Mortal Engines

I would like to watch the dystopian big-budget, apocalyptic-adventure film Mortal Engines. So far I have heard mixed reviews concerning this film nevertheless I would like to make my own mind up. It is based on the novel of the same name by Philip Reeve and was directed by Christian Rivers and Produced by Peter Jackson who also wrote the script. It stars Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Leila George, Colin Salmon, Patrick Malahide and, Regé-Jean Page. I have also downloaded the Kindle version with a view to reading it plus the sequels Predators Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darking Plain also by Philip Reeve.

Mortal Engines is set About 1100 years in the future Following of a devastating and cataclysmic conflict dubbed “The 60 Minute War which saw Civilizations destroyed and continents cracked with humanity barely escaping extinction. The remnants of humanity regroup and form mobile “predator” cities. Under a philosophy known as “Municipal Darwinism”, larger cities hunt and absorb smaller settlements in the “Great Hunting Ground”, which includes Great Britain and Continental Europe. In opposition, an “Anti-Traction League” have developed an alternative civilization consisting of “static settlements” in Asia led by Shan Guo (formerly China), protected by the “Shield Wall”. Relics of modern technology such as toasters, computers, and iPhones are valued as “Old-Tech.” TO maintain old technology, civilization depends on archaeologists. Many people live just below the surface to hide from the Traction Cities. There is also a burgeoning slave trade which has cannibalism as part of its pricing system.

These cities survive by moving, rumbling across the mostly-depopulated plains, crossing land bridges created when continents shifted, roaming the barren landscape and (quite literally) gobbling up smaller towns for their resources. They weigh so much they leave canyon-sized ravines in their wake as they devour small towns or neighborhoods which had to get themselves rebuilt on bulldozer or earth moving equipment treads or wheels, just to escape the all-devouring cities London, or what survived of it (recognizable landmarks are stacked on it, from St. Paul’s to Trafalgar Square’s gigantic lions) is one such giant, predator city on wheels. which has to move and devour smaller communities in order to survive.

The city of London captures a small mining town called Salzhaken, absorbing its population and resources, under orders of Lord Mayor Magnus Crome. Meanwhile a masked woman among the Salzhakens, Hester Shaw, wants to assassinate Thaddeus Valentine, Head of the Guild of Historians. Tom Natsworthy, a teenage Apprentice Historian, is sent to London’s “Gut” to collect Old-Tech for London’s Museum, accompanied by Valentine’s good-natured daughter Katherine. Hester attempts to kill Valentine but Tom intervenes. Hester escapes, but not before telling him that Valentine murdered her mother and scarred her face. Then Tom and, Hester, both find themselves unceremoniously dumped out like garbage into the Great hunting Ground, a desolate wasteland where they face a fight for survival and are forced to work together eventually, encountering a town called Scuttlebug.

Meanwhile, Valentine frees Shrike, a reanimated cyborg known as a “Stalker”, from an offshore prison to hunt down and kill Hester. At the slave market of Rustwater, Tom and Hester are rescued by Anti-Traction League agent Anna Fang. During the chaos, Tom and Hester are pursued by Shrike, whom Hester reveals she knows. Hester explains that Shrike had found and raised her, and Hester promised to allow him to turn her into a Stalker like himself, but she left after discovering that London was in the Great Hunting Ground. On London, Katherine learns some disturbing things from the Apprentice Engineer Bevis Pod  concerning Valentine.

Hester and Tom travel to the airborne city Airhaven, meeting with other members of the Anti-Traction League. Tom Informs them about MEDUSA, a superweapon that can destroy cities in an instant. Shrike catches up with them in an explosive skirmish Hester, Tom, and Anna then travel to the Shield Wall with the surviving Anti-Tractionists.

Meanwhile On London, Valentine  vows to destroy the Shield Wall with MEDUSA and lead them to a new Hunting Ground in Asia. So Anna convinces Governor Kwan to launch the Anti-Tractionist fleet against London. Hester then discovers something important which could stop MEDUSA. So Hester, Tom, Anna, and the remaining Anti-Tractionists lead a raid against London, then Hester and Anna infiltrate St Paul’s, in order to confront Valentine and stop London from destroying the Sheild Wall.

