Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

(At Least) 100 Years Of Powered Human Flight

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the culminating-in-southwest-airlines dept.

United States 515

Rogue-Lion.com writes "Take a time out to remember the accomplishments of two bicycle shop owners who changed the world immeasurably, 100 years ago today. The Telegraph is running a story about a recreation of the Wright's (and world's) first heavier-than-air powered flight. President Bush will be in attendance at the event." Setting aside even more exotic theories, rod writes with an alternative point of view: namely, that man's first flight took place in New Zealand, on March 31, 1902. "I admire the U.S.A and the Wright brothers,but there are facts to consider today, 17/12/03, on the centenary of Kitty Hawk." Update: 12/17 13:44 GMT by T : Or was it a Brazillian invention? (Thanks, Anderson Silva.)

cancel ×

515 comments

Another one (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744022)

Apparantly there are claims that the flight of the Wright Brothers was really just ballistic, i.e. not flight at all. Anyone?

No launch mechanism (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744037)

It would have to get off the ground somehow. People have flown replicas of the Wright Flyer since then, and although they didn't fly that well, they *did* fly.

Re:No launch mechanism (5, Informative)

diersing (679767) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744075)

NPR [npr.org] did a nice piece [npr.org] during the morning drive time.

but there's no question that the Wright brothers built the first airplane that a pilot could control and fly. The basic principles that were built into the Wright Flyer remain a part of every aircraft flying today.

Competing claims aside, I think we can all agree this was a great moment in American history at least.

Re:No launch mechanism (0, Redundant)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744229)

Well yeah. Perhaps other people had attained powered flight before, but the Wright brothers were the ones that could manage it more than once. As I said, replicas of their aircraft have flown since, so it seems likely that the original flew as described.

Re:No launch mechanism (1)

Holopanen (608049) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744245)

Hey! Please don't forget about the Brazilian Inventor Santos Dumont!

Re:Another one (4, Informative)

Bvardi (620485) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744045)

Actually only the later models of the wright flyer used a capapult to assist in launching (useless trivia: The original machine had no name at the time of launching as was just referred to by the wright brothers as "the machine") The original machine, as I recall, had no wheels and used a wheeled sled to take off from, but it did take off and fly under its own power. (and even later, the flyer only used the capapult for launching)

The main accomplishments of the wright brothers however are not so much coming up with powered flight - people had been flying gliders, balloons and such for a little bit and the concept was not truly shocking - but that the came up with a primative (but workable) control system (involving warping the wings to control the flyer) and techniques to be used in piloting the craft. Before the flyer, most flights were basically straight line "hope you don't end up hitting a tree" type things.

Re:Another one (1)

richieb (3277) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744156)

Before the flyer, most flights were basically straight line "hope you don't end up hitting a tree" type things.

While I agree with you that the Wright's had invented the first workable system to control an aircraft in flight (they understood how airplanes turn), others before attained some controlled gliding flight. For example Otto Lilienthal was able to steer his gliders by shifting his body position - in ways similar to hang-gliders of today.

Re:Another one (1)

jnik (1733) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744202)

Otto Lilienthal was able to steer his gliders by shifting his body position

Which in the end killed him, as it didn't give enough control. The Wrights had this accident very much in mind when designing their machine.

Try out Zyklon Linux (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744052)

Suck it down, ya dirty kike!

ji iji iji iji iji iji jtiji iji iji iji iji iji [nazi.org]
iji iji iji iji iji ijjDMNQtiji iji iji iji iji ij
iji iji iji iji iji cXMNMNMNQjiji iji iji iji iji
iji iji iji iji ijcSMNMNMNMNHJiji iji iji ij iji ij
iji iji iji iji iSWMNMNMNMHJiji iji iji ij iji iji
iji iji iji iji6WMNMNMNMNYiji iji Jciji iji iji ij
iji iji iji i5WMNMNMNMN5iji iji JHMNSc iji iji iji
iji iji iji5NMNMNMNMW5iji iji JHMNMN MWSiji iji iji
iji iji ijcXMNMNMNMNNYiji ijtKMNMN MNMNMW6iji iji i
iji iji iji jDMNMNMNMNHJijtQMNMN MNMNMNMNMW5iji iji
iji itciji iji QMNMNMNMNKDMNMN MNMNQWMNMNMNMN5iji i
ijitKMWSiji iji jQMNMNMNMNMN MNMNQtijSWMNMNMNMNYiji
itQMNMNMW6iji iji tKMNMNMN MNMNKtiji icSMNMNMNMNHJi
iJHMNMNMNMW6iji ijcSMNMN MNMNMNDjiji ijicXMNMNMNN5i
ijiYNMNMNMNMN5ijiSWMNM MNMNMNMNMNDciji ijicDMNW6iji
iji i5NMNMNMNMNSWMNM MNMNHNMNMNMNMNXciji iji 5iji i
iji iji5WMNMNMNMNM MNMNN5ij5NMNMNMNMNSciji iji iji
iji iji i6WMNMNM MNMNW5iji ij6WMNMNMNMWSiji iji iji
iji iji ijiSWM MNMNW6iji iji tKMNMNMNMNXciji iji ij
iji iji iji cSMNWSiji iji tQMNMNMNMNDjiji iji iji
iji iji ij iji c6ciji iji QMNMNMNMNQjiji iji iji ij
iji iji iji iji iji ijjDMNMNMNMNQtiji iji iji iji
iji ij iji iji iji ijcXMNMNMNMNKtiji iji iji iji ij
iji iji iji iji iji jQMNMNMNHJiji iji iji iji iji
ij iji iji iji iji iji tKMNHJiji iji iji iji iji ij
iji iji iji iji iji iji tYiji iji iji iji iji ij ij

