The Wright Flyer
The N.C. Transportation Museum is home to a full-size replica Wright Flyer. Museum educator Tyler Trahan tells us how the 1903 flight by the Wright Brothers differed from others who had tried to make flying machines, how the airplane moved, and how the Wright Flyer was steered when aloft.
This is not the first flying machine. Humans have been strapping wings to their arms and jumping off cliffs and tower for centuries. And hot air balloons flew almost two centuries before the Wright Flyer. However, what the right breath invented was controlled. Powered flight This'll plane can move in three different axes. You can roll. You can. Yeah, you can change the pitch. By contrast, a hot air balloon can only go up or down, and all you can do is try to find wind blowing the right direction. Otherwise, you get stuck in your basket earlier, heavier than air flying machines steered only by the pilot shifting their weight, a technique which is finicky at best. Imagine the pilot of a modern airliner coming over the intercom. We're now approaching Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Please make sure your tray table stowed and then lean to the right to line up with the runway. Thank you to steer the Wright Flyer to the right or awful shifts his body in that wooden cradle, pulling wires connected to the wingtips, changing the shape of the wing and rolling the plane to the right. Those wires also connected this rudder, which rotates to steer the plane through the turn to change altitude. The pilot moves this handle, which angles the elevators to send the plane up or down. The rifle was designed their own engine off center and balanced by the pilots weight and pioneered the use of propellers on aircraft. Getting up in the air is one thing, but staying aloft with an engine, propellers and then being able to steer and fly where you want is why we remember the Wright Brothers as the inventors of powered flight.