How do you feel in a flight?

  • Jul 10, 2024
How do you feel in a flight?

The First In-Flight Experience: Wright brothers; flight of 120ft

It was on the 17th of December in 1903 on the slopes of Kill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville, and Wilbur Wright achieved a record by flying the first-ever practical, sustained, powered, and controlled heavier-than-air flight. Despite all the years the Wright brothers calculated their experiments and work for the flight, they made the sensational 120-foot flight in 12 seconds that opened the age of aviation in human history.

Events before that very cold morning were characterized by mishaps, crashes, and damaged planes at the airport. But the brothers persevered. The selected location was the Outer Banks, a relatively isolated area because they needed steady winds to replicate their kite-flying experience, a soft surface to land on for their model plane, and a place where few people would come to watch them conduct their experiments. On the day of the first powered and controlled flight, Orville was at the controls while Wilbur stayed behind and watched as their first creation, the Flyer I, sailed down a monorail track with the aid of a flying glider.

It is hard to imagine the feeling that must have accompanied the rapid movement upwards, hovering in the air blindly. People had never flown before and certainly not been able to stand in an aircraft and look out the window at the views from high up in the sky. And to make any kind of comparison which they could the brothers only had their own bicycle experiences and some glider flights. While flying the Flyer, Orville steered it over the cold desert while Wilbur followed the course through the viewfinder. It would have been visually stunning to look at the dunes and hills that would be diminishing in size as they climbed higher and higher.

When Orville made one of the rolls, The Flyer only got to an altitude ranging between 10 to 15 feet as he overcompensated. He was able to pull himself together and stay calm to keep his balance up to the time when the flight ended. Just before the craft touched the ground, Wilbur was thus jogging on the side of the craft to ensure the wings were on the ground safely. The landing was successful and there was no visible sign that the plane was ever in any danger of being destroyed. They had done it! Finally, Orville checks the machine and the measurements and the Flyer is airborne for a sustained and controlled powered flight; the glider successfully flew for 12 seconds the distance of 1200 feet, before the brothers hugged each other in jubilation.

The two continued flying for the rest of the day, taking turns in performing two more flights each with a progressively longer duration. The first flight with the glider was not successful as Wilbur could only cover a distance of 175 feet in 59 seconds while Orville flew for 15 seconds and covered a distance of 200 feet. Several changes in their lives were documented by five local men who assisted the brothers during their stay at the Outer Banks. Their enthusiasm, however, blinded them to such details that their testimony information on distances and time differed slightly. What did not change was that this was indubitably the first managed and continuous flight of a Wright Flyer, a heavier-than-air powered aircraft.

There were profound implications for poor people, although it took the public several years to understand them. Before then, man flight was a mere folklore, myth, magic, and many unsuccessful inventions whose inventors had no clue how to build something that could even fly! It became evident that the Wright Brothers paved the way for aviation that would dramatically reduce the world and societies to one and create a connection that would someday take humanity to space on a routine basis. Brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright proved that flying through the air in a heavier-than-air flying machine was possible and achievable through a fixed-wing aircraft. Aviation has changed rapidly the world from a reckless passion to a vital means of communication and that spurred technology.

That first 120-foot, twelve-second flight led to barnstormers, airmail carriers, Charles Lindbergh and his solo trans-Atlantic flight, regularly scheduled commercial flights, the airline industry, jet aircraft, the space race, and finally, a man on the moon. It has taken mankind only 66 years after that great pioneering flight to rise above the Ohio dune of Kitty Hawk and take free steps on the surface of another planet. Thanks to two gentlemen named Orville and Wilbur Wright, we turned into a society that can now fly, albeit barely, above the confines of gravity's hold. Whereas previously they were a dream, airplanes became a regular means of transport, filling the skies with their everyday passenger and cargo flights across cities, countries, and oceans.


Indeed, so many lights, both technological and aeronautical, owed a great deal to those two bicycle makers from Dayton. For one day, one cold morning along the coast of North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright faced death in a desperate bid to achieve the first powered flight and open up a new front for humanity. The first horrifying yet stunning in-flight perspectives were immediate and unchangeable in their ability to capture humanity's imagination and to change how distances are perceived. As occupants peeped from the newly acquired bird's eye view, our world became as well as metaphorically one of much-reduced size from that day forward. All thanks to two brothers who did not let go of the opportunity to fly.

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