On December 17, 1903 Orville Wright, (one of the Wright brothers) successfully made the first powered airplane flight over Kill Devil Hills at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. This achievement 100 years ago stands as one of the greatest feats in human history. It made our world smaller and opened our eyes to the future. In celebration of the centennial anniversary of this flight this project will explore future aircraft technologies and projects.
In order to understand better certain terminology used in individual aircraft project profiles then the information below should be read in order for the reader to develop an understanding of general aviatic concepts.
Flight has fascinated human beings from ancient times to today and into the future. In 1000 BC the Chinese invented kites which carried men to scout troops. In 1010 AD, Oliver of Malmesbury, a Benedictine monk, was the first man to fly for some distance with the aid of wings. He jumped from Malmesbury Abbey and flew 125 paces but then tragically fell, breaking his legs. There are many other attempts of unsuccessful tests of flight machines throughout the ages.
From 1488-1514 In Italy, Leonardo de Vinci made the first design of flying machines, using bird wings for models. His designs were tested in modern times and and replicas did indeed fly. In 1799 Sir George Cayley invented the concept of the fixed-wing aircraft. In 1868 Matthew Boulton obtained a British patent on a design for ailerons as control surfaces. In 1884 Horatio Phillips of England designed a wing with a curved airfoil shape.
On October 9, 1890 Clément Ader flew a steam-powered, bat-winged monoplane, which he named the Eole, a distance of 50 m (160 feet) near Paris. The steam engine was unsuitable for sustained and controlled flight, which required the gasoline engines. On December 1892 The Wright brothers opened their first bicycle shop
On May 6, 1896 Samuel P. Langley, the third Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, succeeded in launching the first reasonably large, steam-powered model aircraft on flights of up to three quarters of a mile over the Potomac River. On May 30, 1899 Wilbur Wright writes the Smithsonian Institute and affirms his belief that human flight was possible.On July 2, 1900 The first flight of the Zeppelin airship that was the first aircraft to use large metal structures. On October 22, 1900 The Wright Brothers made their first glider flight.
On October 4, 1902 The Wrights modify their 1902 glider by replacing the fixed double rear fin with a rear rudder linked with the wing-warping control to counteract wrap-drag.
December 8, 1903 Samuel P. Langley s "Aerodrome," piloted by Charles Manley, plunges into the Potomac River on the second launching attempt and is completely wrecked. On December 14, 1903 Wilbur and Orville Wright flip a coin to see who will be the first to fly. Wilbur wins the toss however, the flight is unsuccessful.
On December 17, 1903 The Wright Flyer lifts into the air at 10:35 am. The flight lasted only 12 seconds and covered a distance of just 121 feet (37 m). It is the first powered, manned, heavier-than-air, controlled flight. The curious thing is that the next day only three newspapers in the United States mention the Wright Brothers' flight and their accounts are largely imaginative. From here on the Wright Brothers perfect their machines and slowly gain recognition. Eventually their company grows and their technology is recruited both for civilian and military purposes. Over the years many technological innovations such as radar and computers contributed to the evolution of airplanes to what we now see in the skies.