EXHIBITS: The Wright Stuff

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Science  26 Sep 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5641, pp. 1823
DOI: 10.1126/science.301.5641.1823a

One hundred years ago this 17 December, a flimsy-looking biplane designed by the Wright brothers puttered over the sands at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. To commemorate the anniversary of the first sustained, powered flight, the Library of Congress this week launched a new Web site on the flying brothers. It features some 10,000 notebook pages, letters, telegrams, and other memorabilia, along with a collection of more than 300 photos, most snapped by the Wrights.

With Orville piloting and Wilbur running alongside to steady the plane, the landmark flight covered nearly 40 meters and lasted 12 seconds. The brothers got off the ground because of their careful experimentation. For instance, to test the aerodynamics of different designs, they built their own bicycle-powered wind tunnel, a rarity for the day. Visitors can explore this scientific approach by browsing the brothers' notebooks, where they recorded experimental results, observations from flights, and other data.


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