8. December 2011 00:00
It's December, which means Wright Brothers Day is coming up to commemorate the Wright brothers' first successful flight in heavier-than-air, mechanically propelled craft. The feat was accomplished on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
At the turn of the last century, after much time spent observing birds in flight, Orville and Wilbur experimented at Kitty Hawk with kites, gliders, and a wind tunnel they built to test wing design. They are given credit for building the world's first successful airplane with aircraft controls that enabled them to steer the plane. That first aircraft, named Flyer, made its maiden flight for 12 seconds and 120 feet (about 36-37 meters).
In 1905, the Wright brothers built an airplane that could fly for more than half an hour at a time. Three years later, Orville made the world's first flight of over one hour at Fort Myer, Virginia, in a demonstration for the U.S. army. That same year Wilbur made over 100 flights near Le Mans, France; the longest one, on Dec. 31, a record flight: 2 hours, 19 minutes.
The brothers never married. Wilbur Wright died at age 45 of typhoid. Orville Wright died of a heart attack at age 77.
Here, in honour of the Wright brothers, we take a look at flight over time. See if you can spot some well-known political figures boarding (or leaving) the planes.