12 June 2008
WRIGHT, Wilbur (1867-1912). Experiments and Observations in Soaring Flight. Offprint from: Journal of the Western Society of Engineers Vol. 8 [misprinted "III" on front wrapper], no. 4 (August, 1903). [Chicago, 1903].
8o (228 x 151 mm). Caption title; 8 photographic halftones in text. Original printed gray wrappers; quarter calf folding case. Provenance: Orville Wright ("From the private library of Orville Wright" ink stamp on verso of front wrapper).
A VERY FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION, offprint issue, of Wilbur Wright's second report of his and Orville's flying experiments, read to the Western Society of Engineers on June 24, 1903. Following the glider trials of 1901, Orville Wright had constructed a wind tunnel in Dayton that the brothers used for a systematic series of tests of over 200 wing and bi-plane combinations. On the basis of these results the brothers built a new glider, equipped with a vertical rear rudder which offset the twisting movements caused by the warping of the wings. The nearly one thousand trial flights made during the summer of 1902 with this superior machine are described in the present report, as are the Wrights' extensive observations of bird flight. The machine functioned well: the Wrights' main objective was to learn how to control it, as, in Wilbur's words, "the machine seemed to have reached a higher state of development than the operators" (p. 8). The second objective of the 1902 experiments was "to obtain data for the study of scientific problems involved in flight" (p. 10). Both goals were realized during the six months following the presentation of this report, and on December 17, 1903--a mere 8 years after their initial entry into aeronautical research--the Wrights made the first motorized flight in history at the Kill Devil Hills, south of Kitty Hawk. Brockett 13015; Dibner Heralds of Science 185; Norman 2267.
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