The Simpsons

The first full episode of the Simpsons “Simpsons roasting on an Open fire” debuted 17 December 1989. Animated Shorts of The Simpsons had previously aired on The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. The Simpsons satirizes a dysfunctional middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the Simpson family who live in a fictional middle American Town of Springfield and it parodies American culture, society, television, and many aspects of the human condition. It was Created by Matt Groening and producer James L. Brooks for the Fox Broadcasting Company,  The Simpsons consist of Homer, the father, who works as a safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, a position at odds with his careless, buffoonish personality. Homer’s wife Marge Simpson, a stereotypical American housewife and mother, and three children: Bart, a ten-year-old troublemaker; Lisa, a precocious eight-year-old activist; and Maggie, the baby of the family who rarely speaks, but communicates by sucking on a pacifier. Although the family is dysfunctional, they are often shown to care about one another.

The show also includes an array of quirky supporting characters: co-workers, teachers, family friends, extended relatives, townspeople and local celebrities. The creators originally intended many of these characters as one-time jokes or for fulfilling needed functions in the town. A number of them have gained expanded roles and subsequently starred in their own episodes. Despite the depiction of yearly milestones such as holidays or birthdays passing, the characters do not age between episodes (either physically or in stated age), and generally appear just as they did when the series began. The series uses a floating timeline in which episodes generally take place in the year the episode is produced even though the characters do not age. Flashbacks/forwards do occasionally depict the characters at other points in their lives, with the timeline of these depictions also generally floating relative to the year the episode is produced.

The Simpsons takes place in the fictional American town of Springfield in an unknown and impossible-to-determine U.S. state. The show is intentionally evasive in regard to Springfield’s location. Springfield’s geography, and that of its surroundings, contains coastlines, deserts, vast farmland, tall mountains, or whatever the story or joke requires.Groening has said that Springfield has much in common with Portland, Oregon, the city where he grew up. The name “Springfield” is a common one in America and appears in 22 states. Groening has said that he named it after Springfield, Oregon, and the fictitious Springfield which was the setting of the series Father Knows Best.An astronomer and fan of the show, Phil Plait, noticed that The Simpsons could be set in Australia, because the moon in Springfield faces the wrong way to be an American location. It is drawn facing the right, as it would in the Southern Hemisphere.

Since its debut on December 17, 1989, the show has broadcast 569 episodes, and the 26th season began on September 28, 2014. The Simpsons is the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated program, and in 2009 it surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running American scripted primetime television series. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released on July 27, 2007. The Simpsons has received widespread critical acclaim. Time magazine named it the 20th century’s best television series, and The A.V. Club named it “television’s crowning achievement regardless of format”. On January 14, 2000, the Simpson family was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It has won dozens of awards since it debuted as a series, including 31 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. Homer’s exclamatory catchphrase “D’oh!” Was inspired by James Finlayson (Laurel and Hardy) and has been adopted into the English language, while The Simpsons has influenced and parodied many television sitcoms, films, events and musicians.

Saturnalia

The ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia took place annually on 17 December of the Julian Calender, in honor of the deity Saturn and was later expanded with festivities through to December 23. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves. The poet Catullus called it “the best of days.”In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who reigned over the world in the Golden Age, when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of social egalitarianism. The revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the conditions of the lost mythical age, not all of them desirable. The Greek equivalent was the Kronia.

Saturnalia was also a Roman holiday and The Latin writer Macrobius, mentions that Saturnalia is a festival of light leading to the winter solstice, with the abundant presence of candles symbolizing the quest for knowledge and truth. The renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the “Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun,” on December 25. The popularity of Saturnalia continued into the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, and as the Roman Empire came under Christian rule, some of its customs may have influenced the seasonal celebrations surrounding Christmas and the New Year.

The statue of Saturn normally had its feet bound in wool, which was removed for the holiday as an act of liberation. The official rituals were carried out according to “Greek rite” (ritus graecus). The sacrifice was officiated by a priest Whose head was uncovered; in Roman rite, priests sacrificed capite velato, with head covered by a special fold of the toga. Following the sacrifice the Roman Senate arranged a lectisternium, a ritual of Greek origin that typically involved placing a deity’s image on a sumptuous couch, as if he were present and actively participating in the festivities. A public banquet followed (convivium publicum). The day was supposed to be a holiday from all forms of work. Schools were closed, and exercise regimens were suspended. Courts were not in session, so no justice was administered, and no declaration of war could be made. After the public rituals, observances continued at home On December 18 and 19, which were also holidays from public business, families conducted domestic rituals. They bathed early, and those with means also sacrificed a suckling pig, a traditional offering.

