Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

Episode Guide

Airplane to Air Force | Air Force to Air Power | Jet Age | Age Of Stealth |


Airplane to Air Force

After their first successful powered flight, the Wright Brothers turned to the U.S. Army, well aware of the potential military value of their airplane. In 1903, with no looming threat of war, the government rejected their $100,000 asking price, but within five years, the entire Western world would embrace the idea of powered flight. World War I ushered in the airplane's first military roles as armies used planes for aerial reconnaissance, and then for artillery spotting. With aviation still in its infancy, aerial combat took longer to develop, but the evolution of fighter tactics was inevitable as planes became more sky-worthy. The results transformed combat from fly-by pot-shots to fast, furious duels. By the end of the war, the airplane had been defined as an "eye in the sky" - a role that remains as vital over the deserts of the Middle East today as it was over the trenches of France in 1914. Every country recognized the potential of the warplane, and the growing necessity to take control of the skies.


When to Watch

Parts One and Two air: Wed, Nov. 8th, 9-11pm
Parts Three and Four air: Wed, Nov. 15, 9-11pm

Buy the Program

WARPLANE