Honor the Wright Bros 1st Flight with a Donation to CA Capital Airshow Scholarship Program

It was only 117 years ago today that the Wright Brothers launched the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft with the famous Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903, 4 miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

On December 14, three months after arriving at Kitty Hawk, the Wrights were finally ready to give their creation a try. They tossed a coin to determine which brother would make the first attempt. Wilbur won and climbed into the pilot’s position. Forty feet down the rail, the Flyer lurched up, stalled, and smashed into the sand, slightly damaging the forward elevator. The Flyer was airborne for only 3.5 seconds, but the power of the engine and the responsiveness of the controls bolstered Wilbur’s confidence.

With damage repaired, the Flyer was again ready for flight on December 17. The Wrights arose that morning to freezing temperatures and a 27-mile-per-hour wind. At 10:35 a.m., the Flyer lifted off the launching rail with Orville at the controls. The overly sensitive elevator control caused the Flyer to dart up and down as it sailed slowly over the sand, coming to rest with a thud 120 feet from where it had taken off. The flight was short—only 12 seconds—but it was a true flight nevertheless. This was the real thing, transcending the powered hops and glides others had achieved.  A human had flown and their long-awaited dreams realized.

The Wright brothers made three more flights that day. On the second, Wilbur traveled 175 feet in a similar up-and-down course. On the third, Orville covered a little more than 200 feet in 15 seconds.

For thousands of years flying was just a fantasy, then in a single century, science fiction became reality. When airplanes were invented their purpose was simple, to take us farther and faster, but they accomplished so much more than we ever imagined. Now, on any given day, 100,000 flights transport people and products between any two points on Earth in a matter of hours. We are flying higher and faster than anyone could have ever imagined. Circumnavigating the globe in less than 24 hours, without stopping for fuel, undetected by radar, reaching speeds of almost 7,000 mph and we’ve even mastered space.

The airplane has profoundly changed the world and our lives. Each year the California Capital Airshow creates an experience for the public to take this journey in one weekend – witnessing in person how far we’ve come and how fast we got here. The annual event is actually a fundraiser to inspire and support the next generation through an annual scholarship program for High School seniors pursuing STEM careers.