Boeing B-47 Stratojet

The Boeing B-47 Stratojet long range, six-engine, turbojet-powered strategic bomber made its Maiden flight 17 December 1946. It was designed to fly at high subsonic speed and at high altitude to avoid enemy interceptor aircraft. The B-47’s primary mission was to drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union. The B-47 entered service with the United States Air Force’s Strategic Air Command (SAC) in 1951. It never saw combat as a bomber, but was a mainstay of SAC’s bomber strength during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and remained in use as a bomber until 1965. It was also adapted to a number of other missions, including photographic reconnaissance, electronic intelligence and weather reconnaissance. The B-47 arose from a requirement for a jet-powered reconnaissance bomber, drawn up by the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF). Boeing was among several companies who responded its initial design, the Model 424, was basically a scaled-down version of the piston-engined B-29 Superfortress equipped with four jet engines.

In 1944 this initial concept evolved into a new bomber with a maximum speed of 550 mph (890 km/h), a cruise speed of 450 mph (720 km/h), a range of 3,500 mi (5,600 km) and a service ceiling of 45,000 ft (13,700 m). Wind tunnel testing had shown that the drag from the engine installation of the Model 424 was too high, so Boeing’s entry was a revised design, the Model 432, with the four engines buried in the forward fuselage. The USAAF awarded contracts to four companies – North American and Convair concentrate on four-engined designs (to become B-45 and XB-46), while Boeing and Martin built six-engined aircraft (the B-47 and XB-48) powered by General Electric’s new TG-180 turbojet engine.

In May 1945, the von Kármán mission of the Army Air Forces inspected the secret German aeronautics laboratory near Braunschweig. The chief of the technical staff at Boeing, George S. Schairer had heard about the swept-wing theory of R. T. Jones at Langley, and after seeing models of swept-wing aircraft and extensive supersonic wind-tunnel data generated by the Germans, changed the design of the B-47 wing.Analysis work by Boeing engineer Vic Ganzer suggested an optimum sweepback angle of about 35 degrees. So Boeing’s aeronautical engineers modified their Model 432 to create the “Model 448”, which was presented to the USAAF in September 1945. The Model 448 retained its four TG-180 jet engines in its forward fuselage, with two more TG-180s in the rear fuselage. However the engines were moved out to streamlined pods (pylon mounted) under the wings, leading to the next iteration, the Model 450, which featured two TG-180s in a twin pod mounted on a pylon on each wing, plus another engine at each wingtip. Boeing’s team of engineers continued to refine it, with the outer engines being moved further inboard. In 1946 The USAAF ordered two prototypes, designated “XB-47”.

The first XB-47 was rolled out on 12 September 1947, and The XB-47 prototype flew its first flight on 17 December 1947 (the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first four flights on 17 December 1903), with the test pilots Robert Robbins and Scott Osler Flying from Boeing Field in Seattle to the Moses Lake Airfield in central Washington state.In 1949, Russ Schleeh and Joe Howell “broke all coast-to-coast speed records” flying from Moses Lake Air Force Base to Andrews Air Force Base averaging 607.8 miles per hour. During early tests of the XB-47 prototype, the canopy came off at high speed, killing pilot Scott Osler resulting in a canopy redesign. The second XB-47 (46-066) prototype flew on 21 July 1948 Serving as a flying test bed until retiring in 1954. This had more powerful General Electric J47-GE-3 turbojets with 5,200 lbf (23 kN) of static thrust each. Chuck Yeager also flew a test of the XB-47.

Both XB-47 prototypes were test flown at Edwards AFB, however the number one XB-47 (46-065) was disassembled and eventually scrapped by the Air Force in 1954, thus making the number two prototype (46-066) the sole surviving XB-47. Upon retirement, XB-47 (46-066) was restored and placed on display at the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum in Rantoul, Illinois until it closed in 2015. Whereupon the Flight Test Historical Foundation began fundraising efforts to purchase XB-47 (46-066) for relocation to the Flight Test Museum at Edwards AFB. The purchase was completed in August 2016 and on September 21st, 2016 the aircraft arrived at Edwards AFB for reassembly, restoration and eventual and it is currently on display at the Flight Test Museum. In 1948 USAF decided to put the North American bomber into production on a limited basis as the B-45 Tornado. the Boeing XB-47 and the Martin XB-48, proved superior and A formal contract for 10 aircraft was signed on 3 September 1948. The USAF Strategic Air Command operated B-47 Stratojets (B-47s, EB-47s, RB-47s and YRB-47s) from 1951 through 1965. The B-47 had a three man crew – the aircraft commander, copilot, and a navigator/bombardier or a crew chief

Unfortunately the B-47 initially had a few problems The aircraft was sluggish on takeoff and too fast on landings, a very unpleasant combination. If the pilot landed at the wrong angle, the B-47 would “porpoise”, bouncing fore-and-aft. If the pilot did not lift off for another go-around, instability would quickly cause the bomber to skid onto one wing and cartwheel. However by 1953 it was redesigned and performance was closer to that of jet fighters of the period and it was so fast and agile the aircraft set records with ease. Improved training led to a good safety record.The B-47’s reliability and serviceability were regarded as good although avionics reliability remained problematic throughout the B-47’s operational life.

