View Full Version : The Wright stuff simply not enough

18th Dec 2003, 22:20
Fri "The Australian"

The Wright stuff simply not enough
By James Bone at The Times
December 19, 2003

Despite a century of flying experience, mankind failed on Wednesday to duplicate the feat of the two brothers from Ohio who launched the great adventure of powered flight.

An attempt to mark the centenary of the Wright brothers' achievement by re-enacting their historic flight near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, ended in a flop when a replica of their rudimentary flying machine skidded into a puddle in the middle of a muddy field.

The nose of the wood-and-cloth aircraft lifted up as the twin propellers powered the plane down the wooden take-off rail, but it never got off the ground. When the track ended, the plane slumped on to one wing in a pool of water. Organisers, who spent three years building the plane, blamed low wind for the plane's failure to get airborne. As it began its take-off attempt, the headwind dropped to 6-7 knots - less than the 10 knots required.

The pilot, Kevin Kochersberger, an engineering professor, dropped his head as he climbed off the plane, but later laughed as it was hoisted on to the track.

The re-enactment of Orville Wright's pioneering 12-second, 120ft flight in Wright Flyer, with his brother Wilbur running alongside, was to have been the climax of a six-day festival attended by tens of thousands of people, including astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and John Glenn, and actor-cum-pilot John Travolta.

The celebration, with skydiving demonstrations, was a far cry from the scene at the original flight, which was witnessed by five residents and reported only in the local newspaper.

To demonstrate the value of the invention of flight, President Bush came to the site aboard Air Force One and a helicopter. Mr Bush hailed the Wright brothers - high-school dropouts who ran a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio - as a symbol of American ingenuity.

"The Wright brothers' invention belonged to the world, but the Wright brothers belonged to America," he said. "We take special pride in the discipline and persistence, optimism and imagination of people like them."

Just eight weeks before the Wright brothers' first flight, Mr Bush noted, a New York Times editorial cautioned that all attempts at manned flight were doomed because, "to build a flying machine would require the combined and continuous efforts of mathematicians and mechanicians from 1 million to 10 million years."


Fri "The Australian"

Wrong and a Wright way
By Jeremy Roberts
December 19, 2003

As replicas of the Wright brothers' first flyer crashed to ground this week in the US, an Adelaide couple say they have the answer to what the Americans have done wrong.

They have also built a replica which they are confident will be the first Wright Flyer to take to the sky successfully since the original in December 1903.

The American replicas have been seen this week to rise sharply after take-off and then crash to earth.

"I was quite horrified to see what we saw on the television," said John Delaney, a retired aircraft engineer of 30 years' experience.

After spending the past year building a Wright Flyer replica with help from his wife, Christine, Mr Delaney said he could see what the Americans had done wrong: "On the upper surface of the wing you see the fabric lift away from the wing structure ... it changes the lift and it happens very quickly."

While researching the original aircraft, Mr Delaney found a design note indicating that the wing fabric was laced to the ribs of the wing, allowing it to both slide across the wing and stay attached during take-off.

Mr Delaney piloted the replica up to a couple of centimetres above the ground this week as it was towed behind a vehicle.

Mr Delaney is waiting for cooler weather and a steady headwind to attempt his first unaided flight.


Wright Stuff
19th Dec 2003, 07:37
I take offence at that title......

bitter balance
19th Dec 2003, 09:00
There was a great show on Foxtel on Tues night on the Wright Brothers and the attempts to fly replicas of the 03 flyer. In it one of the replicas did successfully fly (the other one wasn't really a replica, more like a tribute). It also showed footage of a replica flying in the 70s. The second article is not completely accurate!

compressor stall
19th Dec 2003, 12:28
Wonder if the replica of the longer powered flight several months before Messers Wright would have had the same problem?

If I had to bet, i'd say not!

19th Dec 2003, 12:59
Sure it didnt fly but under different conditions it probably would.

The original design did have some instability but just remember this folks; Wilbur and Orville designed some craft around the formula for "Lift" derived from Otto Lilienthal.
Lilienthal got the formula wrong and through the sheer genius of inventing their own wind tunnel, refined and modified what is now used as the correct lift formula.

The Wright flyer was designed around this and to boot a lightweight engine (made from Aluminium) was designed specifically for flight in mind.

Crap headline by the journo's as usual but their attempt to sully the efforts of many or the first man-made flight has failed dismally.

20th Dec 2003, 21:35
Wrights had a big advantage, they weren't trying to fly on a particular day! They had the advantage of waiting for a day suitable for the flight.

By coincidence I was reading a nice article in Pilot for DEC93 about the 90th anniversary and it mentions Giancarlo Zanardo (http://www.timetofly.it/pg-ttf3-calendario%20ING.htm) (about whom a google finds many references in Italian...) who seems to have been flying a good-looking flyer for a decade. In the article it's shown flying without the wheels also.

Quote from the article
By the end of the morning Wilbur had achieved a 59-second 852-foot flight, before a gust recked the parked Flyer. I wonder if they went on to invent tie-downs?

The Europeans really invented aircraft, unfortunately not flying ones