December 17, 1903, was the day when two young men turned the dream of flying like birds into the appearance of reality, at Kitty Hawk, N.C. They were Orville and Wilbur Wright and history knows them as Wright Brothers. The dedication of the Wright brothers towards introducing the concept of flying succeeded their continuous struggle to achieve the millenniums-old dream. This step of the Wright brothers in the aviation field encouraged the predecessors to quite an impactful extent. That’s the reason, by following the same zeal William Edward Boeing could place the foundation of one of the world’s largest airplane manufacturing companies.

History and Background

Orville and Wilbur Wright were self-ignited thinkers who spent a part of their lives designing, repairing, and developing the bicycles in Dayton, Ohio at their shop. They had just high school level academic expertise, however, they were genius enough to think out of the box. Their innovative mind coupled with a broader vision and natural curiosity to dive into flying enabled them to bring powered flights to their doorstep in a journey of four years. The journey was started when Wilbur wrote a letter to Smithsonian Institution, to get the information about aviation after getting inspired by the gliding experiments of Otto Lilienthal.

Image Credit: Aviation Voice

In return, the Wright brothers received some books which were able enough to captivate them in chasing their dream. They continued their experiments and kept on investigating the parameters of flying in a methodical manner. Finally, a year after they could build gliders to fly on the beaches near Kitty Hawk. These gliding experiments witnessed more failure than that of success which leaded Wilbur to declare that for at least the next 50 years, nobody is going to fly.

Determination Leads to Destination

Wright brothers demonstrated very well that how determination could lead towards a destination. Even after a series of failures, they did not give up and came back to their hometown, Dayton. Then they developed a wind tunnel and took a trial of more than 150 airfoils. This time they came up with a concept of a new wing and the latest highly successful glider. This successful glider of 1902 boosted the confidence of the Wright brothers to build a heavier-than-air aircraft.

Image Credit: Boeing Frontiers Online

In the following year, the Wright brothers came back to Kitty Hawk with their powered glider and on 7th December they executed their flight.  First Orville climbed aboard and flew for 12 seconds covering 120 feet and then on the same day, Wilbur took the controls and flew for 59 seconds by covering 852 feet. These successful flights of the Wright brothers proved their flyer a workable addition of a useful object to that time of the existing world.

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What made Wright Brothers Successful?

Before the Wright brothers, there exist some other attempts of powered flights by other people as well. But it seems like the extensive experience of the Wright brothers with bicycles helped them to win this edge. They knew the need for lateral controls of aircraft and to cater to that need they developed a mechanism of wing wrapping. That’s the reason they showed up with wing wrapping in case of banking of an aircraft and developed a rudder for its turning. Wright brothers silently kept on practicing these techniques to master them for almost five years. During this time, Glen Curtiss was awarded for flying 1km by the US while in reality, Wilbur had already flown privately almost a distance of 38.62km. The Wright brothers’ prevention strategy made people think about them as fraud. However, the public uproar and increasing demand for their planes brought them out of their isolation.

Image Credit : Wright Brothers – History

Wilbur made a visit to Europe where he thrilled several royals of other nations as well. Meanwhile, Orville flew to Fort Myer in Virginia for flight tests to sign a contract from the army of the United States. To his bad fortune, the aircraft crashed at the end of trials causing the death of the onboard passenger who became the first victim of powered flights. Orville upon getting recovered from several injuries then joined Wilbur in Europe. In 1909, the Wright brothers returned to America and received a reception in the White House to receive the accolades of their matchless achievements.

The Birth of Boeing

William E. Boeing
William Edward Boeing. Credits: University of Washington

The flying machines developed by the Wright brothers made Americans mad for the flying objects. To treat this madness, the first aviation meet was held in 1910, at Dominguez Ranch near Loss Angeles. In that meeting, aviation became the utmost obsession for one of the attendees. That young man was William Edward Boeing to whom the show acted as the catalyst to step into this industry. The thirst for learning and executing those learning outcomes made William Edward Boeing build his own airplane manufacturing company. The world knows that company as the giant aviation manufacturer that is none other than Boeing.


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