Tuesday, October 18, 2016


From time immemorial the idea that man should fly has been with us.  Unfortunately, the earliest technology did not make for long and sustained flight.  The attempts lasted only long enough to reach the site of the crash.  From Daedalus, and his son Icarus, through Leonardo DiVinci, past the Montgolfiers, past Lilienthal and Langley, until we find two brothers name Wright the ability for controlled flight escaped mankind.
What Orville and Wilbur discovered was it took three things for flight.  The first was the ability to control the craft on the three axis we call pitch (up and down from centerline), roll (rotation around the centerline), and yaw (angular movement left and right of centerline), the second was an engine powerful enough to propel the craft with sufficient speed to overcome the force of gravity, and the third and most important was the skill to manage the first two. 
They learned pretty quickly after those first flights at Kitty Hawk that flying was not as simple as stepping into the craft, starting it up, and taking off.  It took discipline, understanding and practice.  And as with most things in the human experience time has taught us some are better at flying than others.
In the course of sixty or so years man went from the efforts of Orville and Wilbur to get a few feet off the earth, to settling a craft on the moon.  We went from walking speeds to escape velocity.  We built aircraft with increasing complexity and size such that we could carry the entire Wright Family, along with their flyer, across the ocean in a few hours if we chose.
In the following fifty years we have refined some things, but flight has become so common place it no longer holds our collective fascination as it once did.  That is a shame, for there is much we have missed.

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