Planes – WW1 Uncut – Dan Snow – BBC

Planes – WW1 Uncut – Dan Snow – BBC


Throughout history victory has been decided by what’s going on down here on the surface of the Earth? Britain for example the 19th century came to dominate the globe by controlling the world’s oceans but from the first world war onwards Warfare took to the skies and now controlling the air is a key part of military strategy and all that began with those brave pioneer aviators of the first world war In 1909 Louis Blériot set off on a flight that would make history His Aim was to win a prize of a £1,000 for the first plane to cross the English channel it wasn’t the most elegant of flights, that ended in a rather rough landing but he’d made it the plane. He flew was a Blériot XI like this one here It’s amazing it got that far looks so flimsy even more remarkably this one still flies not exactly top gun When the war started five years later planes like this was still in production and a few visionaries thought these might have a military application with that the first major Air war had begun At first planes like this were reconnaissance vehicles. They were having a look at what was going on behind enemy lines and reporting back But gradually started actually taking an active role on the battlefield pilots were issued with these nasty looking things Flechettes spikes that if you drop out the side might hit enemy troops or even bombs planes when our an important weapon of war You gotta be kidding. There’s no way I go up in this thing this might have been the future But it’s pretty primitive in fact I feel like I’m sitting in a wicker garden Chair surrounded by a sea of Canvas to steer it You just move this column and it’s connected by very flimsy looking set of wires the wings themselves Not little flappy bits like Modern aircraft the whole wings move they twist It’s a system called wing warping the engine is underpowered and prone to overheating it could only fly at 47 mph could only go about 3,000 feet no more and as for the instrument panel You get one dial your oil pressure. That’s it But his plans went into service in world war one the pressure was on to improve the technology Sooner was an arms race that pushed aircraft development at an astonishing rate The pace of innovation in those years is like nothing seen before of this just a few years into the war that planes like that isn’t that cool? What makes this aircraft so distinctive those three sets of wings now They’re designed to give that aircraft necessarily lift, but make the wings narrower So the pilot can see more of what’s going on on the ground it also made the plane very very maneuverable There’s an old story that the first ever test pilot amazed on lookers by doing three consecutive loop-de-loops that plane can fly 117 mph. That’s two and a half times as fast as the Blériot and it can fly Seven times higher so there’s the pace of innovation that some planes that were cutting-edge could be obsolete just a few months later But innovation wasn’t just changing how these claims flew it was changing how they fought It said that the very start of the war when enemy planes passed each other. They’d give a friendly wave That didn’t last and the age of air-to-Air combat was born at first it was just the pilots taking pot shots with a pistol but but the next generation of aircraft would have guns as part of their design it soon became clear the most it soon effective way for the weapons of point was in the direction the aircraft is traveling big problem there Though of course is end up shooting your own propeller off. Which is a bit of a disaster the first solution They tried was to mount a machine gun on top of the wing on top of the propeller trouble that was the pilot basically had to stand up in his seat release his strap stand up here and Replace the magazine when it ran out of bullets completely unworkable really this Se5 had a system whereby the gun could slide back down to be reloaded and then slide up into its firing position still very cumbersome though the Germans soon came up with an even better solution. It was quickly copied by the Brits to show you how it works I’m Gonna need to slow this down they connected the machine gun to the crankshaft of the propeller with a series of Cam plates and that meant the machine gun only fired when these propellers blades weren’t in the way It was a very precise bit of engineering get it wrong. You blow your own propeller off the amazing thing about the first world war is that by the end of it pretty much every significant part of Aerial warfare was already in Development planes are being used for reconnaissance for communications for dropping supplies dropping bombs and for air-to-Air combat

32 thoughts on “Planes – WW1 Uncut – Dan Snow – BBC

  1. 1.10 minute. What he said? (something) this one still flies. What was this "something"?
    "If wormacibly", "Imwormacibly"? There isn't that word in dictionaries…

  2. Somethings wrong with the explanation about the gun interruptor mechanism. He said the firing mechanism was connected to the crankshaft? Surely the rotary engine crankshaft is fixed, the cylinders revolve around it, don't they? I've always wanted to see a clear explanation of that mechanism and how it works with rotary, in line and radial engines.

  3. Green screen and wub wub music? Makes me want to puke. Want a REAL doco on the rise of combat aircraft in WW1? Look up Reaching For the Skies: The Aeroplane goes to War. Now THAT'S how you do a documentary, mate…

  4. Do people have a life all they talk about is BF1 as if they just came here to see what a video game would look like in reality!😛

  5. It's amazing what aircraft the Shuttleworth Collection has – and they are kept in airworthy condition!! May it remain so for a long time to come!!

  6. My teacher played this video in class, so I thought I was crazy when I heard Air Balloon by Lily Allen in the background.

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