Drones - In the beginning - Part 1

Dr. George de Bothezat, drone, Kettering Bug, pioneer, UAV, unmanned aerial vehicle -

Drones - In the beginning - Part 1

Well, it all started with buying a drone online business, so what better way to start my first blog was to find out how drones evolved.

In this exciting world of drones, here’s a little about their history. These drones were also called an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Commonly known today as a drone and it is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. Did you know that UAV innovations started in 1849 when the Austrian Army attacked Venice with unmanned air balloons filled with explosives? Some of these balloons worked, while the wind blew others back into Austria. Source: Timetoast.com

austrian unmanned balloon bombs

Moving forward to the early 1900s, UAV’s were originally focused on providing practice targets for training military personnel.  

The Kettering Bug, circa 1918, was considered to be the forerunner of today’s drone and cruise missiles. This was an experimental and unmanned aerial torpedo. It was capable of striking ground targets up to 121 kilometres from its launch point, while traveling at speeds of 80 kilometres per hour. Source: Wikipedia

Kettering Bug Image

Dr. George de Bothezat and Ivan Jerome developed the aircraft below, with six-bladed rotors at the end of an X-shaped structure. Two small propellers with variable pitch were used for thrust and yaw control. The vehicle used collective pitch control. Built by the US Air Service, it made its first flight in October 1922. About 100 flights were made by the end of 1923. The highest it ever reached was about 5 m (16 ft 5 in). Although demonstrating feasibility, it was under-powered, unresponsive, mechanically complex and susceptible to reliability problems. Pilot workload was too high during hover to attempt lateral motion. Source: Wikipedia

George de Bothezat quadcoptor pioneer

So, over the years the development of the drone continued, especially during war time. From World War 1 through to the 1991 Gulf War, UAVs demonstrated the possibility of cheaper, more capable fighting machines, deployable without risk to aircrews.  How these devices developed over the decades is fascinating. Their aerodynamic features and uses piqued curiosity.

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