Re:Try out Zyklon Linux (0, Offtopic)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744150)

Did you mentally disadvantaged spotty teenager even know that the svastika is a Hindu symbol for good luck?

Re:Try out Zyklon Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744211)

Isn't the Hindu version of it a mirror image of the Nazi one?

I'm sure the residents of Swastika, Ontario would agree.

Re:Try out Zyklon Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744228)

It's been used either way, both by Hindus and by Nazis.

Re:Another one (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744121)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if it was a ballistic flight, the aircraft would have been given a large initial push at a certain angle from the ground, then simply let free to "fly" (or lop, or a combination of the two) un-powered, until it touched ground again. However, it seems to me that there was an engine on this plane, and that it took off more or less unaided.

That the engine wasn't powerful enough to sustain a real flight, that it was a ground-effect fluke, that's just as maybe, but it hardly seems a ballistic flight to me.

Re:Another one (1)

AaronGTurner (731883) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744126)

Well the article on the New Zealand flight gets off to a bad start: "Popular history has it that the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk [in the United States] were the first to fly [a heavier-than-air craft], but this is not true!" Actually popular history has it that it was not the first heavier than air flight (this having been by Cayley's footman in 1850) but the first powered flight. If you are going to put forward alternative claims (and there are many) at least get the claim right in the first place!

Re:Another one (1)

mirio (225059) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744149)

You don't throw something that big and light in a 26 knot headwind for such a long distance.

Documentation (4, Insightful)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744154)

While others may have been first, they did not document their claims. The Wright brothers documented their cliams with photos, etc. There is an extensive record of their achievments. Even so, years later they shocked people when they showed up at an exhibition and flew around the field in circles, etc for many minutes.

As for kitty hawk, the significant take offs were on level ground, and the final flight of the day was certainly sustained for almost a minute. Like any geek machine, it was hard to control at first.

So while other attempts may have been successful they were not as well documented., or even that reproducable.

Re:Another one (5, Interesting)

mirio (225059) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744224)

The Wrights used launching weight (as they called it) because their props were optimal for cruising. In today's airplanes with constant-speed props, the props are adjustable so that when taking off there is a much more corse pitch, meaning that the prop pushes more air but works harder. In cruise, the prop pitch is flattened a bit to provide a better flow of air for cruise flight.

In today's fixed-pitch props, the prop is a compromise between takeoff and cruise. The brothers didn't have enough engine power for compromises to be made in prop pitch.

This does not mean that the plane was simply thrown into the air and never really flew. Are you saying that F-18's don't fly because they are propelled off of aircraft carriers?

IMAX (5, Informative)

swordboy (472941) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744023)

If you are near an IMAX, they are running their History of Flight [hfmgv.org] special. Breathtaking!

fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744027)

fp?

I'm Lovin it'!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744030)

Crowin' like a rooster!!!

Last poast??

The real invventors of the airplane. (4, Insightful)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744034)

The Wright Brothers. Period.
Some others may have flown a few feet before, but the Wrights were the first to make *controlled, long endurance* flights.

Re:The real invventors of the airplane. (1)

jackdoodle (644479) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744054)

For instance, NPR just aired a story about Gustav Albin WeiBkopf, of Bridgeport CT, who flew his proto-plane (albeit not in an especially controlled fashion) on August 14th, 1901.

Re:The real invventors of the airplane. (3, Informative)

danidude (672839) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744074)

And how is making "controlled, long endurance fligh" inventig the airplane? What is an airplane for you? The first one to make a heavier-than-air powered flight, taking off the ground (not being launched) is Santos Dumont [cunha.nom.br]

Re:The real invventors of the airplane. (1)

diersing (679767) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744099)

Acording to Webster - a powered heavier-than-air aircraft that has fixed wings from which it derives most of its lift

The thing that seperated the Wright Flyer was that the pilot had controls for all 3 axis of movement, which DID seperate it from its contemporaries.

