Wright Again

Wright Again

Improving The Glider - Monday, September 22, 1902

The History: Orville and Wilbur modified the truss wires on the glider so that the wings would bend into an arc. The wing's ends are now 4 inches lower than the center with the wing tips at a steeper angle.

Generally it took, two men to launch the glider (one on each wing) and the third man to fly it. The two brothers waited for Dan Tate, but he never appeared at the camp all day. Without Dan to help, Wilbur and Orville went to a small hill and just flew the glider like a kite. Orville recorded in his personal diary that, they were "very satisfied" with the results and that the machine "flew beautifully". At the correct angle of incidence (angle of attack) the glider even appeared to soar (rise in the air), even though the hill's angle was only 6 1/2°.

When a crosswind (a wind coming in from an angle) had struck the machine on Wilbur's glide, it had raised the left wing up in a turn too high which caused a problem.

In their writings, the Wrights differentiated between the words "soaring" and "gliding". They used the word soaring when rising, while gliding referred to level or descending flight.

They were pleased that this crosswind problem appears to have been overcome by altering the wing trusses.

Even today, pilots learn a technique to prevent the crosswind wing from rising prior to take-off.

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Last modified: Tue Aug 27 12:32:33 PDT 2002
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