The inventor of the airplane: the Wright brothers

Brother White: They tell people how to fly!

Wiber White was born in Melville, Indiana in 1867, and his brother Orville White was born in Dayton, Ohio four years later. They were good friends all their lives. As Wiber said: "Orville has lived with me since I was young, playing together, working together, and thinking of being together".

Their father is a bishop and an official of the United Brethren church. He has been to many places for church matters. Their mother was an unusual woman in the 19th century. She graduated from college and was strong in mathematics and natural sciences. She was also good at using tools and making.

One winter, when the White brothers were young, their friends were all sliding down on a wooden sled on a hill, but they didn't have a sled, so they were very sad. Their mother, Mrs. White, said to make one. She drew a picture of a sled, which was different from a normal sled. It was very low and not wide. She told the children that the sled would be faster because the wind resistance is small. Mrs. White is right. When done, it is the fastest. The White brothers say it is like flying.

Making sledges taught the two brothers two things: one is that reducing resistance can speed up the speed, and the other is the importance of drawing a design drawing. As Mrs. White said, "The drawing is correct, and you make it right."

When Wibur was 11 years old and Orville was 7 years old, one day their father, Bishop White, brought home a gift, a small flying machine made of paper, bamboo and cork, like the current helicopter model.

It uses rubber bands as power, tightens the rubber bands, and flies upwards, stays in the air for a few seconds, and then drifts back to the ground.
Brothers Wilbur and Orville had a good time, but the paper tore and the rubber band broke. So they both started to make a new one, but the new one was too heavy to fly.

Hands-on making toys gave the two brothers an idea. They made kites and sold them to friends. They did many designs and experiments. In the end, it was designed as a kind of kite flying like wings.

The White brothers continued to study machine-related matters. Orville opened a printing shop when he was in high school. He used his small printing press to publish newspapers and sell them to other students, but it did not make a lot of money.

Wilber suggested that his brother build a big printing press to print and publish larger newspapers. The two of them designed and produced one. This printing machine looked weird but worked very well. Soon their brothers published a weekly newspaper.

They also printed advertisements for local businesses and finally made money. Wibur was 25 when Orville was 21 when they started selling and repairing bicycles, and later making bicycles. But the White brothers kept thinking about the aircraft.

In 1899, Wibur decided to study the pilot-produced aircraft they had designed for many years. He wrote a letter to Smithsonian College in Washington, requesting him to give him various information about flying.
The Gite brothers read all the information they got about flying in the air under the guidance of the big balloon and the information about flying on an unpowered glider.

Then the White brothers began to design their own flying machine. This requires their knowledge of playing with helicopter toys, kites, printing presses and bicycles in the past.

Soon, they will find a place to test their aircraft. They wrote a letter to the Washington Bureau of Meteorology, asking where the wind conditions are good. The best place is on the beach along the Atlantic coast of North Carolina, called Kill Devil Hill, near Kitty Hawk City. The land is open and windy, and it is a private possession.

In 1900, the Wright brothers tried a glider capable of carrying one person, but the first and second attempts were unsuccessful. The brothers determined that their previous understanding of the relationship between curved surface and air pressure was wrong, so they built a two-meter-long wind tunnel at their original bicycle shop, and the experiment gave them new ideas about the relationship between curved surface and air pressure. know. Now you can start designing a flying vehicle.

The White brothers built a third glider and brought it to Kitty Hawk in the summer of 1902. They built almost a thousand gliders, some of which were 180 meters long. They solved almost all the problems about the stability of the aircraft. By the fall of 1903, the brothers designed an aircraft powered by a gasoline engine. The wings of the aircraft were 12 meters wide and the weight with the pilot was 340 kg.

On December 17, 1903, the White brothers returned to Kitty Hawk and made the world's first use of a machine to launch an aircraft that is heavier than air. Orville flew the plane 37 meters and stayed in the air for 12 seconds. The brothers flew three times that day. The longest one was Wibur. He flew 260 meters and stayed for 59 seconds. Four other people witnessed the flight of the White brothers. One of them took a photo, but only a few newspapers reported it.

The White brothers returned to the old Ohio mound and built a more powerful plane, but their success was not noticed, and most people didn't want to believe in flying. The White brothers only became famous after about five years. In 1908, Wibur went to France for a demonstration flight at an altitude of 90 meters. A French company agreed to make the Wright Brothers aircraft.

At the same time, Orville successfully performed a flight show in the United States, flying for an hour, flying 57 times over a field in Fort Myer. The U.S. military agreed to purchase the Wright Brothers aircraft. The brothers suddenly became famous and became heroes. The newspaper reported them and people followed them, but they didn't want to be famous. They returned to Dayton and continued to improve their planes and taught others how to fly them.

Wibur died of typhoid fever in 1920, and Orville continued to design and invent until his death in 1948.

Today, the first plane of the White Brothers is placed in the Space Museum in Washington. Visitors saw the cloth wings, wooden controllers and small engines. They also saw spacecraft and rockets flying to the moon. , This is compelling evidence that proves the great changes over the past 100 years since the Wright brothers.

1 comment

Robert Werner

Robert Werner

1) As of May 1904, the 1903 plane was still unfinished, according to a man that worked for the Wrights at Kitty Hawk

“Elizabeth City Economist: A gentleman visiting this city whose home is in Kitty Hawk, is responsible for the assertion that the Wright brothers, of airship fame, will return to Kitty Hawk in the near future and resume work on their aerial monster. According to this gentleman the airship has never been removed from Kitty Hawk and nearly all the interviews published in the papers of Norfolk have been erroneous in this respect. This gentleman has assisted the Wrights in all their work and has a general supervision of their property during their absence. He says that they have not completed the ship and that they will return some time within the next month and resume their work. A story is current that they will complete the ship and make the trip from here to St. Louis sometime this fall.” (“Elizabeth City Economist: A gentleman visiting this city”, The Wilmington Messenger, Wilmington, North Carolina, May 26, 1904, col. 1, p. 6)

It is self evident that Wilbur and Orville could not have performed the four flights of December 17, 1903, with an unfinished plane and in conclusions their official press release of January 6, 1904, was a lie. In reality Flyer I never left the ground in 1903.

2) “the brothers only “glided” off Kill Devil Hill that day. Their first real flight came on May 6, 1908”, Alpheus W. Drinkwater, telegraph operator “Wilbur and Orville Wright are credited with making their first powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine on Dec. 17, 1903. But Alpheus W. Drinkwater, 76 years old, who sent the telegraph message ushering in the air age, said the brothers only “glided” off Kill Devil Hill that day. Their first real flight came on May 6, 1908, he said.” Source: New York Times, Dec. 17, 1951.

The declaration of Alpheus W. Drinkwater corroborates well the May 26, 1904, article in the Wilmington Messenger and also the existence in September 1908 of an image showing a Wright powered machine just taking off. This picture claimed by the Wright brothers as being made on December 17, 1903 was in fact taken in May 1908. (As an explanation, according to the Wrights themselves, they left their sandy testing grounds in North Carolina just after flying on December 17 , 1903, and only came back in April 1908 for trying a new plane.)


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