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First Flight was a Short Flight
If you tell someone today that an airplane flew around 120 feet, 10 feet above the ground for 12 seconds, he/she might suggest that you change the batteries of your toy remote-control airplane. This means that such is the concept of flight nowadays that these measures seem tiny even from the point of view of toy airplanes. So don’t jump from your seat if I tell you that these statistics are not of my old and worn out radio-controlled airplane but the very real and first powered flight which was made in history
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The Wright Brothers
The two brothers namely Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright were the first to successfully fly an airplane even though for a short duration. Remember that I have used the word “successfully” because it does not mean to say that nobody attempted to built a flying machine prior to them. There were many early attempts to fly by human beings. People did fly successfully but without a powered engine, using hot air balloons, gliders and so forth. But it was only for the Wright brothers to successfully demonstrate a machine powered flight in history of aviation. Of course this does not lessen the significance of the efforts of those unsung heroes as well, which laid the foundation for future flights.
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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.
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Flyer - The First Heavier than Air Flying Machine. http://www.gravitywarpdrive.com/Wright_Brothers_Images/First_in_Flight.gif