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Against the Wind: 1902

Against the Wind: 1902

September 19, 1902. Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. "Side view of Dan Tate, left, and Wilbur Wright flying the 1902 glider as a kite." 5x7 glass negative by Orville Wright. View full size.

 

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

We have liftoff!

It's hard to say where this photo was taken in relation to Kill Devil Hill, but looking towards the right, you can see what looks like the base of a sand dune. I've taken a screenshot showing Kill Devil Hill today from Google Earth and did an overlay with today's Shorpy. So much has changed since the brothers were there in the early 1900s.

Worth a visit when near the Outer Banks

The Wright Brothers National Memorial has an excellent, if small, museum. Standing on the site where their flights took place, you can easily imagine Orville and Wilbur's small planes taking off and landing.

The longest of their first flights in 1903 covered just 852 feet. Less than two years later, Wilbur completed a flight of 24 miles in 40 minutes.

The Factory

Where the later commercial planes for the military were built on Home Ave off 3rd Street in Dayton, was one of my first jobs as an IT person.

The old Home Avenue factory building (Named building 6 by GM who owned the plant) was where the Wrights built the planes.

I was privileged to sit in the office of the Wrights when I called to fix the GM foreman's computer (the building was now a machine shop), who was the most recent occupant. He told me that the desk in which I sat belonged to either Wilber or his brother.

As a note of interest the roof still had the steel girders attached with chains to move the planes to the double doors for exit.

The building was marked with the blue Historic Building disc.

But, alas, the building is now just a shell of its former self.

Ohio, First in Flight

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina provided "regular breezes and soft sandy landing surface," as well as seclusion from reporters and the circus-like atmosphere that got in the way on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Wright brothers did all their theorizing, design, and building in Dayton, Ohio. Every time I see a North Carolina license plate, I scoff. (And I have no connection with Ohio.)

Plus a 1997 photo of the monument at Kitty Hawk

When TV was in only black and white, stations where I lived signed off at night and then back on with the morning farm report. One station signed off with film of jet airplanes leaving vapor trails, and narrated with this poem by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air… .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high un-trespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

If God wanted man to fly

... He never would have invented the bicycle.

Searched "Dan Tate" -

and found only "Bill" Tate as postmaster, host to the Wrights, and everything else in Kitty Hawk.

[Daniel Tate was Captain William Tate's half-brother. - Dave]

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