Today in labor history: Wright brothers make first flight


At 10:35 a.m. on this day in 1903, Orville Wright flew the Flyer over 120 feet of ground for 12 seconds. The flight was conducted just outside of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and was the first-ever flight by a manned, controlled aircraft. The Wright brothers selected Kitty Hawk to conduct their first flight because it had regular wind, hills, and sand (to ensure a soft landing).

The brothers first went to Kitty Hawk a few days prior, on December 14. Interestingly, they flipped a coin to see who would get to fly the aircraft. Wilbur won. However, the attempt was a failure. The Flyer crashed and had to be repaired.

Finally, the flight happened on the 17th, to cheers of "Wright On!" by onlookers. Though excited about their victory, the brothers did not rest, and made three additional flights that day, with the fourth being their best: Wilbur piloted the aircraft for 59 seconds over 852 feet.

Photo: Flight of the Flyer on December 17, 1903. Wikipedia (CC)

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  • People's World should not overlook the fact that it was Gustave Whitehead (CT inventor) who actually flew first, many times before the Wrights did. This is very well documented. The Wrights took it then to the next level, using some of Whitehead's discoveries, I might add.

    Posted by S Brinchman, 12/18/2013 10:31pm (2 years ago)

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