No human can actually fly… we can glide, fall, jump and plummet. But we need a machine to stay up in the air for extended periods of time. The first person to ever fly in an aircraft was Orville Wright, and I believe brother and co-inventor Wilbur Wright stood by (or he might have flown the thing once or twice himself) around the year 1900 (one source said 1900 and another says Orville went up on “December 17, 1903.” 2nd link) Someone probably got airborne well before that, but they probably fell more like a stone than flew like a bird. Apparently Wilbur was better at flying it (or he caught the right updraft [a carrying wind]) as he stayed up for 59 seconds (compared to Orville’s sad 12) and he piloted the plane for a distance of 852 feet (almost a quarter mile)!
The Wrights spent a great deal of time observing birds in flight. They noticed that birds soared into the wind and that the air flowing over the curved surface of their wings created lift. Birds change the shape of their wings to turn and maneuver. They believed that they could use this technique to obtain roll control by warping, or changing the shape, of a portion of the wing. —- about.inventors.com
The brothers began their experimentation in flight in 1896 at their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio. They selected the beach at Kitty Hawk as their proving ground because of the constant wind that added lift to their craft. In 1902 they came to the beach with their glider and made more than 700 successful flights. —- eyewitnesshistory.com
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