Groundbreaking Aviation Breakthroughs We’re Enjoying in 2021

In 1903, the Wright brothers successfully completed the first powered, controlled and sustained airplane flight, cementing their place in history as the inventors of modern aviation. These two men from Dayton, OH started a cavalcade of breakthroughs in aviation.

Since that fateful flight, there have been numerous advancements in airplanes in Dayton, OH and around the world. Here are a few notable advancements throughout history and a look ahead into the future.


With increased altitude comes a change in pressure, and humans need some coping mechanisms for our bodies to be able to deal with that. At first, when balloons were the only crafts able to fly high enough to worry about pressure, the solution was to place early aeronauts in a type of “space suit” to protect the fragile human body against the rigors of pressure change in flight. But we’ve come a long way since then.

The first pressurized cabin was seen in 1921 when the first successful flight using the idea was completed by an American test pilot in a Dayton Wright USD-9A. It would be another 17 years before the first commercial airliner with a pressurized cabin came about with the emergence of the Boeing 307 in 1938. Only 10 of these planes were built, however.

In World War II, the B-29 bomber was able to fly high thanks to the new innovation of a pressurized flight deck. Soon after the war ended, in the late 1940s, pressurization was becoming standard in all aircraft.


Two problems with propellers were their lack of power and their poor aerodynamics. Turbojets would help solve these issues. By the end of World War II, jet aircraft were in production, and by the 1950s, jet engines were faster and more reliable than planes with piston-powered engines.

Turbofans took the idea of turbojets and improved upon them, making them now much quieter and more fuel efficient. Today, these types of engines are standard in air travel.


The rocket engine was first developed in the 1920s. This type of engine was used to greatly enhance the power of planes. Today, the fastest and highest-flying planes are powered by rocket engines.

Another type of air travel that’s seen a lot of technological advancement recently is also dependent on rocket engines: Space travel. While we are still using air travel to explore our planet, the future of exploration is pointing toward space.

Rockets are being used to power craft that are already exploring other worlds, including the moon, Mars and large asteroids that may contain precious minerals. With space missions becoming more commonplace in the foreseeable future, it’s a good bet that rocket engine technology will continue to advance at a rapid pace.

Whether you have a propeller-powered biplane or a turbofan-powered Cessna, First Flight Aviation is ready to handle all your maintenance and service needs as an FAA-certified fixed base operator (FBO). Get in touch with First Flight Aviation today to experience our first-rate customer service and learn more about our FBO services.

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