Ahem (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744097)

Bullshit, pure American hum drum. Those who can read understand differently. The Wright brothers merely had publicity. Prior art exists.

Re:Ahem (2, Informative)

banjobear (711108) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744135)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3307743.stm

Re:Ahem (4, Informative)

richieb (3277) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744180)

Bullshit, pure American hum drum.

OK. Tell me who flew the first circle in a powered and heavier than air aircraft?

The Wrights figured out how to steer and airplane in flight, they could turn. Nobody until them understood the mechanics of the turn (the rudder does not turn the airplane).

And I'm not even an American..

Re:Ahem (2, Interesting)

Gethsemane (733524) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744225)

Ah yes, that is why Gustav Weisskopf used a clutch mechanism to shift the power from one engine to the other. He used this as a pseudo aileron LONG before the wrights even got their glider off the ground!

Re:The real invventors of the airplane. (2, Interesting)

mirko (198274) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744112)

Ahem>/A>... [angelfire.com]

If this is not the inventor of the plane, I do not know what this is.

Even closer : Clement Ader (0, Flamebait)

mirko (198274) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744130)

Oct 9th 1890 [monash.edu.au] ...

Da Vinci, etc (1)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744215)

I recall a recent news item where someone made a copy of Da Vinci's glider with modern materials. This worked wonderfully.

whether it would work using the materials of his day, such as wood, etc, is another issue.

Re:The real invventors of the airplane. (2, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744144)

The Wright Brothers. Period.

There's somethng about people that put "Period." after their opinions that just begs a refutation... and though you have tried to contrive a definition of "flight" to keep the trophy with the US; from the FA at least four flights made before the Wright Bros:

Man's First Powered Flight
Richard Pearse, Waitohi, New Zealand, March 31, 1902

  • March 31, 1902 - First powered flight. Estimated distance around 350 yards. Similar to the first Wright Brothers flight, ie, in a straight line, and barely controlled.
  • March ? 1903 - After spending a year working on the engine, and tending to his farm, Pearce made another flight, this time with a distance of only about 150 yards.
  • May 2, 1903 - Distance unknown, but as usual the aircraft ended up stuck in a gorse hedge 15' off the ground!
  • May 11, 1903 - This, my opinion, [ie. the opinion of Bill Sherwood] was man's first real flight. Pearse took off along the side of the Opihi River, turned left to fly over the 30' tall river bank, then turned right to fly parallel to the middle of the river. After flying nearly 1,000 yards, his engine began to overheat and lost power, thus forcing a landing way down the dry-ish riverbed. One of the locals, Arthur Tozer, was crossing the river at the time and was rather surprised to have Pearse fly right over his head!

Re:The real invventors of the airplane. (4, Interesting)

nonmaskable (452595) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744200)

AvStop Magazine Online Research
By Geoffrey Rodliffe
http://avstop.com/History/AroundTheWorld/NewZ/rese arch.html

Wild and inaccurate statements have been publicised from time to time concerning Richard Pearse's achievements in the field of aviation. However. no responsible researcher has ever claimed that he achieved fully controlled flight before the Wright brothers, or indeed at any time. To attain fully controlled flight a pilot would have to be able to get his plane into the air, fly it on a chosen course and land it at a predetermined destination.

Obviously Pearse's short "hops" or "flights", whilst they established the fact that he could readily become airborne, did not come within this category, but neither, for that matter, did the first powered flights of the Wright brothers in December 1903. The Wiight brothers, however, had the resources necessary to continue their experimentation until they achieved fully controlled flight.

Re:The real invventors of the airplane. (1)

virtual_mps (62997) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744208)

Do you believe everything you read on the Internet? Why on earth do you consider "the opinion of Bill Sherwood" to be canonical?

Re:The real invventors of the airplane. (1)

sjwt (161428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744165)

besides,
the ppl who belvie that NZ claim,
didnt watch the closeing statments
of the documentry, it was a hoax..

Film of Pearse 'doctored' [waikato.ac.nz]
PETER JACKSON [albany.edu]
DOUBLE FEATURE

but you guys would of course rember this
as it was mentioned in a /. discussion on
Peter Jackson.

Re:The real invventors of the airplane. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744218)

way to go Mods, you flagged the parent flamebait. i had a post earlier this week with over 100 replies under it, both in agreement and disagreement - modded down as offtopic.

