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Propulsion is the system for generating force to move an aircraft through the air. LTA aircraft at first lacked independent propulsion systems, relying the wind for propulsion (and changes in its velocity at different altitudes for navigation). Improvements in propulsion enabled LTA "dirigibles", operating on their own power and steerable.[1] Increasing engine efficiency enabled the development of airplanes, which to fly require a good ratio of horizontal force to weight.

The progress of engine propulsion for aircraft could be grouped into three rough phases: steam, through 1880; electric through 1890; and finally the "explosion motor" powered by petroleum or similar fuel.[2]

John Wise apparently thought that the advent of steam propulsion in the 1840s would do the trick, commenting on Henson's 1842 design that the addition of a steam engine would solve the longstanding problem of engines being unable to carry even their own weight.[3]


  1. Berget, 1909, Conquest of the Air, p. 7. "[...] before it is possible to 'steer' a body floating in a fluid, it is absolutely essential that this body should possess an independent speed to permit it to move in this fluid of its own accord."
  2. Berget, 1909, Conquest of the Air, pp. 9–10.
  3. Wise, 1850, A System of Aeronautics. Quoted in Aeronautical Annual Vol. 1 (1895).

This wiki has 1,212 patents in category "Propulsion". Other techtypes related to Propulsion: Aero-as-power, Air intake, Airplane, Battery, BE 11, CA 115, CA 244/18, CA 244/7, CA 244/8, CA 244/9, CH 129c, CH 235, CH 96g, Charvolant, CPC B63H2005/005, CPC B63H23/30, CPC B63H5/00, CPC B64C15/00, CPC B64C15/14, CPC B64C23/005, CPC B64D2700/62763, CPC F05B, CPC F42B17/00, Dirigibles, FR 5.3, GB 122, GB 123, GB 123 aero steam generators, GB 4 motors, GB 4 propel & steer, NL 62.13, NL 62.6, Rarefaction, Sustentation, Traction, Tractor propeller, Transmission, USPC 185/9, USPC 244/15, USPC 244/30, USPC 244/53, USPC 244/60, USPC 244/61, USPC 244/62, USPC 244/63, USPC 244/64, USPC 244/70, USPC 244/9, USPC 244/903, USPC 416/120, USPC 440/29, USPC 446/58, USPC 446/60

Patents in category Propulsion


Enclosing categories Simple tech terms
Subcategories Human-powered, Flapping, Sail, Propeller, Steam, Jet, Petroleum, Engine, Motors
Keywords Traction
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