Friday, November 1, 2013

Wilbur and Orville Wright - 46th anniversary of the first successful flight of a heavier-than-air powered aircraft 17.12.1949

Wilbur and Orville Wright
The cover displayed has a 6c USA stamp showing Wilbur and Orville Wright and the aircraft they flew on that historic day in 1903. The stamp commemorates the 46th anniversary of the first successful flight of a heavier-than-air powered aircraft. The flight took place on December 17, 1903, at 10:30 a.m. at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where this stamp was postmarked after issue on 17.121949. Two bicycle repairmen from Dayton, Ohio (Orville and Wilbur Wright) took their revolutionary vehicle to Kitty Hawk, where steady winds and high sand dunes were ideal for their gliding hobby. The very first flight lasted a mere 12 seconds and covered 120 feet.
The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912), were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who were credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903. From 1905 to 1907, the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. Although not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.
The brothers' fundamental breakthrough was their invention of three-axis control, which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and to maintain its equilibrium. This method became standard and remains standard on fixed-wing aircraft of all kinds. From the beginning of their aeronautical work, the Wright brothers focused on developing a reliable method of pilot control as the key to solving "the flying problem". This approach differed significantly from other experimenters of the time who put more emphasis on developing powerful engines. Using a small homebuilt wind tunnel, the Wrights also collected more accurate data than any before, enabling them to design and build wings and propellers that were more efficient than any before. Their first U.S. patent, 821,393, did not claim invention of a flying machine, but rather, the invention of a system of aerodynamic control that manipulated a flying machine's surfaces.
They gained the mechanical skills essential for their success by working for years in their shop with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery. Their work with bicycles in particular influenced their belief that an unstable vehicle like a flying machine could be controlled and balanced with practice. From 1900 until their first powered flights in late 1903, they conducted extensive glider tests that also developed their skills as pilots. Their bicycle shop employee Charlie Taylor became an important part of the team, building their first aircraft engine in close collaboration with the brothers.

The Wright brothers' status as inventors of the airplane has been subject to counter-claims by various parties. Much controversy persists over the many competing claims of early aviators.

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