Local News

After 95 Years, the Wright Brothers Take Flight on the Internet

Posted December 16, 1998

— Ninety-five years ago, on the windswept dunes of the North Carolina Outer Banks, Orville and Wilbur Wright made history with the first powered flight made by man.

The occasion was marked with festivities at Kitty Hawk, and the Internet carries an exciting new site dedicated to the event.

When Orville Wright made that first, 12 second flight, the world did not care much about it.

It was years before the event that changed the world was recognized.

A new Web site from the Franklin Institute displays documents and tools used by the Wrights to build their manned glider and then the Wright Flyer.

The site is full of photos, some never seen before, of the project. The bicycle shop owners from Dayton, Ohio went against aeronautical knowledge of the day to design and build a plane that actually flew.

The site links to several others, one of which displays a digitally enhanced film of the first flight.

You can also download a Shockwave program that lets you fly the flyer yourself, and it's not easy.

The Wright Brothers Aeronautical Engineering Collection at Franklin Institute has never before been able to display some documents.

Now it's easily done on the World Wide Web. An animation of the Wright brothers' wind tunnel shows how it worked.

You can read the telegram claiming success written Dec. 17, 1903, sent by Orville to his father.

As we move toward the centennial anniversary of powered flight, there are sure to be more Web sites dedicated to the Wright brothers and their remarkable achievement.

The Wright brothers actually made four flights one hundred years ago. The longest flight covered 850 feet. Just after the flight, a gust of wind turned over the flyer breaking the wings. That plane hangs in theAir and Space Museumin Washington.

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