This week, on April 25, we remembered the brave men and women who lost their lives fighting in battle. In 1915, Australian and New Zealand armed forces landed in Gallipoli, and the legacy of their brave battle lives on through ANZAC Day; the dawn service is held to commemorate the exact time of the landing. As we acknowledge ANZAC Day, we thought we would take a look at the development of aviation in wartime.

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World War I

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After the first flights of the Wright brothers in 1903, aeroplanes took on a pivotal role in conflicts. Planes were initially used mostly for reconnaissance in wartime; however, by the beginning of World War I, pilots and engineers had developed different specialised types of aircraft, including bombers and fighter planes.

Many senior soldiers were unsure how useful aeroplanes could be, but were swayed when realising the extent of the new artillery and weapons developed, and the ability they had for improving battle tactics; planes could simply offer more ground covered than horses.

By the end of the war, Great Britain had created the first independent flight operation – the RAF (Royal Air Force). Eventually, aircraft were fitted with guns, and a French pilot was the first person to fire whilst flying, which was the beginning of air combat. A new, controversial view was that the future of war was not on ground or at sea, but in the air; something that had never been considered or seen before.

World War II

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Aviation technology had developed in leaps and bounds by the beginning of World War II, with new planes, avionics and strategies all coming to the fore. The new monoplanes mostly replaced the older biplanes, and both Germany and the Allies were constantly working to improve planes and techniques for air battle.

Avionics technology was developed in the form of power-assisted flight controls, blind flying instrumentation, radio communications and radar tracking. Manufacturing of aircraft parts was in high demand; many women were employed in factories to produce the required parts.

Bombing was such a dangerous threat that lots of manufacturing had to be moved underground. Supplies such as aluminium were in short supply, leading to the production of planes made out of timber. Aerodromes were constructed to support the landing of so many aircraft, and many of these were converted into civil airports after the war. World War II also saw the invention of the modern phonetic alphabet which pilots the world over use today.

As we all know now, flight has become a huge part of the armed forces, and a career in the military is just one of the many opportunities available to aviation students.

If you found this post interesting, and would like to learn more about aviation careers, why not check out “6 pilot jobs for aviation enthusiasts”.

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