North Carolina: First in Flight

By: Fleur Paipa

North Carolina is the state where the Wright brothers took their first famous airplane flight. Though Orville and Wilbur Wright lived in Ohio, they decided to take their flight trials down south in the sandy hills of a small town called Kitty Hawk which is located on the chain of Barrier Islands known as the Outer Banks.

Before being bitten by the idea of inventing a flying machine, the Wright brothers were the owners of a bicycle shop in the town of Dayton, Ohio. After testing many designs and facing teething problems, they were succesful in taking their first flight in an airplane made of wood, metal and canvas that was stretched across the wings of the plane. The pilot was required to lay flat on his stomach to manouvere the controls for the flight.

The Wright Brothers had taken four years to build this newfangled flying contraption. They worked on it from 1899 to 1903 to figure out the proper aerodynamics necessary to create an airplane. Even their sister helped them by sewing and stretching the canvass across the wing's frame. It took them many years to finalize the design of the first practical airplane.

The Wright brothers actually made several trips to Kitty Hawk even before the completion of the Wright Flyer. In 1900, Orville and Wilbur made the trip to the North Carolina coast to test gliders in order to better understand aerodynamics. When they made their historic trip in 1903, the duo left in September with Flyer in tow. By this time, they were well acquainted with the area and the people, often recruiting locals to help them haul and repair the Flyer.

This flying machine was considerably heavier than the earlier models of the Wright flyers. It was 125 pounds heavier than what the brothers actually wanted it to be. Because of its weight, the plane could not be launched like the earlier versions and required the building of a 15-foot launching rail to catapult it on its trajectory. They jokingly called it "Grand Junction Railroad".

The brothers had to often abandon their daily tests because of the stormy weather in the late fall and early winter in 1903. They sometimes wondered whether they would be able to accomplish this massive feat this year as they intended. However the North Carolina weather cooperated with them at last and they successfully made their tests and their subsequent flight into the history books.

Finally on 17th December 1903 the brothers were succesful in realising their long cherished goal. After doing a toss to decide on who would pilot the airplane, Orville got into the machine to fly off at 10.35 am. Inspite of cold weather the fight was successful and lasted for 12 seconds. The plane travelled a mere 120 feet but it was enough to put the brothers and their flying machine into history books for eternity.

The brothers made three more flights after their maiden flight. Wilbur took credit for the longest flight, he flew for 59 minutes and covered 852 feet. The State of Carolina witnessed this historic feet on a cold December day. A monument was constructed on top of a hill called Devil Hill, North Carolina to honor this miraculous feet of engineering and the willpower of man.

Article Directory:

| More

Fleur Paipa is the chief editor for F north carolina, the #1 source on the internet for information about north carolina. For more articles on north carolina visit:
Feel free to grab a unique version of this article from the Uber north carolina article directory

Please Rate this Article


Not yet Rated

Click the XML Icon Above to Receive Family Articles Articles Via RSS!

Powered by Article Dashboard