Bob Cat, here's to hoping meta-mods come thru for you if it doesn't get corrected soon.

Happy citrus day! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744036)

Happy citrus day!

Most people don't know it, but today is the international citrus fruit celebration day. There are more details at lemonparty.org. [lemonparty.org]

Eat some fresh fruit and get some vitamin C before stuffing yourself during Christmas!

Happy citrus day! (-1, Offtopic)

nnnneedles (216864) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744044)

Score +2 for effort, troll

Kind of like colossus (5, Interesting)

Manic Miner (81246) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744042)

I had never heard of the New Zealand flight until this story, seems like another case of the widely publisised achievement become the celebrated moment in history rather than the one that was actually first.

I know that colossus was because the project was a national secrect until reciently, but this doesn't seem to be the case for the first flight, can anyone shed any light on why nobody has made a fuss over this before? And are we going to see the history book re-written? Or will people just not accept that it and keep believeing the widely known truth? (most likely imo)

Re:Kind of like colossus (0)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744059)

I find it kind of odd that in you're quick little 'what will happen?' list, you don't even admit to the possibility that the New Zealand flight wasn't actually first. Don't believe everything you read blindly.

Re:Kind of like colossus (1)

Manic Miner (81246) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744105)

"but this doesn't seem to be the case for the first flight, can anyone shed any light on why nobody has made a fuss over this before?"

That was my get out clause.. Asking if anyone knew why this has not been widely publised - eg. because it isn't true.

I don't believe everything I read blindly, but its amazing that some people will never believe "facts" if it contradicts their current belief, I still see arguments that colosuss wasn't the first computer even now ;)

Re:Kind of like colossus (5, Insightful)

ahillen (45680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744113)

I guess it is basically impossible to name the person who really made the first powered flight. One problem is the credibility of the reports, the other the definition of 'powered flight'. Is a short hop of a couple of meters enough? Or should it be 10s of meters? Or 100s of meters? All that really can be said IMHO is that a couple of brave and intelligent man broke this barier in he beginning of the 20th century with varying degrees of success.

Further claims of '1. powered flight' include for example Gustave Whitehead [flyingmachines.org] (or Weisskopf [weisskopf.de] ) and Karl Jatho [flyingmachines.org] .

Re:Kind of like colossus (1)

Manic Miner (81246) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744166)

/bow Good reply sir :)

Re:Kind of like colossus (3, Funny)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744249)

Everybody knows that powered flight would never be measured in meters. Al Gore didn't invent the metric system till 1972.

Re:Kind of like colossus (4, Insightful)

ChuckDivine (221595) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744137)

The widely believed truth happens to be true.

For instance, the Wright brothers' flight was not the first heavier than air craft to fly. That record belongs to a small experimental glider near the beginning of the 19th -- not 20th -- century. The first manned heavier than air vehicle? What today we would call a hang glider was flown in 1870.

The Wright brothers' claim to fame is as the first repeatable, controlled, powered heavier than air flight. All that is important. Earlier efforts contributed to their accomplishment, but were essentially only experiments in learning the basics of flying.

The Wright brothers also eventually publicized their work. Pearse seems, according to the reports, a bit of an eccentric who didn't call much attention to his work. That's important too. A discovery you don't tell the world about is only half done. Others must know about your work and be able to replicate it.

We now know that Viking journeys to North America preceded Columbus' voyage by some centuries. But, again, they didn't follow up their voyages or make them known to the world at large. We also suspect some fishermen made it to North America years before Columbus. But, again, they didn't tell the world.

Repeatability and disclosure are vitally important parts of discovery. One wonders what poeple 5000 years from now will say about our time. They might remember the Chinese (or New Zealanders perhaps) as the real fathers of space travel -- and make a brief footnote for the academics about a certain event in 1969.

Re:Kind of like colossus (2)

AaronGTurner (731883) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744161)

Most consider the flight by Sir George Cayley's footman (after which he resigned his job) in 1850 to be the first heavier than air flight, although the power was derived by it being towed, so it didn't count as a self-powered flight (to make an additional distinction between powered and unpowered).

Re:Kind of like colossus (2, Insightful)

richieb (3277) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744213)

For all we know the Chinese probably flew people in kites thousands of years before.

Re:Kind of like colossus (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744155)

can anyone shed any light on why nobody has made a fuss over this before?

Because the Wright Bros spent a lot of effort to publicise their flights, the kiwi just did it for its own sake in a hobbyist fashion.

Maybe he was afraid of the taxman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744255)

the kiwi just did it for its own sake in a hobbyist fashion.

Maybe he owed some back taxes, and thus didn't dare to overpublicize his exploit? You know, that Kiwi tax administration is rather fear inspiring...

