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Friday, December 04, 2009

Film of Wright's First Flight - Snow in Houston

A friend sent me this link to discovered video of the Wright Brothers first flight. I've attached her comments and the link - before I head out today for a project that must go on even in a rare Houston snow...


Film clip from the Austrian archives about the Wright Brothers demonstrating their plane in Italy in 1909. What is even more fantastic is there was an on-board camera on the Wright plane and the last part of this film shows it. Wilbur Wright is at the controls on both of the flights. It's a GREAT video considering it is 100 years old and the quality/weight of the equipment of that day.

This film clip is fascinating and in very good condition for its age being as it shows the Wright Bros demonstrating the Flyer to a group of European officers and officials in 1909. Only runs for 4 minutes. The shots of the plane in flight are the best I have ever seen of this machine showing a degree of speed and smoothness I did not think would have been possible. Excellent starting sequence with the linen covered props and easy start but the outstanding sequence being the take-off along the rail. You can't see the actual weight drop to pull it along the rail but in some shots you see the tower. The small piece of string on the forward elevon was put there by the Wrights to ascertain degree of side slip as you are aware the plane basically turned flat, and although they eventually put in a form of wing warping it was always a difficult plane to handle in turns, so they kept it as flat as possible because any side slip over a certain angle was unrecoverable. This was the two seat version as you can see and designed for a hopeful military use. It could only fly in very calm conditions.

The in-flight shots were something else again and possibly the earliest aerial movie shots ever taken. When you think he had to fly the plane and also hand crank the camera, I think it must have been fixed in position as the camera stays motionless and in any case cameras were heavy in those times and the plane had little spare capacity but I could be wrong. Note the take off ramp. Loved the ancient Italian Roman ruins in the final shots the approach speed was very slow in deed.

When you get to the site, just double click on the picture of the flying machine, it loads automatically. The other vintage videos are entertaining, too.'

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amazing Houston snow photos