The Flying Men and Their Impact on Literature

The Flying Men

Who knows when a human first dreamed of flying like a bird . It is important to
recognize flying, its effect on people and their communication has changed because of flight. I
believe that the invention of airplanes just enhanced the way people communicate and how they
relate. Literature as a form of communication, was one of the many things that was only
improved by the invention of the airplane, because of several reasons.
Who invented the airplane? Orville Wright (1871 - 1948) and Wilbur Wright (1867 -
1912) American airplane inventors, brothers. "Their interest in flying aroused by Lilienthal\'s
glider flights of 1890\'s."(Rosenblum 7). In addition to Lilienthal\'s influence, between the time
Langley flew his scale models and the time his full-size Aerodrome plunged into the Potomac
River, the two bicycle builders from Dayton, Ohio were busy experimenting with gliders. Wilbur
and Orville Wright had first becomed interested in flying machines as children when their father
brought home a whirling toy . Fascinated, they wound up the rubber band on the cork and paper
toy to watch it fly again and again. They built and flew their own versions. "Throughout their
lives, the brothers experimented with mechanical things Wilbur would come up with the ideas
and Orville would analyse and implement them." (McMahon 23).
The two brothers opened a shop in 1896 to build and repair bicycles. The same year,
Otto Lilienthal was killed when his glider crashed and the Wrights began to search the problems
of human flight. After reading all the information they could find in Dayton, Wilbur wrote to the
Smithsonian Instituion to ask for all the information it had on aeronautics. The brothers showed
pure dedication. They read books, works by Lilienthal\'s The Problem of flying, Practical
Experiments in Soaring, Chanute\'s Process in Flying Machines, and Langley\'s writings,
among others. They discovered that no one had successfully dealt with the basic need for
controlling a flying machine. Their conclusion came from a simple yet important part of
communication that simply evolved with their invention : Literature.
In 1899, Wilbur and Orville Wright built their first small biplane glider and flew if on a
string, like a kite. On this glider, they used a system of "wing warping" which, like in ailerons on
modern airplanes, changed the angles of the wings. Combined with a stabilizing tail, warping
the wings resulted in relatively controllable aircraft. "In 1900, they built a much larger glider with
17-foot wings. Instead of a tail, it had a rubber, or moveable horizontal surface, in front of the
wings, which would control the up-and-down movement of the nose." (Williams 34). "The
Wright brothers took this glider out to Kitty Hwak, Noth Carolina, where a strong, steady wind
blew over a low hill of bare sand." (Walsh 56). In October, they began to test it, first flying it
controlled from ground without a pilot, then piloted but tethered, and finally as a free-flying glider.
After many flights, and a few crashes, they discovered the rubber helped the horizontal control to
such an extent that the pilot could easily land the glider. By the end of October, the Wrights had
learned all they could from their 1900 glider and returned to Dayton to desing another with
improvements. "The Wright\'s 1901 glider was, like others, a wrire-braced biplane, but was
larger, with a wingspan of 22 feet and almost twice as much lifting surface as the others they
had built before." (Hobbs 42). They began flying it at Kill Devil Hills, near Kitty Hawk, in July, and
it flew so well they were able to make flights of almost 400 feet. in winds up to 27 miles per
hour. They were learning to fly and were well along the way of becoming the first skilled pilots.
Even so, as soon as they attempted to make turns, they ran into problems, which persisted in
August. Discouraged, the brothers returned to Dayton. The Wrights began to desing their
number 3 glider, which was the largest yet, after extensive laboratory research and
experimentation using a wind tunnel (a long box with a fan at one end) used to stimulate the
movement of a wing through the air. "The number 3 glider included the front elevator to control
pitch, the nose moving up and down, the wing warping system to control rolling, tipping from
side to side. They added a tail, two fixed vertical fins at the rear to prevent turns from becoming
spins." (Hobbs 67). The Wrights returned