From 1914-1918, while the Great War (or WWI) was going on, airplanes made their first world wide appearance in a global conflict. Before WWI, many countries had used observation balloons. People in Germany made use of Zeppelins, which were large ridged airships, that took on strategic bombing raids. But these were the only kinds of air craft being put into action. When the war started, airplanes were mostly used just for scouting out artillery shells. People had not yet used airplanes to carry any sort of guns or bombs. But starting in 1914, people started to add personal weapons to aircraft. It started out with the use of bombs. The typical 1914 aircraft carried only small bomb loads, which were still very elementary and not very effective. Even with the simplest bombs, armed airplanes were still making a difference and even winning some small, but useful battles.
The first aircraft that was used in WWI was called Avro 540, made by the British company Avro. This was the first version the company Avro ever made and became very unpopular because of it's unstable quality. But not too long after that, the Avro K came out and became the most reliable fighter aircraft out there. The Americans bought about 52 of the Avro K airplanes. In time, manufactorors would make many different kinds of aircrafts for different purposes. The main ones are,
- night fighters
- ground attacks
At this time airplanes were still a new concept and some people still did not think that warfare should take a chance on airplanes. But with more and more models coming out, they were becoming more and more popular.
Through all of the experimenting and use of aircrafts, there was still a risk. Both sides of the war made airplanes critical targets to shoot down. People got scared of flying airplanes due to the amount of deaths and crashes from the ones in war. Some even suggested taking out airplanes. Aces, or the people flying the airplanes, were mostly seen as heroes, since the use of airplanes was so new. But others thought they were crazy.
By the end of WWI, 185 air crafts were being made in military factories. Even with airplanes being so new to war, people could see that they were good for range, paving through enemy lines, and great at strategic bombing. Airplanes have played big roles in wars today and if people back in WWI wouldn't have been willing to take that risk, technology and air warfare would be very different in today's times.