Biography of Wilbur Wright

Document Sample
Biography of Wilbur Wright Powered By Docstoc
					Biography of Wilbur Wright
Bishop Milton Wright wrote of his son Wilbur:

"In memory and intellect, there was none like him. He systemized
every thing. His wit was quick and keen. He could say or write
anything he wanted to. He was not very talkative. His temper could
hardly be stirred. He wrote much. He could deliver a fine speech,
but was modest(ref)."

Wilbur Wright, along with his brother Orville, launched into both
history books and legend with the first ever manned powered flight.

This feat was accomplished through a lifetime's work and

The historic flight was the fruit of their unending devotion to the
pursuit of their goals. Although this was his most notable
accomplishment, Wilbur led a life full of many achievements and
triumphs over adversity.

Wilbur Wright was born on April 16, 1867 in Millville, Indiana. He
was the third child of Bishop Milton Wright and Susan Catharine
Wright. The family moved to Hawthorn Street in Dayton, Ohio.

"As youngsters, Wilbur and Orville looked to their mother for
mechanical expertise and their father for intellectual challenge.
Milton brought the boys various souvenirs and trinkets he found
during his travels for the church. One such trinket, a toy helicopter-
like top, sparked the boys' interest in flying. In school, Wilbur
excelled, and would have graduated from high school if his family
had not moved during his senior year. A skating accident and his
mother's illness and subsequent death kept him from attending

Wilbur, a strong-willed individual, was able to repeatedly bounce
back from physical and academic setbacks. As he entered
adulthood, he teamed with his brother Orville to develop new and
unusual schemes.

Among the Wright Brothers' various enterprises were a Printing
firm and a Bicycle shop. Both of these ventures showcased their
mechanical aptitude, business sense, and originality.

This was a continuation of their lifelong partnerships: even as
youngsters, Wilbur submitted a journalistic report on a circus
production managed by Orville. These complementary traits would
serve them as they journeyed down the path of greatness.

They were inspired by German glider Otto Lilienthal

                     , and paid close attention to his success and
eventual fatal error. His innovation inspired them, as their
innovation now inspires us. The spark of interest spread into a
genuine desire to fly. "For many years, he once said, he had been
'afflicted with the belief that flight is possible (ref)."

Wilbur began to voraciously read everything he could about
aviation, from the Smithsonian's to newspapers articles. As all
independent thinkers and inventors do, he imagined something
completely novel to solve the problem that had plagued other
would-be flyers: "a simple system that twisted, or warped the wings
of a biplane, causing it to roll right and left(ref)." As they say, the
"rest is history."

This is how the Wright Brothers lived when they camped out at Kill
Devil Hills, North Carolina as they tried to make that first historical
flight. It was a simple, functional existence. They were settlers of a
different kind: pioneering into the frontiers of science.

Their perseverance would again be put to the test, even after
making history with the first ever heavier than air, manned,
powered flight in 1903. Their achievement was doubted and
"Government bureaucrats thought they were crackpots; others
thought that if two bicycle mechanics could build a successful
airplane, they could do it themselves
(ref). "

Eventually, with persistence, Wilbur
and Orville were able to win over
both the public and the bureaucrats.

Wilbur shocks the French with the
flying machine.

In 1908 and 1909 Wilbur became
quite the celebrity, wowing both
audiences abroad and at home. He
set records in Le Mans , France.

As one Frenchman put it: "I would have waited 10 ten times as
long to see what I have seen today...Monsieur Wright has us all in
his hands. (ref)"

The "Man-Bird" that spellbound the French Public.

Cartoons and sketches of Wilbur were featured in many French
magazines and newspapers. He then returned to the U.S. to
captivate a U.S. audience of 1 million as he flew around the Statue
of Liberty, and followed the Hudson River to Grant's Tomb(ref).

Shared By: