During a visit to the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit during the first week in June I had a chance to visit the Wright Brothers Bicycle Shop which had been moved from Dayton, Ohio to Detroit. At the back of the building was the shop where the Wright brothers fabricated the Wright Flyer wing.
The ash framework was covered with silk cloth to create the airfoil used in the Wright Flyer, and wire was used as truss work to provide stability for the frame. To the right you can see a photograph my wife took of a Wright Flyer wing under construction. Throughout the small workshop were tools of various kinds used to shape the wood and fashion the metal engine mounts. A drill press, wood lathe and a tool bench full of tools filled out the room. Note the incredible detail of the wing's construction, and the beauty of the design. Note the reinforcement where the pilot lay down in order to fly the machine and warp the wings for directional control. Imagine yourself on a sandy beach launching into the wind and flying this contraption. As I looked at all of the tools, and the wooden props fashioned on the nearby lathe, I could almost feel the excitement in the room that the Wright brothers must have felt as they dreamed about flying in a powered machine carrying a man. Solving each problem one at a time it was a labor of love which finally realized its destiny on the beaches of North Carolina. It is hard to imagine that just 66 years later the U.S. would place a man on the moon, and I am sure the Wright Brothers would be astonished at aircraft like the brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. You can even get a flying model of the Wright Flyer at our sister site "The Paper Airplane Company". Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Success four flights thursday morning all against twenty one mile wind started from Level with engine power alone average speed through air thirty one miles longest 57 seconds inform Press home Christmas. — Orville Wright, 17 December 1903.ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!