Fall is almost here. The trees are getting ready to dazzle us once again with their colorful transformation. Then the show will come to an end, and each leaf will say farewell and glide gently to the ground.
Gliding on the wind was once a feat reserved for leaves and a few seemingly magical creatures until Orville and Wilbur Wright came along and expanded man’s capacity to glide on the air. It took a lot of research, a lot of patience, and lot of practice. Then, as if in harmony with the leaves floating gently on a breeze and softly touching down to earth, in the autumn of 1902, magical things happened for the Wright brothers.
After numerous hours of wind tunnel testing, the wings of the glider they built in 1902 were longer and narrower and the airfoil was thinner, making it more efficient. Another innovation was a vertical rudder on the rear of the glider, which improved lateral control. The Wright brothers now had an aircraft with a three-dimensional control system. This was a tremendously important breakthrough. Wilbur Wright remarked, “Our new machine is a very great improvement over anything…anyone has built. Everything is so much more satisfactory that we now believe that the flying problem is really nearing solution.”
During September & October of 1902, the brothers made between 700 and 1,000 glides. Flights of 500 feet became routine and a few even went beyond 600 feet. Orville proclaimed of their success, “We now hold all records!” It was a magical autumn for the Wright brothers. We’re hoping this year is magical for you too, as you Invent yourself.