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December 17, 2012 12:04 PM Subscribe
posted by Wordshore (25 comments total)
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109 years ago today, on December 17th 1903, Orville Wright lay down and flew 120 feet at 10 feet per second on the Wright Flyer
Though not the first flying machine
, the Wright Flyer was one of several craft developed by the businessmen and engineers Wilbur and Orville Wright
The spruce wood plane, using bicycle mechanics, undertook four flights on that day. Its four-cylinder engine developed a touch under 16 horsepower for 15 seconds
, then dropped to less than 12 horsepower. That first flight was only three times the length of the wing span of the plane
. The final and longest flight measured 852 feet (260 m) and took 59 seconds. The plane was then wrecked by wind, and never flew again.
Debate continued for many years as to the significance of the flights, and whether this was the first powered and controlled flight of an aircraft
Less than 66 years later, man took off, journeyed, landed and set foot on the moon
More in the Smithsonian Press book The Wright Flyer: An Engineering Perspective
. Or make your own model
using foam trays and toothpicks.