Internal Combustion Piston Engines

Nikolaus Otto in 1876; patented the four-stroke engine consisting of intake, compression, ignition and exhaust. Gottlieb Daimler produced the first “modern” gasoline engine with vertical cylinders and a carburetor in 1887.During the same time period, Samuel Langley built a gasoline engine model, one third to a scale of a steam engine airplane model. The model that successfully flew in 1901 went down in history as the first gasoline-powered aircraft.

In 1899, the Wilbur and Orville Wright brothers began building kites and gliders and unraveling the secrets of flight control in the air. In 1902, they developed a 32-foot glider that could be controlled in three axes (yaw, pitch, roll). In just 6 weeks in the winter of 1902-1903, they built the lightweight four-cylinder aluminum block engine with technician Charlie Taylor. They used their own wind tunnels to test the propeller with an efficiency of 66%.

Photo by Markus Spiske on

On December 17, 1903, they made their first controlled flight with a gas-fueled plane in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In the same year, Samuel Langley produced a full-scale version of the 1/3 scale model, equipped with a 5-cylinder air-cooled radial engine producing 52 horsepower, but was unsuccessful in trials in October and December due to the damage to the aircraft’s structure during take-off.
In 1913, Igor Sikorsky developed the first 600 bp four-engine airplane capable of carrying 13 passengers.


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