Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wright Brothers Memorial

We spent three nights in Kill Devil Hills, home to Kitty Hawk where the first successful flight of a glider occured.

Most everytime I get on a plane, I am amazed at the fact that such a large piece of metal can get up in the air and stay there. Just the concept amazes me. I found the story surrounding the Wright Brothers to be amazing and I enjoyed this Memorial much more than I thought I would.

The hill where the Memorial is locate is not the actual location where the first flight occured as I had always thought. Below you can see the hill.

The Memorial itself is quite impressive and I wish I had paid more attention to what was engraved on the large monument. I have gone back and googled it (I love the Internet!) and determined that the inscription says: "In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur & Orville Wright Conceived by Genius achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable Faith." I knew that two of the three squared off corners had the words "faith" and "genius" but I could not determine from my photos what was on the third corner. It was "by".

The statues of the brothers are copies as the originals have had a rough life. They have been vandalized and stolen more than once. Why would someone do that?

The monument was constructed for the 25th anniversary of the first flight.

The actual flights occured just below the hill, the first three being very short. The fourth attempt is the one that lasted long enough to meet the requirements to be considered successful. The distance of the four attempts are marked where they occured. The Wright brothers used a rail to help in propelling their glider and you can see it there at the location.

Inside the visitor center, they have a replica of the glider they built and used. Below, a ranger is telling the story of the Wright brothers. It seems their mother, a mathmatics wiz and their teacher, had a lot of influence in their exploration. One of their best attributes was that they would not give up.

They would lie on the ground and watch birds and how the birds would tip their wings for control. The mathmatical equations they came up with and basic design of the glider are very close to what we still use today, over a hundred years past that historical first flight.

In honor of the 100 anniversary of that first flight, this sculpture was added to the park where children climb on and pretend they are flying on the glider. Just imagine lying there, controling the glider with your hips, feet and hands.

The flight was also captured on a camera, operated by a man who had never taken a photo in his life. He is also included in the sculpture.

Next time you take a ride on a plane, think about these two brothers who had a dream and kept pursuing it. Sometimes I am not sure if we still have that grit it takes to keep working on something, but I sure hope we do....solving medical problems and energy issues.

Today, I was reading an article about the France Airlines plane that went down a couple of years ago. It was telling that lift was lost....one of the concepts the Wright Brothers determined was necessary for flight.

I imagine that even if the Wright Brothers had failed, someone would have eventually figured out how man could fly. The Wright Brothers are the ones that did it and I say thank you! Imagine how different our world would be if we did not fly, something we take for granted today.

1 comment:

Joyce said...

Great post, so interesting