First Flight: How Wright Brothers Changed the World
One hundred years ago today, a machine carrying a person made a brief and wobbly flight. As Wilbur Wright watched his brother Orville guide their flying machine into the air, the past and the future separated and the world started shrinking.
Thursday, December 17, 1903, dawned windy and cold on North Carolina's Outer Banks. At Kill Devil Hills, the thermometer hovered around the freezing mark, and a 25-mile-per-hour (40-kilometer-per-hour) wind blowing out of the north made it feel even colder.
Orville and Wilbur Wright had a few doubts about whether this was a good day to try to get their flying machine off the ground. They'd had one setback three days earlier when Wilbur lost control of the craft as he was trying to take off, damaging a wing.
It had taken them a day to repair the damage and get ready to try again, but on December 16 the winds had died to almost nothing and they decided to wait another 24