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Without The Great Wars, Where Would Aviation Be?  
User currently offlineUal747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 3228 times:

If it weren't for all of the great wars, WWI, WWII, and while it wasn't a war perhaps, it certainly was great, the Cold War, would aviation be the same? Or would we all still be flying in derivatives of the prop planes of the early century? Your thoughts?

UAL

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAntares From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 1402 posts, RR: 39
Reply 1, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 3208 times:

Dear UAL747,

Aviation would have several hundred million more customers.

The extra numbers would have brought forward the urgently needed search for greater fuel efficiency, and better ATC systems.

We would not weep for our dead every November 11.


User currently offlineUal747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3132 times:

I guess I should have been more clear in my first post. I was referring to the advancements that came from the wars. WWI was the first great war to utilize aircraft as bombers, etc. Over the next 50 years, because of the wars, and the cold war, aviation was forced to become more modern. It was necessary to win the wars. Think about it, I believe it was the Germans who first developed the jet engine, and from there, technology started to take off. What I'm wondering is, if the wars didn't happen, would there have been such a rush in the advancement of aeronautic technology?

UAL


User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7787 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3110 times:

It is really hard to say. Not like you can get into the wayback machine and stop two world wars and the cold war from happening to prove or disprove a hypothesis.

Needless to say the two world wars and the cold war had a profound impact on the development of many technologies.... computers, metalurgy, ballastics, physics (think atomic bomb), aviation, material science (nylon, kevlar, and all those other synthetics that we take for granted these days), and so on.

I think it can be argued that advancements in all these fields would have eventually been acheived, but at a slower pace. In wartime with much development is going into all sorts of theoretical and practical research that wouldn't neccessarily happen in peacetime.

To say that we'd still be flying around in unpressurized piston powered planes made of corregated aluminum is probably a gross overstatement.



Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlinePetazulu From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 701 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3107 times:

That is a good question. I'll bet WWII boosted up the development of jet engine technology by 10-15 years. The cold war rivalry also helped foster technology advances. Now, you don't see as much competition for new technologies. Decision drivers are different: Fuel costs seem to driving the new airliners.

User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9666 posts, RR: 52
Reply 5, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3090 times:

Speculating is fun and I received that exact question twice when working at the Museum of Flight and speculating about stuff like this is fun. There are plenty of historians that say that aviation would be back 10-15 years if WWII didn't happen. I haven't heard anyone's take on WWI though. Aviation would still probably have the emphasis on efficiency that it does today. I am guessing that we would have jet engine technology and pressurization. However without the cold war and space race, the fancy composites probably wouldn't be up to where they are today.

Without the wars we would probably still be making everything out of aluminum or worse stuff. I am guessing that ATC would be worse if we didn't have the the wars because radar was brought about in wartime use. Its civilian applications came much later. The sky probably wouldn't be as safe and communications wouldn't be as good. Satellites wouldn't be buzzing around constantly and the chances of GPS without the cold war are low. We'd be back, but still in the same place. Large planes would still fly around and flying would still be popular. Efficiency drives the market, so we would have an incredibly efficient airplanes because producers like Boeing would be able to sell them. However war brings about technology, so we wouldn't be as advanced. Boeing uses technology developed elsewhere and enhances it with new applications. Finally there probably wouldn't be an Airbus, but rather separate European entities developing planes.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineME Avn Fan From Switzerland, joined May 2002, 13920 posts, RR: 25
Reply 6, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3069 times:

Due to WWI and WWII many countries were "out of service" for several years after these wars. And many countries like Britain were financially weakened. Technical development was brought forward for military reasons, airlinks, route-networks and commercial developments were however kept back. In short, the airplanes would possibly be slightly less modern from a technological point of view (possibly not as more money would have been available for many years), but there would be better routes and possibly larger airplanes.

User currently offlineFlyPIJets From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 920 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3036 times:

What in interesting question. The Military-Industrial Complex question.

When considering advancements in technology spurred by war or impending war, keep in mind the this also stunts the dissemination of technology. This is because under the threat of war, technology is shrouded in a vail of secrecy for quite a long period of time.

Without the threat of war, technology spreads much faster and is advanced. Think about your desktop computer. Micro-processors were never seen as a national threat and look how advanced micro-processors have become without military direction.

I think the same would hold true in aviation.

The traditional way to think about is that world governments, though their military, pay for technologies that eventually find there way into commercial use. But, just as likely, governments are usurping engineering talents that could be use for developing commercial applications.

My guess is that without WWI, WWII and the cold war, or the threat of war over the past century (I think the space race would have happend regardless), the demand for commercial aviation services would be much, much higher than they are today, and there would be a number of airframe manufactures worldwide in addition to the what we see today.

