Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Wright Stuff

Today (December 17) is Wright Brothers Day here in the U.S. of A.  It was on this day, 108 years ago, that Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully flew their heavier-than-air, mechanically-propelled and pilot-controlled aircraft for a whole 12 seconds (covering 120 feet) at an altitude of roughly 10 feet above the sands of Kill Devil Hills at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  Subsequent trials that day covered approximately 175 and 200 feet of powered, controlled flight. Pretty good for a couple of bicycle shop owners from Dayton, Ohio, following three years of glider experiments at Kitty Hawk.

First Mechanically-Powered, Pilot-Controlled Airplane Flight
(Orville Wright at the controls; Wilbur Wright
running alongside the right wing)
December 17, 1903, Kitty Hawk, N.C.
(Photo courtesy of NASA)

This airplane, the Wright Flyer I, is on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.  You should go there to see it.

Few inventions have changed human society (and history) to the extent of this particular achievement.  Every human should marvel at being able to fly like winged dinners.  It's frankly amazing that humans can become aloft at all, given their considerable bulk and general slow-wittedness (as compared to felines).  But they did, and for slightly over a century they are still flitting about in the air.  It's a pretty impressive feat by any measure.

So, hats off to Wilbur and Orville Wright on this day of their great triumph over gravity!  Wilbur, by the way, was a native Hoosier.  Yep--born in Millville, Indiana (Henry County) in 1867.  You can look it up. Too bad he died in 1912, before powered air flight became common-place. Orville was born in 1871 in Dayton, Ohio, so he was a native Buckeye, like James Thurber and Scowl-Face's mom.  So he was in good company.

Orville lived to see jet aircraft and rudimentary rockets (he died in 1948), which must have fired his imagination.  What the Wrights accomplished certainly has fired the imaginations of generations of humans.  We felines are pretty darn impressed, too.

Flying Felines Would Make a Great Name For a Rock Band--Just Saying,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Holiday Observances News Beat

(With apologies to Dave Barry for appropriating one of his jokes for my tag line.)

P.S.  As my musical closer to today's post, I could have used "Jet Airliner" by the Steve Miller Band from the group's album Book of Dreams (1977). Sadly, it has a curse word rather prominently in it, which makes it not-so-family-friendly.  So let's grab one of the Byrds' stranger songs, "2-4-2 Fox Trot (the Lear Jet Song)," which was included on the band's LP, Fifth Dimension (1966).

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