Thursday, December 17, 2015


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 1800


Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (JFK+50) On the morning of December 17, 1903, 112 years ago today, Orville Wright* made the first successful flight of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft here at Kitty Hawk.

The aircraft, which began its flight at 10:35 a.m., was launched down a single track and after lifting off the ground traveled at a speed of 6.8 miles per hour. The first flight covered 120 feet and lasted 12 seconds.  Five eye witnesses were on hand to observe the historic event.

The 12 horsepower internal combustion engine had been manufactured at the Wright Brothers Bicycle Shop in Dayton, Ohio and transported along with pieces of the aircraft to Kitty Hawk in the fall of 1903.

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. Wilbur Wright** flew 812 feet in 59 seconds.

The original Wright Flyer is on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

*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.  3 days later, the brothers succeeded.

"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


"This Day in History:  December 17,"


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