Re:Kind of like colossus (1)

sjwt (161428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744187)

becasue it was a hoax,
i hate copying a post i placed in a higer topic, so ill link to it, im not a karma whore.

Documentry a hoax [slashdot.org]

Uma pergunta: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744043)

Alguem sabe o segredo terrivel to espaco?

Todos os lisboetas fazem panelas.

Duh. (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744047)

Fucking moron.

There is no 17th month.

Only idiots use DD/MM/YEAR.

Re:Duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744090)

Or like just about everyone else outside of America.

twat.

Re:Duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744111)

Actually, no.

It tends to make more sense if you stop and think about it in the "Specific->Less Specific->least specific" way. Especially when you are dealing with current dates. You already know the month and year. You only need to see which day.

Re:Duh. (0, Offtopic)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744159)

Damn right, sensible people use ISO 8601 ;)

A quote on Richard Pearse (5, Informative)

iapetus (24050) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744050)

"Pre-eminence will undoubtedly be given to the Wright brothers of America when the history of the aeroplane is written, as they were the first to actually make successful flights with a motor-driven aeroplane."

Seems like a glowing endorsement of the Wright brothers over Richard Pearse. Who wrote it? Richard Pearse, in a 1915 newspaper.

From the rather interesting BBC Magazine article [bbc.co.uk] on the history of flight:

"Aeronautical historian Philip Jarrett calls the claims 'grossly misleading'. 'This is local hero stuff. They choose to ignore their hero's own simple factual statements,' says Mr Jarrett."

Re:A quote on Richard Pearse (5, Interesting)

Manic Miner (81246) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744084)

I guess this is something that we will not every know the "truth" of. It's interesting that despite the quote attributed to Pearse the website linked from the article (assuming it is accurate) paints a very different picture:

Mch 31, 1902 - First powered flight. Estimated distance around 350 yards. Similar to the first Wright Brothers flight, ie, in a straight line, and barely controlled.

Mch ? 1903 - After spending a year working on the engine, and tending to his farm, Pearce made another flight, this time with a distance of only about 150 yards.

May 2, 1903 - Distance unknown, but as usual the aircraft ended up stuck in a gorse hedge 15' off the ground!

May 11, 1903 - This, my opinion, [ie. the opinion of Bill Sherwood] was man's first real flight. Pearse took off along the side of the Opihi River, turned left to fly over the 30' tall river bank, then turned right to fly parallel to the middle of the river. After flying nearly 1,000 yards, his engine began to overheat and lost power, thus forcing a landing way down the dry-ish riverbed. One of the locals, Arthur Tozer, was crossing the river at the time and was rather surprised to have Pearse fly right over his head!

Could it be simply that Pearse didn't feel his achievment counted as real flight at the time despite, from the article anyway, it seems that his orginial flight was similar to the Wright brothers flight, and made earlier.

Re:A quote on Richard Pearse (2, Interesting)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744216)

Could it be simply that Pearse didn't feel his achievment counted as real flight at the time

I imagine this might be because from the descriptions on the web site referenced, not a single flight ended in the craft being flight worthy. "Stuck in a gorse hedge" and "engine overheated and lost power" don't sound as if the plane could be taken back up into the air.

Now I might be incorrect (and this being Slashdot, I'm sure someone will correct me if am), but I don't believe the Wright Flier ended the "Historic" flight in a crash, or a forced landing. Perhaps that's why Pearse himself makes a distinction.

Accomplishments (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744055)

Take a time out to remember the accomplishments of two bicycle shop owners who changed the world immeasurably, 100 years ago today.

That's right, where would we be today without rubber tyres and saddles ...

NZ flight (4, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744057)

My understanding of the New Zeeland flight was that getting corroboration was difficult at best. The NZ inventor / pilot didn't get the word out, there weren't a whole lot of witnesses, and the plane doesn't exist anymore. If anything, the Wright brothers were much better publicists.

Re:NZ flight (1)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744141)

Actually, the Wright brothers attempted to reign in the reports of their flight. There were so few witnesses that the reports of those few witnesses were met with skepticism.

Wright Brothers == True Engineers (5, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744061)

What has always impressed me about the Wright brothers is that they were true engineers. Rather than tinker with bird-like models and pursue a try-it-and-crash-it development approach, they really decomposed the problem and systematically solved the major issues like power, lift, and control. They did not just build the first airplane, they designed it.

Re:Wright Brothers == True Engineers (5, Funny)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744086)

Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do.

Two wrongs don't make a right, but two Wrights made an airplane.

