On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright accomplished the seemingly impossible: the world’s first successful manned, controlled, sustained, engine-powered, and heavier-than-air flight. Quite a mouthful, isn’t it?
At 10:35 AM and with winds clocking in at 27 miles per hour, the Wright brothers launched their flying machine, the 𝘞𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘍𝘭𝘺𝘦𝘳 (sometimes called 𝘍𝘭𝘺𝘦𝘳 𝘐), from a monorail track in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. At the time, Kill Devil Hills technically didn’t exist yet, as it only received its municipal charter in 1953. Thus, many historical accounts call the launch site “a field near Kitty Hawk” (the nearest official settlement at the time). The plane covered a distance of 120 feet in the span of 12 seconds—a short flight, but no less significant.
Over the years, various inventors and aviators have challenged the Wright brothers’ place in history as the pioneers of powered flight. Still, based on documented evidence and strictly defined criteria, the world’s foremost aviation experts and historians generally agree: It’s all right to give the right to claim the first flight to the Wrights.
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Author: Mikael Angelo Francisco
Bitten by the science writing bug, Mikael has years of writing and editorial experience under his belt. As the editor-in-chief of FlipScience, Mikael has sworn to help make science more fun and interesting for geeky readers and casual audiences alike.