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Posts Tagged ‘Wright Brothers

“Fly me to the moon”*…


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Do you long to go to space? With space tourism stalled and NASA’s Mars mission years away, you probably won’t be able to get up close and personal with Earth’s neighbors any time soon. But that doesn’t mean you can’t experience them, thanks to two new 360-degree views of Mars and the Moon…

Take 360-Degree Tours of Mars and the Moon.”

* Frank Sinatra (lyric from Bart Howard’s composition, originally titled “In Other Words”)


As we sample the cheese, we might send high-flying birthday greetings to Octave Chanute; he was born on this date in 1832.  A civil engineer who was a pioneer in wood preservation, primarily as applied in the railroad industry, he is better remembered for his application of these techniques first to box kites, then to the struts in the wings of gliders.  Through thousands of letters, he drew geographically-isolated aviation pioneers– including Orville and Wilbur Wright– into an informal international community: he organized sessions of aeronautical papers for the professional engineering societies that he led; attracted fresh talent and new ideas into the field through his lectures; and produced important publications.  At his death he was hailed as the father of aviation and the heavier-than-air flying machine.



Written by LW

February 18, 2016 at 1:01 am

First in Flight?…


For years, Ohio and North Carolina have argued over the bragging rights to the Wright Brothers: Ohio on the grounds that the brothers developed and built their design in Dayton; North Carolina, because Kitty Hawk was the site of the Wright’s first powered flight.  Ohio’s license plates proclaim “Birthplace of Aviation” (more recently, “Birthplace of Aviation Pioneers”, to include not only the Wrights, but also astronauts John Glenn and Neil Armstrong, both Ohio natives); North Carolina’s, “First in Flight.” And the rivalry has even been drawn on quarters:

But it’s looking as though both states may need to re-tool their plates and dies…

Newly found evidence supports earlier claims that Gustave Whitehead (a German immigrant, born Gustav Weißkopf, “Whitehead” being the literal translation of “Weißkopf”) performed the first powered, controlled, heavier-than-air flight as early as August 14, 1901–  more than two years before the Wrights took off– and in Connecticut (near Fairfield).  There’a a detailed analysis of the evidence here… evidence sufficiently compelling to convince the venerable Janes.

The photo at the head of this post is a woodcut rendering of Whitehead’s first flight; this photo shows Whitehead and his crew with his monoplane outside his shop; daughter Rose sits on Whitehead’s lap, and the engine that powers the front landing-gear wheels is on the ground in front of the others.

Well, it’s not as though the Tar Heels don’t have more important things to worry about; ditto, the Buckeyes. And as for Connecticut, well, if they ever tire of “Constitution State,” there’s a new slogan at the ready.

… or there might be.  It turns out that there’s yet another claimant to the “first powered flight flight” title: the Brazilian Alberto Santos Dumont.

[TotH to Slashdot]


As we marvel at mechanical miracles, we might send lofty birthday greetings to Albert William Stevens; he was born on this date in 1886.  An career officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Stevens was a pioneering balloonist and aerial photographer who took the first photograph clearly showing the Earth’s curvature (1930) and the first photographs of the Moon’s shadow on the Earth during a solar eclipse (1932).  In 1935 Stevens and a colleague made a record balloon ascent near Rapid City, South Dakota.  20,000 watched– and millions listened to a live NBC broadcast– as their sealed gondola, Explorer II, climbed to 72,395 feet, nearly 14 miles, a record that stood until 1956.



Neither a borrower nor a lender be…

From the always-amusing Passive-Aggressive Notes, more evidence (as if anyone needed it) that friendship and finance can sometimes be tough to mix…

As we refrain from putting the “pound” into “compound interest,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1904, at Kitty Hawk, N.C., that Wilbur Wright won a coin toss and piloted the first attempt to fly the Wright Brothers’ original powered airplane… stalling after three seconds.  Three days later, it was Orville’s turn… and he made history, piloting the famous first flight.

Wilbur, running beside his brother, as he waited for it to be his turn again (source)


The Naughty Noughties..

source: sbukophile

As the end of the decade approaches, “Best of” lists are sprouting like kudzu. Happily Jenni Leder and Kottke.org are compiling “The Noughties

It’s basically a list of all the “best ofs” from the 2000s. It’s a work in progress so I would love to get your input on what should go on the list. I’ll also be doing a weekly post highlighting the best of the “best ofs” that are on the list, as well as keep you all updated on any new developments.

Currently, the count stands at 150, but readers should check back for the updates– the hits are bound to keep on coming…

As we prepare to usher out the old, we might tilt our necks and cast a commemorative glance into the skies, as it was on this date in 1903 that Orville and Wilbur Wright made their 12 second, 120 foot flight at Kitty Hawk, NC– the first successful controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight.

Orville piloting, Wilbur running alongside

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