Saturday, March 7, 2009

1899- Wright Brothers

The Wright brothers experiment with twisting wings, trying to deform the front edges. They can’t come up with a device light enough or strong enough to control a glider in flight.

May 30 — Wilbur Wright writes the Smithsonian asking for published materials on aeronautics. He is answered by Richard Rathbun, who sends four pamphlets and a list of other publications.

July — Wilbur Wright sells a woman a bicycle inner tube, then nervously twists the box that it came in while she talks to him. He notices that when he twists one end of the small rectangular box in one direction, the other end twists in the opposite direction. In his mind’s eye, he sees the twisting wings of a biplane.

July — The Wright brothers build a biplane kite with a wingspan of 5 feet and a wing warping system. When tested by Wilbur, it works just as planned. Unable to contain his enthusiasm, he pedals miles out into the country side to find Orville, who is on a camping trip with friends. Immediately the brothers begin planning a man-carrying version.

September 30 — Percy Pilcher dies in a crash of his Hawk, just as he is preparing to test a powered airplane.

November 27 — Wilbur Wright writes the United States Weather Bureau and inquires about locations with high winds. The weather bureau sends him The Monthly Weather Reviewand wind charts, and Wilbur learns of Kitty Hawk.

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