Wright Stuff

The most delightful journey of all must have been the first successful powered flight: to be the first to accomplish anything is unbelievably satisfying.

Gary Lawson, an American friend living in Orange County, California, was - after visiting Dayton, Ohio - about to attend the Wright Centenary celebrations at Kitty Hawk when we met up in early December, 2003. He sent us a postcard from the event, and subsequently his photographs of the Wright Flyer replica - which put the brother's achievements into perspective, - it just wouldn't fly on THE day, 17th December. Rain seems to have been the difficulty. Many thanks for the photos, Gary.

Message Wright Bros Memorial
Engine test
Will it fly...?
Gary - seen here, at right, in front of the replica - comments that a newspaper report of 1903 reported that an "Ohio man navigates airship against the wind and steers it at will". The wind speed was apparently 21 mph, and the brothers "gracefully descended to earth at a spot selected by the man in the navigator's car...no balloon attached"
Gary Lawson
The original Wright Flyer
It is incredible that the original survives, in the Smithsonian Aerospace Museum, Washington DC. If you haven't yet made the pilgrimage, make a point of doing so if you can.
Curiously,for some years  the Smithsonian had turned it's collective back on the Wrights (in favour of Langley's "Aerodrome" steam powered model), but London's Science Museum very kindly returned it...or..I gather...most of it. Wonder which Brits have got the missing bits? And which bits might be missing? Can't really blame them, I suppose..
Photos of the Wright Flyer replica Copyright © 2004 Gary Lawson

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