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Famous Pilots: The Wright Brothers

Written by on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

When looking at the history of aircraft, everything starts with the Wright brothers. They are commonly revered as the fathers of modern aerospace technology, as their inventions revolutionized air travel.

Contrary to popular belief, the Wright brothers were not the first people to master flight. Hot air balloons were invented in the 1700s, and several other inventors also tried their hand at creating flying machines. What made the Wright brothers distinct from all other would-be record-breakers is the bicycle. Yes, surprisingly enough, the bicycle is what allowed the Wright brothers to change history.

A surge in the popularity of bicycles encouraged Wilbur and Orville Wright to open their own bicycle repair shop, which they maintained for years. While their profession related to bicycles, their passion was in aeronautics. At that time, around the 1890s, people from all over the world were gradually making advances in flight technology. Gliders, steam-powered aircraft, and similar devices were being used around the world to make history.

Despite all of these advances, however, the emerging aircraft were unwieldy at best and impossible to control at worst, and many first pilots lost their lives to these unstable machines. The Wright brothers genuinely believed that it would be possible to create a stable aircraft that could be controlled with enough patience and skill, a bit like riding a bicycle. They thought that aircraft just needed to be designed in such a way that buy cialis online 40 mg they could be balanced, and the pilot simply needed to learn the tricks of keeping an aircraft aloft.

The two brothers began their experiments with large kites, which led to a somewhat unexpected discovery. Whenever the wings of the kites became bent or warped, it would result in increased lift or drag. From there, the brothers developed the three-axis control system, which allowed the pilot to control the pitch, roll, and yaw of an aircraft. They predicted that these controls should allow a pilot to maintain complete control over his aircraft.

The three-axis control system proved to be revolutionary in that it completely opened the window to controlled flight. While it has been improved upon over the years, the Wright brothers’ control system can be found in virtually every modern fixed wing aircraft. Over time, they improved the lift-to-drag ratios of their gliders, resulting in an aircraft that could fly indefinitely, provided that it was windy enough.

For a time, the Wright brothers actually struggled to gain recognition. Many people doubted their claims, the newspapers did not give them proper coverage, and they avoided most public flights because they feared that others would steal their design. Eventually, though, they proved to the world that they had indeed created the first controllable aircraft and were propelled into the public spotlight. Ever since then, the Wright brothers have been legendary figures in the world of flight technology.

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