October 2019 HTSAAIL of the Month - The Wright Brothers
Flying with Failure
The Wright Brothers, the name that is synonymous with aviation but did you know how many failures the 2 brothers had to face in order to achieve their first successful flight??
The brothers were self-educated, never went to college, and had to teach themselves engineering and physics. In the late 1890s, The Wright Brothers decided to take on innovation in the flight industry after selling their own bike shop business that sold their own designed bicycle.
After researching other flying crafts, they took on the challenge of creating a flying machine that had sustainable controls. (Just like a bicycle.)
The brother’s had built a successful glider but their biggest problem was creating power to take off, control, and land. With a glider built but with no power they were ready to test their first unattended flight….
…which was short lived. On their first flight, the unattended craft came crashing down to the ground after an unexpected gust of wind.
With their first big failure and crash, the brother’s went back to the drawing boards.
With improvements to the wingspan, it was on to their second flight. This flight was a bigger success than the first but it was still very difficult to control and attaining lift was an issue as well.
With a few redesigns, the brothers were able to create a successful glider that was easy to control and sustain lift. The next step was to create a powered glider that they were able to pilot.
This was not an easy task. An engine that was light enough and powerful enough to strap onto a plane did not exist. Their mechanic, Charlie Taylor, put himself to the task to design and create such an engine. In 1903, this engine was created and ready to be tested. But with technical problems, and weather that did not cooperate, the brother’s had to patiently wait to test it out.
After 3 months, the time came to fly the craft. Their powered flying craft took flight for 3.5 seconds and then stalled and crashed into the sand. A major component to the craft was broken and it took another 3 days to fix it. On the second attempt, the flight lasted 12 seconds and the Wright Brothers legacy was coming to life.
The Wright Brother’s were persistent throughout their entire journey.
They entered the aviation field with 0 knowledge and experience and taught themselves everything they could about it.
They did not give up after their first glider crashed nor did they throw in the towel after their powered engine craft crashed after 3.5 seconds. The Wright Brothers remained persistent until they achieved a powered flying craft that was easy to control, lift off, fly, and land.
Now today we have planes that break the sound barrier and rockets that have flown to the moon. (Even a piece of the Wright Brothers’ flying airplane is on the moon today.)