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Wright Brothers Talk

  • December 18, 2018
  • 6:30 PM
  • East Hill Flying Club, 62 Brown Rd, Ithaca NY

Come join us as EAA Chapter 811 hosts Jack Thompson's talk about the Wright brothers. Refreshments will start at 6:30 and the talk itself at 7pm. Below is Jack's own description of his talk:

I'm a long-time Wright Brothers fan. I've read much about them, been to their key development grounds, and I find them to be amazing self-taught engineers, brilliant craftsmen and fascinating personalities . They started their active work on the "flying machine problem" in 1899. They studied the prior art, literature and published science (much of that "science" was incomplete and flawed). They correctly identified and ordered the important problems to be solved (positive control by the pilot was primary). Using their amazing self-taught powers of problem solving, design, analysis, test and craftsmanship, they developed and patented the first practical airplane in the span of 6 years of their spare time and the expenditure of about $1000 of their own money. This triumph in stark contrast to Samuel Langley's efforts, funded with $50,000 of government money plus $20,000 of private money and concluding in two immediate immersions in the Potomac.

In three additional years of stubborn effort, they monetized their invention by simultaneously selling airplanes, technology and flight instruction to a French Syndicate and the US government.

In 1908, in France and Washington DC, the two brothers separately demonstrated their airplane technology to world acclaim, and they became the first international celebrities of the 20th century.

As a pilot, I'm astonished that they taught themselves to fly an unstable airplane with no throttle without serious injury.

They succeeded where all others had failed, and all others who flew successfully after 1903 benefited from what they had published and discussed.

Everybody knows of them, but many people do not understand the enormity of their accomplishment after their flights in 1903. Fortunately, due to the work of Tom D Crouch, his colleagues at the Smithsonian and most recently, David McCullough, the Wrights are experiencing a renaissance in the public mind and receiving the respect and appreciation that they are due.

I'll endeavor to give you the condensed version of Wright story, with our normal free give and take audience participation.

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