One of the most exhilarating experiences in human history occurred on December 17, 1903 - a man first flew in a powered, controllable airplane. At last, the third dimension had become available to man's mobility.
Humans, in the three million years of evolution, have gazed at the flight of birds with wonder and jealousy. In their fantasies, they have endowed lions, horses, angels and even gods with wings indicating the high esteem that wings commanded. Now, common man had joined this illustrious group with his own real wings. The 1903 Wright Flyer possessed all of the technical features necessary for powered, manned controlled flight that had eluded others for centuries. It did require considerable skill by the pilot, so much so that no precise replica has been successfully flown since that eventful day. The aircraft ran 40 feet along a wooden starting rail on level ground and then rose into the air. It flew 120 feet in 12 seconds. This was the first flight in history in which a machine carrying a man had raised itself by its own power into the air, had flown forward under control without a reduction in speed and had landed at a point as high as that from which it had started. The era of flight had begun.
The Los Angeles Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics has taken the challenge to repeat that event. We have built a precise replica for the purpose of acquiring thorough full scale aerodynamic data from tests in the NASA Ames Research Center 80 x 120 foot wind tunnel at Moffet Field, Mt. View, CA,. The data will make practical a more stable near-replica which can be flown with confidence and can thereby recreate the thrilling sight of man's first powered, controlled flight.
The pages in this section detail our work to develop and build an accurate replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer that was tested in the NASA Ames wind tunnel. Once the first airplane was completed, we toured California schools, speaking to students about the Wright Brothers. In addition to the full-scale wind tunnel test, we performed various engineering analyses and tests to characterize the 1903 Flyer. These studies were documented in numerous articles, technical papers, and presentations in peer-reviewed scientific journals, popular magazines, and engineering symposia.
Additionally, we are building a second, flyable replica that will be ready for public flight for the 100th anniversary of the first flight.
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