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Tag Archives: Wright brothers

First Flight?

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December 17, 2013, marked the 110th anniversary of the first powered, controlled flight of an airplane. Wilbur Wright had made the first attempt three days before, when the brothers laid their 60 foot launch rail down the lower slope of the Kill Devil Hill. That attempt ended with a hard landing only 105 feet from   …Continue Reading


The Flight Claims of Gustave Whitehead

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Gustave Whitehead is back in the news. Whitehead (1874-1927), a native of Leutershausen, Bavaria, who immigrated to the United States, probably in 1894, claimed to have made a sustained powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine on August  14, 1901, two years before the Wright brothers. He further claimed that he had made additional flights of   …Continue Reading


WINGS: From the Wright Brothers to the Present

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Airplane designers will tell you that the wing is the heart of an airplane. For conventional airplanes, it provides most of the lift generated by the airplane; the fuselage and tail contribute only a few percent of the overall lift of the airplane. The Wright brothers recognized this from the very start of their work   …Continue Reading


The Real Wright Flyer

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The Smithsonian literally has millions of objects in its vast collections.  Everything from specimens of flora and fauna from around the globe, to machines that have shaped the modern world, to cultural artifacts that reflect our rich diversity, to important works of art.  Even live animals at the National Zoo.  Every aspect of human endeavor   …Continue Reading


The World’s First Military Airplane

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This summer, the world is marking the 40th anniversary of one of the greatest milestones in aerospace history, and one of the most remarkable of all human achievements—the first Moon landing by Apollo 11.  But the summer of 2009 also marks another meaningful event in aerospace history.  It is the centennial of military aviation.  Almost   …Continue Reading