History Moment By William “Doc” Halliday

Flyer I

flyer1When I was young my father told me he had been a pilot in his younger years before he was married.  He was not a commercial pilot, but he did have a private pilot’s license.  My father had physical issues with his legs that prevented him from obtaining a commercial pilot’s license.  Sometimes he would take me to a nearby airfield where we would watch the small private planes take off and land.  As a teenager, I joined the Civil Air Patrol and began to fly myself.  As you might expect, I aspired to become a jet fighter pilot.  Alas, I was too tall to be accepted for this career by the U. S. Air Force Academy, and entered the Army instead.

When my father retired he was able to take up flying as a hobby again.  I flew with my father on many occasions, and the small light aircraft we flew in have a special place in my heart.  Today’s aircraft are much improved from the aircraft that started the era of controlled flight in a heavier-than-air machine with a pilot on board.  That aircraft was the Flyer I, which was also referred to as the 1903 Flyer, or the Wright Flyer.  Current production aircraft use a three-axis control which enables the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and maintain its equilibrium.  This system was devised by the Wright brothers and utilized on the Flyer I as well as on the 1902 glider.

Very few inventions or innovations are achieved on the initial attempt.  Wilbur and Orville Wright began a four year research…

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