North Carolina-Wright Brothers-March 3


North Carolina People, Places, and Things-March 3

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special.

One of history’s most important events took place in North Carolina on December 17, 1903. That event was the first airplane flight.

wright brothers

The Wright Brothers specifically Wilbur contacted the Smithsonian to pursue their dream of flying. See letter below.

The Smithsonian Institution, Washington:

May 30, 1899
Dear Sirs:

“I am an enthusiast, but not a crank in the sense that I have some pet theories as to the proper construction of a flying machine. I wish to avail myself of all that is already known and then if possible add my mite to help on the future worker who will attain final success.”
Wilbur Wright

After collecting reference material from the Smithsonian and other sources, the Wright brothers began studying their predecessors. They were surprised to learn that, despite humanity’s centuries-old interest in flight, little progress had been made in aeronautics before 1800. Until that time, few trained scientists or mechanics thought it a sensible undertaking.

Orville Wright on left at 34 and Wilbur Wright on right at 38-photo taking around 1905.

Wrights

In 1900 the Wrights began to study aerodynamics and structures in preparation for building their first piloted glider they would test at Kitty Hawk, NC.

Photo below shows the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kitty Hawk, NC

wright-brothers-day

The 1900 glider had problems. The poor lift performance of that glider made the Wright brothers question, but not abandon, the aerodynamic data and equations they had relied upon. To increase lift on their next glider, they simply increased the size of the wings and the curvature of the airfoil. They returned to Kitty Hawk in 1901 to test the new glider.

Like most successes the Wright Brothers had to endure setbacks. In 1901 the results were discouraging. Although more and longer free glides were made than in the previous year, the new glider performed worse than the 1900 craft. It still suffered from lack of lift and now had control problems as well.

They came back in 1902 and rather than risk life and limb on a large, heavy, untried powered flying machine, Wilbur and Orville decided to build one more glider.

The 1902 glider was a success. Photo below is with Wilbur flying the glider.

1902_Glider_Closeup

Buoyant over the success of their 1902 glider, the Wright brothers were no longer content to merely add to the growing body of aeronautical knowledge; they were going to invent the airplane.  During the spring and summer of 1903, they were consumed with leaping that final hurdle into history.

On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made four brief flights at Kitty Hawk with their first powered aircraft. The Wright brothers had invented the first successful airplane.

Great bio on the Wright Brothers at link below

 

 

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