Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Up, Up and Away!

Did you know that yesterday, December 17th, was the 109th anniversary of Wilbur & Orville Wright's world-changing first flight? Well, it was!

Today we take it for granted that we can just hop in an airplane, with minimal amount of fuss and worry, and jet-set to whatever part of the world we would like. We go to see our relatives for holidays, we plan elaborate trips across the continents, or we fly down to sunny Florida for the weekend. But 109 years ago, the idea that people would one day fly through the air with the greatest of ease would have seemed like crazy talk to most people.

Not to the Wright brothers. In Wilbur's opinion "...while thousands of the most dissimilar body structures, such as insects, fish, reptiles, birds and mammals, were flying every day at pleasure, it was reasonable to suppose that man might also fly." And so every day, in their base camp at Kill Devil Hills, SC, they took their lives into their own hands as they worked towards getting their flyer off the ground.

It was cold. It was windy. They were living in a cramped tent. It was getting closer and closer to Christmas, and they were apart from their family and friends. But all Orville could say was "Wilbur and I could hardly wait for morning to come to get at something that interested us. That's happiness!"

Success came for them on that windy morning of December 17th, when their light-as-a-feather plane took off under its own power and sailed through the air for a stunning 120 feet. Can you imagine being Orville, at the controls? I bet that was the longest 12 seconds of his life.

Fly into the library to get more info and see more amazing photographs in Airborne: A Photobiography of Wilbur and Orville Wright by Mary Collins, and The Wright Brothers: How They Invented The Airplane by Russell Freedman

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