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In 1894, his machine was tested with overhead rails to prevent it from rising.The test showed that it had enough lift to take off.Leonardo da Vinci researched the wing design of birds and designed a man-powered aircraft in his Codex on the Flight of Birds (1502).

Airplanes had a presence in all the major battles of World War II.

The first jet aircraft was the German Heinkel He 178 in 1939.

It was an important predecessor of his later Blériot XI Channel-crossing aircraft of the summer of 1909. From the first flight the airplane had no need of changes.

The plane was made from a single aluminum spar 10 m (33 ft) long which supported the entire aircraft, making it very easy to fly.

Clement Ader constructed his first of three flying machines in 1886, the Éole. Aviation historians give credit to this effort as a powered take-off and uncontrolled hop of approximately 50 m (160 ft) at a height of approximately 20 cm, (8 in).

It was a bat-like design run by a lightweight steam engine of his own invention, with 4 cylinders developing 20 horsepower (15 k W), driving a four-blade propeller. The Wright brothers flights in 1903 are recognized by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the standard setting and record-keeping body for aeronautics, as "the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight".

The first jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet, was introduced in 1952.

The Boeing 707, the first widely successful commercial jet, was in commercial service for more than 50 years, from 1958 to at least 2013.

First attested in English in the late 19th century (prior to the first sustained powered flight), the word airplane, like aeroplane, derives from the French aéroplane, which comes from the Greek ἀήρ (aēr), "air" In an example of synecdoche, the word for the wing came to refer to the entire aircraft.

In the United States and Canada, the term "airplane" is used for powered fixed-wing aircraft.

Airplanes demonstrated their potential as mobile observation platforms, then proved themselves to be machines of war capable of causing casualties to the enemy.

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