Re:Wright Brothers == True Engineers (1)

Gethsemane (733524) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744209)

That is the funniest thing I have ever heard. They basically made a glider that had to be sling-shotted to gain altitude and then it was such a poor design, underpowered, and so heavy it quickly glided back to earth. Look up Gustav Weisskopf. He was the true aviation pioneer with true engineering skillz, long before the wright bros managed to toddle their way through history.

Cue brazilian backlash! (-1, Troll)

BTWR (540147) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744063)

Here it comes... another mention of American Wright Brothers sucess, another whine from the Brazilian community that THEY have the first flier. Who really cares...

Re:Cue brazilian backlash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744124)

As a Brazilian, I think that the Santos Dummont flight was a break-thru, as the plane took flight with the whole machine by itself (not using any other external power to get on fly). Anyway, we can't take the credit of the Wright Brothers. Anyway, Santos Dummont was a Brazilian, but he did that on France... I really would preffer if it dit that here on Brazil...

Re:Cue brazilian backlash! (-1, Troll)

pcontezini (583243) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744189)

Actually as a brazilian too, i really believe he was the first, just because 14-bis was a plane, not that thing the wright brothers call a plane, witch acctualy was nothing better then an wing delta, launched with a catapult. There is some questions about the wright brothers flight: 1- WHY DID THE WRIGHT BROTHERS TRAVEL 500 MILES ONLY TO FLY? WAS IT NOT TO HAVE THE HELP OF THE UP WIND COMING FROM THE DUNES? 2? A PRIZE OF 100.000 DOLLARS WAS OFFERED IN 1904 IN ST. LOUIS EXPOSITION (USA) TO WHO FLEW IN AN AIRPLANE. IF THE WRIGHT BROTHERS COULD FLY IN 1903, WHY THEY DID NOT TRIED TO WIN THE PRIZE? 3 ? IF THE WRIGHT BROTHERS REALLY COULD FLY IN AN AIRPLANE IN 1903, WHY THEY PATENTED A GLIDER IN 1904 IN ENGLAND? (NUMBER OF THE PATENT: 6732) 4 ? WHEN IN PARIS, IN 1907, WHY DID THE WRIGHT BROTHERS NOT PRESENT THEMSELVES TO THE FRENCH AIRCLUB AND TO THE EUROPEAN PRESS? 5 ? WHERE ARE THE PROOFS OF THE WRIGHTS FLIGHTS BEFORE 1908???

TEH SPOKEMON!!~1` GOTTA CATCH EM ALL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744066)

Heavier than air (-1, Offtopic)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744067)

The Telegraph is running a story about a recreation of the Wright's (and world's) first heavier-than-air powered flight. President Bush will be in attendance at the event.

Yes, President Bush being heavy and full of air, he'll be the perfect choice to commemorate this event.

Fortean Times (4, Informative)

Talthane (699885) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744068)

For those in the UK or with a Fortean Times subscription, there was a lengthy article on the alternative claims to the Wright Brothers in last month's issue, including some more on Richard Pearce and several other claimants. It's an extremely thorough article, including photographs and sketches, and well worth a read if you're interested in the topic.

Fortean Times is here [forteantimes.com] if you've never heard of it before...

no way (1, Funny)

aarku (151823) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744101)

The Hindenburg burned because of hydrogen, shaking a Polaroid makes it develop, Marconi invented the radio, and the Wright Brothers invented the airplane!

Now some commie-pinko New Zelander tries to claim credit for one of the crowning achievements of Old Glory!?

It sounds like New Zealand needs to be "liberated" from these tyrants.

?transportation? in the gnu millennium? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744102)

get ?there? in the wink of an eye? get ready to see the vehicle? reboot is pending.

the daze of the execrabilious orwellian fuddite freemason corepirate nazi softwar gangster stock markup FraUDsters, is WANing into coolapps/the abyss, at the increasing speed of right.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators... you know where to look?

for each of the creators' innocents harmed, there is a badtoll that must/will be repaid by you/US, as the greed/fear/ego based perpetraitors of the life0cide against the planet/population, will not be available to make reparations.

It's really about more than getting off the ground (5, Insightful)

mirio (225059) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744116)

The Wrights created the *modern* airplane. The definition of controlled flight is take-off, inflight control, and landing. Just because someone else's design could leave the ground doesn't mean they were in *controlled* flight. Look at the Wright plane and then look at modern canard-style aircraft (e.g. Velocity Aircraft [velocityaircraft.com] . The premise of design is virtually unchanged.

The Wrights were engineers. Many people have the mistaken impression that they were just bumbling bicycle repairmen that got lucky or that they stumbled upon the right combination to be able to fly. This was simply not the case. The Wrights built the first wind tunnel that they used to test miniature airfoils (and consequently propellers).

