On December 17, 1903, Orville Wright piloted the first powered aircraft six metres (20 feet) above Kitty Hawk, a wind-swept beach in North Carolina. The conditions were perfect for flight – high, consistent winds blowing from the north. At about 10:30am, Wright lay down on the plane’s wing surface and brought its engine to life. Five minutes later, he was airborne.
The flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. Three more flights were made that day with their plane: at 11 o’clock Will made the second trial at 1140am. The fourth and final flight was the their best as Wilbur piloted the Flyer for 59 seconds over 852 feet. After that test flight, a gust of wind blew the Flyer over, causing severe damage. It was months before the Wrights could make another flight.
The brothers had began experimentating with air flights in 1896 at their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio. They had selected this particular beach in North Carolina because of the constant wind that was present at that location. They made 700 successful flights using a glider through 1902 and 1903.
Wilbur Wright (1867-1912) and Orville Wright (1871-1948) would be amazed at the aeroplane world today.
The largest passenger aircraft the Airbus 380 is 73 metres (239.5 feet) long. In other words, it is longer than the distance covered in humanity’s first flight 110 years ago.
One wonders what the Wright brothers would say looking at an airport today as roaring jetliners take off every few minutes with hundreds of people aboard?
The only other issue is while humanity conquered the sky, we don’t seem to have worked out a way to do it profitably! The airline industry has been bathed in red ink for over half of the last 110 years!