When a century of the world aviation was marked six years ago, a lot of people were wondering: and where is Serbia in that process? The idea of aviation has been present in Serbia since the first half of 19th century, which means that for the period of 165 years we are keeping abreast of the world. A hundred years have passed since the first balloons were provided, the first gliders and self-constructed planes flew, and in three years there will be a hundredth anniversary of Serbian aviation. The aviation in our country was institutionalized at the beginning of 20th century, at the time of the overall prosperity of both the country and its armed forces. At the time, aviation did not have present structure or physiognomy, but it contained the elements of current arms and services of the Air Force and Air Defense, as well as the aviation in general.
In the contemporary view, the aviation was established with the first balloon flight of the Montgolfier brothers, on June 5, 1783, and since then, it has been the means of meeting different human requirements. The first aircraft were flying machines lighter than the air: balloons (hot air or hydrogen); engine-driven airships - dirigibles (A. @ifar, 1852), and rigid airships of metal structure - “zeppelins” having dominated as far as the very beginning of World War I. On December 17, 1903, in the USA, the Wright brothers made the first successful flight in the world’s first motor-powered, heavier-than-the-air craft, called “aero plane” or “airplane”. The era of aviation started with this event, so planes, gradually at first, and then, in World War I, completely, overpowered balloons and dirigibles. Different self-powered heavier-than-the-air craft flying machines were invented: autogyro, helicopter, motor kite and others. In the beginning, the aircraft were made of canvas and wood, then of metal, and today of composite materials. The equipment of the first planes was modest, and today it is among the highest achievements in engineering and technology in general. The aircraft drive unit was developed and today it is based on powerful engines, ensuring high level of safety, great speeds and load-bearing capacity.
Since the appearance of a balloon in the late 18th century, aviation has attracted attention of a number of inventive Serbs, and some of them have achieved significant results (K. Mazarovic, O. Kostovic, N. Tesla). The expressions “vazduhoplovni nastroj” (“air machine”) and “vazduhoplovje” (“aircraft”) appeared in Serbia in 1844 (“Novine serbske” (“Serbian newspaper”)). The first balloon was flown over Belgrade in 1873 and over Pancevo in 1880 (by a Frenchman balloonist N. Bede).