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Thread: Celebrating A Century of Flight
12-16-03, 05:36 PM #1
Celebrating A Century of Flight
Celebrating A Century of Flight
Coming up this week, December 17, 2003, marks the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' successful flight experiments at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Wright Flyer became the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard.
These days, the Wrights' achievement — airborne for a maximum of 59 seconds — may not seem very impressive. But without their engineering skills, scientific methods, creative ingenuity and persistence, the history of planes and today's technological advances in aviation likely would have come much later. Most other experimenters at the time were more focused on the power of the engine, rather than the concepts of lift, balance and control.
So this week you'll celebrate the Wright brothers — learning about how they ended up at Kitty Hawk, and what their success has meant to society and future advances in aviation.
The Wright Brothers
Begin by meeting the Wright Brothers at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
Start by finding out, Who Were Wilbur & Orville? Read the introduction then move through their family's story using the text links (Go to...) at the bottom or the photo links at the top.
Browse through the section, from Rooted in America and Early American Wrights, to Immediate Family History and their Settling in Dayton. How do you think their family's history and beliefs may have influenced where the brothers lived and the interests and opportunities they had?
Next, find out about the Wrights' Printing & Newspaper Business, the Wright Cycle Company and The Wright Bicycles. In what ways did their experiences with designing, manufacturing and riding bicycles help them understand and become passionate about aeronautics?
Now move on to the Inventing A Flying Machine section. Here, you'll read about how the brothers spent time Getting Acquainted With Aeronautics, what happened during their Glider Trials at Kitty Hawk, and about The Biggest Glider Yet.
What was going on during the late 1800's and into the next century that made the time ripe for advances in aviation? How did the Wright brothers learn from the work of earlier scientists?
Continue through your tour of experimental gliders, including the 1901 Wright Flyer, their 1902 model that was Close to an Airplane, and the First Successful Airplane in 1903.
What was the importance of building models and flying them out in a field? How did their measured experiments in the wind tunnel shape their understanding of aerodynamics? In what ways did each model build upon lessons learned flying its predecessor, like those related to the glider's wings, engine, propulsion and control systems?
Finish off this section with finding out about the The First Circular Flight in 1904 and The First Practical Airplane, produced and flown in 1905.
And so, The Aerial Age Begins. Explore what happened after the Wrights' success through the sections, Healthy Competition, the Fliers or Liars, and Homecoming Celebration.
How did other aviation scientists react to the news of the Wrights' achievement? What steps did the Wrights have to take to secure their invention and gain public attention and financial backing?
Once the initial paperwork and publicity push was over, the brothers settled into their new and improved business, called The Wright Company. Read about how they filed Many Lawsuits, and how their company contributed to Military Use of the Airplane, Commercial Aviation, and Competition and Exhibit Flying.
Just about seven years after their first flight, in what ways did the Wright brothers begin changing people's transportation and shipping options? How did it change our military force?
Before leaving this site, see how these rapid advances in aviation affected society's High Flying Times, produced Memorials at Kitty Hawk, and how Orville Dies of a Heart Attack. How did society react to these major technological advances? How do those reactions compare to those of our modern society, when faced with similar technological revolutions?
At the time of this lesson's publication, the Interactive Experiment, Pitch, Roll, Yaw, has not been completed. However, a couple of other sites offer some really cool aviation interactives.
Check out the PBS/NOVA site, Wright Brothers' Flying Machine and its Interactives, Pilot the 1903 Flyer and Getting Airborne and Wing Designs. If you have time, you can also view the slideshow, Building Wright Replicas. What types of engineering problems did the Wrights face, and how did they resolve them? How does varying the design affect the aerodynamic properties of a wing?
If you want to experience how the 1903 Flyer's steering system worked from the pilot's viewpoint, try your hand in the Flight Simulator at the FirstFlight site using one of the web versions. How tough is it to steer? How long were you up in the air? How far did you travel?
IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
ONE PROUD MARINE
Once a Marine...Always a Marine
12-16-03, 07:51 PM #2
Did you know that a 747 is longer than the wright bros first flight was?
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