Kuiper poses with a replica Wright Flyer.

The Wright Stuff

Kuiper has the Wright stuff.

Monday was the 115th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville’s famous flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. 🛫 Swipe to zoom out on their airplane (reproduction; original is on display at @smithsonian Air & Space.) Many thanks to @msichicago for granting Kuiper special permission to visit the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

This was my second time there and I HIGHLY recommend this museum. In addition to this flyer, they have Apollo 8(!!), Mercury Aurora 7, a freaking rad vortex and HOURS worth of other things to learn about.

Nearly a century before Wilbur and Orville took flight at Kitty Hawk, an Englishman named Sir George Cayley was doing some heckin’ research. George was the first to nail down how to keep a plane in the air (flapping wings weren’t cutting it. 😂) By studying gliding birds, he came up with the idea of using a curved wing instead of a flat one to provide lift. 🆙🆙🆙

Just like a car on the outside of a racetrack turn moves quicker than a car in the inside to keep up, air over the top of a curved wing moves faster than air on the bottom of the wing. Because of a Swiss dude named Bernoulli, we already knew that faster air = lower pressure. Cayley was able to work out that lower pressure over the top of an airplane wing and higher pressure underneath it would cause the wing to rise.

Another major contributor to aviation before the Wright brothers was a German named Otto Lilienthal. Between 1891 and 1896, Otto invented and tested a variety of gliders to the tune of 2,000 flights. Fortunately for those of us in the present day, Otto’s pioneering work in aviation coincided with pioneering work in action photography, so we have pictures of some of his flights!! I’ll put some in story.

Otto’s tragic death in a gliding accident in 1896 directly inspired the Wright brothers’ work; they would later write that the he had “infected” them with “unquenchable enthusiasm, and transformed idle curiosity into the active zeal of workers.” On December 17, 1903, they would make history with the first flight of a powered, heavier-than-air flying machine.

What was your first flight on an airplane like?

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/Brk1OJlDA05/

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