From 1950, several models of the B-47 included a fuel tank inerting system in which carbon dioxide vapor was used while fuel pumps operated or during in flight refueling to reduce the amount of Oxygen and minimize the risk of an explosion caused by static electricity discharge. An XB-47 was flown in the 1951 Operation Greenhouse nuclear weapons testing. This was followed by a B-47B being flown in the 1954 Operation Ivy and the 1955 Operation Castle. A B-47E was then flown in the 1956 Operation Redwing. Three B-47s flew cross country from March Air Force Base to the Philadelphia International Airport as participants in the 1955 Labor Day race. In the 1956 event, three B-47s participated in the G.E. Trophy race for Jet Bombers, flying from Kindley Field, Bermuda, to Oklahoma City. One of these set a course speed record of 601.187 MPH. By 1956, the U.S. Air Force had 28 wings of B-47 bombers and five wings of RB-47 reconnaissance aircraft. The bombers were the first line of America’s strategic nuclear deterrent, often operating from forward bases in the UK, Morocco, Spain, Alaska, Greenland and Guam. B-47s were often set up on “one-third” alert, with a third of the operational aircraft available sitting on hardstands or an alert ramp adjacent to the runway, loaded with fuel and nuclear weapons, crews on standby, ready to attack the USSR at short notice. Crews were also trained to perform “Minimum Interval Take Offs (MITO)”, with one bomber following the other into the air at intervals of as little as 15 seconds, to launch all bombers as fast as possible. In 1959 the B-52 began to assume nuclear alert duties and the number of B-47 bomber wings was reduced. B-47 production ceased in 1957, though modifications and rebuilds continued after that.

Ford Madox Ford

English novelist, poet, critic and editor Ford Madox Ford was born 17 December 1873. He originally used the name of Ford Madox Hueffer however in 1919 he changed it to Ford Madox Ford (allegedly, in the aftermath of World War I because “Hueffer” sounded too German in honour of his grandfather, the Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown, whose biography he had written. In 1894 he married his school girlfriend Elsie Martindale and together they had two daughters Christina (born 1897) and Katharine (born 1900).

Between 1918 and 1927 he lived with Stella Bowen, an Australian artist twenty years his junior. In 1920 they had a daughter, Julia Madox Ford. One of his most famous works is The Good Soldier (1915), a novel set just before World War I which chronicles the tragic lives of two “perfect couples” using intricate flashbacks. In the “Dedicatory Letter to Stella Ford”, his wife, that prefaces the novel, Ford reports that a friend pronounced The Good Soldier “the finest French novel in the English language!” Ford pronounced himself a “Tory mad about historic continuity” and believed the novelist’s function was to serve as the historian of his own time.

Ford was involved in British war propaganda after the beginning of World War I. He worked for the War Propaganda Bureau, managed by C. F. G. Masterman, with other writers and scholars who were popular during that time, such as Arnold Bennett, G. K. Chesterton, John Galsworthy, Hilaire Belloc and Gilbert Murray. Ford wrote two propaganda books for Masterman, namely When Blood is Their Argument: An Analysis of Prussian Culture (1915), with the help of Richard Aldington, and Between St Dennis and St George: A Sketch of Three Civilizations (1915). After writing the two propaganda books, Ford enlisted at 41 years of age into the Welch Regiment on 30 July 1915, and was sent to France, His combat experiences and his previous propaganda activities inspired his tetralogy Parade’s End (1924–1928), set in England and on the Western Front before, during and after World War I.

