Orville and Wilbur Day 2018

Wright Flyer

The 115th Anniversary of Powered Flight is today, December 17, 2018. This marks one of, if not the most, important technological achievements of the 20th Century. Aviation spawned an age of unprecedented achievements not only in aircraft-related, but in myriad support technologies. I am thankful to God that I was born in an age where emerging technology, my aptitude and education were responsible for a long and happy career in aerospace.

Co-incidentally, today is the 80th anniversary of my parents’ wedding. They were married on this day in 1938 in Long Beach, CA, where I was raised. They were present for the booming aviation industry in Southern California, another reason I was born into the right place at the right time. It’s too bad that I can no longer say that about what Kalifornistan has become.

From the National Air and Space Museum:

The Wright brothers inaugurated the aerial age with the world’s first successful flights of a powered heavier-than-air flying machine. The Wright Flyer was the product of a sophisticated four-year program of research and development conducted by Wilbur and Orville Wright beginning in 1899. After building and testing three full-sized gliders, the Wrights’ first powered airplane flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, making a 12-second flight, traveling 36 m (120 ft), with Orville piloting. The best flight of the day, with Wilbur at the controls, covered 255.6 m (852 ft) in 59 seconds.

The Wrights pioneered many of the basic tenets and techniques of modern aeronautical engineering, such as the use of a wind tunnel and flight testing as design tools. Their seminal accomplishment encompassed not only the breakthrough first flight of an airplane, but also the equally important achievement of establishing the foundation of aeronautical engineering.

Image and text borrowed from this Smithsonian Link.

4 Comments

  1. drjim said,

    December 17, 2018 @ 20:38:30

    One of my Mom’s older Uncles had seen the Wrights fly as a little boy.

    I remember him saying on that July day in 1969 that he never thought he’d live to see men walk on the Moon.

    He was quite the old guy!

  2. CapnBob said,

    December 17, 2018 @ 21:14:45

    DrJim - As I get deeper into my ancestry tracing, I see evidence that many of my predecessors may have borne witness to a lot of the American Industrial Revolution, wars and other major historical events. Now, into the twenty-first century, we have seen a lot ourselves. Maybe our descendants will come to appreciate that about us as well.

  3. drjim said,

    December 18, 2018 @ 16:29:56

    Hard to say…..

    He’s also the guy that said the thing that most impressed him about TV was that there were no moving parts. I replied that the electrons moved, and he came right back and said “Moving parts that I can see and touch“, which pretty much put me in my place!

  4. CapnBob said,

    December 18, 2018 @ 17:16:50

    Your Great Uncle seemed to fit your description as “quite the old guy.”

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