The accomplishments of the Wrights cannot be dismissed as they flew an only slightly modifed flyer nonstop over 20 miles in 1906, the time that the Brazillians claim Alberto Santos Dumont achieved the 'real' first flight.

Well now (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744128)

Pull my finger

fist flight? (1)

BigGerman (541312) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744117)

The first heavier-than-air flight took place in Russia in 1880s. I am too lazy to look it up but I am sure others will.
So this thread is provided for your' all convinience ;-)

Re:fist flight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744244)

Heavier than air flights have taken place LONG before 1880 in Russia. Birds were doing it in the U.S. in 1850! So America wins...

Yet another local hero (1)

carndearg (696084) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744129)

The New Zealand aviator is not alone in the claims made for him.
If you ask a Brazilian, they'll probably tell you that Alberto Santos-Dumont [cunha.nom.br] was the first to fly.

I think I'll stick with the Wright brothers for now though.

Re:Yet another local hero (0)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744194)

and in connecticute there's Gustave Whitehead:
http://www.npr.org/features/feature.ph p?wfId=15500 31

Re:Yet another local hero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744243)

The main difference between Santos Dumont and the
Wright brothers is: Dumont's 14bis flight was
public. In Paris, with a press coverage and the
whole city as witness.

Meanwhile Wright's first flights were kept almost in
secret for some years.

Dumont's airplane had a engine, he didn't need a
catapult or be thrown down hill.

War (4, Interesting)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744138)

There was a very interesting article [guardian.co.uk] in The Guardian [guardian.co.uk] yesterday, looking at the darker side of the history of the airplane. A particularly striking quote:

When Wilbur Wright was asked, in 1905, what the purpose of his machine might be, he answered simply: "War." As soon as they were confident that the technology worked, the brothers approached the war offices of several nations, hoping to sell their patent to the highest bidder.

Re:War (2, Interesting)

MooCows (718367) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744171)

Well, he was right wasn't he?

Although patent litigations seem kind of hard to do in a war :P

Re:War (1)

darnok (650458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744179)

> As soon as they were confident that the technology
> worked, the brothers approached the war offices of
> several nations, hoping to sell their patent to
> the highest bidder.

Any follow ups available? Did any country actually express an interest? Given the Boer War was current news, I imagine a whole new type of war machine might have been considered rather interesting...

God forbid SCO is involved. "Hello, Mr Boeing? My name's Darl McBride and I've got some bad news for you"

Re:War (4, Informative)

virtual_mps (62997) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744185)

That was hardly a novel insight by the Wrights--balloons had been used for military operations for more than 50 years at that point. They were primarily used for observation and artillery spotting, but had also been used for bombing. This was seen as important enough a development that the Hague Peace Conference of 1899 banned the dropping of explosives from balloons. The Japanese were bombing from baloons during the Manchurian war of 1904-5--the same time as the Wright quote in the parent--so Wilbur's comments were hardly being made in a vacuum.

Google logo (5, Interesting)

jesser (77961) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744142)

Don't miss today's Google [google.com] logo.

Clement Ader flew back in 1890 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744145)

http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDet ail/assetid/28339

Google (0, Redundant)

arnoroefs2000 (122990) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744162)


Make sure you check out the Google [google.com] logo!

Oh, the irony (5, Interesting)

mirio (225059) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744167)

The irony of today's events in North Carolina is that Bush's attending of the events is shutting down all of the airports in the area because of a presidential movement TFR (temporary flight restriction)!

Presidential TFR [aopa.org]

The event coordinators have obtained special clearance for the Wright flyer to fly, along with the other planes for the airshows, etc.

Wrights NOT FIRST to fly! (0, Flamebait)

Gethsemane (733524) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744181)

Gustav Weisskopf (Whitehead) was actually the first person to fly in an airplane (controlled flight) many months earlier than the wright bros. In fact his aircraft design was so well engineered (German of course) that he helped steer the airplane using a clutch mechanism to slow one engine and give the 2nd engine more power.

Gustav Weisskopf's distances were also much longer than the slingshot effect the wright bros. had. Go do your google homework! ;-)

In addition the wright bros. spent the rest of their time suing people like Curtis who actually made real airplanes and had better aircraft inventions. Try looking up the contract between the smithonian and the wright bros concearning the airplane they have on display. Its an eye opener!

Santos-Dumont (4, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744201)

So, Richard Pearce may have flown a heavier-than-air craft a year earlier than the Wrights, but it was little publicized and did not have much of a follow-on.

Now, the other side of the coin.

I'm very surprised by the posters that say the Wright's flight was better publicized, because in fact the Wrights played their cards so close to the chest that, at the time, relatively few people heard of their flight.

