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Under cover of the fading clouds

Today much ado is being made about the achievement of the Wright brothers some 100 years ago. Too much of the coverage talks about "spawning the Air Age" and "the first heavierthan air craft to fly". Neither of which are true. And frankly, such declarations minimizethe real accomplishments of the inventors. Heavier than air craft first flew about 200 years ago. Primitive gliders were around in the 1870's. The pursuit of flight has preoccupied mankind since at least the time of the early Greeks. Serious scientific efforts were going on all over the world throughout the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th.

What Orville and Wilbur did was the first repeatable,controlled, powered, manned heavier than air flight. Each of those descriptors are critical, because they showed that it was possible to develop reliable technology that would allow mankind to fly. Their success was nothing short of phenomenal, and they deserve plenty of recognition, but honor themfor what they actually did, as it has much more meaning.
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When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.
- George Bernard Shaw


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