FIRST TO FLY?
I’m tired of the radio and television statements that the Wright Brothers were not the first to fly. That is a true statement; the Wright Brothers were not the first to fly. Here is where they were first: The Wright Brothers were the FIRST to build a wind tunnel and test various lifting devises and establish a true set of lift tables that could be used to design wings to carry two people; Using these tables they created many gliders and flew them more than a hundred times to perfect their control systems; the Wright Brothers were the FIRST to learn how to warp the wings to mimic the warping of bird wings; the Wright Brothers were the FIRST to create a catapult to thrust their flying machines into the air; the Wright Brothers were the FIRST to realize that the propeller needed to produce lift (thrust) like a wing, and they created their own propellers with a twist to develop thrust; and Orville Wright perfected several of the FIRST hydro-planes and flew them in and out of the Miami River in the Dayton area. They certainly taught the world how to fly and established several flying schools around the United States.
So, who was the first to fly? One of the myths of the Greeks was Daedalus and his son Icarus who escaped from prison with wings of feathers and wax. Icarus flew too high; the sun melted the wax, and he fell to his death. (We know now that the higher you fly, the colder it gets). Leonardo da Vinci dreamed of flying and left many sketches of a flying machine with wings like a bird and muscle power was used to flap the wings. (So much for dreams.) In the 11th century, an English Monk covered his arms and legs with chicken and duck feathers; jumped from a tower and broke both legs. He never tried to fly again. Through the ages, there have been many attempts to fly and some have flown for a few feet; some have flown further; but none had the proper controls to actually fly. In 1783, two brothers, Jacques and Joseph Montgolfier, were the first human beings to sail aloft over the skies of Paris. (They were at the mercy of the wind.) Samuel P. Langley built a large steam powered flying machine and in 1903, a pilot tried twice to fly it and both times it crashed into the water. However, in 1903, at Kitty Hawk, N.C., the Wright Brothers flew four times and the last flight was in the air for more than 800 feet.
The Wright Brothers created, built, and perfected over 20 different flying machines, four hydro-planes, and became famous flying their machines around the world. They were the FIRST to teach the world to fly! (By D.L. Ferguson)