The First Powered Flight

Posted by on Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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.

Wilbur referred to the trial as having "only partial success", stating "the power is ample, and but for a trifling error due to lack of experience with this machine and this method of starting, the machine would undoubtedly have flown beautifully."

The first flight, by Orville at 10:35 am, of 37 metres in 12 seconds, at a speed of only 10.9 km/h over the ground, was recorded in a famous photograph. The next two flights covered approximately 53 and 61 metres, by Wilbur and Orville respectively. Their altitude was about 3.0 metres above the ground.

Five people witnessed the flights: Adam Etheridge, John T. Daniels (who snapped the famous "first flight" photo using Orville's pre-positioned camera) and Will Dough, all of the U.S. government coastal lifesaving crew; area businessman W.C. Brinkley; and Johnny Moore, a teenaged boy who lived in the area.

After the men hauled the Flyer back from its fourth flight, a powerful gust of wind flipped it over several times, despite the crew's attempt to hold it down. Severely damaged, the airplane never flew again.

The Team

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