Saturday, March 7, 2009

1900 - The Kitty Hawk

Throughout the spring and summer — The Wrights plan and build parts for their first glider.

May 13 — Wilbur Wright writes Octave Chanute and asks for advice.

August 3 — Wilbur Wright writes to Kitty Hawk, asking for information on weather and lodging.

August 16 — Joseph Dosher, the chief of the Kitty Hawk weather station, responds to Wilbur’s letter. Dosher also refers Wilbur’s letter to William Tate, the postmaster. Tate also writes Wilbur, providing more details about Kitty Hawk

September 13 — Wilbur Wright arrives in Kitty Hawk, stays with the Tates, and begins to assemble a glider.

September 28 — Orville Wright arrives with camping gear, food, and a mandolin. He also brings a camera, the first ever seen in Kitty Hawk. The brother stay in a 12-foot by 22-foot tent, about a mile from the Tates. They assemble a biplane glider with movable front elevator — they have located the elevator at the front not only to provide control, but to serve the same function as Lilienthal’s rebound bow. They begin to test the glider as a kite. Orville begins a humorous correspondence with his sister Katharine, whom he is very close to. Wilbur will not let Orville fly until he’s sure the glider is safe.

October 10 — The Wrights experience their first crash. They rebuild the glider, and once again test it like a kite.

The Wrights send 10-year-old Tom Tate, William’s nephew up on the glider as they fly it like a kite. Later on, just before they leave to go back home, Wilbur makes about a dozen free flights.

October 23 — The Wrights break camp and head for Dayton. Puzzled by failure of glider to produce calculated lift, but encouraged by success of wing warping and elevator control.

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