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December 2013

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110th Anniversary of Flight 1903-2013 :-)

( Special note from Barry Mellerick 2013 - Treasurer )

 

December 17th, 1903, was a cold, gusty day at Kitty Hawk Bay, North Carolina, USA, when the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, turned up to carry out another of their experiments with heavier than air flying machines, this time using motive power, rather than the gliders of heretofore.

The brothers had become fascinated since childhood with the idea of manned flight and had avidly followed the original work done by Otto Lillienthal, a pioneering German engineer, in mid to late 1800.

Even though they were basically involved in both printing and bicycle sale and repair businesses, they devoted much time to practical experiments with model gliders. Over a period of years, as a result of these experiments and the reading of the main published aerodynamic works of the day, they came to have a full knowledge of the principles and practical workings of heavier than air flying machines. In 1901 they carried out one of their first flight tests.

By the end of 1901 they were at an advanced state of preparation for their main objective – powered, manned flight - having perfected control techniques (wing warping) and a basis of predictive tabular calculations that had proven reliable and had been verified by many manned glider experiments at Kill Devil Hill, Kitty Hawk, up to the end of 1902.

Finally, on that fateful day, December 17, 1903, they committed life, limb and dreams to the first faltering hop – a 120-foot flight, made by Orville. Wilbur, in the fourth and final flight of the day, flew a distance of 852-feet in 59 seconds.

By the end of 1905 Wilbur was making flights of up to 24 miles and the brothers did a deal with the US government for the first army aeroplane, delivered in 1909. International companies were formed and in 1909 Orville flew in Germany.

The rest is history, as they say.

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