Santos-Dumont's flight in October 23rd, 1906 in the "14-bis" took place very much in public, with the press and representatives of the French Aero Club in attendance, and was very widely attended. It was far more publicized than the Wright's flight and most people at the time thought it was the first heavier-than-air flight. To this day, there are still those (particularly, for some reason, French and Brazilians) who believe his flight is the one that should "count."

Really, what the Wright Brothers truly deserve credit for was the brilliant engineering, their aerodynamic studies, their wind tunnel work, their conceptualization of the problem as one of controllability rather than stability, and their conscious understanding of the importance of what would now be called a good "user interface." Their flight wasn't a stunt. Most important, unlike Santos-Dumont's flight, it did not depend on having a pilot of extraordinary skill.

Now, about Friese-Greene's invention of motion pictures...

Progress? (5, Insightful)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744219)

Seems a bittersweet celebration to me. Most of the major progress in aviation seems to have ended around the 1970s. After all, the most advanced space vehicle available, the space shuttle, was designed in the 1970s. The only supersonic passenger jet, the Concorde, was designed in the 1960s and is no longer flying. The largest commercial jet, the 747 (not sure about Airbuses) is old enough to have been in the movie "Airport 77". Although they have some newer planes, I believe the US military is still flying F-14s and F-15s, like back in the 70s. Where has the major progress, other than incremental improvements, been in the last 35 years? Is it just a matter of lack of funding, the economy, or a change of national and global priorities?

The Wrights (4, Interesting)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744222)

My earlier post seemed to bring the anti-Wrights out of the woodwork. To address some of their points.

1. It does not matter if someone else drew an airplane (Leonardo) or allegedly flew a few feet (Whitehead, et al). You have invented something WHEN THE THING ACTUALLY WORKS, not when you file a patent.

2. Every country seems to have its own local flying machine inventor. Good for you, .nz and .br! Why didn't your guys start an aircraft industry there? Perhaps they did not invent a USEFUL flying machine.

3. Taking off under its own power is not part of the definition of an airplane, so the fact the later Flyers used a catapult is not germane. F-14s don't take off with ony their own power from a carrier deck, do they?

4. The Wrights were reliably making long distance, cross country flights LONG before anyone else.

5. The Wrights invented the science of aerodynamics. That is, they did replicable experiments before anyone else figured out how.

Compared to all this, that Brazilian guy with his motorized balloon who buzzed around Paris is merely an endearing eccentric.

Re:The Wrights (1)

Gethsemane (733524) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744241)

LMAO, Weisskopf flew longer distances about 14 months before the wrights even had their airplane off the ground. Do your homework!

New Zealand first? maybe not (1)

samsmithnz (702471) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744231)

I'm a Kiwi myself, but my understanding is that while the Pearse did fly first, the Wright brothers were the first to have a CONTROLLED flight. I think I recall that Pearse cheated too, and used a hill...

First flight? (4, Insightful)

xA40D (180522) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744237)

Who invented the TV? Ask someone in America, Britain, and Germany, and you'll get three different answers.

Who invented powered flight? Well, the Wright brothers were probably the first to achieve sucess in this area, but they didn't invent it. There were people all over the world attemting to master powered flight. Ideas circulated, individuals pulled these ideas together in an effort to get their machines to fly. People failed. People died trying. Perhaps people even suceeded. But 100 years ago the Wright brothers did suceed and told the world.

The way I see it, inventions are of their time. No one person can claim all the glory for anything. Sure, let's celebrate the Wright Brothers, but let's also celebrate the human spirit which drives such people whether they suceed or not. If we do that then it really does not matter one bit if the Wright Brothers really were first, or merely one of the first.

Patent and Wright (4, Informative)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744239)

There is an excellent article [nytimes.com] in the NYtimes about this anniversary that talks about who was first in what. The last paragraph is enlightening regarding the danger of patents:

In the end, the advance they made in flight technology was quickly squandered. European aviators lost little time in following the Wrights into the air. The brothers did receive a patent on their stabilization system in 1906, and they spent years trying to enforce it on both sides of the Atlantic. They were particularly zealous in going after American infringers - and the divisive, protracted court battles may have slowed down the commercialization of the plane on this side of the Atlantic. As one government official in 1917 put it, the brothers' lawsuits caused the country to fall "from first place to last of all the great nations in the air" - not exactly the stuff of legends.

oksala (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7744246)

These mashed potatos taste like ass.

I love the taste of ass.

Wright Brothers conspiracy (4, Funny)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 10 years ago | (#7744258)

If you look carefully at the Kittyhawk photographs you can see the shadow of two different light sources AND they forgot to put stars in the sky! Obviously the whole thing was shot on a Hollywood sound stage and Man has never flown!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...