Fun Topic

[Edited 2004-11-15 19:01:49]


DC-8, DC-9, DC-10, F28, 717, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, IL-62, L-1011, MD-82/83, YS-11, DHC-8, PA-28-161, ERJ 135/145, E-1
User currently offlineGarnetpalmetto From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 5404 posts, RR: 53
Reply 8, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3006 times:

Think about your desktop computer. Micro-processors were never seen as a national threat and look how advanced micro-processors have become without military direction.

But also think about WHY the computer was initially invented - to aid in calculating ballistic firing tables. Without the US Army funding it and building it, would ENIAC have ever been constructed? Probably not, as there was no application for it. In fact, I rather think you have it backwards - the threat of war spurs on technology and innovation as nation-states constantly strive to gain any and all advantages over their opponents. It's only then that the beneficial applications of these technologies trickle down to the civilian world. Why do you think we have the lovely Internet, a mere extension of ARPANet? Well, to ease communication between military installations.

The truth of the matter is that military aviation is often the breeding ground for new and experimental technologies that eventually go into civilian projects. Digital fly-by-wire? Before Airbus dreamed of putting it in an airliner, a NASA/USAF F-8 Crusader tested it and it was put into wide use in the F-16. So, without World War II, where would we be? To start off with, I'll agree that jet engine development would have been stunted around 10-15 years, as I feel that without large fleets of jet-powered fighters as we started to see at the end of the Cold War, but mostly in Korea, the technology would simply not have been proven and wrung out otherwise. Also, I think modern innovations like glass cockpits would have been delayed. Again, the glass cockpit concept was born in the cockpits of jet fighters to aid in battle management and to help boost situational awareness.

Don't get me mistaken by any means, eventually we would have had the same level of technology that we've got now - I just feel it would have come decades later than it did.



South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
User currently offlineAntares From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 1402 posts, RR: 39
Reply 9, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2985 times:

Like any other very old members of A net, the calamity of WW11 was so monstrous an event that we recoil from the thought that if even more of us died aviation might therefore be better.

And I'm confident those who have contributed such thoughtful posts were not actually suggesting such an outcome.

Let me put it in young persons language. The great wars sucked. I was nine when we listened (in Suva of all places) to the declaration of war on Germany by Great Britain. At that time the Australian population was barely recovering from the loss of so many young men in The Great War there weren't enough babies being born to sustain population growth.

Yet interestingly, aviation was very active in Australia then. It transformed the bush, and the biggest aviation market in the world in the years when I was born was in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, where contemporary reports had hundreds of small aircraft trying to get mining equipment and people into the new El Dorado of the Wagi-Hagen gold rush. Which turned out to be a fizzer. Sir Hubert Wilkins, the polar aviator, even made headlines predicting that future technology would see the opening of polar routes between New York and Port Moresby. (Struth!)

Also, while it is just possible that WW1 might not have happened and therefore another great European conflict might not have happened I doubt this avoidance of conflict would have occurred in northern Asia, where the conflicts in Manchuria, Korea and China set the scene for the other half of WW2.

Maybe we were lucky. One physicist years ago pointed out that in the Victorian era the discovery of radioactivity could actually have lead to the building of horse drawn nuclear devices to break the type of stalemate that occurred in the slaughter houses of Flanders.

So let me add this thought to the drinking game as Americans often call these 'what if' scenarios.

There are 375 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the air today compared to 285 ppm in 1800. With the cumulative effects of even more population industrial activity might by now have easily pushed this way past 400 ppm.

Our aviation industry might therefore be sidelined by the total global societal disruption of catastrophic climate change. Alternatively, market forces and policy might have seen aviation like surface transport forced to develop more effective hydrogen based fuels.

The imperative for energy efficiency might have become so pervasive in our lives that large unit sizes for jets, and the volumetrically higher space requirements of the fuel tanks, will have filled the skies with very different looking aircraft than those we see and use today.

In 1990 a good friend of mine Phil Ruthven, an Australian economic forecaster, wrote in The Bulletin that the jumbo jet age would be followed by ground effect craft bringing up to 4000 Japanese travellers, and their cars, at subsonic speed across the ocean overnight from Yokohama to Botany Bay, flying low above the ocean.

OK, shipping navigation rules might have come in for something of an overhaul, but Phil, who is I think just a few years young than me, might be onto something there, and we know the Russian flew similar devices on tests over Lake Baikal during the Cold War.


User currently offlineFlyPIJets From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 920 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2964 times:

...But also think about WHY the computer was initially invented - to aid in calculating ballistic firing tables. Without the US Army funding it and building it, would ENIAC have ever been constructed?

No, not true. Predating electronic computing was mechanical computing that was developed solely for the weaving industry and, in the U.S., for calculating the U.S. census. Electronic computing was a natural evolution of this commercial need for calculation. And electronic computers were being developed without funding from the military. In fact, the U.S. military was trying to adapt this technology for its use. Computers would have happened regardless of the military's need for them.

