The history of light plane aviation might seem like a steady arc from Kitty Hawk to Wichita (and beyond), but nothing could be further from the truth. Even at the beginning, the creation of what we now think of as the light aviation segment was hardly a given, and even once it had achieved some kind of nascent status, it faced a series of obstacles that threatened its continued growth toward an activity that offers the average person remarkable opportunities and powers.
In fact, along the way, the future of light aviation was threatened by a number of events, both beyond our control and entirely of our own making, the outcomes of which were anything but a given, the results of which could just as easily have been an aviation world in which personal flying was far more restricted than it is today or, perhaps, absent altogether.
Striking in their scope and variety, these challenges started pretty much from first flight and have persisted throughout the history of light general aviation, even to this day. Here are some of the big hurdles we faced in getting to where we are today and that we today face in forging a future for this amazing pathway to the skies.