Posted by: Ed Darrell | December 17, 2012

December 17, 1903: Wright Brothers fly into history

Ten feet in altitude, 120 feet traveled, 12 seconds long. That was the first flight in a heavier-than-air machine achieved by Orville and Wilbur Wright of Dayton, Ohio, at Kittyhawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903.

Few witnesses observed the flight. Though the brothers Wright fully understood the potential of the machine they had created, even they waited before revealing to their supporters, and then the world, what they had accomplished.

From the Library of Congress:

On the morning of December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright took turns piloting and monitoring their flying machine in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Orville piloted the first flight that lasted just twelve seconds. On the fourth and final flight of the day, Wilbur traveled 852 feet, remaining airborne for 57 seconds. That morning the brothers became the first people to demonstrate sustained flight of a heavier-than-air machine under the complete control of the pilot.

No lost luggage, no coffee, no tea, no meal in a basket, either. No ATC (Air Traffic Control) delays. Neither brother endured a TSA screening.

Evolution of Wright flight, glider to power - NASA

Evolution of Wright aircraft, from glider in 1900 to powered flight in 1903 – NASA graphics

Resources on the Wright Brothers’ first flight:

(I almost always forget the big dates until the end of the day. This is mostly an encore post.)

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