History of Flight - Summary

Ever since 1878, when their father brought home a toy helicopter powered by a rubber band, Wilbur Wright, and his brother Orville, wanted to fly.

Before the Wright brothers, no one but mythical characters flew. Invented flying machines didn't work properly because they could not be controlled in flight. Even Will and Orville had a seven-year struggle. Concepts we take for granted today - how to use lift, thrust, weight and drag to fly - were not common knowledge before 1903.

Few people can actually change the world, but Will and Orville did. A Kitty Hawk curator once summarized their influence: “Before the Wright Brothers, no one in aviation did anything fundamentally right. Since the Wright Brothers, no one has done anything fundamentally different.”

In this story about the history of flight, meet Wilbur and Orville. See their Dayton bike shop and learn how they used tools of their trade to create products of the future. Watch animations to understand controlled flight. Examine pictures of the first powered flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Meet others who built on the Wrights’ foundation, such as Robert Goddard (a rocket pioneer) and Wernher von Braun (who studied Goddard’s work). Look at the first plane to break the sound barrier (the X-1) and see what happened at the moment Chuck Yeager, its pilot, made the jump to mach speed. Watch President Kennedy as he challenges his country to send a man to the moon before the end of the 1960s.

Examine the space race, when America and the Soviet Union tried to out-do each other. Meet Yuri Gagarin and Valentina Tereshkova, the first man and woman in space. See the first spy photo taken from an American satellite. Take a virtual trip with some of the Mercury Seven astronauts, including Alan Shepard and John Glenn.

Uncover the disaster of Apollo 1, when three astronauts died in a command-module fire. Hitch a ride on Apollo 11 as it made its way to the moon. Discover what happened to Apollo 13, hear Jim Lovell’s famous words (“Houston, we’ve had a problem”) and track how NASA’s team (on the ground and in space) averted catastrophe.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Nov 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Nov 09, 2016

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"History of Flight" AwesomeStories.com. Nov 01, 2002. Jul 17, 2018.
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