Wright Brothers

The Moment

The iconic flight in 1903 of the first manned aircraft at Kittyhawk.

The Unseen Path

The Wrights had a competitor in the race for flight whose name was Samuel Langley, a famous inventor who leveraged his reputation and a great concept presentation to win a massive military contract. His background was in building cars so of course he saw flight as an engineering challenge centered on engine power. He applied this thinking, and a wealth of resources (including his own personal funds and the seemingly endless amount the military was willing to spend), toward building planes that he repeatedly crashed.

The Wrights had no such funding. But they had a passion for aviation dating back to the moment they first saw a toy helicopter. They were self-taught tradesmen drawing from diverse but deep expertise building printing presses, bicycles, and motors. They didn’t see flight as a challenge of power, but one of balance. Because they couldn’t afford to build and crash plane after plane, they instead focused on wing design. They built the world’s first wind tunnel, which allowed them to iterate through hundreds of wing designs in less than a year.

In 1903, the Wrights flew a manned craft that could lift off, climb easily over a hillside, and then land gracefully at the point of origin. Sam Langley was still launching crude torpedoes into dirt piles.

Our Heroes

Roald Amundsen

Roald Amundsen

1911 – Antarctica

Roald Amundsen successfully reaches the geographic South Pole.
Cameron

Cameron

1984 – The Terminator

The movie grosses $38 million and launches the career of its 29 year-old director.
Michael Collins

Michael Collins

1969 – Our Moon

Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin are the first humans to set foot on the moon.
Jacques Cousteau

Jacques Cousteau

1943 – The French Riviera

Jacques Cousteau wades into the Mediterranean, wearing flippers and the world’s first scuba device.
Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin

1953 – London

Rosalind Franklin invents the X-ray techniques that lead to the discover of the double helix model of DNA.

Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper

1944 – Harvard

Computer pioneer Grace Hopper invents the first compiler for a computer programming language.

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr

1942 – Hollywood

Actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr develops the frequency hopping communications technology behind GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth

Matt Parker

Matt Parker

2012 – London Olympics

Matt Parker utilizes strategic training methods and disciplines which results in 8 gold medals.
Malcolm McLean

Malcolm McLean

1956 – Houston

Malcolm McLean’s Ideal X tanker makes its maiden voyage.
Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla

1893 – World Fair, Chicago

Tesla wows the crowd with his Tesla Coil, including wireless lighting and his induction motor.
Vivien Thomas

Vivien Thomas

1944 – Baltimore

Vivien Thomas develops the first surgical procedure used to treat blue baby syndrome.

Wright Brothers

Wright Brothers

1903 – North Carolina

The iconic flight of the Wright Brothers in 1903 as the first manned aircraft at Kitty Hawk.