Model Airplane Collecting,
Featuring the Wright Flyer "Kitty Hawk"
airplane collecting with this aviation pioneer
On December 14, 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Wilbur Wright had just
completed a failed attempt to fly the world’s first powered aircraft. The brothers initially tossed a coin to see
who would be the first to attempt flight. Wilbur was able to leave the rail, but stalled and came down in about 3
seconds with only minor damage. A few repairs were needed.
The Wright Flyer Kitty Hawk
Three days later on December 17th, the Wright Brothers made history, flying four times, with each flight increasing in distance.
Their last flight went 852 feet in 59 seconds. Each flight ended in a rough unintended landing, and Wilbur’s
historic flight resulted in the front elevator supports breaking. They had hoped to repair the damage and
continue for a four-mile flight to Kitty Hawk village, but the Flyer was later picked up by a heavy gust of wind
and damaged beyond repair. The Flyer was never flown again.
|This airplane model depicts
the aviation pioneer airplane,
flown by the Wright brothers on their first flight
on the December 17th, 1903, starting aviation
Today, The Wright Flyer can be found at the National Air and Space Museum in the Smithsonian
Institution in Washington, DC. They describe the aircraft as “the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to
achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard.”
The Wright Flyer marks the beginning of the pioneer era of aviation.
Years prior to the first successful launch, the Wright brothers were testing
gliders, and their last glider directly led to the design of the Flyer.
The Wrights used spruce for their construction material. At the time, existing automobile engines could not fit
their needs, so they had to employ the help of Charlie Taylor to build one from scratch. Taylor built a
12-horsepower gasoline engine. The propellers were built by hand and borrowed bicycle chain technology, each
rotating in opposite directions to increase handling.
Just as in the gliders, a pilot flew lying on his stomach on the lower left wing
and steered by moving a cradle attached to his hips.
It should be no surprise that model airplane collectors are also huge history buffs. Afterall, the historical context to each model
is what gives them value.
Someone looking to step into the world of aviation model collecting should look no
further than the Wright Flyer as their first model. What better way to start your journey than the aircraft that
began the “pioneer era” of aviation?