There is still no consensus among aviation historians as to who created the world's first aircraft. Most of them still prefer the Americans, the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright.
However, their opponents have their own weighty arguments against. Indeed, before the plane of the Wright brothers, the monoplane of our brilliant compatriot Alexander Fedorovich Mozhaisky in July 1882 and a controlled balloon piloted by its creator, the Frenchman Alberto Santos-Dumont, in October 1901, had already visited the sky.
AF Mozhaisky's "aeronautical projectile" was decades ahead of its time. It had a steam power plant, three propellers, a fixed-wing fuselage, a landing gear, a full-fledged control system consisting of elevators, stabilizer, keel - in short, everything that a modern aircraft has.
The closest competitor is the Mozhaisky plane
During the first test flight, he accelerated to 45 km / h, broke away from the platform and, having flown a little more than 200 meters, fell to one side and fell. After the failure, interest in the unique invention on the part of those in power disappeared, the work was curtailed, and after 8 years AF Mozhaisky was gone.
It was an amazing union. Wilbur and Orville Wright were united not only by blood ties, but also a passionate dream of conquering the sky, which originated in early childhood after their father gave them an amazing toy made of bamboo and paper, somewhat reminiscent of a modern helicopter.
Like many of the aviation pioneers of the day, the brothers began by creating gliders. They were inspired by the works of the outstanding German glider pilot Otto Lilienthal, who made more than 2000 flights and died tragically in August 1896. This was also facilitated by the fact that in 1892 the Wright brothers became the owners of a bicycle shop and workshop, where they created their first gliders, and then airplanes.
The brothers made up for the lack of engineering knowledge so necessary for calculations from Lilienthal's books. They launched their first glider in early October 1900 near the town of Kitty Hawk.
The first glider of the Wright brothers
The unmanned firstborn of the Wright brothers looked like a cross between a glider and a kite, as it was held above the ground with the help of cables. In total, in September-October 1902, Vilbur and Orville ascended into the sky more than a thousand times, constantly improving their brainchild.
Perhaps the main merit of the Wright brothers was the creation of a glider control system. With the help of the movable vertical rudder they developed, the Wrights learned to control the aircraft in flight along three axes - roll, yaw and pitch. Another equally outstanding achievement is the use of a wind tunnel in the creation of glider models.
Wind tunnel invented by the Wrights
Glider to Airplane
The transformation of the glider into an airplane was made possible by the Flyer-1, a 12-horsepower 100-kg gasoline engine that, using chain drives, set in motion 2 pushing propellers symmetrically located behind the wings. By the way, it was the Wright brothers who came to the conclusion that, unlike ship propellers, aircraft blades are nothing more than wings rotating in a vertical plane.
Wright Brothers Airplane
On a cloudy, rainy winter morning on December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright, along with their assistants, rolled out of the workshop gates onto the deserted Kitty Hawk Beach. Wilbur was the first to drive. The flight ended at the 13th second. Having covered a distance of 30 meters by air, the plane of the Wright brothers successfully landed. Replacing each other, the brothers ascended into the sky four times, increasing the flight time to a minute. The joy, however, did not last long. After the end of the flights, a strong gust of wind that suddenly flew in from the ocean lifted the plane and threw it onto the beach sand, turning it into a heap of debris.
One of the later models
The Wright tandem was torn apart by Wilbur's death in 1912. He lived only 45 years. His younger brother Orville survived him by 36 years. During this time, aviation has made a truly giant leap from the first "flying whatnots" to jet liners.
Wilbur and Orville Wright