Revealing article on the beginning of manned flight

American Scientist Online looks back at one of its articles from November-December 2003
Volume 91, Number 6, entitled First in Flight? by David Schneider. It includes the fascinating story of the Wright Brothers famous first flight aircraft residing in the Science Museum in London from 1928 to 1948.

Here’s what the Science Museum say in Nine Things You Didn’t Know About the Science Museum

2. The Wright flyer, the world’s first heavier than air aircraft to fly, was originally displayed at the Science Museum. Orville Wright refused to donate the aircraft to the Smithsonian museum, instead loaning it to the Science Museum in 1928. The Science Museum had a replica of the aircraft built (on display in the Flight gallery) before returning the original to the Smithsonian in 1948.

Here’s the much longer, and instructive, First in Flight? article that puts the Wright Brothers achievements in the context of earlier attempts at flight,

1904 WrightFlyer

Orville in flight over Huffman Prairie in Wright Flyer II on November 16, 1904.

The centennial of the Wright brothers’ famous first flight in 1903 fast approaches. As part of the commemoration, the Smithsonian is opening a special exhibition in which the Wright Flyer, the brothers’ pioneering airplane, will be displayed at eye level at the National Air and Space Museum, allowing the interested public to take a close look. On December 17th, exactly 100 years after the fact, at least one of several replicas of the Wright Flyer will attempt a repeat performance over the dunes near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, with some 25,000 spectators expected to be in attendance. Those organizing various aspects of the national celebration have, of course, had to grapple with a century-old question, one of particular importance at this great moment of national pride: Were the Wright brothers really the first human beings to fly?

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