Ford also wrote dozens of novels as well as essays, poetry, memoirs and literary criticism, and collaborated with Joseph Conrad on three novels, The Inheritors (1901), Romance (1903) and The Nature of a Crime (1924, although written much earlier). During the three to five years after this direct collaboration, Ford’s best known achievement was The Fifth Queen trilogy (1906–1908), historical novels based on the life of Katharine Howard, which Conrad termed, at the time, “the swan song of historical romance.”His poem,Antwerp (1915), was praised by T.S. Eliot as “the only good poem I have met with on the subject of the war”.Ford’s novel Ladies Whose Bright Eyes (1911, extensively revised in 1935) is, in a sense, the reverse of Twain’s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

In 1908, he founded The English Review, in which he published works by Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, Joseph Conrad, Henry James,May Sinclair, John Galsworthy and William Butler Yeats, and gave debuts to Wyndham Lewis, D. H. Lawrence and Norman Douglas. In 1924, he founded The Transatlantic Review, a journal with great influence on modern literature. Staying with the artistic community in the Latin Quarter of Paris, he befriended James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound[and Jean Rhys, all of whom he would publish (Ford is the model for the character Braddocks in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises). Ford says, “I helped Joseph Conrad, I helped Hemingway. I helped a dozen, a score of writers, and many of them have beaten me. I’m now an old man and I’ll die without making a name like Hemingway.” Hemingway devoted a chapter of his Parisian memoir A Moveable Feast to an encounter with Ford at a café in Paris during the early 1920s.

During a trip to the United States, he was involved with Allen Tate, Caroline Gordon, Katherine Anne Porter and Robert Lowell. Ford was always a champion of new literature and literary experimentation. In 1929, he published The English Novel: From the Earliest Days to the Death of Joseph Conrad, a brisk and accessible overview of the history of English novels. He had an affair with Jean Rhys, which ended acrimoniously. Ford spent the last years of his life teaching at Olivet College in Michigan.

Madox Ford sadly died in Deauville, France, on 26 June 1939 However his journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature. He is now remembered best for his publicationsThe Good Soldier (1915), the Parade’s End tetralogy (1924–28) and The Fifth Queentrilogy (1906–08). The Good Soldier is frequently included among the great literature of the 20th century, including the Modern Library 100 Best Novels, The Observer’s “100 Greatest Novels of All Time”, and The Guardian’s “1000 novels everyone must read”.

Mike Mills (REM)

Michael Edward “Mike” Mills the founding member of the alternative rock group R.E.M. was born December 17, 1958 in Orange County, California. Though known primarily as a bass guitarist, backing vocalist, and pianist, his musical repertoire also includes keyboards, guitar, and percussion instruments, and has contributed to many of the band’s musical compositions.As a young boy, Mills attended Northeast High School in Macon, Georgia. Mills’ father Frank was a singer whose appearances included The Ed Sullivan Show, while his mother Adora was a piano teacher, which helped him develop a love of music at an early age. He met and formed a band with drummer friend Bill Berry in high school. later, While attending the University of Georgia they also met Peter Buck and Michael Stipe and the four of them decided to form a band together. Mills, Berry, Buck, and Stipe then decided to drop out of college and focus on their band, now named R.E.M. The band quickly developed a following and were soon signed to I.R.S. Records.

Mills is credited with being the chief composer behind many of R.E.M.’s songs, including “Nightswimming”, “Find the River”, “At My Most Beautiful”, “Why Not Smile”, “Let Me In”, “Wendell Gee”, “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville”, “Beat a Drum”, “Be Mine” and “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?”. In particular, R.E.M.’s 2004 album Around the Sun was heavily shaped by Mills’ piano and keyboard contributions. Mills is also responsible for the prominent backing vocal and harmony parts found within the band’s back catalogue, with his vocal contributions arguably being most noticeable on 1986′s Lifes Rich Pageant and 2008′s Accelerate. In addition to providing backing melodies, he has also sung lead vocals on the songs “Texarkana”, “Near Wild Heaven”, The Clique cover “Superman” and The Troggs cover “Love is All Around”. Mills also recorded a brief piano part for the song “Soma” from The Smashing Pumpkins’ 1993 album Siamese Dream, which was recorded in Georgia

He also Provided backing Vocals for I992′s Automatic For The People, A more sombre, reflective album that features string arrangements by Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones. This album was also to yeild some wonderful songs like “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight” and “Everybody Hurts”. The band’s next two albums Monster and New Adventures In Hi-Fi were largely recorded live – some tracks taken from soundchecks taken during the massive stadium tour, and featured some new classics, such as Let Me In, a tribute to the recently deceased Kurt Cobain. Mills is also known for his collection of Nudie suits, which he often wears on stage, these are named after a Russian-born American tailor named Nudie Cohn who designed decorative rhinestone-covered suits, known popularly as “Nudie Suits”, and other elaborate outfits for some of the most famous celebrities of his era. Mills was first seen wearing one of these suits in the 1994 video for “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” and then throughout the band’s subsequent 1995 tour.

