The findings of the modern aerodynamics exist because of the discoveries made in the seventeenth century, but the humans have been harnessing and exploiting these forces from the beginning of time, through the invention of sailboats and the windmills. The stories and mythologies are also full in flight attends, such as the legends of Icarus and Daedalus from the Ancient Greek. The fundamental concepts that are the base of aerodynamics, such as continuum, drag and pressure have been tackled by the illuminated minds of Aristotle and Archimedes.
Until 1726, no major discoveries have been recorded in this field. Sir Isaac Newton was the first to compose a theory of air resistance, making him the father of aerodynamics. Daniel Bernoulli, the Dutch-Swiss mathematician described the relations between pressure, density and flow velocity in 1738 in his paper called Hydrodynamica. Today, the Bernoulli principle provides the calculating method of the aerodynamic lift.
Leonhard Euler published his equation in 1757. It calculates the compressible and incompressible flows of the fluids. The equation has been perfected in 1800, which are amongst the most difficult to solve equations of fluids.
Sir George Cayley identified in 1799 the four forces of the aerodynamic flight: weight, lift, drag and thrust and the relationships between them. This discovery has been the mile stone for the first flight achieved the next century. Francus Herbert Wenham built the first wind tunnel in 1871. It enabled him to calculate the precise forces of the aerodynamic forces.
After the demonstration of the first flight, many scientists created independent theories of the circulation of the fluids flow to lift. As the aircraft industry started to expand, scientists and researchers became more and more interested in the air compressibility at speeds closer or exceeding the speed of sound. The supersonic flight barrier has been broken in 1947, after many trial and error, with the help of a Bell X-1 aircraft.