On this day in 1903, the Wright Brothers made the first successful flight of a heavier-than-air plane powered by its own motor. And, nothing was ever the same again.
According to the WikiWackyWoo:
The U.S. Smithsonian Institution
describes the aircraft as “the first powered, heavier-than-air machine
to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard.” The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale
described the 1903 flight during the 100th anniversary in 2003 as “the
first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight.” The Flyer I’s date of its first flight generally marks the beginning of the “pioneer era” of aviation.
People have dreamed of flying, ever since we saw our first bird. We’ve now had 112 years of flight and airlines still lose people’s luggage.
The Wiki also tells us:
The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912), were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who are credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903. From 1905 to 1907, the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft.
Although not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the
Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made
fixed-wing powered flight possible.
To quote myself from 3 years ago:
Inventors around the globe were looking for a way to control flight,
including bicycle salesmen Orville and Wilbur Wright. The idea began
with them in 1899, when Wilbur wrote to the Smithsonian Institution
asking for info on aeronautics. The brothers spent the next several
years working on their invention, realizing that they should perfect
controlled glider flight before adding an engine to their airplane.
There were many failures, but the Wright Brothers kept refining the
glider until they were able to control its flight. In 1903 they added an
engine and traveled to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, their perennial
testing ground. On December 14, Wilbur — who won a coin toss — took a
3-second flight, but the engine stalled after take-off and the
subsequent crash made repairs necessary. On December 17, 1903, this time
with Orville behind the controls, they succeeded with the “first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier than air human flight.”
It doesn’t sound like much today, but Orville traveled 120 feet in 12
seconds about 10 feet above the ground, which works out to about 6.8
MPH. Exactly one photograph was taken of the historical event.
Other early attempts at flight were not nearly as successful: