Thread: Question??
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Irmo, SC OH
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Default RE: Question??

Interestingly, while people claim that Langely achieved manned powered flight a short time before the Wrights, the person he chose to be the pilot never admitted to ever sucsessfully flying the Aerodrome. In fact, a number of years after the flights were supposed to have happened, the Smithsonian lent the Aerodrome to Glenn Curtiss to see if he could achieve flight with it, thereby proving that it could have flown before the Wrights. Curtiss did get it to fly, afte several months, and at least 40 major modifications. After that, the Smithsonian withdrew all claims, and had Langely's craft restored to it's original nearly unflyable and uncontrolable condition. Langely did get several models to fly free flight, but it seems the few attempts to fy with a pilot ran into problems with catapaulting the plane.
In any event, the recognition for the Wrights is for haveing an aeroplane that under it's own power, ran forward untill becoming airborn, proceeded for a distance at an altitude higher than it's starting point, and landed at a point no lower than the starting point, or words to that effect. The Wright Brothers also had a plane that was controllable in pitch, yaw, and roll.
Also, they had a newspaper photographepresent to record that first flight.
And for the first flight, they did not use the catapault. That came later.
There were also claims that a Gustave Whitehead was making powere flights with his own design as early as 1901, there were some claimed witnesses, but no photos. And he kind of cheated. He had a 10 hp motor driving the wheels to bring his machine up to takeoff speed. In fact, one witness claimed Whitehead drove the craft to the flying sites on the road with the wings folded against the sides with a capability of going in excess of 30 mph. Early flying car? But one of Mr. Whiteheads comments was that he almost crashed into trees on one of his flights, and found out he could control the plane by moving from side to side or front to back, unlike the Wrights who used aerodynamic controls.
There are no existing photos of Whitehead flying a powered aircraft, but there are photos of him flying hang gliders.
Still, the Wrights are credited with the first powered flights because they had documented witnesses that day.
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