Next year marks the centennial of flight-100 years since the December day in Kitty Hawk, NC, when the Wright brothers etched themselves so deeply into our collective consciousness. No doubt a good deal of hoopla will be whipped up about those two bicycle builders and their flight that changed America. But what the history books leave out is that the highly secretive Wright brothers refused to publicly demonstrate their airplane for four and a half years after that now legendary 12-second, 37-meter hop. By the time they revealed their machine, a number of other inventors already had airplanes flying. One of them was Glenn Hammond Curtiss, who in the spring of 1910 completed a 243-kilometer public flight along the Hudson River from Albany, NY, to Manhattan. Curtiss’s feat-the first true cross-country flight in the United States-was a technological tour de force. Not only was it by far the longest flight yet attempted in the United States, but it meant traveling over unpredictable terrain with virtually unknown wind and weather hazards-quite a different matter from the fair-weather demonstration laps around airfields that characterized most of the previous flights. Hundreds of thousands of people showed up to watch Curtiss’s flight, and the… Read full this story
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