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The Wright Brothers made it happen in 1908. The Wright Experience is making it happen in 2008. By Paul Sullivan
Orville Wright flies the Wright airplane in 1908, in what was a successful effort to win
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KIDS LEARN ABOUT
What the kids don't know--nor do most of their teachers, for that matter--is that aviation didn't really get off the ground for another five years.
And when flying became
When the Wrights first took to the air at Kitty Hawk few knew, and even when word slowly got around, the response was more of a yawn of skepticism than a yell of enthusiasm.
A lot changed in the five intervening years from December 1903 until late summer of 1908. The airplane the Wrights used on those wind-swept dunes in North Carolina flew three times on one day and never again.
The flying machine they brought to Fort Myer in a successful bid for the U.S. government's first airplane purchase was a practical craft that could carry two people, make repeated flights and travel cross-country. It not only won that contract, but did it with the world looking on, stunning thousands including the president and the military's top brass.
AGE OF AVIATION
In that same year, while Orville Wright was astounding Americans, brother Wilbur was making demonstration flights in France with the same shocking results. Even the most skeptical became true believers.
Not only did the Wrights usher in the age of practical aviation with those flights, they truly launched the start of commercial as well as military aviation and a new industry supplying both.
The 1908 flights were cut short by a fatal crash--the first of its kind--and were successfully concluded one year later.
Returning the next summer, Orville, with brother Wilbur assisting, far exceeded the previous year's Fort Myer flights, setting new records including an endurance flight lasting an hour and 20 minutes with a passenger aboard.
While other aeronautical experimenters in America and Europe feverishly worked to catch up with the Wrights, they could not change the historical fact that the two brothers were the pioneers of this new era.
THE WRIGHT EXPERIENCE