Skip to comments.December 17 is the anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight
Posted on 12/17/2017 8:45:42 AM PST by harpygoddess
Today is the anniversary of mankind's first powered flight, achieved at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on 17 December 1903 by pioneer American aviators Wilbur and Orville Wright (1867-1912 and 1871-1948, respectively). The Wrights - Dayton, Ohio bicycle mechanics - become interested in aviation as an avocation and embarked on a systematic experimental program that eventually led to their extraordinary success - of which movable wing parts and a lightweight engine were the key elements.
Prior To the powered flight, the brothers completed over one thousand glides from atop Big Kill Devil Hill. These flying skills were a crucial component of their invention. Through those experiments, they had solved the problem of sustained lift and more importantly they could control an aircraft while in flight. The brothers felt they were ready to truly fly. But first, the Wrights had to power their aircraft.
Gasoline engine technology had recently advanced to where its use in airplanes was feasible. Unable to find a suitable lightweight commercial engine, the brothers designed their own. Using their air tunnel data, they designed the first efficient airplane propeller, one of their most original and purely scientific achievements.
(Excerpt) Read more at vaviper.blogspot.com ...
(Through adversity to the stars.)
One of the most impressive statistics I have read is the their entire first flight - distance and height - could take place WITHIN the external tank of the space shuttle.
We stand on the shoulders of giants!
The TSA pat-down took longer than the flight.
I was less impressed by Sam Beckett in Space, than with Enterprise’s opening credits.
Gustave Whitehead continues to get no respect!
Thanks harpygoddess. Although it was done with cheekiness that I don't care for, the John Glenn character in "The Right Stuff" had that great whole-cloth quote about the Wrights that I love.
I make my own fun.
First Flight in America, 1757 [September 13th 1757]
CelebrateBoston.com | prior to 2013 | unattributed
Posted on 06/07/2013 6:38:59 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
They did their research without a government grant. Samuel Langley who had government backing failed. A lesson for now.
Yesterday, December 16th was the 244th anniversary of The Boston Tea Party (1773).
The summer we visited the site (again). Yes, the first flight was really short. The 4th was substantively long. Have to wonder if part of the issue of season was just freaking out over being airborne at all.
Next day we saw the plane itself. There’s a small sign saying “yes, this is the actual original Wright Bros plane”.
While many inventions are really evolutionary, small improvements on what had been done before, the Wrights were true inventors.
Almost every prior attempt at flight was guessing and trial and error, hoping to stumble on a solution. The Wrights’ research discovered that almost everything done before had to be thrown out. So they studied the concept of lift, not only for the flight of the plane, but for the application to propellers to generate thrust (forward lift).
But most importantly, they were the first to understand the need for and solution of three axis control. Anybody could make a paper airplane that “flies”. The secret was to design one that flies where you want it to.
The Wrights’ airplane patent was about a device that could develop lift and have three axis control. The original patent did not even provide for an engine. That came later.
And don’t forget - the Wrights had to teach themselves to fly - there were no instructor pilots in 1903.
They had to take the beginning step. They did not stop and go home, they were staying aloft for quite some time before the day was over.
The tale of Langley and the Wright Brothers is good to remember with these modern entrepreneurs wanting government backing.
That is true - and one of the brothers (I forget which one) lived to see men put into space - what a lifetime of adventure!
“one of the brothers (I forget which one) lived to see men put into space - “
Orville died in 1948.
One of my boys is an engineer at NASA Goddard. One day we ate lunch at the Club, at Orville's table. I told him he could go back to Goddard and tell people he ate at Orville Wright's table.
What a great story!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.