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

By T. A. Heppenheimer | Go to book overview

TEN
INVENTIVENESS
AND INVENTION

THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF FRANCE to aviation have been glorious, and are reflected to this day in its terminology. An airplane has a fuselage along with an empennage or tail. It maintains control using ailerons. Engines are enclosed within nacelles or housings, while the structural framework uses longerons, longitudinal members. The construction may be monocoque, “single shell, ” dispensing with internal structure and using a stiffened skin for its strength. A craft may have canards, small control surfaces set well forward of the wing. With the dictionary of aeronautics being largely written in French, one is led to ask just how the Wrights invented the airplane.

The influence of Wilbur and Orville is easy to trace. Following the death of Lilienthal in 1896, Ferdinand Ferber remained for a time as the only Frenchman still attempting to fly with gliders of that German design. A magazine article that he read in October 1901 led him into

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • One - Enter the Wrights 1
  • Two - Prophets with Some Honor 33
  • Three - Teachers and First Lessons 72
  • Four - Hitting a Wall 110
  • Five - [We Now Hold All the Records!] 137
  • Six - Ambiguous Success 172
  • Seven - Return to Dayton 211
  • Eight - Into the World 245
  • Nine - Noon into Twilight 288
  • Ten - Inventiveness and Invention 340
  • Notes 372
  • Bibliography 375
  • Index 380
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