Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Wright Stuff

It was 102 years ago today, just a short flight, but it got the whole flying thing started. The Wrights were geniuses of practical engineering, and what they accomplished in a few years of systematic and persistent study and experimentation is simply amazing. Their business sense did not quite match their engineering ability, and they subsequently spent a lot of time and effort trying to protect their key ideas legally while their competition simply took them as a starting point and ran with them.

My favorite Wright Brothers book (pictured) happens to be a book for young readers, but it's really a great piece of writing and it has wonderful illustrations. It's a quick read that really lets you appreciate the scope of their accomplishment as well as their humanity, with enough details to make them come alive.

P.S. I just noticed that Mark Paton has an Orbiter add-on for the Wright Flyer and Kill Devil Hill, the site of the first flight! Mark has actually created a wide range of historic and/or unusual add-ons for Orbiter, as you can see in an author search for Paton on

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