This glider however, failed their expectations in that it did not respond properly to wing-warping and produced much less lift than calculated. Wilbur was particularly disappointed. But by the fall of the same year, they renewed their efforts with considerable improvements on lift, drag, wing shapes and airfoil curves. With longer wingspan and shorter chord (front-to-back wing dimension), they finished constructing the glider by 1902 which looked more modern than their previous machines. The result was rewarding: it had a better lift than expected.
But the problem of turns was only partially solved. They further developed pilot control as they connected the rudder to the warping controls so a single movement simultaneously controlled wing warping and rudder deflection. Thus, evolve the three axis-controls: wing-warping for roll (lateral motion), forward elevator for pitch (up and down) and rear rudder for yaw (side to side). They had their novel technique of flight control patented on the month of March, 1903. It was on the 17th day of December of 1903 that the Wrights first took to the air in their engine-powered Flyer.
The first successful flight was done by Orville, taking his turn from Wilbur’s unsuccessful attempt on the 14th (O. Wright. “How We Made the First Flight”). The first flight by Orville flew 120 feet and lasted only for 12 seconds. The fourth flight of the day was the most successful, done by Wilbur who flew 852 feet in 59 seconds. It reached a height of about ten feet above the ground (C. F. Gray. “The Five First Flights: The Slope and Winds of Big Kill Devil Hill – The First Flight Reconsidered”). This historic event was witnessed only by 4 lifeguards and a boy from the village, hence making the claim debatable.
Although a local newspaper reported the event, some facts were inaccurate. It was also printed in another newspaper the following day, on the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Flyer or much more referred to nowadays as Kitty Flyer, cost less than a thousand dollars to build. It had a wingspan of 40 feet, weighed 340 kg, and carrying a 12 hp- 77 kg engine. The aircraft was destroyed by a strong wind after its fourth flight.
The brothers brought the pieces home and was later restored by Orville. He eventually lent it to several museums in the U. S. and to a British museum before finally had it installed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C. in 1948. After the Kitty Hawk powered flights, the brothers decided to withdraw from their bicycle business so they can devote themselves to building and marketing a practical airplane (T. Crouch. The Bishop Boys). They attempted to invite the military in the U. S. , France, Britain, and Germany but were rejected because they insisted on a signed contract before giving a demonstration. This condition was brought by the brother’s fears that their technology would simply be copied.
They were either doubted or scorned, and so their work continued in semi-obscurity while Dumont, and Curtiss were hogging the limelight. It was only years later that they finally bagged a contract with a French company and the U. S. Army, which required them to demonstrate the Flyer’s ability to carry a passenger. The brothers made public flight demonstrations. In France, Wilbur amazed onlookers including several pioneer French aviators with his skills as a pilot and the capability of his flying machine by making a number of technically challenging flights such as figure-eights.
The French public were ecstatic and the brothers became world famous overnight. The brothers sold their aircraft to the Army’s Aeronautical Division, U. S. Signal Corps for $30,000 which includes a $5,000 bonus if it exceeds the speed specification. Their first commercial air cargo shipment was with Moorehouse-Marten’s Department store in Columbus. The company paid $5,000 for the service, which was done more for advertising than a simple delivery. The brother’s painstaking and hazardous undertakings had finally started to pay off. I. Notable Contributions
The Wright brother’s achievement brought a wide range of reactions because human flight was so significant and revolutionary. It was a breakthrough whose influence went well beyond the aeronautical community. The airplane was significant for everyone: from the pilot’s enthusiasm and their aerial exhibitions, to the commercial potential and military use, to the cultural implications of flight, and even to the artistic expression it inspired. Its impact on the following centuries to come is beyond measure. They were able to solve a long-studied technical problem as well as creating an entirely new world.
Speculation on what that world would be like and even beyond began with our first leaps into the skies (See “The Aerial Age Begins”). II. Conclusion Orville and Wilbur Wright’s claim to this aviation “first” may have been tainted with counter-claims from previous research and works of other men mentioned above. There are no doubts for sure that their predecessors greatly influenced and benefited the two. But their work exhibited far greater understanding in aviation than the rest as demonstrated by the facts discussed previously above.
It is most unfortunate, that their secretiveness invited skepticism from Scientific American and other publications which left them underappreciated by their peers and the general public for some time. Nevertheless, history and this writing concludes the Wright’s rightful claim for the following reasons: (a) theirs was the first of working out a method of aerial control; (b) were able to design and built their own aluminum-copper alloy engine, used to power their aircraft; (c) and their design and use of propellers, rotating in opposite directions to counter the effects from torque (D.
Schlenoff. “The Equivocal Success of the Wright Brothers”). These features including its wing design are exclusive and unique by Wilbur and Orville’s aircraft. Much more, their contributions in aviation are the ones which truly opened the way for men to the skies.
1. “First Flights in Aviation History”. A 1945 Newsreel covering various firsts in human flight, cited in “Aviation History”. From Wikipedia. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Aviation_history 2. Crouch, T.
The Bishop’s Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright. pp. 56-57. 1989 3. Jakab, Peter. Visions of a Flying Machine: The Wright Brothers and the Process of Invention. 1990. 4. Howard, F. Wilbur and Orville: A Biography of the Wright Brothers. p. 30, 1998. 5. Crouch. pp. 166 6. Tobin, James. To Conquer the Air. Pp. 40-41,44 7.
Accessed from “The Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company” website. http://www. wright-brothers. org/Adventure/Workshop/workshop. htm 8. Wright, O. “How We Made the First Flight”. http://www.aero-web. org/history/wright/first. htm 9. Gray, C. F. “The Five First Flights: The Slope and Winds of Big Kill Devil Hill – The First Flight Reconsidered”. http://www. thewrightbrothers. org/fivefirstflights. html 10. Crouch, T. pp. 273-4 11. “The Aerial Age Begins”. http://www. nasm. si. edu/wrightbrothers/age/index. cfm 12. Schlenoff, D. “The Equivocal Success of the Wright Brothers”. December 2003 issue http://www. sciam. com/article. cfm? chanID=sa006&articleID=000E2A9A-2E05-1FA8-AE0583414B7F0000