First Flight: The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Airplane

First Flight: The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Airplane

First Flight: The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Airplane

First Flight: The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Airplane

Synopsis

Moment of Truth

"He again took to the air, barely avoiding early return to earth as the Flyer lurched downward, and managed to pull it out only a foot above the sand. Then, getting the hang of it, he kept it under good control as he flew onward. He flew! Tens of seconds ticked by, then more tens of seconds, while hundreds of feet of beach unrolled behind him. Onward, onward, and still he stayed in the air, every second adding to his experience and making it plausible that he could continue to stay aloft. A low hummock of sand lay ahead. Wilbur eased his nose upward and cleared it, but then the instability in pitch set in once more. He tried to maintain control, but darted into the ground. Even so, the Wrights finally had something impressive to show for the day. Wilbur had stayed in the air for 59 seconds and had covered 852 feet."

This stirring account of the single most crucial moment in aviation history is just a small sample of what awaits you in First Flight: The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Airplane. You'll find a fully detailed chronicle of the brothers' three-year struggle to accomplish this stunning feat, as well as a complete history of their subsequent and successful efforts to turn their Flyer into a functional aircraft.

Excerpt

The name of Wright is inseparable from that of their hometown of Dayton, Ohio, which is known for such institutions as Wright State University and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Indeed, ancestors of the Wright brothers were present at the city's founding, in 1796.

The townsite passed into American control in 1795, following a decisive victory in which General Anthony Wayne defeated Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. It took its name from General Jonathan Dayton, one of its founders, who had been among the signers of the U.S. Constitution. Its location was promising, for it lay at the confluence of three rivers: the Mad, Great Miami, and Stillwater. This made it a natural center for trade. The first settlers came from Cincinnati, fifty miles to the south.

One Wright ancestor, John Van Cleve, had gained the unfortunate distinction of being the only white man to be killed by Indians within Cincinnati's city limits. His widow, Catharine, remarried and soon . . .

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