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Changing the World

The Wright brothers’ first flight

© by Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum / YouTube

Source | Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum / YouTube | 30 August 2017 1 minute
Orville and Wilbur Wright got involved in aviation in the late 1890s and built a flyer in which all basic principles of modern airplanes are already embodied. They already knew at that time that their invention was not just one, but a number of inventions that had to work in concert for the device to be successful. The brothers carried out experiments each year and discovered answers to questions regarding propulsion, control, structures and aerodynamics. In 1903, on December 17, the world’s first airplane lifted off on the beaches of Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. And guess what, the Wright brother’s first flight lasted only 12 seconds. The brothers gained the mechanical skills essential for their success by working for years in their shop with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery. Although being considered real pioneers of modern airflight, their status as inventors of the airplane has been subject to counter-claims by various parties, for example Ernest Archdeacon, the founder of the Aéro-Club de France, who stated that “the French would make the first public demonstration of powered flight”. In 1908, however, after the Wrights’ first flights in France, Archdeacon publicly admitted that he had done them an injustice. For more please check out www.airandspace.si.edu