Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines

Tomorrow marks the 106th anniversary of man's affair with flight.  Orville and Wilbur Wright developed fixed wing aircraft, as well as the controls that provide heavier-than-air powered flight.  On December 17, 1903, the brothers took their Wright Flyer I to Kitty Hawk flatland, and after many attempts succeeded in their quest for flight.
Following repairs, the Wrights finally took to the air on December 17, 1903, making two flights each from level ground into a freezing headwind gusting to 27 miles per hour (43 km/h). The first flight, by Orville, of 120 feet (37 m) in 12 seconds, at a speed of only 6.8 miles per hour (10.9 km/h) over the ground, was recorded in a famous photograph. The next two flights covered approximately 175 feet (53 m) and 200 feet (61 m), by Wilbur and Orville respectively. Their altitude was about 10 feet (3.0 m) above the ground.  (Wiki)

In honor of the anniversary, here's a video of the Wright Brothers in France, 1908, demonstrating their new flying machine.

(via Wired)

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Not diminishing the Wright Brothers's definite contribution to the aviation history, the post should also honor Alberto Santos-Dumont, as he " (...) made the first European public flight of an airplane on October 23, 1906. Designated 14-bis or Oiseau de proie (French for "bird of prey"), the flying machine was the first fixed-wing aircraft officially witnessed to take off, fly, and land."

Do you think they knew about excess baggage charge back then?
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Lots of people back then even in Europe and the United States had never even seen mechanised propulsion on any kind of craft, let alone an airplane. And then these bicycle-repair-men wih their incredible flying machine came flying by. And only 7 years after when this video was filmed, people started killing eachother with aircraft that were, ever more complicated and sophisticated. Mechanisation took off- Big Time.
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