Aviation has advanced tremendously since the 1970s. The advent of the widebody airliner made long-range air travel affordable to all, and aircraft operation was revolutionized by technical developments such as “glass” cockpits, fly-by-wire, and fly-by-light technologies. Refined aerodynamics improved the performance of both airliners and combat aeroplanes, while new materials such as carbonfibre made them lighter. Stealth technology dramatically altered the appearance of bombers and fighters, while weaponry continued to evolve into ever more fearsome and deadly forms. As both civil and military aircraft became more complex, development periods lengthened and costs spiralled. Meanwhile, human-powered flight became a reality, and home-built and ultralight aeroplanes proliferated as never before. Today, the triple-deck widebody airliner is a reality, the convertiplane is entering military service in the form of the Bell-Boeing Osprey, and unmanned, solar-powered aircraft with virtually unlimited endurance are waiting impatiently in the wings.

Rutan Voyager

The first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world without…

Antonov An-225

Designed to carry a Buran spacecraft externally in a somewhat…

Airbus A310

Claiming the widest cabin for its length of any Airbus, the…