Anniversary of the First Successful Airplane

On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made four brief flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina with their first powered aircraft. The Wright brothers had just then invented the first successful airplane. They were two American aviators, engineers, and inventors and in 1904 through 1905 they developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft.

Both brothers attended high school, but did not receive diplomas. The family moving from Richmond, Indiana to Dayton, Ohio prevented Wilbur from receiving his diploma after finishing four years of high school. Orville dropped out of high school after his junior year to start a printing business in 1889 after designing and building his own printing press with Wilbur’s help. Wilbur joined the print shop, and in March of 1889, the brothers launched a newspaper, the West Side News.

After opening the print shop, the brothers capitalized on the national bicycle craze, in December 1892 the brothers opened a repair and sales shop and in 1896 began manufacturing their own brand. In May of 1899, Wilbur wrote a letter to the Smithsonian Institution requesting information and publications about aeronautics. Taking inspiration from Sir George Cayley, Chanute, Lilienthal, Leonardo da Vinci, and Langley, the brothers began their mechanical aeronautical experimentation that year.

The Wright Brothers put their first experiment in aeronautics to the test in 1899 by building and flying a biplane kite with a five-foot wingspan. They would later move on to gliders in the 1900s. In 1903, the brothers built the powered Wright Flyer I, using their preferred material for construction, spruce. They also designed and carved their own wooden propellers, and had a tailored gasoline engine fabricated in their bicycle shop. The Wright Brothers took to the air on December 17, 1903, making two flights each from level ground into a freezing headwind. Their attitude was about 10 feet above the ground.

Flying has evolved through the years: planes, jets, rockets, and now even drones. Junction City Middle School currently has 16 Parrot Mambo mini-drones that can be coded through apps to fly.  The school is using these drones during PACK Time (MTSS) as an enrichment class for students who are interested in coding.  They also use them in the Robotics class as their final unit for the semester.  JCMS starts with basic coding where students actually create and code their own remote controls on a tablet to control the drones by the end.  They are given challenges to complete with their drones such as obstacle courses and games like darts.

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