11 thoughts on “30 January 1948

  1. Bryan, I always start my day with a cup of Java (wake-up) and reading your page (engage brain). Wouldn’t it be more apropos to list Orv as co-inventor of the airplane? Love your page.

  2. Lets get this straight, the Wright Brothers did not invent the airplane (SIC). They got hold of the research carried out by many people before them (e.g. Lawrence Hargrave) and created a stable and controllable aircraft. They (OK through their ‘patents’) then refused to share that information with anyone and tried to sue the hell out of anyone that tried to innovate in aviation, causing the development of aviation in the US to fall behind that what was happening in Europe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_brothers_patent_war

      1. Exactly. What the Wrights did well was to acquire a lot of the research that had been carried out up to that time and put it together as a working package.

        1. The Oxford Dictionary defines invent as “to produce or design something that has not existed before.” Please cite an example of a manned, controllable, powered airplane that existed prior to the Wright Flyer.

          1. The Wrights studied all the prior research did a lot of their own. The substantial wind tunnel /wing shape research they did proved prior lift research was incorrect, and they designed their airplane based on the new data.
            Their 3 axis control with wing warping was novel. There were no suitable engines available at the time so they engineered their own. Additionally, their application of the concept of lift to the performance of a propeller was unique. Their propellers were remarkably efficient.

          2. May I?

            a.) Clement Aders “Eole I” in 1890, 160ft “endurance”, one documented flight.
            b.) Gustave Whitehead “#21”, 1901 in Fairfield, Ct. Connecticut recently passed a law concerning the “first in flight” claim.
            c.) Karl Jatho, “Jathodrachen”, Hannover, August 1903.

            Now if you say “controllable” – there is a lot of dispute if the Flyer I was actually controllable, AFAIK no replica was able to really fly, there were even casualties (!) in trying so (a replica of the #21 btw flew).
            The first Wright flight beyond doubt was in 1908 with the Flyer III.

            Also, and this is sth i totally condemn, there is this shady agreement with the Smithsonian to the detriment of Mr Whitehead (conviently contracted in 1948, shortly after the war in a time filled with anti-german sentiment – since Gustav Weisskopf was german born).

            tl,dr: I wouldn´t call the Wright Brothers _THE_ inventors; I say they were _among_ all those pioneers.

          3. I wrote about Mr. Eder’s flight at: https://www.thisdayinaviation.com/9-october-1890/ Was his machine an “airplane”? Subject to debate, I suppose. I am unaware of ANY EVIDENCE to support Whitehead’s claim. Karl Jatho? Maybe. But the Wright Brothers’ flight was repeatable, in that they made four flights that first day. Who made the first flight of a manned, powered, controllable, airplane will always be debated, I suppose. But it seems to me that the best anyone can say of the others us that they “might have happened.” There is no doubt that Wright’s flight DID.

  3. Well, that one picture that allegedly shows the 260m flight ( https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/72/WrightFlyer4thFlight.jpg ) IS disputed. I too think this is not a Flyer 1 in 1903, but a Flyer 3 in 1907 or 1908.

    But pls don´t get me wrong. I´m not here to malign the Wrights. They contributed a lot to powered flight. What i do not like is the “hype” around them, and especially that very shady contract with the Smithsonian – that one really put a dent on their legacy.

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