Innovation In Aviation

Since genesis, mankind has always been obsessed with the desire of flight. The reason for this obsession can be related to the mindset of the people, for whom the power of flight was synonymous with power, freedom and divinity that provided an individual, euphoria of being superhuman. The obsession that would allow them to shun the troubles of the world, make them as free as a bird and be closer to the gods that reigned above the clouds. This obsession and passion to fly can be found in many mythological reproductions too. There are various instances where the means and methods of flying have been described in mythological scripts. We find references of Ravana’s flying chariot “Pushpaka” and “mechanical bird” being mentioned in Rig Veda (verses 1.164.47-48) of Indian mythology. Similarly, other mythologies like Greek’s, mentions the winged divine stallion “Pegasus” and “Icarus” who wore the wings made from feathers and wax for a plight of freedom. These abstracts played an important role in increasing the desire and pushing the boundary of human creation and intellect to see if they could fly.


The desire of successful and prolonged flight could only be satiated by inventing a machine that could take off under its own power, provide sustain prolonged flight and can be controlled during flight. In the modern world, though the attempts were repetitive, the first eureka moment was December 17, 1903 when Wright Brothers finally made an aircraft that made four successful flights, and became the first aircraft to take off under its own power. Since then, there have been thousands of aircrafts with advanced technologies in all possible aspects to conquer the sky and make flying a safe and pleasurable experience. 



Innovation is the key ingredient for the development of any technology. The same goes with aviation industry too. The innovation and findings by the various scientists prior to Wright Brothers gained nothing monetarily but they are the one who gave Wright Brothers the power to take off and to conquer the everlasting human desire of flight. Galileo Galilei, Christiaan Huygens, and Sir Issac Newton simplified the understanding between resistance and surface area of an object exposed to the stream and the density of a fluid. Further, research on relationship between pressure and velocity by Swiss mathematicians Daniel Bernoulli, Leonhard Euler and British engineer John Smeaton laid the seed of mind to abridge the gap between physical theory, engineering research, and the age-old dream of flight by George Cayley which resulted into a successful flight by Wright Brothers in year 1903.

It took 413 years to fly the first flying machine under its own power after a clear representation of a flying machine depicted by Leonardo Da Vinci in year 1490.

Although, the history never denied the contribution of Galileo Galilei, Christiaan Huygens, Issac Newton any many more, but the credit for a successful flight is always given to the Wright Brothers.

Since this breakthrough, after almost 112 years mankind has subsequently developed small airbuses to MiG’s to Superjet’s, and travelled further from moon to mars. This breakthrough invention has resulted into a series of innovation and created a healthy competition amongst the innovators to innovate and further reap the benefits of true intellect. Intellectual Property Rights played an important role in keeping the right pace of development and proliferation of this technical field; and in return provided a successful business tool to the innovators and creators of the technology.

Improvement and innovation are the key factors for the success and survival of any business. Intellectual Property Rights and associated strategies are always a success mantra for any organization whether it’s an old and big organization or a small organization or an upcoming organization. The most common ingredient of success  of all business giants is their Intellectual Property (IP) and its proper & strategic protection followed by enforcement and commercialization. IP has become an integral and essential part of business plans and budgets of aviation business houses. Now, Business development and Intellectual Property Rights can be interlinked in many ways which include:

Development in terms of intellectual capital of an enterprise;

Overall business strategy means Intellectual property and Innovation strategies as the main part of the agenda;

Vision regarding the importance of Intellectual property rights and its implementation;

Investment in terms of intellectual property management, product development, and innovation; and

Market hold in terms of new products, competitiveness, and international expansion of IP

To sustain in a long run and in competitive business environment, acquiring IP Rights is the best success mantra known to all. However, during foundation period many organization forget this mantra and in a long run they fail to survive due to sudden technological drift in the market.




During their experiments of 1902 the Wrights succeeded in controlling their glider in all three axes of flight: pitch, roll and yaw. Their breakthrough discovery simultaneously used roll control (with wing-warping) and yaw control (with a rear rudder) and a forward elevator controlled pitch. In March 1903, they applied for a patent on their method of controlling. The application, which they wrote themselves, got rejected. In early 1904, they hired Ohio patent attorney Henry Toulmin, and on May 22, 1906, they were granted U.S. Patent 821,393 for a “Flying Machine”. The patented claim was of a new and useful method of controlling a flying machine, powered or otherwise. The technique of wing-warping is described, but the patent explicitly states that other methods instead of wing-warping could be used for adjusting the outer portions of a machine’s wings to different angles on the right and left sides to achieve lateral roll control. The Wright’s patent was well drafted and broadly claimed many features in a single patent which enabled them to successfully control the aviation market and easily win the patent infringement lawsuits against Glenn Curtiss, their largest competitor.


The Wright Brother’s patent was a breakthrough invention in many ways and ahead of all inventions at that time.