Sometimes I feel that progress in any field follows laws similar to friction. First things are static and don’t move an inch even after years of research. But once the first push has been given, friction is not great enough which allows the object to slide or roll, rather than being static and things start to happen fast after that.
So when the first powered flight was successful in history, the Wright brothers got a tremendous boost in their confidence. Starting from the first 12 seconds flight in December 1903, in the machine named Flyer, they managed to fly for over 5 minutes just 11 months later; the machine was named Flyer-II this time.
Their efforts received a setback when in 1908, a passenger was killed when he was flying with Orville Wright in their two seater plane due to a crash landing, but they continued to improve upon their invention. Just after 8 years of their first flight going 120 feet, their airplane now crossed the whole of United States. Of course this was not a continuous flight but took 84 days in which the aircraft landed and took-off nearly 70 times, yet it was the platform for further development in aviation.
The rest as they say is history and today we hear about airplanes which fly near the sound of speed. Infact things have gone much further and we now have manned space flights. But still the humble beginnings of those ancient inventors, who worked tirelessly for this dream of mankind to come true, cannot be overlooked. Just take a look at the picture below for first machine “Flyer" and see how it compares to a modern day jetliner.