Home History The morning of the first powered flight

The morning of the first powered flight

by Chris Butsch
“My disease has increased in severity and I feel that it will soon cost me an increased amount of money if not my life,” wrote Wilbur Wright in 1900, referring to his irrational obsession with powered flight.

“My disease has increased in severity and I feel that it will soon cost me an increased amount of money if not my life,” wrote Wilbur Wright in 1900, referring to his irrational obsession with powered flight.

The weather in Kill Devil Hills on the morning of Dec. 17, 1903, was unpleasant: freezing, with a 27 mph headwind. Still, the Wright Brothers took flight; Orville flew for 12 seconds and Wilbur for 59. After landing, powerful winds flipped the Wright Flyer and destroyed it.

Thankfully, they’d invited five witnesses and photographed the event. Orville restored the Flyer for museum display.

Chris Butsch

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