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On Great White Wings:- The Wright Brothers and the Race for Flight

By Dr. Fred E Culick , Spencer Dunmore

ISBN: 9781840373332
PUBLISHED: September 2001
PAGES: 176
BINDING: Hardback
SIZE: 254x254 mm
INSIDE: Over 200 photographs and illustrations

Damned if they ain't flew! The words of one of the few witnesses on the beach at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, that day capture the astonishment at history's first ever-manned flight. In twelve brief seconds on the morning of December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers accomplished what men had dreamed of for centuries. The world would never be the same again.

On Great White Wings tells the fascinating story of the Wright brothers and their struggles and successes but it also puts their epic achievement in context by recounting what other pioneer aviators had done to realise the dream of flight. Although the Wright brothers won the prize, the race to be the first in flight was truly an international one.

The Wrights - often portrayed as unsophisticated bicycle mechanics working in isolation - were rigorous, self-taught scientists, influenced by the giants of nineteenth-century aviation: Germany's Otto Lilienthal, whose gliders could lift off a hill and carry a man soaring aloft; France's Alphonse P┼Żnaud, who developed propeller-driven model airplanes; and the great English air enthusiast, Sir George Cayley.

In straightforward and easy-to-understand prose, On Great White Wings gives readers an understanding of the daunting technical challenges the brothers faced. It combines contemporary colour photography of Dr. Culick's reconstructed Flyer and the places where Orville and Wilbur lived and worked with diagrams, illustrations, paintings and photographs of the period. Many of these were taken by the Wright brothers themselves (they were avid and accomplished photographers), giving modern readers a unique window on their world.

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