Exactly 117 years ago, a rickety machine went airborne in NC

  Dr. Kathleen Martin

Former FASF 1st VP and now Trustee, Dr. Kathleen Martín, emails from Alabama to remind us that exactly 117 years ago today, the Wright Brothers made their first successful Flight in their heavier-than-air flying machine.

With that event in motion, one thing led to another, and here we are in celebration of not just that historic 1st flight, but also of what it brought about in Columbus, NM, some 13 years later, when American Airpower was born during the Punitive Expedition, in which Dr. Martín’s grandfather, William E. Jones, was one of the U. S. Army’s soldiers!

Kathleen quotes from the Writer’s Almanac of today:

On this day in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright had their first successful flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The brothers picked Kitty Hawk because it was full of sand dunes that would cushion crash landings and it had high winds to help get the plane off the ground.

The plane was unpredictable, he couldn’t plan out his moves, and he relied purely on instinct to adjust the plane up and down. Within a few moments, he overcompensated, nearly flipped the glider over, and shouted to his brother, “Let me down!” Suffering months of spin-outs, broken struts, blackened eyes, and crash landings, the brothers left Kitty Hawk early. On the train back, Wilbur told his brother, “Not within a thousand years will man ever fly.”

For the first flight, Wilbur won the coin-toss, but it was actually his brother, Orville, who made this first flight of a heavier-than-air powered flying machine over those windswept sand dunes at Kittyhawk, North Carolina.

Here’s Fly ‘n Things take on the day’s historic significance.

Thank you, Kathleen!

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