View Full Version : 100 Years of Flight
12-17-2003, 05:25 PM
Well, I'm sure not to many of you (if any at all) did anything to celebrate the 100 years of powered flight today but this airplane nerd did. :p
The plan was to use a friends airplane and takeoff at exactly the same time that the Wright Flyer did at 10:35 EST but mother nature had other plans today. My friend/coworker and I arrived at the local airport (and our alma mater) at 9:00 to begin our day. Weather called for plenty of visibility and ceiling/cloud heights all day to accommidate our little adventure with only the chance of occasional snow showers.
First, it was freakin' cold up here in NE Ohio with plenty of wind to chill you to the bone. We got the airplane ready with plenty of time to spare and headed back inside to wait about 1 hour before we started up. About 15 minutes after we got inside the snow started. Lake effect snow was in full force and lowered the visibility to less than 1 mile at times. We were going to have to wait for it to let up before we tookoff. 10:35 EST came and went without a break in the snow. We tried without success to find some sort of coverage of the Kitty Hawk events on TV but not a peep from a single network or PBS station. I realize that not everyone is an aviation fan but do we need to see Katy Couric talking about hand bags and coats?
Eventually the weather broke and we were back out to the airplane for our ceremonial flight. First problem we encountered was the chocks bracing the front wheel were frozen to the ground. We scrounged up a sledge hammer and took care of that. Then we discovered that the snow had iced up the wings. We broke out the deice fluid and fixed that problem.
Now with all of those issued addressed we were strapped in and set to go. Crap, the engine wouldn't fire off! It would barely turn over once let alone enough to start. I got out and pulled the prop through a few times with the hope of loosening the oil in the cylinders since it was so darn cold. We ran back up to the hangar and looked for some help from the maintenance folks. It turns out that this was this outfits last week at the field before they moved out (some issues with their cost caused the airport to ask them to leave). They were pretty bitter and didn't care to do much of anything to help. Thanks. :ermm:
All we could hope is that the batteries were sluggish due to the low temps. Back to the plane to try to start it again. The plan was to try to jolt the batteries alive by increasing the draw on them. We turned on a few systems and tried a couple more starts. No luck. Well, we were pretty disappointed that the big day was going to pass us by without us ever getting off the ground. I figured we should let the airplane sit for a few minutes and give it one last try. We did, and it still didn't work. Argh. Well that was about it.....
12-17-2003, 05:37 PM
OK, one more try. Bam, the sucker started!! It was strange that it barely made a half rotation before it kicked off. Neither of us could believe it. Hey we'll take it.
About 1 hour 15 minutes after the Wright Flyer took to the air we were on our way. The Wright brothers had flipped a coin to see who would fly first. With all our planning neither of us had a coin with us. So we, called another friend using a cell phone who was out doing some Christmas shopping to see if he could help us. He dug out a coin and did the flip for us as my buddy called it in the air. I won! I doubt either Wright could have envisioned such a method of picking the pilot but hey, it's the 21st Century.
I made the takeoff just as the last bit of snow showers were leaving the area. We each made one landing before heading out to do some sight seeing then returned back. It had been about 16 months since I had flown a small plane so my landings weren't the best but not too bad considering the time since the last one. I got some ribbing from the other pilots and employees who watched our flight but it was worth it.
After our flight the snow started again and hasn't let up since. I feel lucky that we were able to get everything together at the right time to fly in the only break in the weather today.
It was a great day for me and my friend as we celebrated this landmark day. It doesn't mean much to the average Joe but for us pilots/aviation nerds this was very exciting. Not only did I get to put a flight in my logbook on this date but I also got a story to share with others.
12-17-2003, 05:39 PM
That's okay. You did just about as well as the guys at the "official" ceremony did. ;)
(I'm about to quote another article, so for you two knucke-heads in the peanut gallery, I'm not trying to slip in a discussion about Iraq :stupid:
Not the Wright Stuff
On Centennial, Re-creation of First Flight Sputters; Second Attempt Called Off
By MARGARET LILLARD, AP
KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (Dec. 17) -- One-hundred years after the Wright brothers' first flight, a replica couldn't get off the ground and sputtered into the mud Wednesday trying to recreate the moment.
The muslin-winged biplane fell off the end of a wooden track and stopped dead in a muddy puddle. Pilot Kevin Kochersberger dropped his head in apparent chagrin and later laughed as the plane was hoisted back on the track.
Shortly before 4 p.m., the team started the engines and turned the wooden propellers, then backed off and said their efforts to fly the replica were over. The first attempt had already been delayed by about two hours after a heavy downpour.
Though disappointing, the failed re-enactment was not historically inaccurate. The Wrights also crashed their flyer, three days before finally getting it off the ground.
