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A copilot shoots the terrain using a Graflex camera. This image was taken in 1917 or 1918, by which time aerial photography—and aviation—had made huge advances. PHOTOGRAPH BY CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES
The Voisin 3 is the first type of plane credited with shooting down an enemy plane while in midair. Its rear- propelled “pusher” design allowed the mounting of a machine gun in the cockpit. PHOTOGRAPH BY HULTON ARCHIVES/GETTY IMAGES
At the start of World War I, airplanes had not advanced much farther than the Wright brothers planes, such as the 1903 Wright Flyer in this illustration. Planes were employed for reconnaissance in the war's early stages. PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIDGEMAND/ACI
German troops carry an observation balloon in this undated image from early World War I. These cumbersome remnants of the 19th century would rapidly be surpassed by newer, nimbler airplanes whose design, speed, and maneuverability improved in leaps and bo