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Thanksgiving for Aviation Improvements

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Aviation Improvements Since WWI for Which Aviators Should Be Grateful

  1. Landing traffic patterns (an invention attributed to Raoul Lufbery)
  2. Parachutes (saved the life of Ernst Udet; could have saved Lufbery, though even safety equipment of that time seems rather scary compared to modern equivalents!)
  3. Brakes (so that you have control on the ground as in the air to keep from colliding with another airplane at the flight altitude of 0 feet)
  4. Seatbelts (just ask Captain Hedley...)
  5. Tubular steel frames (more durable, less flammable)
  6. Metal skin (makes the aircraft more durable, at least for commercial flight; it's not so good for combat because metal doesn't take antiaircraft damage as well as fabric)
  7. Understanding of altitude effects (so as to understand why thinking doesn't work so well at high altitudes)
  8. Better weather prediction (so you don't find yourself stuck above a sea of clouds with no way to know what's under them)
  9. Radar (so maybe you can know what's under the clouds)
  10. Better understanding of airflow past airfoils (to know in what circumstances you might stall, and what might save you from a spin)
  11. Electric beacons (more reliable than bonfires, but either is better than darkness below at night!)
  12. Cantilevered wings (more streamlined, less likely that your wing will fall off)
  13. Radial instead of rotary engines (more power and less torque, since only the propeller is spinning instead of the whole mass of the engine)
  14. Jet engines (yes, the concept was already around in WWI, and besides making airplanes faster, jet engines are also a simpler machine with fewer things to go wrong)
  15. Radios (helpful in navigation and emergencies, though it meant an early version of texting-while-driving type problems - "Shut up and fly!")
  16. Guns synchronized with propellers (so you don't shoot off your own propeller)


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