Thursday, December 18, 2014

historysisco: On this day in History December 17, 1903:...


On this day in History December 17, 1903: Brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful man-powered airplane flight, near Kitty Hawk, N.C. The article Testimony to Flight from the National Archives website describes the events of December 17, 1903:

Surfmen John T. Daniels, Robert Westcott, William Beacham, W. S. Dough, and Benny O’Neal helped them get the flying machine to the hill on December 14 and witnessed Wilbur Wright’s unsuccessful flying attempt that day.

Because the Wrights wanted a strong wind for their next test flight, they waited until the early morning of December 17 to signal the station. At the time of the flight, there was a 23–27 mile-an-hour wind, and it was bitterly cold. Soon, Surfmen Daniels, Dough, and Adam D. Etheridge arrived on the scene.

Wilbur and Orville flipped a coin to see who would fly first. At 10:35 a.m., as the plane left the ground, Daniels, using Orville’s camera, took a photograph of the first plane in flight with Orville at the controls and Wilbur alongside. The Wrights made three more flights on December 17, each taking a turn as pilot. After the fourth flight, a sudden gust of wind rolled the machine over. Surfman Daniels, with Orville and Wilbur’s help, tried to rescue the machine from the wind. Daniels was bruised in the attempt to save the machine, and the plane was seriously damaged, so no more flights were possible that day. The Wright brothers left the wings with Adam Etheridge and returned to Dayton, OH, with their engine.

The top photograph is "Original Wright Brothers 1903 Aeroplane (‘Kitty Hawk’) in first flight, December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, NC. Orville Wright at controls. Wilbur Wright at right (First flight was 12 seconds)" By Orville Wright and John T. Daniels, December 17, 1903 (165-WW-713-6); Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs; Record Group 165; National Archives.

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