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calendar   Tuesday - December 17, 2019

Up In The Air Day

Today, December 17, is the 116th anniversary of powered human flight.

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Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful flight of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft on December 17, 1903. Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane 120 feet in 12 seconds near Kitty Hawk, NC.

...

Three more tests were made that day, with Wilbur taking the last flight 852 feet in 59 seconds.

The first flight achieved 6.82mph. Their last flight that day managed 9.85mph. So their airplane flew about as fast as a horse going for a spirited walk.

The development in flight went slowly in the first few years; it wasn’t until 1908 that Bleriot developed an airplane that could reliably fly 200m up in the air.  By 1911 most airplanes used ailerons to control roll instead of wing warping. Bleriot had put the up/down and left/right control surfaces at the back of the plane years before his amazing flight across the English Channel in 1909, but the whole panels moved; there was no vertical stabilizer and rudder, it was all rudder. Same for the horizontal stabilizer. Effective but very abrupt. This stabilator idea didn’t last long, but has resurfaced again with modern fighter jets. All it takes is computer control and powerful hydraulics to make it work smoothly.

Flaps weren’t invented until until the middle of WWI, first seen on the Fairey Hamble Baby. Flaps provide extra lift at slow speed.

So in less than 15 years the various powered flight ideas had coalesced into the form we recognize as conventional airplanes today. Sadly, within 7 years of it’s invention, the airplane had also become a weapon.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/17/2019 at 12:14 PM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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