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Wright Brothers anniversary

2003-12-17 17:05:48.385347+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

A hundred years ago today the first controlled powered flight put together by people with PR skills happened. Powered flight had been happening for probably 5 years, controlled gliding for longer, but putting both together and adding someone who knew how to talk to the press didn't come together 'til December 1903.

[ related topics: Aviation ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Wright Brothers anniversary made: 2003-12-17 22:49:24.898704+00 by: petronius

I dunno. I recently read a short biography of Alberto Santos-Dumont, the Brazillian dirigible inventor and the first man in Europe to fly heavier-than-air. Everybody in 1906 Paris thought that he was the first to fly, when the Wrights showed up. Although nobody liked Wilbur and Orville, who were apparently rather anti-social, they did have to admit that their machine was far more sophisticated than anything else being built. They had solved the control problem, and all airplanes since that time follow their principles.

#Comment Re: Wright Brothers anniversary made: 2003-12-17 22:50:13.977559+00 by: dexev

Any evidence that controlled, powered flight had been happening for 5 years? I don't have any information other than the bits and pieces of documentaries I've seen this month, but that sounds backwards -- the Wright's unwillingness to open their invention for public view (they wanted signed sales contracts before they would demo a plane) almost left them unknown to history.

#Comment Re: Wright Brothers anniversary made: 2003-12-17 23:04:45.188778+00 by: Dan Lyke

I've no evidence that the two of them together were happening, but it's fairly plain that the two were happening separately, some of the glider guys really had it going at that point. And I think the New Zealander actually appears to have had working ailerons, but his flight happened close to the same time as the Wright's.

If I were going to pick my "person who had the most influence on early aviation" it'd be Glenn Curtiss, but the Wrights were no slouches.