Wright’s replica takes to the air to mark 100 Years of flight

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To celebrate 100 years of flight Le Mans Sarthe Aero Retro group staged an event at the Hunaudières race course in Le Mans marking Wilbur Wright’s first flight in France on 8 August.

Pilot Jef Jacquelin took up the Wright Flyer Type-A replica (F-PMAN) managing two safe hops along the Le Mans runway, in front of a small crowd, said spectator Stephen Wolf.

A century ago the first flight lasted 1 minute 45 seconds, and was long enough for two circuits of the race course, demonstrating to the assembled crowd of onlookers (which included Louis Bleriot) that the Wright brothers had mastered flight. This feat sparked widespread aviation development, which continues to this day.

See more images of the Wright Flyer replicas in our gallery of images including one image of a German Wright Flyer replica hung from the church roof of Abbaye de l’Épau.
(Images courtesy of Stephen Wolf)

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3 Responses to Wright’s replica takes to the air to mark 100 Years of flight

  1. artur bove 20 August, 2008 at 8:32 am #

    Althought they made their flight, it was assisted with a catapult. a catapult of an aircarrier can make anything fly, from aircraft to volkswagen cars, pressing irons, the wight-flyer, stones, etc.

    Why Santos Dumont, that made his 14-bis aircraft fly, WITHOUT EXTERNAL HELP is not mentioned in most of articles about aircraft pioneering?

  2. Stephen Wolf 22 August, 2008 at 11:59 am #

    The assertion by Artur Bove, that anything will fly using a catapult is ridiculous in this context, and cannot go unanswered. People jumping off high places fall (no pun intended) into the same category. No, we recognize the Wright achievements, because they set the foundations of aeronautical engineering, as we know it today. They used a catapult, and we do today on aircraft carriers. The wind is still an important factor in every take-off and landing. The Wright brothers recognised this and used the wind and the catapult to their advantage.

    The other point I would like to raise is the fact that Wilbur’s flights of 1908 were considered sensational, because he could fly in any direction he chose, and could land where he took-off for example. Not withstanding the fact, Wilbur stayed aloft for over 2 hours in a record breaking flight. No one else had done this before, because they didn’t have the roll control system developed by the Brothers on their 1902 glider.

    Santos-Dumont did get acclaim for his feats in 1906, and had to chose calm conditions to make his straight-line hops. He did this because he had no roll control, and wanted to live. He also had lots of engine power, a very basic propeller, and no aerofoil section to his wings. Santos-Dumont was indeed an aviation pioneer, but when it came to mastering flight in 1908, the Wright Brothers were in a class of their own.

  3. Dan Aeschliman 5 September, 2008 at 5:16 pm #

    Steven Wolf is correct. How an aircraft gets into the air has nothing whatsoever to do with flight, per se. By Bove’s reasoning, a brick ‘flies’ when thrown.

    The Wright brothers, using empirical observation, had not only developed a remarkably complete and at the time absolutely unique understanding of the basic elements of low-speed flight, they had even invented the first successful wind tunnel to aid in the process. (Incidentally, that tunnel incorporated all the essential design elements of low-speed tunnels in use today–suction, as opposed to blowing, to generate airflow; a bellmouth to prevent inflow separation; a flow straightening section upstream to reduce turbulence; and a balance system to measure lift and drag forces on a scale model.)

    There may be legitimate arguments as to who first sustained powered airborne motion of a winged vehicle with a man on board, but so far as I am aware, there is no argument as to who did so with sufficient understanding of basic aerodynamics to permit control in the air, which is the essence of flight.

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