chapter  1
24 Pages

Introduction: Aviation and Climate Change in Context

ByStefan Gössling, Paul Upham

Looking back in time, the history of aviation covers more than 220 years, at least if the brothers Montgolfier’s hot-air balloon is considered as the first functioning flying machine (see Grant, 2007). The balloon made its first manned flight in 1783, even though the brothers Montgolfier preferred not to be on board themselves. There then followed 120 years of various attempts to build manoeuvrable flight machines, until the Wright brothers achieved powered aeroplane flight in 1903. Within two and a half decades of the event, Charles Lindberg embarked on the first transatlantic flight (in 1927), and the speed of the development of aircraft accelerated: in the mid-1930s, Douglas DC-3s came into service, the first all-metal aircraft, which could carry 21 passengers. Another 15 years later, jet aircraft went into regular service with the de Havilland Comet and, somewhat later, the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC8, commencing the age of mass passenger transportation (Grant, 2007).