There are some interesting lessons we can learn from the Wright Brothers especially having to do with persistence.
There were people throughout the world who were interested in the science of flight, but none with the determination and methodical persistence of Orville and Wilbur Wright. These two brothers didn’t have the luyxury of some rich and financial backers so t hey had to make their own way financially . Orville had a modest printing b usiness t hat he developed into a newspaper. Then when someone invented a bicycle with two wheels the same size rather than one large and t he back wheel small, t he Wright brothers opened a bike shop in which they assembled, sold and repaired bikes.
With an early interest in flight, Orville read with interest about the death of Otto Lilienthal, an aspiring glider pilot. Reading about the glider crash that caused Otto’s death, Orville concluded that some improvements needed to be made that would enable the pilot to have improved control and wings that would provide a lift. He concluded also that a successful flying machine would need an engine. That seems rat her obvious today as we see present day flying machines but not yet conceived in that day.
The Wright brother first built a winged glider and developed a control system while having it pulled against the wind. When t hey learned to control the pitch of t he two winged glider and introduced a r udder for steering, they knew they were ready to introduce a power system. Back at the bicycle shop, they built a light-weight engine.
In December 1903, the newly constructed bi-plane was ready for test. Wilbur was chosen as pilot and Orville steadied the wings for take off. The airplane flew off of the launching rail and rose sharply but stalled and sank into t he sand.
After some repairs and with Orville taking his t urn as pilot, a second flight was attempted. This time the plane stayed in the air 12 seconds and landed safely. They then knew they were on their way to success. They built another plane in which they were able to take off and land multiple times.
Some might have stopped there and let others do t he manufacturing bu instead they continued to improve their model and soon developed a passenger seat and sold plane rides to raise money for improved models. The army became interested in the Wright’s successful machine and their request, the Wright brothers added space for the pilot and a passenger. They built two plane with these features. The continuous improved models stayed in the air alonger and longer amazint t he growing crowds below them.
Always improving on what they had accomplished, the Wright brothers set up a company to manufacture and sell airplanes and to train pilots. By 1909, the Wright brothers were national heros and received an award from the President of the United States.
From humble beginnings and determination to succeed the Wright brothers with years in the making and invention of the airplane has led to technology that has led to the exploration of space and has literally changed the world.
Gregory B. Anderson–director