophistication. Technology advanced and the public viewed aircrafts as the major tool for winning wars. Everybody in the United States developed interest in airpower and every big screen advertised air force superiority in battlefields. Steve Call educated and familiarized readers – research paper writing service cheap after WW II on the power of air force in battlefield. The movie produced based on the book Twelve O’clock High in 1949 further helped to popularize airpower culture. The movie showed the air force superiority and praised it for its ability in peace-keeping missions. The popularity of airpower culture was confirmed by a study conducted by The Saturday Evening Post. It showed that 56.3% of the United States citizens supported air force as the key point of national defense, 21.8% supported navy and 13.6% supported army. The research confirmed that airpower advocates had won the war of nurturing public expectations for air power, therefore, ideas of Mitchell Douhet and Hugh got a permanent place in public minds.
In conclusion, the value, significance and benefits of airpower were evident before and after World War II. Peace among nations prevailed and many viewed airpower as key to ensuring freedom. Steve Call book remains a key reference to date for any reader interested in studying aviation history and how it shaped air force in the United States. It is a collection of bibliographies of advocates and writers who played a key role in popularizing airpower culture. The book contains a great deal of information to reader regarding the frameworks of air force arrangements with filmmakers on promotion of airpower culture in the United States.
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