Ever since Wilbur Wright carried the first British aircraft passenger in 1908 the British aviation industry has literally taken off. Being a major powerhouse in the early 1900s, Britain played an instrumental part in both the development of the military and civil aviation industries.
The first officially recognised aeroplane flight in the United Kingdom occurred in 1908 with Samuel Franklin Cody piloting his own design, British Army Aeroplane No.1 for a flight of 424 metres (1,390 feet) at Farnborough. It was in 1918 that The Royal Air Force (RAF) was formed by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service. From dropping aerial torpedoes to protecting vulnerable points from attacks by hostile aircraft and scouting and patrol duties, the use of aircraft in both world wars was vital to Britain’s success.
The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, are renowned throughout the world as ambassadors for both the Royal Air Force and the United Kingdom. Since the Team was officially formed in 1965, the Red Arrows have completed over 4,000 displays in 53 countries.
The Red Arrows’ reputation is built on the commitment and professionalism, combined with Royal Air Force skills, training and equipment. Many of the Red Arrows’ pilots and support staff have served in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their aerobatic air shows are awe-inspiring and not to be missed. Check out the map below for details of where you can catch one of their performances this September (click the image for a clearer view).
But Britain’s innovative influence is just as prominent in the civil aviation industry.
The iconic airline British Airways (BA) made its first flight on the 25th August 1919. Since then it has played a fundamental role in the development of the British aviation industry. BA has provided glamorous travel through their former company Imperial Airways in the late 1930s and the company has also played their part in the post-war achievements of BEA and BOAC. After looking through the pictures from BA’s 90 years of history you really appreciate how the developments and challenges of each decade have shaped the industry.
Another iconic force in the aviation industry that cannot go unmentioned is Concorde.The UK built Concorde 002 marked its first test flight in 1969 but after a turbulent career the supersonic Anglo-French Concorde aircraft was retired from commercial airline passenger service in 2003.
The aviation industry is virtually unrecognisable from its origins, now-a-days the industry is being rocked by the success of the Airbus models and the impact of stricter security controls.
So what does the future hold now for the British aviation industry?