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Wright brothers, first sustained and controlled  heavier-than-airpowered manned flight inventors

Wright brothers, first sustained and controlled heavier-than-airpowered manned flight inventors

AIRPLANES all over the world today are said to be the fastest, safest and reliable means of transportation. When measured in the likelihood to be involved in the accident as compared to other means of transportation, again airplanes by far scored minimal percentages unlike other means of transportations.

In principle, airplanes make life easier, and it rapidly connects the world. Airplanes become every one’s top priority when it comes to having a preference for the fastest means of transportation.

Today one can avoid a more than 10 hours trip by bus from Dar to Arusha and opt to fly instead only to reach a destination in less than two hours.

That will certainly give someone an ample time to conclude a business meeting in Arusha and possibly return to Dar es Salaam the same day, less than 10 hours of one-way trip by bus.

In this article with materials gathered from history .com and Wikipedia which were authenticated by Capt. Noel Komba, of ATCL, focuses briefly on the life, role of Wright Brothers Wilbur and Orville, inventors of airplanes and how they made it.

The two brothers invented and flew the first airplane in 1903, recognized as “the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight”. They built on the works of George Cayley dating from 1799, when he set forth the concept of the modern airplane (and later built and flew models and successful passenger carrying gliders).

Between 1867 and 1896, the German pioneer of human aviation Otto Lilienthal also studied heavier-than-air flight. Following its limited use in World War I, aircraft technology continued to develop.

The first jet aircraft was the German Heinkel HE 178 in 1939. The first jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet, was introduced in 1952.

The Boeing 707, the first widely successful commercial jet, was in commercial service for more than 50 years, from 1958 to at least 2013. Wilbur Wright was born on April 16, 1867, near Millville, Indiana.

He was the middle child in a family of five children. His father, Milton Wright, was a bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. His mother was Susan Catherine Koerner.

As a child Wilbur’s playmate was his younger brother, Orville Wright, born in 1871. Milton Wright’s preaching took him on the road frequently, and he often brought back small toys for his children. In 1878 he brought back a small model helicopter for his boys.

Made of cork, bamboo and paper, and powered by a rubber band to twirl its blades, the model was based on a design by the French aeronautical pioneer Alphonse Pénaud. Fascinated by the toy and its mechanics, Wilbur and Orville would develop a life long love of aeronautics and flying.

The American inventors and pioneers of aviation never attended college. Wilbur was a bright and studious child had made plans to attend Yale University after high school, however in the winter of 1885-86, an accident changed the course of Wilbur’s life. He was badly injured in an ice hockey game when another player’s stick hit him in the face.

The incident plunged Wilbur into a depression. He did not receive his high school diploma, canceled plans for college, and retreated to his family’s home. Wilbur spent much of this period at home, reading books in his family’s library, and caring for his ailing mother. Susan Koerner died in 1889 of tuberculosis.

Always working on different mechanical projects and keeping up with scientific research, the Wright brothers closely followed the research of German aviator Otto Lilienthal. When Lilienthal died in a glider crash, the brothers decided to start their own experiments with flight.

Determined to develop their own successful design, Wilbur and Orville headed to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, known for its strong winds. Wilbur and Orville set to work trying to figure out how to design wings for flight. They observed that birds angled their wings for balance and control, and tried to emulate this, developing a concept called “wing warping.” When they added a moveable rudder, the Wright brothers found they had the magic formula. On December 17, 1903, they succeeded in flying the first free, controlled flight of a power-driven, heavier than airplane. Wilbur flew their plane for 59 seconds, at 852 feet, which was an extraordinary achievement.

In that year 1903 the Wright brothers achieved the first powered, sustained, and controlled airplane flight; they surpassed their own milestone two years later when they built and flew the first fully practical airplane.

The Wright brothers soon found that their success was not appreciated by all. Many in the press, as well as fellow flight experts, were reluctant to believe the brothers’ claims at all.

As a result, Wilbur set out for Europe in 1908, where he hoped he would have more success convincing the public and selling airplanes.

In France Wilbur found a much more receptive audience. He made many public flights, and gave rides to officials, journalists, and statesmen. In 1909 Orville joined his brother in Europe, as did their younger sister Katharine. The Wrights became huge celebrities there, hosted by royals and heads of state, and constantly featured in the press.

The Wrights began to sell their airplanes in Europe, before returning to the United States in 1909. The brothers became wealthy businessmen, filling contracts for airplanes in Europe and the United States.

Wilbur and Orville always took shared credit for their innovations and maintained a close relationship throughout their lives. Behind the scenes, however, there was a division of labor.

With his sharp instincts, Wilbur was the business mind and executive of the operation, serving as president of the Wright Company. Wilbur fell ill on a trip to Boston in April 1912. He was diagnosed with typhoid fever and died on May 30 at his family home in Dayton, Ohio. Milton Wright wrote in his diary-A short life, full of consequences.

● The writer, Ally Changwila is a Senior Public Relations Officer at Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), with the help of online sources and various readings has managed to compile such a piece via www.history. com,Wikipedia (https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Airplane)

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Author: Ally Changwila

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