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Orville and Wilber Wright

Today is the 108th anniversary of powered flight.  On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright, two Ohioans, launched their airplane from Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.  This is an area that most of us know as the Outer Banks or simply OBX.

Orville and Wilbur built the “Wright Flyer” as they called it, out of spruce and fabric.  It was powered by a gas engine driving two propellors.

Orville won the coin toss, climbed into the contraption, and flew it for 12 seconds.  It went 120 feet.  They actually flew it 4-times that day, with the last flight being 59 seconds long and a distance of 852 feet.

Orville was born on August 19, 1871 − 6 years after the end of the US civil war.  He was a very bright fellow and was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1936.  He died on January 30, 1948.  Hence, he lived long enough to see the speed of his invention increase from near 0 to 1000 miles per hour.

Wilber was born on April 16, 1867 − 2 years after the end of the US civil war.  He passed away on May 30, 1912 from typhoid fever.

Thank you Orville and Wilber – two of the great benefactors of humankind.


One comment on “Orville and Wilber Wright

  1. The sound barier may have been broken by German jet aircraft in 1945.
    But that speed, Mach one is about 700 mph depending on the altitude. I
    think Chuck Yeager was the first American to fly above Mach one on
    October 14, 1947 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Yeager). We
    had to wait until a British test pilot, Peter Twiss, flew faster than 1,000 mph in 10 March 1956 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairey_Delta_2).
    The Soviets had the MiG 15 which first flew 30 December 1947. I believe it was supersonic but I don’t know if it broke the sound barrier before it was introduced in 1949 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-15).

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