Tuesday, December 17, 2013



"We were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where there was always much encouragement to...pursue intellectual interests;  to investigate what ever aroused curiosity."         
                                      Orville Wright

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (JFK+50) 110 years ago this morning, December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright* made the first airplane flight here in Kitty Hawk.

Their aircraft, which began its flight at 10:35 a.m.,  was gas-powered and propeller-driven.  The first manned flight, traveling at a speed of 6.8 m.p.h., lasted 12 seconds and flew a distance of 120 feet. 

The engine was rated at 25 horsepower.

According to Eyewitness to History...

"The distance covered...was less than the wingspan of a modern 747 Jumbo Jet."

At 11:20 a.m., a 2nd flight was made at 10 feet above the ground and a distance of 175 feet.

The 3rd and final flight of the day came at 11:40 a.m.

The Wright Flyer
Air & Space Museum
Photo by RadioFan (2008)

*Orville Wright (1871-1948) and Wilbur Wright (1867-1912).  Orville was born in Dayton, Ohio and Wilbur was born near Millville, Indiana.  The brothers opened a bicycle repair shop in 1892 and later began building their own bikes.

They went to Kitty Hawk in 1900 to experiment in manned gliding and there on Dec. 14, 1903, Wilbur's attempt to fly a motorized, propeller-driven aircraft failed.

Three days later, the brothers succeeded in making the 1st manned flight and followed it with two more on the same day.

Wright Brothers
Long Island, NY
October 1910
by Cole and Company
Library of Congress Image



"Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail."

On December 17, 1843, 170 years ago today, "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens was published in London.  Dickens began writing his epic work in October and completed it by early December 1843. 

6000 copies had "sold out" by Christmas Eve at 5 shillings a copy.

On December 17, 1961, President John F. Kennedy laid a wreath on the tomb of Simon Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela.  

Later in the day, he and Mrs. Kennedy visited Bogata, Colombia where they greeted Peace Corps workers.