The re-enactment was originally scheduled for 10:35 a.m., exactly 100 years after the brothers from Dayton, Ohio, made their first tentative hops through the air with a delicate contraption fashioned in their bicycle shop.
Earlier Wednesday, President Bush told the drenched crowd at the Wright Brothers National Memorial that the brothers would not have been deterred by a little bad weather.
''On the day they did fly, just like today, the conditions were not ideal,'' Bush said.
''The Wright brothers hit some disappointments along the way. There must have been times when they had to fight their own doubts,'' he said. ''They pressed on, believing in the great work they had begun and in their own capacity to see it though. We would not know their names today if these men had been pessimists.''
Kochersberger, an engineering professor from Rochester, N.Y., was piloting a meticulous reproduction of the 1903 Wright Flyer that was built by the Wright Experience, a nonprofit group based in Warrenton, Va.
There had been speculation that Bush would use the centennial of flight to announce a new mission to the moon, but the White House made clear the president had no such intentions.
Actor John Travolta, introducing Bush, told the president, ''not only do I vote for that option, but I volunteer to go on the first mission.''
Bush made no commitments on a new space mission, but said of Travolta: ''We shall call him moon man from now on.''
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, delivered the invocation and singer Lee Greenwood performed ''The Star-Spangled Banner.''
As Greenwood finished the national anthem, a bald eagle was released in the middle of the field to the cheers of the crowd.
Bush did not stay to see the re-enactment. As his departing Air Force One passed over the park, it dipped its right wing, as if in salute.
On Dec. 17, 1903, Orville was at the controls for that first hop that lasted all of 12 seconds. He and Wilbur alternated for four flights that day; the last, by Wilbur, lasted 59 seconds and ran for 852 feet.
In the century since, travel by airplane has gone from a barnstormer's novelty act to such a routine that it brings more complaints than ruminations on the extraordinary fact that it simply can be done.
Some still remember the early wonder. John Glenn first went into the air as an 8-year-old boy in the late 1920s. Strapped into the back of a two-seat plane with his father beside him, Glenn buzzed the fields and woods near his native Cambridge, Ohio.
''We sat in the back with one seat belt strapped across the both of us,'' he recalled this week. ''Looking down, I was hooked from then on.''
As a grown man in 1962, he was the first American to orbit Earth aboard a Mercury-Atlas 6 spacecraft. Now, at 82, he still flies his personal plane, a twin-engine Beechcraft.
''I guess I never got tired of it. Just being able to see things as they are from that altitude, for me it's just always been an enjoyable experience,'' Glenn said.
In a sad reminder of the technology's perils, a small plane on its way to the flight celebration crashed Wednesday after taking off from a small airport south of Raleigh. The pilot was killed and three passengers were injured. A fifth person walked away.
The plane had flown about three-quarters of a mile when it banked and crashed, said Capt. James Estes of the Lee County Sheriff's Department. The cause of the crash was unknown.
Every day, commercial airlines around the world carry about 3 million people, for many of whom the most remarkable part is the in-flight movie.
Not Len Razzi, a retirement plan salesman from Glen Moore, Pa., who had his first airplane ride when he was 26 and now, at 43, has earned the rating of commercial pilot.
His own training let Razzi know that flying is no simple feat.
''There's a wide-eyed wonder every time I get on an airplane,'' he said. ''I always ask for the window seat.''
12-17-2003, 05:39 PM
Hmmm... it dropped my attachment. Let's try this again.
I R a Pylot :eek::p
Edit: Ah, it was too big.
12-17-2003, 07:28 PM
I watched that thing with the Wright Flyer replica, they actually almost got it up. It bucked upwards at the end of the track but couldn't get the lift to get the back-end up so it drove right into a muddy puddle. Only took'em about 10 minutes after first trying to get the propellors turning, it was interesting though, it made good time down the track. The winds just seemed to be lazy..
12-18-2003, 04:19 AM
Basker's right, the replica seemed like it was halfway up and ready to go, but between the rain and other funky conditions, it just couldn't get up that last little bit (possibly because the rain soaked the craft's cloth wings and wood frame and made them a little heavier than it was designed for). Actually, in the documentary about the building of the Wright Flyer replica - which would probably have been my favorite documentary if not for the lack of success today - there was mention that when the 1902 flyer went to take off, the pilot felt the craft start to lift and jerked the controls in reaction, sending it back down into pieces IIRC -- today's attempt looked mighty similar. I was really excited about this too, seeing the footage on the news was disheartening.
This whole day seemed to be trying to keep us from celebrating flight, it seems like. Between looking at some of the stories here, considering the weather at Kitty Hawk was totally opposite from what the Wrights experienced (today was still & rainy, they had dry and gusty winds which caused Orville great distress on that first flight, causing him to yell "get me down!!!"); on a personal level my grandfather - who is only 10 years younger than flight and was an aeronautics/aerospace engineer since the early 1940s, as well as teaching the subject at UCLA in the '50s - didn't even get to fly a kite because someone stole my grandmother's wallet and they had to go through police reports and shutting down credit cards and getting a new drivers license.
