December 17 - 1903 - The Wright Brothers Make the First Powered Flight

The actual first powered flight went just 120 feet, when Orville Wright took the Flyer he had designed with his brother Wilbur into the air above Kill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Wright Brothers, bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio, were unlikely candidates for conducting the first powered flight. Yet they had some great advantages over other pioneering aviators. Since they were familiar with bicycle reparis, they knew how to create lightweight machines that could move easily. Since they were had studied flight from the perspective of dedicated amateurs, they realized birds banked into turns mid-air. Since they were willing to try anything, they were willing to lie face down on oversized kites with tiny engines attached to two propellers. All of this came together in 1903 with the first flight, which was followed by a series of flights that same day. They didn't really become accepted as pioneers until two years later, when their third flyer could stay up for more than a few minutes.

William Floyd