If memory serves me correctly, the Lockheed L-1049 Constellation was designed BEFORE WWII (not built but designed) and as a passenger airliner. Its important, because with the L-1049 designers begin to reach some limits of the piston aircraft. Thus, the turbine would have been given much more commercial attention. Dare, I say it, but as much as 10 to 15 years more commercial attention.

The original poster asked us to consider if the construct that the reality of the military-industrial complex that has given us many of the advancements in aviation were taken away, would aviation be where it is today. I propose that it could possibly be even further along, more advanced. Largely due to the fact that without the military impeding technology, its use spreads more rapidly and advancement happens.

Take the internet, as a military application, it had very little use and scope. But, look today, after commerce exploits it. And yes, if there were no military need for communication between computers back in the 60'
s - we would still have it today - by and large, the internet (and components thereof) have been use much more widely by commerce than the military. I think we would have had it much sooner, that later, if not for the need for the military to keep is to itself for a long time.








DC-8, DC-9, DC-10, F28, 717, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, IL-62, L-1011, MD-82/83, YS-11, DHC-8, PA-28-161, ERJ 135/145, E-1
User currently offlineCRPilot From Costa Rica, joined Nov 2004, 311 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2938 times:

In spite of the fact that many of the great airliners were the byproduct of war aircraft; it's a bit of a stretch to say that aviation wouldn't have moved forward. It might have taken a bit longer to achieve certain steps, but we would still be where we are today.

It's also possible to conceive that the development of airliners might have been a big focus, as oppose to the leftovers from WWI and WWII, thus allowing for faster development of the airliner as we know it today.

I'm just glad that the majority of the aircraft developed today are strictly use for their purpose...to unite the world...not to destroy it!



Flying is a privilege!
User currently offlineArrow From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 2676 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2906 times:

...But also think about WHY the computer was initially invented - to aid in calculating ballistic firing tables. Without the US Army funding it and building it, would ENIAC have ever been constructed?

No, not true. Predating electronic computing was mechanical computing that was developed solely for the weaving industry and, in the U.S., for calculating the U.S. census. Electronic computing was a natural evolution of this commercial need for calculation. And electronic computers were being developed without funding from the military. In fact, the U.S. military was trying to adapt this technology for its use. Computers would have happened regardless of the military's need for them.


I thought the first genuine electronic computer was developed by British Intelligence in WW2 to decipher German code. If you're going to throw mechanical computers into the mix, then you have to go back to the abacus as likely the first. But I don't know a hell of a lot about computers, or what separates a computer from a calculator. As long as they work ...



Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
User currently offlineFlyPIJets From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 920 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2889 times:

The first successful computer...

...businessman Herman Hollerith devised a punched card system, including the punching equipment, for tabulating the results of the United States census. Hollerith's machines used electrically charged nails that, when passed through a hole punched in a card, created a circuit. The circuits registered on another part of the machine, where they were read and recorded. Hollerith's machines tabulated the results of the 1890 census, making it the fastest and most economical census up to that date. In a single day, 56 of these machines could tabulate census information about more than 6 million people. --world book.

The first successful digital electronic computer...

..The Atanasoff-Berry Computer was the world's first electronic digital computer. It was built by John Vincent Atanasoff and Clifford Berry at Iowa State University during 1937-42. It incorporated several major innovations in computing including the use of binary arithmetic, regenerative memory, parallel processing, and separation of memory and computing functions. -- Iowa State University

neither were military projects.


Back to the subject at hand...

Also to think about, after WWII, airlines were quick to grab up surplus DC-3's to use, this stunted the advancement of airliners by, what, 5 years in addition to time lost due to the war itself?

Why would airlines demand a state of the art airliner when they could just fly around in a bunch of cheap used DC-3's !?!



DC-8, DC-9, DC-10, F28, 717, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, IL-62, L-1011, MD-82/83, YS-11, DHC-8, PA-28-161, ERJ 135/145, E-1
User currently offlineCarpethead From Japan, joined Aug 2004, 2971 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2823 times:

Weren't some of the first computers also used for atomic research.
Without huge government funding these breakthroughs would happen at a slower pace.
Look where space is going now. If the USSR was still around, US and the USSR would be fighting to put the first man on Mars probably last decade. Wars stink but it does expedite the advance of technology.

The first successful commercial jetliner was the 707. The wing technology came from the B-47, another largely government funded project.


User currently offlineAntares From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 1402 posts, RR: 39
Reply 15, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2802 times:

Carpethead,

According to the US Centennial of Flight Commission (which published detailed reviews of the history of flight to mark the 100th anniversary of the Wright Bros powered controlled flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903) the first successful jet airliner service was inaugurated in the USSR in 1956 with the TU-104.

Passenger jets continually operated civil flights from that time on, although such was the secrecy of life in the Soviet Union that we didn't know about this achievement for some time. Was it commercial? Yes, it charged fares, and the seats were available to those who could afford them. Was it profitable? Probably not. But then western civil aviation has over the fullness of time not been profitable either.

Antares


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