Kill Devil Hills- The Wright Brothers Slip the bonds of Earth
By author Joseph J. O’Donnell
For our series promoting manned space exploration and human colonization of our solar system The Arts and Entertainment Magazine wanted to take America’s story back in time to it’s true beginning. We decided to visit Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the location of this country’s first true pioneers of manned flight…..the Wright Brothers.
Orville and Wilbur Wright wanted a site that provided isolation, high dunes, strong winds, and soft landings. The stretch of beach between Kitty Hawk and Nags Head on North Carolina’s Outer Banks proved to be an excellent choice. Their predecessors for this quest included George Cayley, Alphonse Penaud, Otto Lilienthal, and Octave Chanute, but none of these men achieved powered flight. All their machines were based on gliders or flew with the power of brute strength. The Wrights also experimented with gliders but with of the advancement of gasoline engines, the Wright Brothers were able to combine this to their craft to make powered flight feasible.
They built a small hanger and Quarters/ Workshop on the site to develop their experiments. The first attempt was made on December 14th, 1903 and ended with their craft crashing shortly after takeoff. They used a starting track as there were no wheels on the plane. The power for it was a self-made 12-horse power engine and a propeller they designed themselves, but they rose too quickly, causing the craft to stall and nosedive into the sand. The second attempt was made three days later, after some repairs, and their craft flew for 175 feet. Two more attempts followed and it flew first for fifteen seconds at a distance of two hundred feet. Their fourth try lasted fifty-nine seconds for a distance of 852 feet. With this mankind achieved the unachievable…..powered flight.
We’ve included photos that we took at the museum and monument, all taken by our cameraman, Joe O’Donnell IV . We felt the visit was worthwhile to give our readers first hand information to add interest to our new science series. Our efforts have also gained attention of other writers who will be appearing in this issue and future issues to come. We have also been in contact with agencies in other countries and hope to spawn interests from the many colleges that read our publication. Students, professors, and scientists are all encouraged to join this forum and we are attempting to contact private enterprises to do the same. We encourage debates on the subject of manned space exploration and colonization of our solar system and hope to keep our vast readership up to date with our progress.