Or maybe it's the Wright brothers saying "don't focus too much on the old, look forward to what's next, celebrate the undiscovered country that is the future of mankind". :D
good shot jansen
12-18-2003, 08:33 AM
aeronautical engineer, burt rutan, has built and tested the 1st privately funded space craft which broke the sound barrier in a flight held yesterday, december 17th, a true celebration of the 100th anniversary of the wright brothers 1st flight.
the craft known as SpaceShipOne is a three-person craft being developed to fly more than 100 kilometres above Earth - 20 kilometres above where space begins. The 7.6-metre-long SpaceShipOne is carried aloft by a twin-engine jet called the White Knight, then let go to ignite its rocket engine. To reach space, SpaceShipOne is to fly nearly straight up at a speed of about 3860 kmh, more than three times the speed of sound.
The blue-and-white-winged craft, on Wednesday reached a top speed of Mach 1.2, about 1500 kmh after being released from a carrier aircraft in its first test flight powered by its specially built rocket engine.
The craft is one of the contenders for the X Prize - a $27 million prize offered by a St. Louis-based foundation to the builder of the first privately developed spaceship to carry three people to 100 kilometres up, then do it again within two weeks.
SpaceShipOne was built in secret and financed without government help at an undisclosed price by Mr Rutan, whose most famous aircraft was the Voyager, which circled the globe in 1986 on one tank of fuel. Mr Rutan unveiled SpaceShipOne in April.
information and photographs of spaceshipone, and the launch plane white knight can be found here (http://www.scaled.com/projects/tierone/)
12-18-2003, 09:43 AM
Very cool Jansen, I remember hearing about that and a few others awhile back, I'm glad one of them finally got off the ground successfully. :cool:
12-18-2003, 10:43 AM
I saw that the announcement of their successful flight yesterday. Wow, what a day to have their test. It looks like a very cool system and I'm putting my money behind the Rutan plan for being the first to get to space. I downloaded some of the picture of their ships for my computer. Very striking.
12-18-2003, 10:39 PM
I've visited Kill Devil Hills (wasn't good enough to go down in history as Kitty Hawk, apparently) where the boys from the great state of Ohio flew their balsa flyer. The area looks dull; just a long, open field, but the museum was kinda fun.
12-18-2003, 11:18 PM
GSJ, thanks for the news on SpaceShipOne, I've been reading all about that in Popular Science, who dedicated a lot of this year's 100th Anniversary of Flight stories to the X-prize and SS1 in particular.
12-19-2003, 02:26 PM
I went down to the OBX(outer banks) of NC, about 2 years ago on a vaca with some friends! We checked out the Wright Bros Museum and it was pretty cool! Simple but cool, as someone said there's not a whole lot there! But, I bought a 100th anniversary golf shirt(yes they were selling them even back then) for my dad and took a few pictures! As I said Simple but cool!
In regards to Television coverage, actually I saw alot, the 3 majors all had a story about the anniverasry during each of their morning and evening news programs(yes even Katie mentoined it, I think) all the local channels also mentioned the story! Then both the History channel and Discovery channel had programs running all last week, maybe all moth, but I caught most of 'em last week!
12-19-2003, 11:25 PM
Considering how much flight changed our modern world, I was expecting more than 2 minutes on the broadcast news. It wasn't even a blink in the collective eye of the world, I bet at best, 1 out of 100 people would have known it was the 100th anniversary of flight, and only a fraction of them actually cared.
12-20-2003, 12:10 AM
Strange indeed. For something that touches nearly every life in someway and has changed the world completely it's taken for granted. The next 100 years will be amazing.
12-20-2003, 03:35 PM
If any of you have the chance, get over to the Wright Patterson AFB Museum of Flight in Dayton, Ohio. We were there this Summer and it was under some renovation, but it is well worth your time. Everything from a Wright Flier to the Raptor with just about everything inbetween.
12-20-2003, 07:48 PM
My girlfriend and I were at the WPAFB museum this summer as well for the big airshow and used the opportunity to see the additions since the last time I had been their nearly 10 years ago. The last time I was there was soon after they added the F-117A so things had changed. The latest wing was just awesome with it's dark walls and spotlight lighting on the different aircraft. I took tons and tons of pictures on that trip at both the museum and the 2 days we spent at the airshow.
Here are 2 pictures from the museum. The first is of an F-86 that has it's skin removed so to reveil its interior. The second is of the girlfriend and a USAF Thunderbird F-16. Her smile had started to fade by this point as she tired of all my picture taking. :D
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