Sunday, December 14, 2014

Who taught Orville Wright to fly?

It's the age old question, which came first, the airplane or the pilot?

According to history, the airplane came first, because Wilbur and Orville Wright studied the science and built one--and promptly kept crashing the thing.  Was their machine flawed?  Or was it the lack of flying lessons?

I can promise that if anyone today was allowed to take the Wright Flyer out for a spin around the patch--they'd crash.  No doubt in my mind whatsoever that time after time, without an expertly trained pilot, the Flyer would wind up in an unrecognizable ball of tubing and canvas.  It's not an easy machine to fly.

My personal theory, is there was someone, a benevolent instructor.  The only high-time aviator in the world came forward, and taught the Wrights to fly.  This generous endeavor only worked because Kitty Hawk, back in 1903, was out in the middle of nowhere. This instructor typically remained unseen while working, and he wanted no share of the glory he knew was about to come--it was an early Christmas gift to Orville and Wilbur.

On December 17th, 1903, the instructor watched Orville make that fateful solo flight. His only request was that he wanted to demo the Flyer just once before he departed.  The Wright's happily obliged, and although there are no photographs of that particular event, there was one sketch artist who later chronicled the event.

Thanks to that instructor, in todays world, we fly airplanes using two lists.  We call them normal checklists, and abnormal checklists, aviation terms for good and bad.  The instructor had taught Orville and Wilbur all about the importance of lists.

When we see another airplane in flight, we call out: "Tally Ho!"  This evolved from the original Ho Ho Ho!

And finally, in todays world, we always put at least one shiny red light on our airplanes.  We all know why.

---Thanks Santa

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