An aircraft (informal aircraft) is a fixed-wing aircraft that is propelled forward by the impulse of a jet engine, propeller or rocket engine. Aircraft come in a variety of sizes, shapes and wings configurations. The broad spectrum of aircraft uses includes recreation, transport of goods and people, military and research. Worldwide, commercial aviation carries more than four billion passengers a year on aircraft and carries more than 200 billion tons of cargo per year, representing less than 1% of the world\’s cargo movement. Most aircraft are flown by a pilot onboard the aircraft, but some are designed to be controlled remotely or computer-controlled, such as drones.
The Wright brothers invented and flew the first aircraft in 1903, recognized as “the first heavy and controlled flight heavier than air.” They built on George Cayley\’s works dating back to 1799 when he established the concept of the modern aircraft (and later built and flew successful passenger transport models and gliders). Between 1867 and 1896, German human aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal also studied a heavier flight than air. The planes were present in all the great battles of World War II. The first jet aircraft was the German Heinkel He18 in 1939. The first jet aircraft, comet Havilland, was introduced in 1952. The Boeing 707, the first successful commercial aircraft, has been in commercial service for more than 50 years, from 1958 to at least 2013.
First tested in English in the late 19th century (before the first sustained energy-driven flight), the word plane, like an airplane, derives from the French aeroplane, which comes from Greek (a\’r), “air” and a Latin plane, “level”, or “Greek” (aircraft), ” “wandering”. “Aéroplane” was originally referred only to the wing, as it is an air-moving aircraft.
In the United States and Canada, the term “aircraft” is used for fixed-wing aircraft. In the United Kingdom and most of the Commonwealth, the term “aircraft” (/generally applies to these aircraft.