|Early History of Flight|
|Part 2: 19th And 20th Century Flight Efforts|
1891 Otto Lilienthal
German engineer, Otto Lilienthal, studied aerodynamics and worked to design a glider that would fly. Otto Lilienthal was the first person to design a glider that could fly a person and was able to fly long distances.
Otto Lilienthal was fascinated by the idea of flight. Based on his studies of birds and how they fly, he wrote a book on aerodynamics that was published in 1889 and this text was used by the Wright Brothers as the basis for their designs.
After more than 2500 flights, Otto Lilienthal was killed when he lost control because of a sudden strong wind and crashed into the ground.
Samuel Langley received a $50,000 grant to build a full sized aerodrome. It was too heavy to fly and it crashed. He was very disappointed. He gave up trying to fly. His major contributions to flight involved attempts at adding a power plant to a glider. He was also well known as the director of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.
Model of Langley Aerodrome
Octave Chanute published "Progress in Flying Machines" in 1894. It gathered and analyzed all the technical knowledge that he could find about aviation accomplishments. It included all of the world's aviation pioneers. The Wright Brothers used this book as a basis for much of their experiments. Chanute was also in contact with the Wright Brothers and often commented on their technical progress.
Wright Brothers - First Flight
The early engine that they used generated almost 12 horsepower.
"Flyer" lifted from level ground to the north of Big Kill Devil Hill, at
10:35 a.m., on December 17, 1903. Orville piloted the plane which weighed
six hundred and five pounds.
Humankind was now able to fly! During the next century, many new airplanes and engines were developed to help transport people, luggage, cargo, military personnel and weapons. The 20th century's advances were all based on this first flight at Kitty Hawk by the American Brothers from Ohio.
Next page > The Wright Brothers