Do you know who Wilbur and Orville Wright were? They are important figures in the history of aviation. They were practical guys who owned a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A., in 1892.
But their dream was different — not only were they building and repairing wheels, they started building wings. They also built their own wind tunnel to learn how to lift a “flying machine” into the air. The Wright Brothers were the first to discover that the ideal shape of a wing (at least for aircraft that would be first developed) was a long, narrow shape.
Wilbur and Orville also figured out how they could move a flying machine up and down on an air cushion. But aircraft, of course, have to manuver in other ways than just up and down. The Wright Brothers also built which is called an elevator to control the pitch of their flying machine — and built two rudders in the back to control the craft’s tendency to yaw from side to side.
But there was another problem: a light-weight, gas-powered engine for their flying machine simply did not exist — so they had to design and build their own. It had 12 horsepower and weighed just 152 pounds. In 1903 this became the ”Flyer,” an aircraft — the first aircraft — made of wood (spruce and ash) and muslin. It has a wingspan of 40 feet and weighed (without the pilot) about 600 pounds.
On December 17, 1903, The Flyer lifted off the ground for the first time, with Orville Wright at the controls, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It flew for 120 feet — which, interestingly enough is just about one-half the wingspan of today’s Boeing 747-400! The flight lasted 12 seconds only, but it was the beginning of a new world — where people could fly and achieve new heights of freedom in the air.
If this bit of aviation history fascinates you — and you find yourself wishing you had been there to see this moment on December 17, 1903 — or even be at the controls yourself — you probably have a true passion for aviation. Now, how do you change that passion, that dream, into your new reality? Contact www.pea.com. Talk to an admissions officer about learning to fly and discovering new heights of freedom for yourself in the air.