Unfortunately drummer Bill Berry suffered a brain aneurysm to and quit the band in 1997, and things never quite returned to the giddy heights of “Out of Time” and Moments of brilliance, such as The Great Beyond or Imitation Of Life, became less frequently. Leading some band members to pursue side-projects, Stipe increasingly pusued his film work,while Peter Buck concentrated more on his country supergroup Tired Pony. Despite this REM continued to be unbeatable live performers to the end and their final album, Collapse Into Now, was hailed, like many of its predecessors, as a return to form. Certainly, the band sounded rejuvenated and a lot more energetic than on some of the previous work. They also re-released an earlier album ”Lifes Rich Pageant” and in 2011 they released a definitive greatest hits Double CD album, entitled: “R.E.M., PART LIES, PART HEART, PART TRUTH, PART GARBAGE, 1982 – 2011. ″ which contained tracks from the band’s entire back catalogue, including tracks from both the IRS and Warner years plus three brand-new songs, as a final farewell.

Wright Brothers Day/ Pan American Aviation Day

Wright Brothers Day

Wright Brothers day commemorates the anniversary Of December 17 1903 when The Wright Brothers – Orville and Wilbur, made the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. The Wright Brothers spent a great deal of time observing birds in flight & 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 manoeuvre. They used this technique to obtain roll control by warping, or changing the shape, of a portion of the wing and they designed their first aircraft: a small, biplane glider flown as a kite to test this theory. Wing warping is a method of arching the wingtips slightly to control the aircraft’s rolling motion and balance. Over the next three years, Wilbur and his brother Orville designed a series of gliders flown in both unmanned (as kites) and piloted flights. They read about the works of Cayley, and Langley, and the hang-gliding flights of Otto Lilienthal. They corresponded with Octave Chanute concerning some of their ideas. They recognized that control of the flying aircraft would be the most crucial and hardest problem to solve.

Following a successful glider test, the Wrights built and tested a full-size glider & selected Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as their test site because of its wind, sand, hilly terrain and remote location. They successfully tested their new 50-pound biplane glider with its 17-foot wingspan and wing-warping mechanism at Kitty Hawk, in both unmanned and piloted flights, which became the first piloted glider. Based upon the results, the Wright Brothers refined the controls and landing gear, and built a bigger glider. In 1901, at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, the Wright Brothers flew the largest glider ever flown, with a 22-foot wingspan, a weight of nearly 100 pounds and skids for landing. Unfortunately the wings did not have enough lifting power; forward elevator was not effective in controlling the pitch; and the wing-warping mechanism occasionally caused the airplane to spin out of control.

The Wright brothers Then built a wind tunnel to test a variety of wing shapes and their effect on lift And This helped them get a greater understanding of how an airfoil (wing) works and they could calculate with greater accuracy how well a particular wing design would fly. They planned to design a new glider with a 32-foot wingspan and a tail to help stabilize it. So during 1902, the brothers flew numerous test glides using their new glider. Their studies showed that a movable tail would help balance the craft and the Wright Brothers connected a movable tail to the wing-warping wires to coordinate turns. With successful glides to verify their wind tunnel tests, the inventors planned to build a powered aircraft. After months of studying how propellers work the Wright Brothers designed a motor and a new aircraft sturdy enough to accommodate the motor’s weight and vibrations. The craft weighed 700 pounds and came to be known as the Flyer. The brothers built a movable track to help launch the Flyer. This downhill track would help the aircraft gain enough airspeed to fly. After two attempts to fly this machine, one of which resulted in a minor crash, Orville Wright took the Flyer for a 12-second, sustained flight on December 17, 1903. This was the first successful, powered, piloted flight in history.


Pan American Aviation Day

Pan American Aviation Day is a United States Federal Observance Day observed December 17. According to 36 U.S.C. § 134, on Pan American Aviation Day the president calls on “all officials of the United States Government, the chief executive offices of the States, territories, and possessions of the United States, and all citizens to participate in the observance of Pan American Aviation Day to further, and stimulate interest in, aviation in the American countries as an important stimulus to the further development of more rapid communications and a cultural development between the countries of the Western Hemisphere.”[1] The date commemorates the first successful flight of a mechanically propelled heavier-than-air craft, accomplished on December 17, 1903, by the Wright brothers near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.