Monday, March 9, 2009

The First to Fly 1904

March — Ernest Archdeacon, France puts up a purse of 25,000 francs for the first officially recorded circular flight of one kilometer, called the Grand Prix d’Aviation. French oil magnate Henry Deutsch de la Meurthe matches Archdeacon, raising the prize to 50,000 francs, or about $10,000.

Spring — Albertos Santos-Dumont, France, a pilot famous for his pioneering work in dirigibles, begins to experiment with gliders.

May — The Wrights attempt to fly at Huffman Prairie, Ohio before the press on two occasions with a new machine, the Flyer II. However, because it is so underpowered, it can only manage brief hops.

July — The first of the Wright’s patents is granted.

August — The Wrights are making hops of 600 feet in the Flyer II, but they still have trouble getting into the air and staying there.

September — The Wrights develop a catapult launching system to get their aircraft up to flying speed. It works well, and they begin to make progress again.

September 20 — Wilbur Wright flies the first complete circle in an airplane.

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