The airplane – one of the most important inventions of humans – started at the beginning of the 20th century thanks to the Wright Brothers.
The fastest way to travel long distances is still by plane, and with the passing of the years, it has become more secure and more scalable, obviously for improvements of the technology. However, we have to still give credit to the Wright brothers for making globalization easier.
The story of the first plane started in 1901 when the Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville, started the project called “The Flyer.”
Meet The Wright Flyer
They didn’t have much of an education but that wasn’t an important deal for them. They focused on research, used creativity, and applied a lot of trial and error. Also, at the moment, there were no manufacturers which could create the engine with optimal weight and power, so they had to design it on their own.
The first plane travel was made on December 17th in 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. That day, Orville Wright traveled 120 feet in 12 seconds accomplishing the first flight with The Flyer. They did three more flights that day, the best was made by Wilbur covering 852 feet in 59 seconds.
The Flyer was different compared to the modern airplanes but still has some similarities. It was a biplane that worked with a three-axis control system, which featured wing-warping for lateral balance, a trailing rudder, and an elevator for pitch control.
The pilot was on the lower wing, giving directions by moving a cradle that pulled wires warping the wings, and turning the rudder.
The engine had four cylinders in horizontal lines embedded in an aluminum crankcase. They created the propeller as a rotary wing, as the Wright brothers reasoned that “the same physics that generated an upward force (lift) on a curved surface in a flow of air would also produce a horizontal force (thrust) when such a surface was positioned vertically and rotated to create the airflow.”
After the success of that day, they didn’t stop their research and continue their contributions. Then, in 1908, they built the “practical craft” which could carry two people in longer flights.
So, the next time you are waiting at the gate of an airport, think about how these amazing brothers without a college degree managed to make history.