First in Flight...

My recent trip to Dayton, Ohio has markings everywhere as reminders of the Wright brothers being the first to have a powered aircraft successfully take a man into flight. I got to see a reconstruction of their workshop, wind tunnel for airfoil testing, some of their original aircraft and videos of some of their failures and successes.
The desire they had was great, but they were by no means great designers and it took a few years of testing and retesting to get a engine powered plane to fly more than a few seconds with control.

I've started watching a few YouTube videos about their work, the secrecy as they learned others globally were attempting the same thing. They had a patent in the United States for the design, but that means nothing in Europe and other experimenters were right behind the Wrights.

The one thing I read/saw was they based some of the steering in wing bending that was evident in soaring birds. A competitor had a fixed wing and used adjustable flaps called ailerons to control the steering. Fortunately for the Wright brothers, their documented flights were the first.

Probably the smartest thing the Wright brothers did was to avoid a flapping wing design as it proved to be the biggest flop in mankind attempting to fly like a bird!

I came across this video of such disasters in the early days of manned flight.
Funny now, but I'm sure many were injured and killed in their attempts.

It's amazing how many 'test pilots' wore suits and ties. laugh
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Here in NC they have "First in Flight" printed on the license plates on most of the cars.
You probably know why the Wright brothers chose Kitty Hawk... yes?
Initial test flights were done in Dayton, Ohio on some farm land but they needed stronger winds for lift. They wrote to the Weather Bureau in Washington and found out that the beach at Kitty Hawk on the Atlantic coast had favorable conditions. It was flat and had strong winds that were essential in their testing of various air foil designs.

They started tests with tethered gliders (giant kites) a few years prior to their manned flight. After many failures, they eventually were able to redesign the craft to have sufficient lift and stability.

The rest is history!
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