December 17, 1903, at 10:35 A.M., Orville Wright secured his place in history by executing the first powered and sustained flight from level ground. For twelve gravity defying seconds he flew 120 feet along the dunes of the outer banks of North Carolina.
In the field of Aviation, this historic event represents a beginning. But for Orville and Wilbur Wright, it was the end of a long and tedious journey. A journey initiated by a dream common to every little boy. The desire to fly. But what most Children abandon to the domain of fantasy, Orville and Wilbur Wright seized upon as potential reality. They believed they could fly. More than that, they believed they should fly. Wilbur described the birth of their vision this way:
“Our personal interest in aviation dates from our childhood days. Late in the autumn of 1878, our father came into the house one evening with some object partly concealed in his hands, and before we could see what it was he tossed it into the air.
Instead of falling to the floor, as we expected, it flew across the room till it struck the ceiling, where it fluttered awhile, and finally sank to the floor. It was a little toy, known to scientists as a ‘helicoptere,” but which we, with sublime disregard for science, at once dubbed a bat.
It was a light from of cork and bamboo, covered with paper, which formed two screws, driven in the opposite direction by rubber bands under torsion. A toy so delicate lasted only a short time in the hands of small boys, but its memory was abiding.”
That experience sparked a desire to fly. The only thing they lacked was the means. So they began moving the obstacles that stood between them and their dream. They began building their own helicopters . By doing this they stumbled upon the principles of physics that would pave the way for the first successful flight. Orville and Wilbur began to engineer their vision.